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Report on work-based immigration in the Närpes region emphasises ethical recruitment and sufficient services  

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 24.1.2023 12.18
Press release
Tomatoes at the store.

As work-based immigration to Finland grows, it is important to ensure that recruitment practices are ethical and that the regional service systems are able to meet the needs of immigrants. This is a conclusion from a report on the greenhouse industry in the Närpes region, which was prepared by the Migration Institute of Finland. The report was commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and it presents a number of development needs and recommendations that can be used to combat labour exploitation and strengthen the inclusion of immigrants.    

The Government’s objective is to promote work-based migration in order to ensure the availability of labour. The Government also aims to prevent the exploitation of foreign labour to ensure that immigration is ethically and socially sustainable.

Labour migration has played a key part in the growth of the greenhouse industry and small rural municipalities in the Närpes region. In the long term, the region has been successful in adapting to the shortage of labour by recruiting and integrating foreign labour.

Results to be used in work against exploitation

However, the cases of suspected extortion and other work-related exploitation discovered in the Närpes region in spring 2022 as well as the problems related to housing and adequacy of public services for immigrants show that there has not been sufficient foresight concerning challenges that rapid large-scale immigration can cause in municipalities.

For this reason, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment commissioned a report from the Migration Institute to gain more insight into recruitment practices, local service structures and the integration of employees and their families. The results of the report Regional Resilience and Work-Based Immigration: Foreign Workforce in the Greenhouse Industry in the Närpes Region will be used in the Government’s strategy to prevent and combat work-related exploitation, which is currently under preparation. 

Needs of poorly educated immigrants must be considered

The report by the Migration Institute examines work-based immigration, especially from the perspective of regional reception capacity. This refers to the ability to adapt to both long-term stress factors that threaten development and rapidly changing situations. This is called regional resilience. The difficulty of finding sufficient amount of labour has been a key stress factor in the Närpes region.

The report aims to produce information that promotes integration of work-based immigrants both regionally and nationally. In particular, the analysis provides information on small and rural municipalities, but also more general conclusions on the regional effects that immigration of uneducated or poorly educated people cause as well as the management of such effects.

Report identifies eight development areas

The researchers have defined eight development needs and proposed ways to respond to them. The development needs concern better foresight and exchange of information, ensuring responsible recruitment, and raising immigrants’ awareness of their rights in working life.

According to the report, the authorities would benefit from more special expertise so that they can take vulnerable groups into consideration better and advise immigrants about careers and education. It is also important to strengthen the inclusion and participation of all immigrants in society. Finally, there should be adequate municipal services and suitable housing available to immigrants.

“When looking for solutions, it is essential to note that the challenges are not caused only by a rapid increase in the number of immigrants. The operators on the regional level also contribute to creating preconditions for fair recruitment and two-way integration,” the researchers say. The report proposes long-term monitoring of the situation and the effectiveness of the development measures in the Närpes region.

A summary in Swedish highlights key findings

The report was written by researchers Mika Raunio, Markku Mattila, Linda Bäckman and Magdalena Kosová from the Migration Institute of Finland. The report is in Finnish, but its key findings and development proposals are summarised in the Swedish-language Policy Brief called Regional resiliens och arbetsrelaterad invandring: Utländsk arbetskraft inom växthusindustrini Närpesregionen, which is published as an appendix to the report.

The report is primarily based on interviews (48), communications (3) and workshop materials (9 external participants). Most of the interviewees represented the authorities, the third sector, employers and employees. Of the 11 employees interviewed, 10 were Vietnamese. The material also includes a media analysis, statistics and previous research on the topic. 
Mika Raunio, Research Fellow, Migration Institute of Finland, tel. +358 50 327 6364 
Kristel Stenman-Huuskonen, Project Manager, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 350 

Migration Institute will organise an open webinar on the report on Monday 30 January 2023 at 10.00-11.00. Please visit for more detailed information and a link to the event.

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