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

This OECD review examines skills and labour market integration of immigrants and their children in Finland. While the number of foreign-born individuals residing in Finland remains small by international standards, growth has been among the fastest in the OECD.

Different migrant populations have quite different labour market outcomes. Finland’s foreign-born population have, on average, a lower employment rate than native-born Finns. Among migrants arriving from outside the EU, employment rates are the lowest in the OECD. However, there is a large degree of heterogeneity among different migrant populations. For example, the employment rate is 66% among Estonians but 15% among Afghans.

Despite active searching, few migrants find work through the Public Employment Service. There is room to offer more support to encourage employers to offer early labour market access. Some migrants would benefit from more intensive guidance, and the Employment Service needs more support to provide such guidance. Reliance on personal networks to find jobs leads to workplace segregation.

Women are struggling to integrate into the workforce. While the Child Home Care Allowance promotes high labour participation rates among native-born women, many foreign-born women, who are less likely to have had stable employment prior to having a child, may be more likely to drop out of the labour market following childbirth. Their children are more likely to miss the benefits of day care, such as language and social learning, and thus are often poorly prepared for school. Children of migrants would benefit from early and systematic diagnosis of difficulties.

Going forward, efficient use of resources will require a flexible integration system. Ensuring that no migrant falls through the cracks will require a more systematic approach upon arrival and monitoring of the outcomes of integration interventions. Information on Finland's foreign-born population also needs to be improved.

Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)