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SKILLED MIGRANTS IN FINLAND: ISSUES WITH ADAPTATION Kaisu Koskela, University of Helsinki WS121 Competition for skilled immigrants: Choice of countries.

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Presentation on theme: "SKILLED MIGRANTS IN FINLAND: ISSUES WITH ADAPTATION Kaisu Koskela, University of Helsinki WS121 Competition for skilled immigrants: Choice of countries."— Presentation transcript:

1 SKILLED MIGRANTS IN FINLAND: ISSUES WITH ADAPTATION Kaisu Koskela, University of Helsinki WS121 Competition for skilled immigrants: Choice of countries and successful adaptation 13th Sept, 2011; 16th International Metropolis Conference, University of Azores

2 Migration to Finland  New country of immigration (since 1990’s)  2010: immigrants (people of foreign nationalities), less than 3% of the population  Mainly humanitarian reasons: marriage-migrants, family reunifications, ethnic return migration  Labour migration estimated at only 10% ( Forsander et al, 2008 )

3 Skilled migrants in Finland  Early 1990’s: rapid development of internet and communication technologies  1995: Finland joins EU  opening borders for workers from other EU nations  Actually suffers from brain drain  Worries for labour shortages and the support ratio  Government criticised for restrictive labour policies and lack of effort in attracting skilled migrants  Very little research on skilled migrants, especially when it comes to integration/adaptation

4 Finland in the global field of choices  Considered distant (geographically and culturally), expensive, unfamiliar and cold  Restrictive and late migration and labour policies  little known even as a viable option  Little attraction at managerial level (1,3% of non- nationals) (Auriol and Sexton, 2002).  Reasons for coming to Finland: ’Global nomads’, ’quality-of-life migrants’, and migrating for social reasons

5 Raunio, 2003  relaxed, non-hierarchical work culture (that respects the individual)  family orientation (both of society and the work place)  well-functioning, high- tech society  trust-worthy and secure society, officials, and people  small town environment  low level of salaries and high level of taxes  limited career advancement for oneself and poor employment opportunities for spouses  difficulty in forming social relationships (both at work and free time)  Climate and distance  Small size of the country/ cities The goodThe bad

6 Issues with adaptation Finland as: ‘humane alternative to Silicon Valley‘ or ’Arctic tax-hell’? Although decisions to come to Finland are often made according to economic and career related considerations, the decision to stay is largely influenced by social factors  Finland becomes a transitional place due to unsuccesful social adaptation  research and policies needed specifically for the social side of skilled migrants’ experiences in Finland

7 Further issues from my own data  Skilled migrants feel well-regarded in Finland, but categorised as one homogenous group of foreigners (better than other migrants, but never at par with Finns)  Cannot integrate, even if they wanted to (expected to retain their own ’positive’ cultural traits)  Being a skilled migrant, and all the positive things associated with it, can be overshadowed by having an ethnicity lower down in the (Finns’) ethnic hierarchy

8 References Auriol, Laudeline & J.Sexton (2002): Human resources in science and technology: Measurement issues and international mobility, International mobility of highly skilled, OECD proceedings, Paris Forsander, Annika (2003): Insiders or outsiders within? Immigrants in the Finnish labour market, in Söderling, Ismo (ed.) Yearbook of population research in Finland, Helsinki, The population research institute Forsander, Annika [et al] (2008): Economy, Ethnicity and International Migration. The Comparison of Finland, Hungary and Russia, in Söderling, Ismo (ed.) Yearbook of population research in Finland, Helsinki, The population research institute Kepsu, Kaisa [et al] (2009): Helsinki: An attractive metropolitan region for creative knowledge workers? The view of transnational migrants, Amsterdam, Amsterdam institute for Metropolitan and International Development Studies, (ACRE report WP7.5), Koskela, Kaisu (2010): ‘New explorations in Finnish migration studies: the emerging case of the skilled migrants', e-Migrinter 5/2010, Raunio, Mika (2003): Should I Stay or Should I Go?, The images and realities of foreign top professionals in Finnish working and urban environment: English Summary, Sente–working papers 6, Raunio, Mika ; Sotarauta, Markku (2005): Highly Skilled Labor Force in the Global Field of Choices: Case Finland, Trux, Marja-Liisa (2002): Diversity under the Northern Star, in Forsander, Annika (ed.) Immigration and Economy in the Globalization Process: The Case of Finland, Helsinki, Sitra (Reports series, n°20) Events/associations for social integration of skilled migrants:

9 Kaisu Koskela M.Sc. Doctoral candidate University of Helsinki, Department of Sociology Thank you for your attention!


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