Volunteering on Migrant Integration in Finland

Introduction

The growing global displacement is increasing pressures on several countries, service suppliers, and resources as they seek to provide integration of migrants. As shown in Europe and North America, there has been a rapid growth of humanitarian migrants and an unparalleled outpouring of public assistance (Baert and Vujić, 2016; Ndukwe, 2017).

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This paper considers immigrant volunteers as they impact value to integration attempts, assesses the obstacles to immigrant volunteering, and provides recommendations on how policymakers could ease the successful involvement of migrants within integration projects. While volunteer efforts cannot replace paid services, technical, social bureaus, they provide unique resources, which add invaluable complement to the migrant integration process. Nevertheless, an immigrant volunteer is challenging for many integration bureaus, and committed resources have to be supplied to build and maintain successful participation.

Besides the investment of time and accessibility, volunteers facilitate migrant integration that might be inaccessible for paid contracts. Consequently, social relations and human contact under the volunteer scheme offer valuable resources and opportunities. Many countries, including Finland, are embracing a model initiated towards migrant integration.

Migrant volunteers have a fundamental function in easing reception, adaptation, long-term payoff, building connections and friendships in their new environment (Garkisch, Heidingsfelder and Beckmann, 2017; Laurentsyeva and Venturini, 2017; Ndukwe, 2017). Volunteers with experience of migrant movement are a valuable resource of support and information for new arrivals and to the businesses and institutions collaborating. Successful volunteer programs draw on the advantages of stakeholders and partners working to achieve a mutual purpose and objective.

Background of the Study

Volunteering has received much focus in Finland, given the nature and trend of immigration and integration policy. Given that the scope and framework of the ‘volunteering industry’ in Finland, its attention is not misplaced. Apart from studies based on large databases and representative records, many works of literature provoke individual-level factors of migrant volunteering in contexts like private services, educational associations, and hospitals or among populations like adolescents or elderly workers. The advantages of volunteering facilitate immigrant integration (Sinatti, 2019).

Volunteering improves social network relationships and individual capital or replicating cultural uniqueness and ethnic identity (Yijälä and Luoma, 2019). Considering Finland’s experience with integration, the evolution of an integration process adequately flexible to facilitate positive lifestyle under tight budget constraints is of paramount significance.

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Therefore, integration must be prioritised to prevent inactivity, introducing a permanent drain on the market, and portraying a gloomy picture of the significant potential of the migrant population. The impact of an effective integration policy can improve the efficacy of incorporation coaching by allowing enhanced flexibility to modify instruction to the demands of migrants.

As found in Figure 1, Finland’s migrant population is snowballing with rising global migration. The chart shows Finland granted 61,077 residence permits between 2015 and 2020. As found in Figure, 8,913 persons were granted citizenship within the same period in Finland. The numbers show that migrant integration is a deliberate initiative. As found in Figure 1, Finland rejected 1,312 applications for citizenship and 7,881 residence permits between 2015 and 2020.

Migrant Population.
Figure 1: Migrant Population.

The goal of Finland’s integration policy is to ensure immigrants have adequate information and advice through the integration procedure. However, the integration and economic circumstance have sabotaged those improvements. The surge of new arrivals from the context of tight financial constraints affects the country’s reform agenda.

The remarkable growth in inflows, primarily refugees seekers, set a massive strain on an integration system meant to support much fewer migrants. New arrival or immigrants face culture shock, language barriers, and other forms of discrimination that affect their capability to complete the integration process (Wahlbeck, 2019).

As a result, these individuals are limited by their social and human inadequacies. However, these unfortunate circumstances can be prevented with adequate volunteer framework. The volunteering industry aids immigrants to integrate and build their capacity for efficiency and performance fully. There is debate about the degree to which active involvement in these institutions is vital for the development of human and social capital. The thesis seeks to investigate the impact of volunteering migrant integration in Finland.

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Purpose of the Study

The study will investigate the impact of volunteering on the integration of immigrants in Finland. The researcher will analyse the volunteering experiences of the context where it happens. To examine these objectives, the research will consider why and how immigrants in Finland participate in volunteering.

The paper will also evaluate the motivation and barriers to the migrant volunteer program. The researcher will evaluate the findings and strategies recommended for policymakers, religious institutions, and non-governmental agencies. With the reorganisation of volunteering services in Finland, migrant volunteers can contribute experience in certain areas where government agencies are absent, and such gestures promote personal capacity development for actions and initiatives.

Objectives of the Study

  1. To examine the impact of volunteering on the integration of immigrants in Finland.
  2. To assess the impact of an effective integration policy on social and human capital.

