Kokoomus.fi / Julkaisut / Politiikka / Työ / The National Coalition Party’s strategy to increase international recruitment – It’s time to bring skilled workers to Finland!

The Natio­nal Coali­tion Party’s stra­tegy to increase inter­na­tio­nal recruit­ment – It’s time to bring skil­led workers to Finland!


Why does Finland need more workers?

Finland’s working-age popu­la­tion is on the decline while at the same time the number of older people is increa­sing. This situa­tion poses a threat to the foun­da­tions of our well­being. The shrin­king working-age popu­la­tion must be able to support the well­being of a growing number of pensio­ners. There­fore, we need more working-age emplo­yees in Finland in order to main­tain the services of our welfare society in a sustai­nable way and to keep workers’ taxes at a reaso­nable level.

There is global demand for Finnish products, but due to a lack of workers, we are not able to meet those needs. There are more jobs than workers, which leads to a loss of profit. Even though the econo­mic crisis caused by the coro­na­vi­rus has increa­sed labour supply in some sectors, the lack of a skil­led workers remains a problem for many compa­nies.

At worst, the lack of skil­led workers hinders busi­ness growth and new invest­ments. Tens of thousands of highly educa­ted people who would not have seen Finland as an option year ago now present a poten­tial target group for marke­ting and measu­res.

The shrin­king work­force reduces invest­ments in Finland. Count­ries where the work­force is growing are a more attrac­tive option for buil­ding produc­tion plants. Accor­ding to experts, more invest­ments are direc­ted at Sweden than Finland, for example.

Decrea­sed birth rates require care­ful analy­sis and a response. Howe­ver, chan­ges in birth rates are not visible on the labour market until deca­des later. We need a rapid response to the acute problem of labour shor­ta­ges which is why we should focus on inter­na­tio­nal recruit­ment and attrac­ting more skil­led foreign emplo­yees to Finland.

There is fierce global compe­ti­tion for both top perfor­mers and execu­tive level profes­sio­nals. Inter­na­tio­nal recruit­ment is not about charity, and working in Finland must be profi­table and attrac­tive to foreign emplo­yees them­sel­ves, their fami­lies, emplo­yers and society at large. It should be easy to come to Finland and take up jobs that are bene­ficial to every­one.

Crea­ting smooth pathway to jobs in Finland; Five conc­rete solu­tions 

1) Two-week work permit process for certi­fied compa­nies

  • Success­ful compa­nies need to be able to get the work­force they need to Finland quickly.
  • The Natio­nal Coali­tion Party propo­ses a swift two-week work permit process for certi­fied compa­nies. All compa­nies that under­take strict self-moni­to­ring proce­du­res and report back to the compe­tent autho­ri­ties can apply for a certi­ficate.
  • Work permits can be issued faster when the focus is shif­ted to retros­pec­tive super­vi­sion. This would not affect the safety and background checks of emplo­yees. Viola­tions could be subject to subs­tan­tial sanc­tions.

2) Adequate resources for proces­sing work permits and process auto­ma­tion

  • Auto­ma­tion can speed up the proces­sing of work permits. 
  • The govern­ment needs to update the legis­la­tion urgently so that the compe­tent autho­ri­ties can auto­mate some of the regu­la­tory proces­ses. 
  • Systems should be able to retrieve and combine data from diffe­rent data­ba­ses auto­ma­tically. 
  • The Finnish Immi­gra­tion Service needs more resources as emer­gency assis­tance for proces­sing work permits.

3) An oppor­tu­nity for compa­nies to support emplo­yees in applying for a work permit

  • Applica­tion proces­ses are often prolon­ged due to deficiencies in applica­tions. The applica­tion process should be as clear as possible to mini­mise poten­tial errors. 
  • In the elect­ro­nic applica­tion process, emplo­yers should be able to pre-fill and check applica­tions with the applicant’s permis­sion. This would allow emplo­yers to speed up the recruit­ment process.

4) From avai­la­bi­lity consi­de­ra­tion to effec­tive follow-up proces­ses

  • Labour avai­la­bi­lity consi­de­ra­tion takes away resources from both Emplo­y­ment and Econo­mic Deve­lop­ment Offices (TE Offices) and compa­nies that have to prove that there is a lack of avai­lable emplo­yees. In addi­tion, diffe­rent parts of the work permit system display diffe­ring interpre­ta­tions regar­ding the avai­la­bi­lity consi­de­ra­tion obli­ga­tion. 
  • The time spent on avai­la­bi­lity is time taken away from the proces­sing of other applica­tions. 
  • Avai­la­bi­lity consi­de­ra­tion should be stop­ped and the focus shif­ted to effec­tive follow-up proce­du­res. Auto­ma­tion and data from the income regis­ter could be used in the follow-up phase. The moni­to­ring of working condi­tions could be made more effec­tive by increa­sing the resources and powers alloca­ted to labour protec­tion and the police.

5) Cent­ra­li­sa­tion of respon­si­bi­lity in new inter­na­tio­nal recruit­ment agency

  • The work permit process, decent­ra­li­sed under three mini­stries, should be cent­ra­li­sed into a new inter­na­tio­nal recruit­ment agency. 
  • All persons hand­ling work and resi­dence permits would thus be working under the same mana­ge­ment. 
  • Respon­si­bi­lity for results and resources should be cent­ra­li­sed.

Three most impor­tant bott­le­necks regar­ding the avai­la­bi­lity of skil­led labour

1) Incor­po­ra­ting workers from abroad into the public sector

  • In addi­tion to the private sector, the public sector, and in particu­lar the health sector, will need more profes­sio­nals in the coming years. These needs cannot be met without inter­na­tio­nal recruit­ment.
  • We cannot compro­mise on profes­sio­nal or language quali­fica­tions in the care sector.  Howe­ver, we can improve language trai­ning and stream­line quali­fica­tion proce­du­res. 
  • The Natio­nal Coali­tion Party propo­ses a series of measu­res, inclu­ding agree­ments and pilot expe­ri­ments with key count­ries of origin of the foreign work­force in Finland (Philip­pi­nes, Ukraine), where workers could start lear­ning Finnish and acqui­ring the requi­red profes­sio­nal quali­fica­tions before their arri­val in Finland. We need to build a clear quali­fica­tion path for foreign nurses.

2) Inter­na­tio­nal students in the Finnish labour market

  • At present, there are over 20,000 foreign degree students studying at Finnish univer­si­ties. We must be able to persuade more of them to stay and work in Finland after they graduate.
  • The Natio­nal Coali­tion Party propo­ses, for example, that perma­nent resi­dence permits be offe­red to foreign student who graduate from Finnish univer­si­ties. We also propose a model by which students from outside the EU/​EEA area can deduct their tuition fees for tax purpo­ses if they stay and work in Finland;

3) Finland’s strengths must be marke­ted acti­vely

  • Inter­na­tio­nal compe­ti­tion for skil­led labour is fierce. In Finland, we have good oppor­tu­ni­ties for compe­ting and attrac­ting emplo­yees. Howe­ver, we have to active in commu­nica­ting our strengths.
  • The Natio­nal Coali­tion Party propo­ses, for example, a marke­ting program about Finland as a trai­ning and workplace for foreig­ners and Finns abroad. Key services must also be avai­lable in English and, in addi­tion to foreign workers, their spouses and fami­lies must be taken more into consi­de­ra­tion.

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