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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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Vulnerable migrants in Finland – women and children

Migrant women, in particular, are struggling to integrate in Finland; many are locked into inactivity, and face incentives to stay in the home. Early integration support in Finland sends the inactive, including many immigrant women, down a separate track from those who are actively seeking employment. This is unusual among OECD countries and risks increasing the distance between the inactive and the labour force, locking them into inactivity. On top of this, women eligible for the Child Home Care Allowance may find that staying at home is as financially advantageous as engaging in training or paid employment.

English

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