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APN Podcast: Is Finland getting serious about immigration?

A new report wants Finland to draw up a clear plan for immigration.

All Points North podcast logo featuring photo of dog
A recent report raised ethical concerns about the health risks faced by dogs bred for their short snouts or flat faces. Image: Riikka Kurki / Yle

Finland needs an explicit population policy that includes an immigration strategy, the Family Federation of Finland declared this week in its first population report in 16 years.

The NGO said that the downward trend in the birthrate is well known and unless something is done now, the pension system could begin to buckle as early as the 2040s. All Points North asked what exactly needs to change.

Audio: Yle News

Tiia Sorsa, one of the researchers who authored the population report, said that Finland needs to tear down roadblocks in processing resident permits. That aside, Finland also needs to pay closer attention to integration services, especially language training programmes, which are often inadequate and of variable quality.

The NGO also wants better recognition of qualifications and experience gained abroad. Sorsa pointed out that people can go to the National Agency for Education to have their foreign qualifications evaluated for specific positions.

How many homes do you need?

The report also waded into the issue of how and where people should live, suggesting residents should try to split their lives across several locations to ensure all parts of the country remain viable.

Juhana Brotherus, chief economist with mortgage lender Hypo, told APN that although Finland has one of the highest proportions of leisure homes — around 500,000 — a dual-home lifestyle is still well beyond the reach of a majority of people. This is especially true of young adults as the average age of multiple homeowners in Finland is 63.

Problem pooches

This week’s show also brings presidential pooch Lennu back into the spotlight, nearly four years after he burst onto the international scene and melted hearts during a Christmas event.

According to President Sauli Niinistö, Lennu has taken a back seat since the first family discovered ethical and health issues surrounding the breeding of flat-faced dogs like their own.

Join the conversation!

This week's show was presented by Denise Wall and Egan Richardson. Mark B. Odom was the producer and the audio engineer was Juha Hjelm. Sign up for the All Points North newsletter and if you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, just contact us via WhatsApp on +358 44 421 0909, on our Facebook or Twitter accounts, or at yle.news@yle.fi and allpointsnorth@yle.fi.

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