Their idea is to bring together civil servants from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Finnish Immigration Service Migri, and the Ministry of Employment’s TE-Palvelut under one roof in a new agency to provide a one-stop-shop that helps boost the number of foreign workers.
Finland’s population is aging, the birth rate is falling and there simply isn’t enough home-grown talent to fill essential jobs in the coming years.
“Without work-related immigration we will have 200,000 people less in the working-age population by 2030 than we currently have” explains Kai Mykkänen, the Parliamentary Group leader of the National Coalition party.
The Espoo MP says it’s a “clear-cut fact” that Finland couldn’t continue to offer the same generous level of welfare state provisions with such a shortfall of tax-paying workers.
“This basically means our only option is to have a growth economy and that also includes faster and faster international recruitment of also working-level people to hospitals and to different kinds of agriculture and industrial works” he tells News Now Finland.
Kokoomus believes that some other concrete steps which could be taken to make the process of international inbound recruiting more smooth – there are perpetual horror stories of bottlenecks and months-long bureaucratic delays with permit processing – might include:
- Issuing work permits for some pre-approved companies within two weeks;
- Allowing employers to assist with an electronic application process to ensure accuracy;
- Allocating more resources at official level to make faster decisions and speed everything up.
The new proposals also call for international students who complete their degrees in Finland to be given a permanent residence permit to tempt them to stay longer in Finland and work; and also to do more to promote Finland as an attractive place to study and work – perhaps highlighting the excellent education opportunities for families with children.
Kai Mykkänen, himself a former interior minister who says he’s struggled with the unwieldy bureaucracy associated with Finnish immigration policy, notes that there are some strong selling points for the country to entice more foreign workers.
“Our awful weather is maybe not so awful if you look at it from the perspective of constant fire in California for example, or the perspectives of climate change” says Mykkänen.
“We feel that it’s now more possible than ten years ago that more people recognise Finland in a more relevant and positive way.”