The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labor announced a number of new measures to promote labor migration and attract highly skilled workers to Finland.
Minister of Labor Tuula Haatainen (SDP) said the desire of the business community to streamline and expedite immigration-related applications is justified.
"At the same time, the attitude of Finnish society further hampers the employment of those who have moved to the country," Haatainen said at a press conference on Monday morning.
The Minister noted that people with an immigrant background receive far fewer invitations to job interviews, even if their education, work experience and language skills are the same as those of other applicants.
Haatainen criticized employers in both the public and private sectors for this issue.
"The government’s efforts to attract international experts are futile if attitudes hinder their knowledge and expertise," Haatainen said when he presented measures to be taken to promote labor migration.
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Simplification of the residence permit procedure
There is still too much bureaucracy involved in processing work and education-based residence permits, Haatainen said.
The current government had promised that by the end of its term, the average processing time for work and education-based residence permits would be 30 days.
However, according to the ministry, the residence permit process is not easy to streamline, but there is room for improvement in both legislation and official procedures. The amendments to the law proposed by the ministry are scheduled to be submitted to parliament for consideration later this year.
"The acceleration of work and training-based processes promotes Finland’s opportunities in international competition for experts, as well as the internationalization of business and innovation activities and the attraction of investments to Finland," the ministry’s statement was read.
The Ministry has set several goals for attracting international experts to Finland, which are included in the program Talent Boost program (external link).
Quick start for entrepreneurs
In addition to streamlining residence permit processes, the government plans to create a new fast track for international experts, startup entrepreneurs and their families.
With this accelerated decision, authorization for an electronic residence permit application will be granted within 14 days of the application being sent and paid online.
The ministry plans to test this project later this year if the necessary technology is made available.
Target experts from New Delhi, Silicon Valley
The ministry also announced that it is preparing two recruitment projects aimed at attracting experts and startup entrepreneurs to Finland from Silicon Valley, USA and New Delhi, India.
Companies participating in the pilots are promised support for international recruitment.
"As part of the recruitment of pilots, a pilot phase of the first phase of the high-speed line will also be carried out, giving experts and startup entrepreneurs and their family members a two-week service permit for processing residence permits," The Ministry stated that Finland’s attractiveness among highly trained international experts has so far been relatively weak.
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Haatainen said that these pilot projects will only start to gain momentum once the coronavirus epidemic has subsided.
"It is estimated that security and a functioning society, which have already been identified as Finnish attractions, will continue to be emphasized in the post-coronary virus era," Haatainen said at a press conference on Monday morning.
The ministry also revealed plans to introduce a program aimed at emphasizing and promoting diversity in Finnish workplaces.
"The program includes services that strengthen the diversity and internationalization of working life through business and employer services," the publication stated. "Diversity benefits businesses. A company whose employees represent different ethnic groups and genders is also more financially viable."
The goal of the program is for companies and organizations to benefit from diversity and make it easier for immigrants to access jobs that match their skills and advance in their careers, the ministry added.
Addressing the challenges of labor migration
Haatainen also addressed some of the problems related to work-based immigration, such as the exploitation of foreign workers by Finnish employers.
"We should not be naive," Haatainen said. "For the low-skilled workforce, poor language skills combined with excessive dependence on the employer create an atmosphere and an opportunity for workers to be deprived."
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Last December, the government proposed an amendment to the Aliens Act that would help prevent the exploitation of foreign workers more effectively.
The ministry announced on Monday that most foreigners applying for work in Finland have little or no knowledge of the rules of the Finnish labor market.
For this reason, information for foreign workers is provided at foreign embassies when a visa or residence permit is issued. In addition, additional information is provided on who to contact if the employer has problems.
"Work-based immigration is only sustainable if we follow the rules of the Finnish labor market. We have therefore included measures to combat the above-mentioned adverse effects," Haatainen said.
The Ministry of Economy and Labor sets out the reasons why the government is taking steps to address these problems.
"The number of working-age people in Finland is declining and population growth is taking place exclusively through immigration. Without adequate immigration, Finland’s labor supply and employment will decrease significantly in the long run, which will affect the dependency ratio, the employment rate and the sustainability gap," the ministry said.
Finland has already identified a lack of experts in the IT sector, healthcare and construction.
"In 2019, we lost about 65,000 jobs due to a shortage of experts," Haatainen explained. "If jobs are not created, Finland will not be able to develop fully."
Source: The Nordic Page