Minister of Employment Arto Satonen (NCP) was photographed giving an interview to STT in Helsinki on 15 August 2023. Satonen floated the idea of exempting international specialists from the re-employment requirement laid down in the government programme in an interview with MTV on Saturday, drawing an immediate rebuttal from the Finns Party. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)


MINISTER of Employment Arto Satonen (NCP) has floated the possibility of making an exemption for international specialists from the tighter criteria the government is set to introduce for work-based residence permits in an interview with MTV.

The Finnish government is set to adopt stricter rules for work-based immigration by stipulating that foreign workers will have to leave the country if they fail to re-employ themselves within three months of the end of their previous employment.

The proposal has come under criticism from startups and other businesses, in part because the recruitment process for skilled specialists can take well over three months.

Satonen on Saturday told MTV that the government will devise a special solution for highly skilled specialists.

“When we’re talking about these highly skilled workers, we’ll have to re-examine the system. But in the big picture it’s justified that if you've entered Finland with a work permit, you’ll stay in the country for as long as you have work and return to your home country when your work ends,” he argued.

Transitioning from an automotive plant to a broiler chicken farm should not take three months, illustrated Satonen.

“But it’s true that for the positions of highly educated workers and especially of people who may have a waiting-period or non-compete clause the process can take time. This is what we’ll have to address specifically,” he said.

The government programme makes no mention of the kind of exemption he outlined.

Jani Mäkelä, the chairperson of the Finns Party Parliamentary Group, on Sunday stated to MTV that the populist right-wing party does not support the proposal.

“Satonen himself admitted that there’s no agreement on this in the government programme,” he highlighted. “I don’t think it’s terribly smart to start pursuing these kinds of things through the media.”

“I personally think it’s peculiar to think that someone who’s genuinely a top talent couldn’t find work in three months or that they possess top-level skills in something that is of no use in the Finnish labour market,” retorted Mäkelä.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT