The shortage of professionals in the social and healthcare sector in Finland demands the recruitment of international workers and students. However, it must be done ethically and sustainably, says Elina Juntunen, CEO and Rector of the Diaconia University of Applied Sciences.

"Finland cannot survive without international professionals in the social and healthcare sector.

However, promoting international education and workforce-based immigration must be carried out through common, clear, and ethically sustainable national guidelines and recommendations," said Juntunen.

There are opportunities for sustainable action, such as by developing cooperation between universities.

"The previous degrees and skills of international students should be recognized quickly and effectively in Finland. Education should advance the student in their career and life. Earning trust with international students requires a commitment to equity in their rights and support for them and their families," Juntunen continued.

Ethically sustainable recruitment means, among other things, ensuring adequate support for professionals and their families in resources designed for international student and workforce recruitment. Ethically sustainable recruitment also considers the families of international professionals.

"In recruiting international students and their financing, emphasis should be placed on efficient language education and support for personal and family integration," Juntunen explained.

It is also important that newcomers can work in their field of study. For example, if a nurse with a strong educational background and work experience comes to Finland, it is appropriate that they can work in their field of study here as well.

"Sustainable financing channels must be found for them to qualify directly for jobs that match their training, such as through strong language education," Juntunen added.

The Diaconia University of Applied Sciences has responded to this need by training nurses from outside the EU to work as nurses in Finland with a separate qualification course.