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Welcome to Finland, international experts and entrepreneurs

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 24.8.2023 8.30
Työministeri Satonen

Finland needs international workforce to respond to the labour market demand and the shortage of skilled employees. In order for international experts to come to work in Finland, our country must be able to attract and retain both employees and employers. 

Finnish business and industry expressed their concerns about the availability of labour during the government formation talks. As Minister of Employment, my goal is to ensure that international recruitment is seamless and that Finland is an attractive destination for people to work and start a business. It is especially important to attract foreign talent to sectors that suffer from labour shortages.

In particular, the Government Programme supports international recruitment of those with higher education as well as healthcare and social welfare staff, export industry experts and seasonal workers. Companies must be able to recruit the experts they need easily and in an ethically sustainable manner. The Government has selected four target countries for international recruitment in order to respond to the shortage of experts: India, Brazil, Vietnam and the Philippines.  

Permit systems must function well

Responsibility and duty go hand in hand in the promotion of work-based immigration. 

Key factors in the recruitment of experts include a well-functioning and efficient permit system and increased semi-automation at the Finnish Immigration Service. The aim is that going forward, specialists would be granted a work-based residence permit in a week, compared with the current processing time of about nine days.

In the future, we will take better care that work with a work-based residence permit is performed in accordance with the stated terms and conditions and that any abuses are prevented. On the other hand, we will allow people with a work-based residence permit to use the same permit to work for another employer in the same sector and in sectors that suffer from a labour shortage. If the work for the first employer ends, international experts will be offered services and support for re-employment. The Government will prepare these changes already in early autumn

Finland must not just attract but also retain foreign workforce

Finland’s appeal is based, among other things, on a labour market with a good reputation and a safe and family-friendly society. When a foreign expert selects the country and place of employment, a solution that best promotes the wellbeing of the entire family plays a role in the consideration. In order to make Finland an attractive destination, it is extremely important to take the whole family into account when planning the services. 

In addition to factors that draw international experts to Finland, it is essential that they and their families feel welcome and stay in Finland. During the autumn, we will examine the factors affecting Finland’s ability to retain foreign workforce in order to promote these factors in the best possible way. For example, smooth basic banking services and English-language early childhood education and care and schooling have been recognised as worth-while investments.

Shared knowledge and understanding of the equality and non-discrimination of the Finnish labour market also strengthens its attractiveness. The policy is very clear: every effort will be made to prevent and penalise the exploitation of labour. Recruitment fees or any forms of usury do not belong in the Finnish labour market. This year, the Government will prepare an action plan to combat work-related exploitation and abuse.

Labour immigration strengthens Finland’s economic growth and promotes the securing of services. With the measures set out in the Government Programme, Finland will be able to better attract and retain international experts, entrepreneurs and companies. This is the only way we can respond to the needs of companies, the public sector and other employers for skilled employees.

Arto Satonen, Minister of Employment