Here, we are talking about the experience of a persone landing the first time in Finland with family for work or study. There are many elements that look very obvious while being or staying in Finland but aren’t for the person coming from an altogether different ecosystem & culture. The hired candidate is smart and coming with great skills but not necessarily having exposure to the local ecosystem & culture.
The world is full of diversity and it not only lies with the people, culture, language & Infrastructure but also with doing the routine things. I am quoting a real story from a work-based immigrant family that landed in Finland a few years back. I am writing a hypothetical name Mr. Swami as the person does not want to reveal his identity.
Mr. Swami was hired by one very renowned Finnish company and the company had gracefully
offered him relocation assistance with one of the most well-known agency. He was relaxed at the time of hiring by considering most of the things will be taken care of, but the first news he got that they will only support Swami’s visa application but not full family. The family had to spend a couple of hours understanding the process to apply for a spouse & child visa. what kind of apostille is needed on various documents, how they can get it in their home country. Thanks to community Facebook groups they find some savior who guided them to compile the whole process and they could make the visa process through.
The next step is the get the flight and land at the hotel. Mr. Swami was asked to collect the keys and board the taxi to reach booked hotel apartment. looks straight right? but wasn’t. The family was traveling to Europe for the first time, they hardly had an idea what to expect, they were already exhausted after 24+ hours of journey on car, train, and air with the kid. They now need to find a service point at the big Helsinki airport where keys were dropped. It was more difficult when you are landing, limited ground staff is available to guide you after the immigration checkpoint. Finding a suitable taxi was also another task to consider, they were rejected by many taxi drivers to board with 8-10 bags, not obvious in their home country. The family first time came across digital+analog keys, it took the help of one English speaking guy from the street to understand how they operate this. The family was already frustrated and exhausted so far, their dreamland landing wasn’t that cheer-able so far.
The challenges were still waiting for them with Population registration, Kela Registration, TE office registration with spouse and children. The Relocation agency wasn’t even ready that the family can accompany them while doing all these things for the candidate. The family has to figure out how the local transportation system works, checking the time on google maps was a new thing for them. They learned again with help of a community friend connected via Facebook.
The good thing was the relocation agency was asked for house searching and they showed a couple of options based on the work location of the candidate. Now here is the catch for them. Mr. Swami was looking for English medium schooling for their kid and the schools have a location-wise preference for prioritizing the queue of applicants for admission. It took 6 months to understand these not many written rules. Mr. Swami had rented the house which had 11 months contract and had to pay a high penalty from the pocket to move to places suitable for schooling and admission. Also, It took 1+ years to be aware of some special government program to support career and integration for the spouse of immigrants.
They were also not socially well-integrated until they come across some cultural associations of their home country after one year. Due to multiple factors of child’s schooling, social life and spouse’s career Mr swami had multiple time though to move out of the Finlandin his first year but with help of fellow people survived the first year and then things went good for them.
However, not all work-based immigrants are not as lucky as Mr. Swami to get good friends, and they are moving out to the home or other comfortable countries.
What do we think, wasn’t the relocation agency good, or did the employer choose a budget package to save the cost? I see they both have done what they could do and their good efforts but weren’t enough. We see a good reason for offering a budget package to a relocation agency, hiring budget is generally limited, it is already difficult enough to convince management to hire a candidate internationally and getting that extra budget of relocation services approved. On the other side, we would tell that the relocation agency might have placed their best efforts with a given package but was costly and less flexible with services. We believe that to be a lighthouse one has to voyage through those routes, things being appeared obvious here are not for immigrants.
There are multiple socio-economic know-hows and warmth that need to hand over as one package to the coming family, this is will not only warmly onboard the family but help them to make the decision of making Finland their home.
We at D&D Service is offering a package in the budget which not only big companies but also SMEs can afford and we ourselves being work-based immigrants know what exactly is needed when you are traveling on unknown roads. Finland is a great country offering great well-being and work-life balance, it is just efforts are not to just get them relocated but integrated.
There are multiple small-small factors, few being mentioned and a lot to be considered, that know-how comes by being on another side of the table. We at D&D services is looking forward to giving extended support the immigrant worker and their family with a given hiring budget. These will enrich the company's human assets and know-how.