Office workers in Helsinki. LEHTIKUVA

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A recent workplace survey conducted by Suomen Yrittäjät (Finnish Entrepreneurs) has revealed that 58 percent of the workforce in Finland is in favor of increasing the presence of foreign labor in the country. The survey, commissioned by Suomen Yrittäjät and carried out by Kantar Public, gathered responses from over a thousand individuals representing various occupational roles, including employees, executives, entrepreneurs, unemployed individuals, and those on temporary leave.

According to Mikael Pentikäinen, the CEO of Suomen Yrittäjät, this growing support for foreign labor underscores the country's recognition of the vital role immigrants play in the nation's workforce. "It is crucial for the government to proactively implement the aspects of the government program that promote labor-based immigration," Pentikäinen emphasized during the National Entrepreneur Days in Pori.

He highlighted that the government's program includes several provisions aimed at facilitating labor-based immigration, such as investing in international recruitment, streamlining the recognition of foreign qualifications, enhancing training in native languages, and improving language proficiency testing availability and quality. The program also promises to strengthen the embassies' capabilities in international recruitment and promote tax incentives for foreign labor.

Support for labor-based immigration has increased this year, with 58 percent of respondents expressing the need for more foreign workforce compared to January, when the figure stood at 50 percent. Interestingly, there were variations in support across political lines, with the least support found among supporters of the Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party), where only a quarter of the respondents advocated for an increase in labor-based immigration. In contrast, 77 percent of respondents affiliated with the Kokoomus (National Coalition Party) supported the idea.

Approximately one-fourth of respondents believed that their workplaces required foreign labor, with a higher demand observed in welfare regions.

To promote the integration of foreign workers into their workplaces, respondents suggested simplifying residence permit processes, improving diverse workforce management, and providing tools for learning Finnish and Swedish languages at the workplace.

The rise in the working-age population in Finland is attributed to the increase in labor-based immigration and a decrease in emigration. "This is positive and necessary development as birth rates have unfortunately dramatically declined," Pentikäinen remarked.

Currently, Finland is home to around 28,000 immigrant entrepreneurs, a number that has steadily increased in recent years. "Immigrant entrepreneurs have become an increasingly vital group. Suomen Yrittäjät is also dedicated to supporting them, as they play a significant role in building the well-being of Finns," Pentikäinen emphasized, underlining the importance of supporting this dynamic segment of the country's entrepreneurial landscape.

HT

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