Finnish Home Care Allowance keeps Vietnamese and Chinese immigrants from getting a job

Image: Petteri Bülow / Yle

According to a report released by Finnish pro-market think tank, Business and Policy Forum (EVA), migrant women who move to Finland are less likely to find work than those who move to other parts of the Nordic region such as Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.

EVA’s report Maahanmuuttajanaisten loukku (The Trap for Immigrant Women), shows that employment rates were especially low among mothers from Vietnam, China, Russia, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The report highlighted Finland’s home care allowance which allows a child to be cared for at home until the age of three and stated, “the low employment rate of immigrant women is a problem that has far-reaching negative effects on society as a whole.” 

According to the report, the low employment rate of women who move to Finland also weakens their integration into Finnish society and stresses public finance funds. Studies have shown that integration plans help to improve the academic success of immigrant children and economist Sanna Kurronen wrote in EVA’s report that Finland’s passive unemployment benefit and home care allowance seems to be the reasons for the particularly low employment of immigrant women compared to other Nordic countries. 

About 70 percent of participants in employment training programs in Sweden and Denmark subsequently found either a salaried or wage-subsidized position but in Finland, the rate was only 35 percent. Sanna Kurronen added that other Nordic nations do not offer the same level or length of allowance for stay-at-home parents and the child home care allowance was “particularly problematic” as mothers with immigrant backgrounds tend to use the benefit more often and for longer than the native population of Finland. 

EVA’s report argued that an integration plan and integration policies should be used to improve the employment rate of migrant women and noted that Finnish society is based on the fact that all able-bodied adults work and immigrants can not be an exception. 

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