Under the Act on the Promotion of Immigrant Integration, a municipality or several municipalities together must formulate an integration programme. The purpose of the programme is to promote integration and cross-sectoral cooperation. The programme will be approved by the municipal council and reviewed at least once every four years. In accordance with the Local Government Act, the integration programme will also be taken into account in the municipality's financial plan and budget.
The integration programme is a key tool for influencing the content of integration promotion. The programme must take into account all immigrants residing in the municipality regardless of the reason for their residence. The integration programme can cover a municipality or a region.
The municipality is responsible for preparing the integration programme and initiating cooperation. The Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre), the TE Office, the Social Insurance Institution (Kela) and other authorities operating in the municipality must participate in the preparation, implementation and monitoring of the programme in their administrative branch.
Local immigrant, civil society, employee and employer organisations and religious communities can participate in the preparation, implementation and monitoring of the integration programme.
It is the municipality's responsibility to invite other local operators important for integration to prepare the programme and monitor its implementation. In particular, the municipality should increase the participation of immigrants residing in the area and organisations in the preparation of the programme.
The Act on the Promotion of Immigrant Integration provides guidelines for the planning of the integration programme
As per the Act on the Promotion of Immigrant Integration, the municipal integration programme can include the following:
- a report on how the programme links to the municipality’s strategic planning and monitoring,
- a plan on how the organisation of municipality's general services can be adapted to immigrants and how the measures promoting integration are organised,
- information on who in the municipality is responsible for different measures in integration promotion and their coordination,
- a plan on the promotion of integration and social empowerment among children and young people,
- a plan on the promotion of integration and social empowerment among those outside labour force,
- a multiyear plan on placement of refugees in the municipality and promotion of their integration,
- a plan to promote good ethnic relations and intercultural dialogue,
- a plan for monitoring and updating the municipal integration programme.
The municipal integration programme may also define forms of cooperation between the municipality and civil society.
However, the list above in not exhaustive. The municipality may include other plans, measures and definitions to promote local integration in the programme.