Theoretical Framework and Key Concepts

The notion of immigrant integration describes reciprocal connections between the alleged variation and treatment, which crates compatible or conflicted cultural associations between host and migrant groups. Under this narrative, a country’s policies, associations, and societies represent the treatment segment of the immigrant integration procedure. In contrast, different tools, perceptions, and approaches of immigrant groups compose the variation facet of this procedure (Greenspan, Walk and Handy, 2018; Anderson et al., 2019; Heimo et al., 2020).

The collaborating view shows a deterministic idea of integration as a shift towards equality and conventionality with the cultural traditions of the host country. According to Wahlbeck (2019), social integration succeeds if the bonds of fascination unite its associates. Individuals interested in becoming unified associates of a group are pressured to impress others within the organisation, but the consequent rivalry for recognition increases defensive strategies that obstruct social integration.

Wahlbeck (2019) asserts that an individual who provide valued solutions to others, compels them to remain loyal and attest their fascination to the volunteer because the services and deference create social differentiation. Consequently, a person who affirms his or her accessibility removes the need for defensiveness of others and therefore motivates them to share their feelings of fascination for him.

Key concepts for this study include integration, immigration, and volunteers, social and human capital. Integration differs from assimilation and segregation, although these words have been applied in academic works of literature. Segregation is the deliberate separation of individuals into classes (Heimo et al., 2020).

The expression is used to characterise a geographic and societal division. Assimilation is a radical switch from a varied culture to a less diverse behaviour. The fundamental aim of the integration theory is to promote the integration of immigrants in ways that could recognise and honour diversity, guarantee conditions for freedom and growth of distinct collective identities and cultures predicated on equal rights and equality and maximum standards of individual rights.

Immigration

A migrant is someone living away from the nation of birth or childhood. Although the definition is prohibitive, migrants are described by birth, educational status, lawful citizenship, de facto identity or uniqueness based on shared culture. A migrant is someone who moves across a global boundary or within a country from the customary place of residence irrespective of the individual’s legal standing (Laurentsyeva and Venturini, 2017). This definition sometimes contradicts the reason for migration. Thus, the act of changing geographical location is called migration. However, the context for this study is based on its objectives.

Migration under this context describes the movement of resettled individuals to a new culture or environment. This definition covers movement across boundaries to enhance of the quality of life or driven against violence, and disasters. Ecological, political, legal, non-invasive, temporal, and other facets categorise these specialised definitions, theories and types of migrants. Besides, the absence of a consensus of migrant typologies has been challenging in the measurement of global migration.

The absence of consensus means the perception of nations being bombarded with migrants where national boundaries are disappearing signifies the diplomatic elements to migration continue to be diluted. Migration enhances lifestyles of host countries and provides opportunities for individuals to forge a secure destiny while contributing hugely to these societies. The surge in migration has spanned multiple responses from host countries and communities.

The primary agents of such responses include government institutions, religious authorities and civil society projects, which react positively and publicly to the newest advancements of migration. The manifestations such as integration policy, counselling, encouragement, resource team, and volunteer organisation effectively handle and legislate on diversity and mobility (Sarvimäki and Hämäläinen, 2016; Dylan Trotsek, 2017).

However, the other side includes considerable changes in administrative, political, and public approaches towards restricting, restraining, or preventing migration (Igalla, Edelenbos and van Meerkerk, 2019). Tervola (2020) asserts that integration programs and policies in Finland affect immigrants and host communities. The confrontation between immigrants and natives or host communities become visible during economic recessions, as jobs are more challenging to discover, and welfare financing is decreased.

Integration

As approved by the EU commission, effective integration policies are strategies that examine the economic, social features, and links that connect religious and cultural diversity with residency involvement and political rights of a minority. By implication, the host country is encouraged to facilitate immigrant integration in social and human capital (Basilio, Bauer and Kramer, 2017).

The European Commission compels migrants to respect the standards and values of their host nation and actively take part in the integration process. The definition of integration is complex because it creates distinct characters. Integration could be an addition of new inhabitants to an existing societal arrangement (Tervola, 2020). Consequently, integration could be the measure by the cohesion of migrants as they join the machine of socioeconomic, cultural, and legal connections. Based on these complicated and multidimensional processes, integration policies in Finland cannot be examined vaguely (Laurentsyeva and Venturini, 2017; Ndukwe, 2017; Sunata and Tosun, 2019).

The first measurement is structural integration, where the government permits the acquisition of human rights, accessibility to places and statuses by the migrant populations. Second, the cultural dimension of behavioural can measure integration and sociological changes among the host communities and migrants. Third, social integration measures the evolution of personal relationships and obligations of immigrants with the host communities. Thus, an effective integration policy measures the formation of attitudes and perceptions of identity and belonging regarding the immigration society.

