As borders in much of the world are shielded to stem the coronavirus pandemic, and as many countries sink into an economic abyss, Finland chest out. This year it was again chosen as the “happiest country in the world”.
But its population is aging and you need foreigners to fill jobs. Will it be an opportunity for Argentines looking for options abroad?
The context of the pandemic, it is clear, does not help. But this Nordic country, highlighted in international rankings for its high quality of life And because of the trust of its citizens in the government, it could be an achievable destination for those seeking study and work opportunities.
Of course, with some terms.
“Today it is widely recognized that we need an impressive number of people to help cover the costs of the aging generation,” Saku Tihveräinen, who is in charge of recruiting talent at the Talented Solutions agency, told AFP agency.
An image of Helsinki, capital of Finland Photo: AFP
Aging and the workforce
Much of the western countries, especially in Europe, face the problem of aging of its population.
But in few it is as marked as in this Scandinavian nation of 5.5 million inhabitants, with the largest shortage of skilled workers within the OECD.
Finland has four people over 65 for every ten people of working age. By 2030, this ratio will rise to one in two, putting it only behind Japan globally.
So things, the government estimates that it needs a positive migration balance of 20,000 to 30,000 people each year -the double that now- to maintain its public services and geriatric care at its level of excellence and compensate for the imminent deficit in the pension system, according to a report published by the AFP agency.
Can any Argentine go to live in Finland?
“If you already have a job or have entered a university in Finland, you can easily get a residence permit,” he explains to Clarion Saara Nikkinen, vice chief of mission at the Finnish Embassy in Buenos Aires, and charge d’affaires.
“In some categories it is easier to apply to enter the country, such as in the area of technology, start-ups, or researchers. That is to say, high-level specialists ”, the diplomat explained in a telephone dialogue.
Digital services, programming, scientific research, are the areas that most demand foreign workersadded.
“For highly trained talents, it is easier to get a residence permit, even now with the restrictions of the pandemic,” he says.
Nikkinen points out that the foreigners who arrive the most are those from neighboring countries such as Norway and Sweden, who can come and go with practically no restrictions.
But that Latin Americans can also go, as long as they already have a guaranteed job or who have been admitted to study at a University.
A sunny day in the middle of winter in Helsinki, Finland, in February. A destination for Argentines? Photo: AP
Tourism, for now restricted
Finland had its borders closed for tourism until last weekend. Just this Monday it opened its doors for travelers from the European Union who are vaccinated against the coronavirus, or who certify that they already had the virus and received a dose of the vaccine.
Citizens of other countries will have to wait for now.
“We do not know for now when tourism will open for other countries, everything is very recent and very changing,” said the official.
But the doors could be opened to highly qualified professionals or university students. Or those who already have relatives living there.
The challenges, of course, are great. For many it is not easy to adapt to the harsh winter weather conditions and language difficulties.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin at a summit in Belgium in December. Photo: EFE
Why the “happiest”?
Finland was chosen in March for the fourth consecutive year as the “happiest country in the world”, ahead of Denmark, Switzerland and Iceland, in a world ranking of well-being that was affected by the pandemic.
The authors of the study, sponsored by the United Nations and published since 2012, use polls by the Gallup company that question the interviewees about their perception of happiness and cross these data with GDP figures, data on individual freedom, corruption and others. to arrive at a result.
Despite long winters and a reputation for being unrepresentative and lonely, Finland has well-functioning public services, many forests and lakes and registers very positive indices in terms of solidarity and the fight against poverty and inequality.
Finland achieved a score of 7.84 out of 10, and for the first time the Netherlands entered the “top 5”, reaching fifth place in the “World Happiness Report”.
The landscapes of Finland attract tourists and the Finns themselves. Photo: AFP
Finland is also one of the developed countries with the best balance against covid.
.The country reached high levels “in mutual trust measures that have helped protect lives during the pandemic,” the study noted.
“This report is based on life expectancy, median income and economic data,” Nikkinen explains to Clarion.
“What stands out in Finland is its level of education, the balance between work and free time, the trust of citizens, both in the other inhabitants and in the government, as is the case in the other Nordic countries,” he lists.
It is not a small thing for those looking for a breath of fresh air, experiences and job opportunities in a world that has become even more hostile after a year and a half behind swabs, masks, syringes and quarantines.