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Funding for development projects to promote integration and reception of refugees

Find out more about the funding opportunities for your projects on promoting integration and the reception of refugees. Please check the application periods on the websites of the funding bodies.

Projects promoting integration and the reception of refugees are funded by several bodies

European Social Fund (ESF)

The aim of the European Social Fund (ESF) is to support employment and employment opportunities by developing skills and service structures. The financing provided by the ESF can be used for promoting gender equality, combating social exclusion, developing skills, working conditions and employee wellbeing or developing systems that facilitate the functioning of the labour market and promote inclusion and employment.

The ESF supports work-based immigration to increase employment, for example.

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

The aim of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is to increase employment and strengthen the competitiveness and vitality of regions. In the efforts to increase employment, the focus is on regions with the lowest employment rates.

Structural funds - ELY Centres

Since the beginning of 2014, the funding duties of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) have been centralised to four ELY Centres. In eastern Finland, the management of the structural funds is the responsibility of the ELY Centre for South Savo; in northern Finland the ELY Centre for North Ostrobothnia; in western Finland the ELY Centre for Central Finland; and in southern Finland the ELY Centre for Häme. These ELY Centres are commonly referred to as RR-ELY Centres.

They are in charge of organising calls for projects, preparing and making funding decisions, managing structural fund programmes, providing training and advisory services to applicants, and coordinating regional cooperation.

European agricultural fund for rural development

Project funding under the rural development programme can improve viability and quality of life in the countryside. The programme can also be used to fund the promotion of immigrant integration, especially through development projects. ELY centres and Leader groups grant funding for development projects. Immigrants and the promotion of their integration have been given special attention in the local rural development plans of the Leader groups.


Leader supports the utilisation of local expertise and skills in development work. Finland has 54 Leader groups that create their own development programmes and select the projects that will be implemented. Leader funding can be used to support the establishment, development and investments of companies, the vitality of villages, leisure opportunities and international activities.

Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF)

The AMIF promotes the development of the European Union’s common asylum and immigration policy and the strengthening of the area of freedom, security and justice. AMIF strengthens and develops the Common European Asylum System, supports the integration and legal immigration of third-country nationals, and develops return strategies. 

Finlands finansieringsandel av AMIF-fonden är 67,9 miljoner euro för programperioden 2021–2027. 

Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations (STEA)

The Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations (STEA) is a standalone state-aid authority operating in connection with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. It manages the funding granted from Veikkaus Oy’s gambling proceeds to projects, which are non-profit by nature and promote health and wellbeing.

In practice, STEA is responsible for the same tasks as the funding department of the former Finnish Slot Machine Association.

The Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) 

The FEAD supports measures taken by the EU Member States to provide material aid to disadvantaged members of the society. The national authorities of the EU Member States can also support the provision of non-material assistance to the most deprived and promote their social integration.

In addition to food and clothes, items for personal use, such as shoes, soap and shampoo, can be distributed to the deprived. Alongside material assistance, measures to advance social inclusion, such as advice and support, must be introduced to help people get out of poverty.

Text sources: fund websites

More information:
Rural Development Fund
Leader (in Finnish)
EU Home Affairs Funds
Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations
Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived