In Espoo is a customer advisory service that provides guidance concerning, for instance, immigration, studying, employment and job seeking. In addition, In Espoo offers information about searching for housing, City of Espoo services and Finnish language courses. The staff also provides answers to simple, everyday questions, such as what is a maternity or child welfare clinic, how do holidays affect opening hours or how to reserve a turn in a communal sauna.
The most frequent questions relate to education and job seeking. In addition, customers receive help with filling in forms and understanding decisions from authorities. Customers are advised to seek the appropriate services and taught how to use electronic services. The service point also contains customer computers.
The service is most used by customers coming from outside the EU. Customers from EU countries currently make up just below one third and their number is on the rise. The service is free of charge for customers.
Service is constantly developed
In Espoo has served customers in the Sello Library since January 2011. Customers have easily found the service point which has good transport connections. The service has received positive feedback. Customers receive service in Finnish, English, Arabic, Russian, Turkish and Ukrainian. Telephone interpretation can also be used, if necessary. Roughly 35 customers visit the service point each week. The service also receives about 15 phone calls and some e-mail correspondence each week.
Espoo has provided services targeted to immigrants already for several years. Those working with immigration issues engage in regular cooperation with, for instance, the Adult Education Centre, in order to develop services. Next year, In Espoo will receive additional facilities after which the service point can serve its customers even better.
Immigrants are a rapidly increasing population group
The number of people with a foreign background has increased rapidly in Espoo since the early 1990s. The foreign-language population (those speaking something other than Finnish, Swedish or Sami as their mother tongue) plays a key role in the population development of the upcoming years. It is predicted that the migration gain of Espoo in the upcoming years will mostly consist of immigration from abroad, so there will be a growing demand for services targeted to immigrants.
Indeed, Espoo wishes to be a plural and multicultural city that is a good place to live, learn and work in as well as engage in entrepreneurship also for citizens with an immigrant background.