Destination Finland : opportunities, limitations and migration choices of post-Soviet professionals

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/12680
Title: Destination Finland : opportunities, limitations and migration choices of post-Soviet professionals
Author: Silfver, Olga
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology
Date: 2008-04-07
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/12680
Thesis level: master's thesis
Abstract: This study examines the immigration reasons, the process of choosing the country and acculturation strategies of highly educated post-Soviet employees working in Finland. The main research questions of this study are: 1. Why do post-Soviet professionals leave their home countries? 2. Do post-Soviet highly educated professionals perceive they have a choice as far as their migration is concerned? 3. Why do the post-Soviet professionals choose Finland as the country of residence? 4. What is the main acculturation strategy for post-Soviet professionals in Finland, and why`? The thesis is a qualitative study that uses ten half-structured interviews as its material. It combines different theoretical perspectives: acculturation theory, thesis of global professionals, Bourdieu's concepts on transformation of resources and theories of cultural and ethnic identity. This study interprets the decision to immigrate and integration of the respondents as resource optimisation, ,where skills, networks, positions and cultural competences are used to achieve the best attainable position for the family. The main reason for the respondents to leave a home country was economic refuge. Social instability and search for better opportunities were also important factors. The majority of my respondents did not perceive to have a choice of country of immigration. Those who had selected Finland consciously did so due to networks or geographical proximity of the country. Mostly though, Finland was not well-known among highly educated post-Soviets, so the selection of Finland could be attributed ,more to a coincidence than to conscious Finnish state policy. The study emphasizes the sphere of work, since my respondents spend considerable portion of their daily time there and since workplace is an important integrating institution for work-related immigrants. The research concludes that the workplaces of the respondents are currently unable to fully support the needs of immigrant labour force. Commonly used short-term contracts cause a lack of stability, which lowers the motivation to integrate. I have discerned two processes operating in workplaces, selective racist labelling and double-level acceptance process, which both influence the process of integration of immigrants. Post-Soviet immigrants adopt a separatory acculturation strategy due to strong post-Soviet identity and rather slowly developing Finnish skills. They prefer to socialise with the Russian-speaking people, which has a negative effect on the speed of their integration into Finnish society. Global professionals have an additional slowing factor, i.e. poor motivation for language studies as long as the change of country is probable. Discriminatory attitudes of not only locals and post-Soviets, but also of post-Soviets towards other minorities ,strengthen the separatory acculturation strategy. All in all, I perceive my study group as a highly potential resource for the Finnish dwindling labour markets. They are attracted to Finnish orderliness, respect to law, and closeness of nature. However, the limitations of ,their legal status and the resulting instability, lack of knowledge and insufficient communication with local population pose challenges for their integration. In order to produce long-term advantages from immigrating workforce and avoid the problems of segregated society, these shortcomings have to be mitigated.
Description: Endast sammandrag. Inbundna avhandlingar kan sökas i Helka-databasen (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Elektroniska kopior av avhandlingar finns antingen öppet på nätet eller endast tillgängliga i bibliotekets avhandlingsterminaler.Only abstract. Paper copies of master’s theses are listed in the Helka database (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Electronic copies of master’s theses are either available as open access or only on thesis terminals in the Helsinki University Library.Vain tiivistelmä. Sidottujen gradujen saatavuuden voit tarkistaa Helka-tietokannasta (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Digitaaliset gradut voivat olla luettavissa avoimesti verkossa tai rajoitetusti kirjaston opinnäytekioskeilla.
Subject: immigration
immigrants
Russians
professionals
acculturation
identity
globalization
Russia
Finland


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