Finnish Highly Skilled Migrants and the European Economic Crisis

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Europe is home to a globally unique area where the barriers of transnational migration have been largely removed. This article focuses on Finnish highly skilled, intra-European migrants and their labour market situation immediately following the economic crisis of 2008. Based on two consecutive online surveys (carried out in spring 2008 and summer 2010) of tertiary educated Finns living in other EU countries, the article examines the effects of the global economic downturn on the careers of these highly skilled migrants. Only 16 per cent of the respondents report that their labour market situation had worsened. A higher percentage (24%) felt that their situation had improved and the majority (54%) had either experienced no change in their situation or stated that their reasons for changing jobs or moving had nothing to do with the crisis. The article concludes that these migrants were protected from the full force of the crisis by their high human capital, flexibility of alternating between studying and work, employment in international workplaces and their intra-European migrant status.

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