Comparative investigation of immigrant reveals an intriguing phenomenon of foreign nationals residing in the Nordic nations may be treated badly compared to other OECD nations. In contrast, European appears to incorporate immigrants compared to Nordic communities. Garkisch, Heidingsfelder and Beckmann (2017) argue that the explanations for this gap lie in the different nature of the labour markets.

The context of immigrant integration is a barrier to employment opportunities in Finland (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland, 2016). By implication, since company expenses and minimum wage are high, there are few opportunities for unskilled individuals. These assumptions hasten the increase of labour-intensive service business enterprises that could integrate employees with lower education levels or poor language abilities.

In a circumstance where gaining entry to work is hard, immigrants become incorporated together with the welfare scheme. From the contextual integration, countries with a liberalistic social capital incorporate immigrants with low tax and minimum wage. A number of the researches linked to volunteer encounters in Finland have concentrated on migrants that were incorporated into society through the welfare program compared to the labour marketplace.

The triangle framework for an effective integration policy relies on the openness of the host country towards refugees, the commitment of asylum seeks to the host nation and the configuration of the associations of production. Thus, integration includes modification in governmental, informative, and social perspectives. The Aliens Act (301/2004) specifies modalities that govern Finnish immigration approaches (Yijälä and Luoma, 2019).

The record covers the rights and duties of immigrants concerning fundamental problems like citizenship and access to health care. Integration is described as self-development of a settler through active involvement in the labour force. Finland’s integration program provides associations with assistance such as language abilities, professional counselling, and teaching. Since the population of immigrants is increasing rapidly, problems associated with migration policy affect the host country (Yijälä and Luoma, 2019). As a result, migrants established a non-political group to advance its interest across different cultural backgrounds.

Voluntary Work

Welfare designs and values enhance the requirements, criteria, and motivations for volunteering in various nations. Volunteering and civil society hold considerable positions in the perspectives of volunteers (Hanifi, 2013). The emphasis highlights the importance of volunteering in shaping and strengthening equality, social integrity, liberty, responsibility, and decency as the standard cultural values of society (Saksela-Bergholm, 2009).

Additionally, it highlights the significance of volunteering in shaping and strengthening the belief and confidence of individuals at the community level. Therefore, the values, which people ascribe to volunteering, must align with the culture and norms of the society (Hanifi, 2013). Volunteering provides an instrument for fact-based equilibrium and identity verification (Ndukwe, 2017; Yijälä and Luoma, 2019).

The inspirational structure also comprises a feeling of obligation to a country, community, spiritual tradition, or volunteer program. Spontaneous volunteerism is an uncommitted and short-term offer, where self-centred intentions and individual interests are fundamental (Hanifi, 2013). Volunteerism is inserted into a background of self-constructed perspective, discontinuity, and optional group memberships (Sunata and Tosun, 2019).

The drives for volunteering may arise in encounters of historical discontinuity, emergencies, or re-orientations. Volunteering can be utilised as an instrument for dealing with the challenges of self-realisation and confidence.

Volunteers are individuals who execute unpaid pursuits, often in service of action or creativity, serving the interest of the society without copying or changing the work of paid employees. Volunteers are agents of mutual integration of immigrants and refugees. The Finnish government creates core policy, activities, and methods, which collectively offer a base for migrant integration. Volunteering can encourage effective integration by boosting exchange, allowing touch, and constructing mutual knowledge and networks involving natives and immigrants (Laurentsyeva and Venturini, 2017).

Volunteer service contributes to the performance of immigrants by creating opportunities to develop new skills, understand and practice the vocabulary of the host country and comprehend national systems, history, and culture.

Volunteers in most countries have a fundamental function in easing reception, adaptation, long-term payoff, building connections and friendships in their new environment. Volunteers with experience of migrant movement are a valuable resource of support and information for new arrivals and to the businesses and institutions collaborating. Successful volunteer programs draw on the advantages of stakeholders and partners working to achieve a mutual purpose and objective.

Religious organisations or volunteering agencies facilitate partnerships by giving access to volunteers, infrastructure service, and experience for wider coverage. While volunteers devote time at no cost, the management of these agency demands sustainable and adequate human and fiscal resources. Public authorities might have a certain interest in supplying these tools where volunteer programs encourage the accomplishment of the integration of immigration policy across the country.

The integration process provides opportunities for resettled migrants based on the selection requirements and ambitions following their history, age, sex, abilities, interests, and other variables (Baert and Vujić, 2016; Greenspan, Walk and Handy, 2018). Volunteering actions encourage migrant integration to identify and react to culture demands and balance the task of employees by addressing gaps in union support.

