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Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities
Report: Finland could increase its attractiveness in the eyes of international experts by centralising measures and streamlining the work-based residence permit process

Government analysis, assessment and research activitiesMinistry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 16.12.2020 8.42
Press release 789/2020
Kuva: Riitta Supperi

Based on the OECD Talent Attractiveness Index, Finland is an interesting target country for international students and entrepreneurs alike. That said, when it comes to attracting skilled workers, Finland lags far behind the other Nordic countries and the Netherlands. Finland should learn from the experiences of these and other successful comparison countries when developing measures to improve its attractiveness to international experts and when working to speed up the processing of work-based residence permits.

Improving Finland’s visibility through clearly defined target groups and tailored measures

A shortage of skilled labour and difficulties with internationalisation present significant obstacles for the growth of Finnish companies. With this in mind, attracting international talent is central to a successful economy. Even in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, decision-makers should consider how to improve Finland’s visibility and attractiveness on the international stage.

The Attraction and Work-related Residence Permit Process Models in Comparison Countries report seeks to learn from other countries through a series of 13 case studies.  In the light of the experiences of the comparison countries, Finland could improve its visibility among international experts by more clearly defining its target groups and implementing measures specifically tailored to them. Key measures to reach the desired target groups include focusing on Finland's competitive advantages, investing in centres of excellence and making diverse use of digital channels.

“It can be difficult for small countries to distinguish themselves from the competition. That said, Finland has a lot to offer to international experts, and targeted measures can help to create visibility for Finland among the most important groups,” says Analyst Juho-Matti Paavola from Oxford Research, the consulting firm that carried out the project.

More efficient processing of work-based residence permits will boost Finland’s ability to attract talent

Finland already processes residence permits for specialists relatively quickly when compared internationally, but developing the work-based residence permit process more broadly could be helpful in attracting talent to the country. Finland should look to Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands for lessons on how best to develop the process. For example, Finland could consider adopting a model through which experts could obtain a visa as soon as the decision has been made to grant them a work-related residence permit. Other measures taken in the comparison countries to increase the efficiency of the process include expanding the role of employers, centralising the process and harmonising practices.

“Experiences from other countries are useful in determining how to attract talent and improve the effectiveness of work-based residence permit processes in Finland. We will put these results to use in the Talent Boost programme,” says Migration Director Sonja Hämäläinen from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, who chaired the project steering group.

The publication is part of the implementation of the Government’s plan for analysis, assessment and research for 2019.


Juho-Matti Paavola, Analyst, Oxford Research Oy, tel. +358 44 203 2012, [email protected]
Laura Lindeman, Chief Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 408 9932, [email protected]

The Government’s joint analysis, assessment and research activities (VN TEAS) produce data used to support decision-making, everyday operations and knowledge-based management. They are guided by the Government’s annual plan for analysis, assessment and research. The content of the reports published in the publication series of the Government’s analysis research and research activities is the responsibility of the producers of the data in question and does not necessarily represent the view of the Government.