University of Oulu

The time in-between : the integration and employment of asylum seekers in Northern Finland

Saved in:
Author: O'Mara, Mariah1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.5 MB)
Pages: 101
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : M. O'Mara, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-08-20
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Lehtomäki, Elina
Reviewer: Petäjäniemi, Maria
Lehtomäki, Elina


The persistent upward trend in the total number of refugees and asylum seekers over the past six years is one of the most significant challenges of the twenty-first century. The most recent report from the UN Refugee Agency, the UNHCR, claims that as of June 30th, 2018 a total of 70.4 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations. The most recent Refugee Crisis peaked in Europe around 2015–2016, when roughly 1.45 million people applied for asylum in Europe. The sudden and intense influx of asylum seekers had a deep and lasting impact on the whole of Europe. This challenge continues to divide and define the Union as its 28 member states grapple with how to allocate resources in order to mitigate this massive humanitarian crisis.

There is a growing recognition that employment is one of the most significant means of refugee integration and that the earlier refugees and asylum seekers are introduced into the labor market the easier it is for them to integrate into society. This research investigates the impact of Startup Refugees (SUR) a non-profit voluntary network, on the integration of asylum seekers into the Finnish labor market. This qualitative exploratory case study examines the role of SUR in the integration process, focusing on the network’s Northern branch. It illustrates how SUR leverages social capital to secure employment for asylum seekers. Primary data is drawn from the author’s fieldwork over the course of fifteen months and nine semi-structured interviews with various stakeholders in the integration process. The findings of this study suggest that asylum seekers contribute to the Finnish economy and can help grow businesses and lower the dependency ratio. However, the study finds that under the current system, it is risky and difficult for companies to employ asylum seekers. It supports the funding of initiatives like SUR and close cooperation between public, private, and third sector actors regarding this issue.

see all

Copyright information: © Mariah O'Mara, 2019. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.