With the reorganisation of volunteering services in Finland, volunteers can contribute experience in certain areas where government agencies are absent, and such gestures promote personal capacity development for actions and initiatives. The use of volunteers in creating actions according to their pursuits will boost their motivation and involvement, and allow innovative new strategies and efforts for refugee integration. Volunteering in Finland supports capacity development by facilitating conducive contact between the natives and migrants. The association between these populations supports collaborative interplay among mainstream agencies for value creation.

Research shows that over 90 million people participated in charitable actions across the European Union (Greenspan, Walk and Handy, 2018). By implication, there is a massive pool of volunteers who could engage in migrant integration. Volunteering with refugees could become a competing initiative that draws volunteer’s attention in various regions and location.

Barriers to Volunteering

Given the benefits of volunteering in Finland, surveys show varying outcomes on its impact on migrant integration. The barriers to volunteering largely affect the benefits of an effective integration policy. Engaging volunteers is problematic and expensive, given the diversity of migrants, political will of the host country and other factors. Volunteers and sponsors demand training, training, oversight, and continuous support.

Refugee sponsorship plans have committed bodies to provide oversight and training for migrant volunteers. Many paid service agencies lack the experience or social resources to extend the essential support and advice to refugees and resettles. Therefore, volunteer programs face challenges of staff shortages due to several predisposing factors. Volunteer associations must be organised to understand migrant needs and requirements to fill the gap of resettlement. The job of social interaction requires seasoned professional, committed individuals and experience. Thus, the barriers to volunteering could be political, social, or personal.

Attitudes towards volunteering are not equally optimistic in certain civilisations because it is considered unattractive, odd, unpaid or frustrating by policy regulations (Greenspan, Walk and Handy, 2018). Therefore, not all of the immigrants arrive with comparable openness to tackle volunteer opportunities. Some volunteers are affected by the routines of involvement, age criteria, and other predisposing factors. Thus, attitudes towards volunteering service are a barrier for charitable works in Finland. The outcome of provisional surveys shows that attitude and perceptions of immigrants and the lost population influence the readiness to participate in charitable ventures.

Social capital describes the shared values of individuals. In the context of migration, describes the capacity to establish positive values within the organisation or network of different groups. The impact of social capital compels immigrants to reconstruct their social connections in the host culture (Greenspan, Walk and Handy, 2018; Sinatti, 2019).

According to Laurentsyeva and Venturini (2017), social capital encourages the bonding of migrants to achieve sustainable cohesion within the new environment. However, social capital could be a barrier to immigrant integration in Finland. The idea of social capital supports the functioning of shared values and network groups. Therefore, a broken system that fails to encourage social capital would create barriers to volunteering. Along these lines, immigrants would refrain from the volunteer services when the system fails to provide a conducive environment for human contact and associations.

The wave and nature of migration in Finland facilitated the government to design responsive templates for new arrivals. Finland’s refugee populations are diversified in culture and integration support requirements. The main component of the integration program includes language instruction, labour market training, volunteering orientation and knowledge education. Nonetheless, the volunteering requirement placed significant emphasis on language education.

Language abilities are fundamental to the achievement of integration in Finland. Language abilities ease accessibility to employment, schooling, social interactions, and human capital (Basilio, Bauer and Kramer, 2017). Conversely, poor language skills can render migrants isolated and block their integration route.

Research Methods

The requirement for a study design eases the smooth process of numerous phases of research. It results in creating valid and reliable outcomes with minimal time, effort, and cost. A study design can help to plan the approaches to be utilised for gathering data for an investigation. Research methods assist the researcher in pursuing the aims of the study in the most effective possible fashion (Renz, Carrington and Badger, 2018).

Therefore, the research method must be chosen with extreme caution to prevent errors that could distort the reliability of the entire project. Therefore, research design and methods play a vital part in attaining the dependability of the outcomes obtained, which creates the base of the full procedure of the study. Despite the importance of research methods, the goal of this well-planned design is not accomplished occasionally.

Many investigators do not achieve the objective of the study designs and could reach misleading decisions. Therefore, inappropriate research method will create a meaningless exercise. Based on this assumption, researchers must select an appropriate research design for the investigation. The study plan aids the researcher to arrange ideas and spot the inadequacies and flaws. The researcher will discuss the study design with different specialists for their opinions and critical analysis, and it would be problematic for any critic to supply extensive review and comments about the study.

