|Labour Market Participation of Immigrants in Finland and its Regions|
|The population of Finland is considered more ethnically homogenous than the populations of most other European countries. During the 1980s, the foreign population was still very low in Finland, although it doubled during the decade. In the beginning of the 1990s, immigration began to rapidly increase and it coincided with a deep economic recession. Nowadays the total number of immigrants born abroad in Finland is 233 183 persons, which accounts for only 4.4 % of the total population.
This paper focuses on employment of immigrants in the Finnish labour markets. Firstly, it is concentrated on the employment of immigrants with respect to different background variables, such as employment sector, gender, education and country of birth. There are also comparisons to the total population if there are differences in the economical sectors in which immigrants and total population are active. Secondly, the regional distribution of immigrants is studied. A view to the county level labour markets explains how they are functioning and employing immigrants. The aim of the analysis is to give knowledge of the situation of the immigrants in the Finnish labour markets during the economic recession at the beginning of the 1990s and during the economic upswing of the early 2000. This article is based on International migration, need of labour and effects of immigration on education supply -anticipation project which was funded by European Social Fund (ESF), the Finnish Ministry of Education and the Institute of Migration.
Research data have been obtained from Statistics Finland: regional gross-stream data on the immigrant population of working age (15–74 years) for the periods 1993–1994 and 2002–2003. The years 1993 and 2002 are periods of immigration, and for these years it is used background data and main activity data for immigrants. The gross-stream data include all working-age immigrants for the years 1993 and 2002, and this data is compared to the situation the next year (1994, 2003) with regard to labour market performance. Also separate stock data for immigrants and the total population has been bought from the Statistics Finland.
High unemployment level of Finland in the depression time in the beginning of the 1990s affected also very high unemployment figures for the immigrants. During the first half of the 2000s the employability of immigrants has been better because of recovery of the economic life in Finland. There are signs that immigrants are in different position in the Finnish labour markets according to their ethnic background. Also there are differences in economic branches into which immigrants enter compared to the total population.
It has been discussed recently that Finland should recruit more labour from abroad in the future in order to prevent the shortage of labour caused by population ageing and baby-boom generation’s retirement during this decade.|