The aim of this Master thesis is to research in how far the Finnish migration policy can be explained on a national and EU level, according to the neoclassical economic theory and the international migration systems theory, and what its similarities and differences are with the Swedish and Danish policies? Finland has had quite a short immigration history, since it was not until the nineteen eighties that Finland received more immigrants than people emigrated. The net migration started with the flow of refugees from Chile, Vietnam and former Yugoslavia. In the beginning of the nineties a deep economic recession hit Finland and unemployment rates were rising. Since then the government has driven a restrictive policy towards immigration. Demographic factors, forecasting a decline in the labour supply as a consequence of the aging population, have changed the opinion of the Finnish government. National needs have always influenced the Finnish migration policy directions. Sweden on the other hand has had a longer experience with immigrants. The post-war industrialisation in the fifties made the Swedish economy boom and the amount of foreign workers increased. However, the beginning of the seventies witnessed a stop on the inflow of migrants from third countries and the type of migration changed into refugees. The Swedish government and especially the social-democratic premier Palme favoured humanitarian immigration and family reunification. The role of the government has been extensive in the decision making process of the migration policy. As Sweden is known for its liberal migration policy, Denmark on the other hand is known for its restrictive policy towards immigrants. However, Denmark has had quite a similar immigration history as Sweden. Like Sweden it received guest workers until the beginning of the seventies and later on family reunification became possible. Nevertheless, the similar type of migration did not lead to a similar type of migration policy. As a consequence of the economic crisis, which caused high unemployment especially under immigrants, the anti-immigrant Danish Folk’s party gained popularity. The parties’ opinions made it elected into the government, where the party was able to bring into practice their restrictive migration policies. The research has shown that the three countries have had quite similar types of migration and that they have been exposed to the same social, demographic, economic and political factors. However, they all have pursued different migration policies. Finland a strict policy, with closed borders until the eighties, Sweden a liberal policy, especially towards family members and Denmark an extreme restrictive policy, influenced by the negative public opinion of the politicians and the natives. Nordic co-operation has been minimal in the past and co-operation within the European Union framework is only possible with the emphasis on national needs.
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