Guide for Immigrants New to the Finnish Job Market
Finding work in Finland is not always easy or straigtforward, and the same applies to working itself. There are numerous ways of doing things and in order to make it, one must find Access to all the silent information out there. When you’re an immigrant dealing with Tax Administration, TE-office and Kela, this information might not always be directly at your reach.
To make it easier for immigrants to find their way in the Finnish job market and start working independently, we decided to order a written guide from Gregory Pellechi – a freelancer and an immigrant with personal experience of it all. This guide will be of help to anyone interested in learning the basics of starting work in Finland and using UKKO.fi.
I find the guide to be englihtening in many ways and would therefore recommend it for anyone interested in getting a better understanding of the surrounding job market. From up close, it might sometimes be hard to properly see and understand the special features of the Finnish job market and the basic social security. Greg, 33, moved to Finland from the United States in 2015. Before that, he had been working and living abroad in nine different countires – Irak, Canada, UK and Sweden to name a few.
I play rugby with Greg and have discussed the Finnish labor market with him multiple times among our practices. It has been delightful to hear that in his opinion, Finland offers greater possibilities for success than the US. As an example, he has mentioned our effortless taxing, as well as our position as part of the Europian Union, which itself offers wider possibilities. Another feature he finds positive is the possibility of getting a startup grant. On the other hand, the rather exorbitant overseeing of how people without jobs use their time, is something that makes Greg shakes his head.
The unemployment among immigrants is around 2,5 times the unemployment of native-born. I asked Greg why he thinks this is the case. He saw the requirements of language proficiency to be too strict at times: perfect knowledge of the Finnish language is not a necessity in all professions and luckily this is something many restaurants and cafés in Helsinki have come to realize. Furhtermore, the job environment and the work community are truly some of the best ways to really learn a language.
Another one of Greg’s insightful thought involves trust. Unlike in many other countries, we Finns have quite a lot of trust when it comes to each other. For people coming from other countries, however, this inner circle might be hard to get into. This is reflected in the language, as well as other requirements, that as a continuum often affect the recognition of one’s expertise and know-how.
There’s still lot to be done, for us to properly unleash all this expertise and know-how for a better use. The new experiment implemented by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is a step to the right direction.
UKKO.fi has more and more users from foreign backgrounds and hopefully this guide will help many of them to find their way to self-employment in Finland. The guide can be downloaded from our website free of charge. If you have friends who might be interested in it, please feel free to spread the word!