Immigrants more likely to become unemployed due to COVID-19

News article

Highly educated immigrants may also be in a tough position. Losing your job causes worry about the continuity of the residence or work permits, in addition to other problems.

The COVID-19 epidemic has sent the economy into a downward spiral. The economic problems begun in the service sector, but they quickly spread into the technology industry, whose outlook for the rest of the year is bleak. 

The number of laid off university graduates with a degree in the field of technology doubled in March, and unemployment increased by 3.4 per cent. Immigrants accounted for more than a third of the increase in unemployment.

– The economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 is causing significant damage to the public-sector economy, and we will need all possible help to rebuild the country. We cannot afford to waste the knowledge and skills that people who have moved to Finland have to offer. International competition for skilled employees will only become more intense as the world recovers from the COVID-19, TEK's innovation and business policy expert Mikko Särelä predicts.

Highly educated immigrants may also be in a tough position. TEK has also received questions about what happens to a person’s residence permit when they lose their job due to the economic difficulties caused by the corona crisis. 

These problems are also visible on a larger scale.

– Many of the foreigners who contact us are worried about whether their residence permits will be extended or whether they might face deportation. Uncertainty is also increased by the fact that Migri does not provide information on how long it will take to make decisions, says head of integration activities at the Monika – Multicultural Women’s Association, Marisel Soto Godoy
– Finland has also invested heavily in foreign students, and their contributions to building the future will be invaluable. Now, in the midst of the crisis, their chances of graduating and finding a real job have worsened even more than those of the average student. The current situation and job insecurity delay the completion of both master’s degrees and doctorates. The problem is that the COVID-19 crisis has paralysed both the society and employers, who focus on normalizing their own operations, notes Academy Professor Tapio Salmi from Åbo Akademi University. 

As we recover from the COVID-19, Finland will need the skilled and qualified professionals that we have been able to attract to our country. There are already a significant number of international experts in Finland. In 2017, there were approximately 7,500 experts and specialists employed in the field of science and technology.
– Immigrants without a permanent residence permit face a particularly difficult situation. When they lose their jobs, they also need to worry about the continuity of their residence or work permits, in addition to other problems. The residence permits of their spouses or children may also be on the line if their income is reduced due to unemployment, says Jari Jokinen, CEO of TEK.
TEK is currently collecting information from its members on the challenges they face due to the economic crisis. We want to improve our understanding on the challenges our members encounter in the labour market during the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19. This information is collected from both our Finnish and international members.