Immigration might be an answer to the looming dependency ratio problem

By Hanna Autio and Tomi Vainikka

Europe is facing a problem: the amount of people retiring is growing fast while there are less and less people supporting them, as the fertility rates are dropping. This will affect the dependency ratio which is soaring especially in Finland. Immigration could be one of the solutions to the problem, but it’s not made easy.

According to Statistics Finland without immigration the dependency ratio will grow from 53 to 79 percent in the next 30 years. It means that in the year 2040 a hundred workers have to provide for 79 persons outside the labourforce.

Source: stat.fi

“Immigration is one of the solutions for the dependency ratio problem”, comments Kimmo Ruth, a Labour Market Counselor from the Ministry of Employment and Economy.“The net population growth is already stale in Finland if immigration is excluded”, Ruth continues.

Getting a job isn’t easy

To help immigration the European Union has created a blue card. It is a system, in which skilled workers from outside the European Union can apply for a specialized residence permit, much like the green card in the United States.

However there is criticism towards the new system. Besides the worries that it will drain countries out of their skilled workers, the card is hard to get. One of the rulings is that in order to get the blue card in Finland you have to earn at least 4700 euros per month. It’s clearly not an option for a low- or mid wage sectors.

Blue cardIt is possible to get a work permit without a blue card, but some problems arise with that option as well. Ministry of Employment and Economy will review each work permit case by case. To receive the work permit there has to be a job opening to apply for. Also the law requires offering that job to a Finnish person first.

Neither of these options is effective in their current states and won’t be able to solve the future dependency ratio problem, which – everyone agrees – needs to be addressed rather sooner than later.

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