Neighbouring Russia causes business problems in Finland

Instead of branding Finland as the “happiest nation in the world”, Business Finland now describes it as a stable Nordic society. [Shutterstock/Kekyalyaynen]

Since the war started in Ukraine, foreign investors and employees view Finland hesitantly due to the 1,300-kilometre-long border it shares with Russia, with some even considering it a possible risk factor.

The country, already in need of skilled professionals and investments, is being scrutinised by companies conducting country risk assessments which look at political, economic and social factors in the countries they wish to do business with.

In its first assessment this year, Atradius, a company specialising in trade credit insurance, surety and collections services, defined Finland, together with other Nordic countries, as a low-risk country. The Baltic States are considered moderate-low risk countries.

But now, proximity to Russia and the war in Ukraine is affecting the way Finland is viewed. According to Ulla Hiekkanen-Mäkelä, Head of TalentBoost Finland at Business Finland recruiting professionals, questions about safety among those coming from Southeast Asia and India are becoming more frequent.

“Especially, in case the whole family is planning to move, there are concerns about the long border with our Eastern neighbour,” Hiekkanen-Mäkelä told business magazine Talouselämä. The same concerns have appeared among students. The Business Finland office in New Delhi has received questions from worried parents asking whether Finland is safe.

Instead of branding Finland as the “happiest nation in the world”, Business Finland now describes it as a stable Nordic society.

According to Youssef Zad, an economist at the Finnish StartUp Community, some professionals have decided not to move to Finland with their families, and others want to move away.

The upside is that contacts and applications from Russian IT and other professionals are increasing, which is helping to ease the labour shortage, said Zad in the YLE report.

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