Talent Boost programme
Migration and the mobility of international talent are increasingly important issues for Finland’s wellbeing and competitiveness. According to a number of reports, the availability of talent is one of the biggest obstacles to growth and internationalisation in companies and other organisations. Finland’s working age population is decreasing, and population growth is based exclusively on immigration. Without sufficient immigration, the supply of labour and, in the longer term, employment will fall significantly, which will affect Finland’s economic dependency ratio, employment rate and sustainability gap. Finland competes with the rest of the world for the best talent.
Finnish companies need skilled employees, particularly employees with special skills not currently available in Finland. The immigration of skilled labour into Finland will help to put Finnish innovation on a stronger and more international footing, and will attract international investment to Finland. This in turn will create new jobs and help Finnish companies in their efforts to become more international.
Greater diversity in society and working life will make Finland more attractive to international talent and investors, while also making a decisive contribution to improving the employment rates among immigrants already living in Finland. Having a more international working environment will encourage international graduates and researchers to settle in Finland, and prevent the so-called brain drain.
Talent Boost is a cross-administrative programme of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government designed to boost the immigration of senior specialists, employees, students and researchers. It focuses on attracting the kind of talent who will be instrumental for the growth and internationalisation of Finnish companies, and for RDI in the leading growth sectors. It also targets sectors suffering from a labour shortage. The programme aims to raise Finland to a new level in terms of its attractiveness to specialists and their families. The programme supports the Government’s 75% employment rate target.
Talent Boost, a programme focusing on international specialists, was launched by a decision made by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s Government in 2017. The Government of Prime Minister Antti Rinne and, as of 10 December 2019, the Government of Prime Minister Marin, will continue to pursue the programme, and expand it to labour migration on a larger scale. More attention will be paid to the immigration and integration of international students and researchers in Finland.
- Finland becoming an internationally attractive place to work, study, carry out research, and invest.
- Employers willing and able to recruit international talent.
- The expertise of international specialists driving the internationalisation and renewal of Finnish companies and organisations.
- In accordance with the Government Programme's aims, speeding up the residence permit process for applications based on work or studies to one month and creating a two-week fast track for specialists, growth entrepreneurs and their family members. The system development work and communications measures aimed at accelerating the work-based and education-based permit processes are funded by the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), which is the largest programme of the recovery instrument Next Generation EU.
- Promoting measures to attract and retain international talent, and to help their families settle in Finland
- Advancing the employment of international students and researchers in Finland
- Creating a model for international recruitment
- Using international talent to attract investments and to support the growth and internationalisation of companies and R&D activities
- Preventing the exploitation of foreign labour
- Increasing receptiveness and diversity in the workplace.
Close long-term cooperation between the state, cities, educational institutions, businesses and other actors is required to attract, accommodate and integrate international specialists and to put their skills to effective use. If there are significant gaps between the services of different providers, Finland will have trouble attracting or retaining talent. The Talent Boost programme provides a framework for close cooperation between the different actors.
The programme is coordinated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of Education and Culture. The Talent Boost steering group is chaired by Jari Gustafsson, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, and Anita Lehikoinen, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Culture. In addition to the ministries, the steering group includes representatives from Business Finland, Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres), Employment and Economic Development Offices (TE Offices), the Finnish Immigration Service, cities and higher education institutions. There is an ongoing continuous dialogue with companies, entrepreneur organisations, chambers of commerce, higher education institutions, research institutes, international specialists, and other stakeholders about how to attract international talent and tap into their expertise.
Business Finland is responsible for nationwide coordination of various business services. Regional implementation of the programme will rely largely on the Talent Hub service model. The model brings together various regional actors involved in the recruitment of international talent and other related service provision, thereby creating seamless cross-sectoral service paths for international specialists and for companies and other organisations that require their input.
Special grants to municipalities for Talent Hub activities that promote the Talent Boost programme (2021)
The budget proposal for 2021 includes a EUR 2 million discretionary government grant in item 32.30.40 (Supporting sustainable growth and vitality in the regions) for Talent Hub activities that promote the Talent Boost programme. In addition, EUR 262,200 has been allocated to such activities in 2020.
- EUR 345,000 to the City of Espoo for the implementation of the Talent Espoo project.
- EUR 942,990 to the City of Helsinki for the implementation of the Talent Helsinki project.
- EUR 389,925 to the City of Tampere for the implementation of the International House Tampere project.
- EUR 369,965.85 to the City of Turku for the implementation of the Talent Turku project.
- EUR 213,465 to the City of Vantaa for the implementation of the Talent Vantaa project.
The projects will run until 30 April 2022.
Discretionary government grants to promote Talent Hub activities (2020)
In 2020, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment granted a total of EUR 1,000,000 to promote the Talent Hub activities of the Talent Boost programme in cities. The call for applications was held from 10 January 2020 to 7 February 2020. The following cities received a special grant to promote the Talent Hub activities:
- City of Helsinki, a maximum of EUR 191,800 granted for the period of 1 February 2020–30 June 2021
- City of Vantaa, a maximum of EUR 128,920 granted for the period of 1 May 2020–31 July 2021
- City of Tampere, a maximum of EUR 90,257 granted for the period of 1 January 2020–31 July 2021
- City of Turku, a maximum of EUR 194,005 granted for the period of 1 September 2020–30 August 2021
In 2020, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment allocated a maximum of EUR 132,720 as a special investment grant to the City of Tampere for the promotion of Talent Hub activities for the period of 1 September 2020–30 September 2021.
- Municipalities receive special grants for Talent Hub activities that promote the Talent Boost programme (2021)
- The Government’s research project Immigrants and Innovation Economy (in Finnish)
Projects implementing the Talent Boost programme
- Talent Boost projects funded from the Regional innovations and experimentations (AIKO) initiative
- ESF-funded “Kokka kohti Suomea” (Setting the course for Finland) project
- Frequently Asked Questions about Talent Boost
- A summary of best practices related to international talent: Talent Boost Cookbook Finland
- Government roadmap compiles measures to increase education-based and work-based immigration
Laura Lindeman, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, laura.lindeman(at)gov.fi
Petra Lehto, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, petra.lehto(at)gov.fi
Ulla Hiekkanen-Mäkelä, Business Finland, ulla.hiekkanen-makela(at)businessfinland.fi