Mayor of Helsinki Juhana Vartiainen (NCP) has proposed waiving Finnish and Swedish language requirements for city workers in order to get international people into the city.
Finland is not doing enough to recruit international professionals, Vartiainen told Helsingin Sanomat. To improve the situation, he proposed easing the Finnish and Swedish language requirements.
"Helsinki could call itself an English-speaking city, where English speakers do not need to speak Finnish or Swedish." he said, referring to works in the public sector that require knowledge of both languages.
About 36 per cent of Finnish foreign students who graduated in 2018 left the country within a year of completing their studies.
"This is Finland’s failure," he said. Politicians are still very slow to embrace the fact that we need labor migration," he exclaimed.
The mayor stated that when he applied for the post of director of the VATT Economic Research Institute after working in Sweden, he was asked to provide evidence of sufficient proficiency in the Finnish language.
In order to attract more people, Vartiainen suggested that Helsinki expand basic education and pre-school in English.
He told HS that the combination of Finland’s free higher education and high taxation easily promotes a situation where foreigners receive their degrees free of charge and move to lower-tax countries to start their careers.
"But these are matters decided at the national level that Helsinki cannot influence," he added.
He also stated that the air crisis can help make Helsinki more attractive to people living in other parts of the world.
"The heat and floods caused by climate change and even terrorism can arouse the interest of Foreign experts in Finalnd. This would favor Helsinki," he told HS.
Source: The Nordic Page