New perspectives and voices to research on highly skilled internationals’ lives in Finland

Recently, there has been lively public discussion about the effects of the worsening dependency ratio and the deepening of labor shortage on the future of Finnish society and its ability to maintain the accustomed level of well-being in the future. According to many views, Finland needs new workers from outside the country – although there is an ongoing debate about how far the growing need for labor can be met through increasing work-based immigration. If, indeed, it can be increased successfully.

We study the experiences of highly skilled internationals to co-create solutions to problems

In the HIWE project, we approach these questions by studying the experiences of highly skilled internationals of living and working in Finland. We take a careful look into what has brought the internationals to Finland, how their lives have turned out while staying here, and what are their experiences of the Finnish labor market and working life. We are inspired by the desire to understand more deeply those factors that attract highly skilled internationals to stay and build their future in Finland – and what kind of factors push them away.

Photo of HIWE's researchers
Photo credit: Anna Elkina

In the HIWE project, we address such questions critically and constructively, with the aim of developing new practices of collaborative governance where international talent have better opportunities to influence decision-making on matters concerning their lives in Finland.

We use this information to start co-creating solutions to the identified problems in collaboration with interested internationals, local and national policy makers and civil society networks and organisations. After already conducting dozens of interviews, it is clear to us that regardless of internationals having a wide variety of experiences – positive and negative – in and about Finland, there is a lot to improve in terms of their status, inclusion and participation in Finnish society.

We welcome different voices to discuss highly skilled internationals’ situation

In this blog, during the spring 2023, we document the progress of the project and highlight some core findings from the interviews we have been doing since late last year. We also discuss the parliamentary elections due in April, invite guest authors to the blog and conduct interesting interviews related to HIWE’s research themes. When planning the blog posts, we will also ask for your opinions on the upcoming topics and bring up your voice(s).

Picture of HIWE project's researchers
Photo credit: Piritta Parkkari

HIWE is one project among many other research projects that have worked and keep working on the issues of work-based immigration and international talent’s lives in Finland. All of them are needed to keep up the important discussion and to contribute to the changes needed in Finnish society to make internationals’ lives here both productive and meaningful. Change may seem slow and incremental, but it is ongoing, as we will show in the course of the project.

Welcome to follow the HIWE project and participate in the discussion!