Finland invests in labour migration

Finland develops labour migration legislation in order to better meet demand for labour in Finland. The Finnish population is ageing and the birth rate is insufficient to maintain population growth. This means that the working-age population is decreasing and some sectors lack workers. One solution to the problems facing the labour market is immigration.

The basis for labour migration is to secure the availability of labour from outside Europe when it cannot be found in Member States or on the single market.

Such workers include, for instance, the 13,000–15,000 seasonal workers who arrive in Finland every year. Seasonal workers are particularly important to the agriculture and travel sectors, where demand for labour fluctuates by season. Workers are needed from abroad because the domestic labour market cannot meet demand in these sectors. Seasonal workers do not come to stay, but return home when the season ends.

Competition fierce for the best talent

Finland, like other countries, competes for foreign entrepreneurs and other top performers. The goal is to develop legislation to make it easier for companies and experts to come to Finland and thereby improve Finland’s competitiveness on the global markets.

Start-ups and small and medium businesses have rapid recruitment cycles and one expert can have a major impact: the absence of a key player can jeopardise the success of a company and other jobs. A well-functioning residence permit system makes it easier for companies to succeed. If the system does not function well, there is a risk that companies will transfer their business to other countries.

EU develops workforce mobility

During the last fifteen years, the European Union has approved a substantial amount of legislation on migration. The goal is to enhance the competitive power of the EU economy and improve the position of migrants.

At the moment, the pace of development has slowed and only the ‘Blue Card’ residence permit system enacted under the Directive on the admission of highly qualified labour is being processed. This reform is seeking to increase the appeal of the EU as a destination for highly skilled labour. A key feature of the Blue Card is that it enables workers to move from one Member State to another. This feature cannot be included in national permits issued by Member States. Deregulation and the related free movement in the EU is one of the means of developing the single market that is important to Finnish companies.

The European Union is also focusing on ease of EU-entry and cross-border mobility for researchers and students. The goal is that most students completing their degrees in EU countries stay and work in the Union.

The Ministry of the Interior does not process residence permit applications. Further information on workers’ residence permits can be found on the Finnish Immigration Service and Employment and economic development services - TE Services websites.