The Baltic Region

2021 Vol. 13 №2

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Russophone immigration to Finland: new forms, trends, and consequences



Until the 1960s, Finland was more often the country of origin than the country of destination. Once a depressed area, it soon turned into a welfare state, becoming with international migrants. Since Finland’s labour market and society are beset with demographic problems, the country gladly accepts labour migrants, particularly those from neighbouring states. Most EU immigrants coming to Finland are Estonians. Immigration from without the EU — from Russia and other former Soviet countries — has, however, an even greater potential. Non-EU immigration falls into several categories — from seasonal labour migration to the relocation of top specialists and entrepreneurs. Currently, family reunions, marriages, and student and labour migration account for most migration from Russia to Finland. This article attempts to study immigration to Finland from neighbouring countries, primarily from Russia. The result of the study is an analysis of principal channels of international migration to Finland. These are family reunion, student migration, top specialist relocation, and the expansion of Russian business. Finland is in dire need of healthcare specialists, researchers, business development and IT specialists, and other professionals. For example, Russia-bordering Finnish regions lack upper and middle-level healthcare specialists. The focus of the study is on the professional and socio-demographic structure of labour migration to Finland and the country’s migration policy on the adaptation and integration of Russian-speaking immigrants. The article gives a general picture of Finland’s migration policy on labour migration from Russia and other countries. In collecting and processing materials, data from official websites of Finland’s Migration Service and Employment Service, the database of Statistics Finland, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Finnish National Agency for Education were used.