Research methodology describes the pattern by which investigators describe, explain, and predict phenomena. Consequently, the research methodology is the analysis of methods in which knowledge has been obtained. The intention is to provide a framework and direction of the study. Research methods constitute the processes, strategies, and calculations utilised in the study (Assarroudi et al., 2018). The processes comprise theoretical practices, experimental research, numerical strategies, and statistical procedures. Research methods are a term that describes the organised procedure for conducting surveys, analysis, and investigative studies.

There are distinct methodologies utilised in a variety of research, and the expression is classified as study design, data gathering, and information analysis. Research methods attempt to explain why the thesis was conducted, how and the hypothesis were devised, what information was gathered and what specific method was adopted to encode and analysed the results. Research methods can be qualitative or quantitative.

Structured research must attempt and integrate qualitative and quantifiable methodologies based on financial and time limitations. Research methods are utilised in academic research to examine hypotheses, theories, or test the impact of a variable on another.

Qualitative Research

Research methods could be qualitative or quantitative. A quantitative approach includes the selection of weighable data for analysis. A quantitative strategy could be experimental, inferential, and simulative designs. The qualitative approach utilises the procedure of abstract evaluation of thoughts, attitudes, and performance. Qualitative research methods sometimes utilise the researcher’s opinions and insights to form an unbiased judgment of analysis (Vasileiou et al., 2018).

The qualitative design utilises comprehensive interviews, group discussions, questionnaire, or projective methods. The term qualitative suggests the emphasis on procedures that cannot be analysed or quantified by amount, size, intensity, or frequency. Qualitative researchers highlight that the socially created nature of certainty, the impractical connection between the research, topic, and the philosophical constraints that form the study.

By comparison, qualitative projects highlight the dimension and evaluation of the underlying associations between factors or variables. Such analyses exclude the processes that make up the investigation. Qualitative research has its errors, flaws, or limitations. Since qualitative evaluations are independent with quantified sample population, the findings are sometimes flawed.

Researchers sometimes believe that qualitative study will always create definitive decisions. The outcomes will not supply scientists with definitive decisions, but valid data to facilitate the foundation for informed recommendation and decision-making. Qualitative research approaches have been developed to allow researchers to examine cultural and social phenomena. The current study seeks to analyse the impact of integration policy on volunteering in Finland.

The researcher intends to collect responses from migrant participants in Finland. The researcher will obtain responses via social media platforms and other communication channels. For the ease of communication, questionnaires will be sent via emails to the target population after collecting their data. Consequently, social media platforms will allow for the primary medium of data collection.

Content Analysis

Content analysis is a qualitative study method that could be standardised, directed, or cumulative, and its use depends on the phenomenon. These categories of content analysis are utilised to translate meaning from the material of text information and adhere to the pragmatic model. The significant differences between the procedures of content analysis are coding design sources of codes and data reliability (Vasileiou et al., 2018). In traditional content analysis, the researcher codes responses from the sample population.

Under this approach, the coding classes are derived from the text information. Based on the research questions, this thesis will use the qualitative content analysis to investigate the impact of volunteering on immigrant integration in Finland. The choice of research methods is appropriate because it supports trustworthiness.

Consequently, the questionnaire design permits the researcher to the main orientation during the survey process. Since the researcher covered several theoretical aspects, the qualitative content analysis provides the basis for open and semi-structured conversation during the data collection process. The qualitative content analysis assesses the communicating and survey channels systematically. The choice of analysis is beneficial for the study because it relies on the strengths of a qualitative investigation using the design for validity and reliability.

The study design alters the strengths of the research method purposefully for the evaluation of qualitative information. To run a qualitative content analysis, the source content must be separated, coded, and classified. The researcher intends to distribute survey questions to volunteer immigrants across Finland. The queries would cover specific questions based on the research objectives. Assessing the content under a structured classification system makes it feasible to rebuild the measures of investigation (Mohajan, 2018). The research process supports consistency, validity, and comparability of outcomes (Vasileiou et al., 2018).

Qualitative research facilitates the comprehension of individual responses in many contexts and observed position. However, qualitative and quantitative designs are not flawless, and errors and inconsistence outcomes may constantly appear. The principal challenges in choosing a research design include cost, time, and attempt the investigators must invest in explaining the phenomena (Renz, Carrington and Badger, 2018; Vasileiou et al., 2018). Therefore, the choice should depend on a considerate and accurate preparation of the present conditions by identifying available resources (Armann-Keown and Patterson, 2020).

A qualitative study deals with many interpretation and outcomes. However, the interpretations differ in the material context and perception. Qualitative content analysis shares exceptional attributes related to qualitative research procedures (Akşan and Baki, 2017). These shared characteristics expand to an important consideration in most qualitative research layouts.

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