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Home NATIONALGovt mulls lower benefits for new immigrants
Sat, 10 Oct, 2015 12:08:18 AM
FTimes - STT Report, Oct 10
Social Affairs and Health minister Hanna Mäntylä spoke at a press conference in Helsinki on Friday. Photo – Lehtikuva.
The government is examining the possibility of coming up with a new integration plan for immigrants keeping the provision of lower social benefits.
The Social Affairs and Health Minister Hanna Mäntylä at a press conference on Friday said that the level of integration as per the new system will be lower than the current support granted.
“We will seek a level which is certainly lower,” Mäntylä said.
Mäntylä wants a reform in which immigrants who are granted residence permit would be entitled to a social security lower than the rest of the population.
In order to be eligible for benefits, immigrants would be required to adapt to the Finnish society and culture. 
According to a Finnish language daily Helsingin Sanomat, this would entail, for instance, the requirement to learn Finnish language.
According to Mäntylä, the system is based on a Danish model in which there is possibility to impose a stringent requirement for immigrants than nationals of other European Union countries.
Entitlement to benefits in Denmark does not arise from immediate entry into the country. 
Currently, immigrants are granted labour market support or social support during the integration plan period.
The draft will be prepared during the current month and is scheduled to be tabled before the parliament at the beginning of the spring session.
Jussi Tervola, a researcher at the Social Insurance Institution (Kela) reflected how the amendment of the law would differ to the current model. 
Tervola said recipients of integration support currently are compelled to participate in integration activities such as learning of Finnish language. 
According to Tervola, it is difficult to evaluate how the proposal will differ with the current system.
“Would the amount of support be based on, for example, how well an immigrant learns the Finnish language?” Tervola posed.
The minister could not be reached by News agency STT for her comment on how integration of immigrants will be gauged.
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