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Researcher: Finland Lagging Behind Competitors in Attracting Skilled Foreign Workers


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Finland needs to realise how much work must still be done to entice workers from abroad, according to political scientist Pasi Saukkonen.

The debate about Finland’s need to increase work-based immigration has been ongoing for two decades, and was an especially hot topic during this spring’s parliamentary elections.

Despite this, the efforts made by Finnish authorities and companies to attract skilled workers from abroad have been modest at best, according to Pasi Saukkonen, a political scientist specialising in immigration.

Speaking on Yle TV1’s A-Studio current affairs programme on Monday evening, Saukkonen called for an overhaul in how Finland approaches the issue.

“I would like to see a change of attitude so that it is widely understood in this country that this is something Finland must work on in the long term, systematically and with adequate resources,” Saukkonen said.

He further noted that many of Finland’s direct competitors, such as the Nordic countries, have taken steps to recruit workers from abroad much earlier than Finland.

“One big problem is that we have had very little immigration in general. There are very few people in Finland who would tell [people] in their country of origin that Finland exists and that Finland is a smart country,” he said.

The National Coalition Party (NCP) — which is currently leading talks to form the next government — has stated that increasing work-based immigration will be a key aspect of its programme for government. However, the issue threatens to be a major sticking point between the NCP and its future potential coalition partner, the nationalist Finns Party.

Finland’s need to step up recruitment from abroad has been widely reported in recent months. A study by business-backed think tank Etla calculated that Finland needs to triple its net migration every year over the next decade to plug the growing dependency ratio gap, while a study commissioned by the Akava Confederation found that every sector of the Finnish economy needs foreign workers.

Saukkonen called on the future coalition to ensure that the plans for increasing work-based immigration are set out in concrete terms in the programme for government.

“In such a way that the programme ensures that action is set in motion,” he said.

Source: YLE

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