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.

Programme objectives

  1. Finland becoming an internationally attractive place to work, study, carry out research, and invest.
  2. Employers willing and able to recruit international talent.
  3. The expertise of international specialists driving the internationalisation and renewal of Finnish companies and organisations.

Programme measures

  • 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. 
  • 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.

The Talent Boost programme

Current issues

Projects implementing the Talent Boost programme

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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