Out of the Immigration Periphery: A Case Study of Competence-based Immigration Policy Development in Finland





policy entrepreneur, macro talent management, competence-based immigration, Multiple Streams Framework, economisation of immigration


An impending talent deficit caused by declining working age population and surging need of professionals pose a severe threat for the knowledge-intensive countries like Finland. Competence-based immigration can partially remedy the situation if supported by appropriate policy making and governance. Through multiple-streams framework (MSF) approach this intrinsic case study analyses the construction of the national macro talent management framework during the last two decades. By examining the policy change through MSF, the article demonstrates how the issue of competence-based migration was moved out of the ‘immigration periphery’ and bridged to the economic policy.

The results show that despite the obvious need for strategic planning only trivial policy changes were made until recent years. This changed when a group of ‘policy entrepreneurs’ created a new narrative on immigration, defined a new policy arena, and firmly placed international talents on the policy makers’ agenda. Political changes and external trends fortified the favourable circumstances. With systemic approach and a clear mandate from the government, the window of opportunity for the economically and societally significant immigration policy making is now finally open. However, recruiters and the public need to embrace the ethnic and cultural diversity to reap the benefits of the renewed policy.


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Author Biography

Marjukka Hourunranta, Department of Social Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Marjukka Hourunranta is a PhD candidate in social and public policy at University of Jyväskylä, Finland. She has extensive work experience in the field of labour immigration, talent attraction and retention, as well as in regional capacity building related to these themes. Her research interests revolve around the paradigm shift in the Finnish immigration policy which is being repositioned from social policy towards economic and innovation policy making. Currently she works as a Project Manager at Tampere University.




How to Cite

Hourunranta, M. (2023). Out of the Immigration Periphery: A Case Study of Competence-based Immigration Policy Development in Finland. Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration, 27(4), 21–36. https://doi.org/10.58235/sjpa.2023.12271



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