According to the Finnish Immigration Service, the situation may worsen if the number of applications increases. According to the HR director of a company struggling for foreign labor, the Finnish process is designed more on the terms of the authorities than jobseekers.
Finnish companies and employers’ organizations are concerned about the smooth flow of work-related immigration in Finland.
There are fears that not enough skilled labor will be recruited in Finland when economies begin to open at some point after the closures caused by the coronavirus.
Read more: A university researcher queued for two days outside to get to the Finnish Immigration Service – Admission time was still not arranged
Human Resources Manager at Okmetic, which manufactures silicon wafers for the semiconductor and sensor industries Jaska Tuominen knows the Finnish work permit process from start to finish. Many companies use external consulting companies to obtain work permits, but Tuominen has handled the matter himself.
In his opinion, the Finnish work permit process is too long and complicated.
“Recruitment processes are really fast and nimble. In many other countries, things are moving faster. ”
Technology industry leading expert Milka Kortet characterizes the state of the work permit process with the words “extremely poor”. There should be room for improvement throughout the process.
“It’s not just the fault of the Finnish Immigration Service. There are a lot of short-term employment relationships due to human resources. If someone leaves or they receive additional resources, recruitment for expert positions will not be done at the click of a finger. ”
The same is said of the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK). Manager Taina Susiluoto is concerned about the resources of the Finnish Immigration Service and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if the number of permit applications increases as the coronavirus subsides.
“No situation will ease as vaccination coverage moves forward, restrictions are lifted and companies should get growth fast back on track and get a skilled workforce. That’s when those permit applications start to come, of course. ”
The EK believes that the Finnish Immigration Service and the Representations of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs should be allocated EUR 30 million in the autumn budget debate for hiring staff.
In addition, the employers’ organization would allocate EUR 20 million of EU stimulus money for the construction of the Finnish Immigration Service’s automatic decision-making systems.
Employers’ organizations commend the Finnish Immigration Service for the fact that a lot of good things have happened since last autumn and the congestion of work permit queues has been partially lifted.
Tuominen of Okmetic also praises the changes that have taken place in the agency. On the whole, however, the work permit process in Finland has been planned more from the point of view of the authorities than jobseekers. He recalls that tough experts compete globally.
“We may not be able to compete on a wage level, so we should do other things really well to be competitive. On the recruitment side, fast people usually take the skills. And once the decision to change with the family has been made, it is terribly difficult to get it turned in the other direction. ”
Finnish Immigration Service Head of the Licensing and Citizenship Unit Pauliina Helminen says that most of the initial permits for specialists are currently resolved within a maximum of three weeks.
According to Helminen, the total processing time for employees’ residence permit applications is now typically 2-3 months.
In recent years, the agency has developed automation of residence permit processes. Human resources are still needed.
“In the budget and economic discussions, we would be cutting resources quite a lot in the next few years,” Helminen says.
“It’s not enough to momentarily make something work well and quickly, we need to get those fast and smooth processes up and running. Yes, it also asks that we have sufficient resources in the agency. ”
So is there a danger that the positive development of processing times will take a backseat as the world opens up?
“There’s definitely that risk in that. Compared to last year, we already have a growing number of cases. If they grow even more powerfully and resources diminish at the same time, then we will have big challenges to be as fast as we are now aiming for. ”
Finland is a country that is attractive to foreign workers in many ways.
“We have safe, clean nature and water as well as a good level of education. We take such things for granted, but in the world they are not always that way, ”says EK’s Susiluoto.
At the same time, he said, it must be understood that Europe’s largest centers still attract more workers than northern Finland.
“We shouldn’t lull ourselves into coming here automatically. Yes, we have to work for it, and so do companies. It is a pity if we manage to get someone here, but the fact is that the permitting processes take too long. ”
With experts there are several suggestions for speeding up the permitting process. For example, the D visa, which is already being prepared, is to be commended speed up and streamline the entry process for specialists and startups.
Cards in the technology industry also need, among other things, the possibility of digital identification, at least in trusted countries.
He also proposes a system of certified employers, which is already being considered by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. Then companies that make a lot of foreign recruitments would have their own service channel to the Finnish Immigration Service.
All right is that Finland’s rapidly retiring demographic needs new labor.
According to an analysis published by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy in January, a record 65,000 employment relationships were not created in Finland in 2019 because no manpower was found.
“This is slowly fading our economy, and it’s a big threat. If there are no factors here, companies will slowly make decisions towards growth centers, ”Susiluoto warns.