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Working Together: Skills and Labour Market Integration of Immigrants and their Children in Finland

image of Working Together: Skills and Labour Market Integration of Immigrants and their Children in Finland

While Finland’s foreign-born population remains small by international standards, growth has been amongst the fastest in the OECD. Finland’s foreign-born population have lower employment rates than native-born Finns, and women, in particular, are struggling to integrate and face incentives to stay in the home. Indeed, the employment gap among those arriving from outside the European Union is among the largest in the OECD. This risks long-term implications for the integration of their children, many of whom are struggling to thrive in the Finnish school system. Large inflows of asylum seekers in 2015 put integration squarely on the agenda, and Finland developed a number of innovative integration policies in response. Yet, numbers have since fallen dramatically, raising questions of how to respond to the needs of a large cohort without scaling up the integration system on a permanent basis. This review, the second in a series on the skills and labour market integration of immigrants and their children, provides an assessment of these and other challenges. It includes a holistic assessment of Finland’s integration services – such as the new modular integration training, and the Social Impact Bond – as well as challenges related to settlement, early labour market contact and workplace segregation. An earlier review in the series looked at integration policies in Sweden (2016).

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Migration in Finland and the context of integration policy

Despite rapid growth over the past 25 years, Finland’s migrant population is not large in international comparison. The foreign-born in Finland, however, come from a diverse range of countries and bring with them a concomitantly wide range of integration service needs. The increase in inflows – particularly asylum seekers – in 2015, put a strain on the Finnish integration system, which was designed to support far fewer migrants. And important changes were introduced as the system struggled to maintain efficiency in the fact of increasing demand.

English

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