Weekly Highlight: 12-11-2008

Denmark:

Highest immigration rate in 30 years
10.11.2008

The number of immigrants coming to Denmark in the third quarter was the highest ever for the period.
A record 26,312 people were given legal residency in Denmark between July and September – the most since quarterly immigration statistics began being kept in 1980.
Polish immigrants were responsible for the majority of the figure as 2,585 came to the country during the third quarter, according to Statistics Denmark. The agency’s figures show that 540 Poles left the country during the period, resulting in a net increase in Denmark of 2,062 Polish nationals for the quarter.
The total number of Poles who have been given legal residency in Denmark since October 2007 has gone from around 13,000 to over 20,000 as of the most recent count.
Germans and Americans make up the second and third largest groups of immigrants to Denmark during the third quarter of 2008, with figures showing net increases of 1,041 and 975, respectively. (rc)

Finland:

Immigrants’ Skills Too Often Unused
Published 10.11.2008, 11.31

Finland has thousands of skilled immigrants who are looking for a job. Recruiting them would be an excellent way to help Finland deal with its ageing population, reports the non-profit organisation Pellervo Economic Research Institute.
According to a survey by the institute, some 91 percent of working immigrants say they have good to excellent labour skills. The percentage is the same for mainstream Finns. Of unemployed immigrants, 76 percent say they have at least good skills. For unemployed mainstream Finns, that number was 61 percent. Nearly all immigrants say they are eager to work as well.
Currently around 65,000 of Finland’s 130,000 immigrants are employed. Meanwhile about 20 percent are unemployed. In addition, some 25,000 immigrants are students, parents and pensioners. About one-third of them are actively seeking jobs.
In total, Finland has around 20,000 immigrants who are skilled and unemployed or outside the workforce. The institute says recruiting them could add a much needed boost to Finland’s labour market.

Language Is the Key

Language remains a key concern for immigrants searching for their first job. Experts point out that language skills improve on the job and work experience in Finland can open more doors in the future.
Services offered by employment offices are especially important for immigrants who often lack direct contact to the labour market. Some 49 percent of immigrant respondents said they used employment office services.
Furthermore immigrants clearly need more time to familiarise themselves at a new job than mainstream Finns. However employers don’t always want to invest time to help immigrants because of cost concerns. The report urges employers to come up with ways to help immigrants become familiar with their job.
A total of 1,103 immigrants responded to the survey carried out by the Pellervo Economic Research Institute.

Netherlands:

Traditional family alive and well
Tuesday 11 November 2008

The traditional family where the man works full-time and the woman has a part-time job to pay for extras is alive and well in the Netherlands, according to a new report by the government’s social policy unit SCP.
The report shows that only 7% of Dutch women with a part-time job would like to work full-time and only one-third work because they need money. Only 41% of women with part-time jobs have children under the age of 11.
Women choose to work part-time so that it is easier to care for children, enjoy their hobbies, maintain social contacts and keep fit, the survey shows. ‘Women therefore take on the lion’s share of the household duties and childcare,’ the report says.

Money and status unimportant

But 40% of young women without children also work part-time, and only 16% of them would like a full-time job, the survey shows.
It points out that the government has actively stimulated the development of part-time jobs since the 1980s. Some 75% of women with jobs in the Netherlands work less than 35 hours a week, the highest percentage in Europe.
Many of the women are not interested in the money or status a career brings, the survey shows. Most feel that being recognised as good at their jobs and having nice colleagues is more important.

Minister shocked

The results of the survey have shocked Ronald Plasterk, the minister with special responsibility for women’s issues, and Pia Dijkstra, who chairs the government commission on boosting women’s working hours.
The AD newspaper reports that Plasterk and Dijkstra blame mothers and mothers-in-law for talking young women into working less.
‘They think their daughters and daughters-in-law have a hard time and say ‘do you really want to do that, dearie?’ the paper quotes the minister as saying.
‘Women are not sufficiently aware that … one in three marriages breaks down and they will end up without income or pension,’ says Plasterk.
He says the current situation means a great deal of female talent is being wasted. ‘In many areas there are more women graduates than men. But look who gets to the top, look who becomes professor. There are so few women,’ the AD quotes him as saying.

Sweden:

Brand Sweden enters global top ten
Published: 10 Nov 08 17:07 CET

A typically inhumane November mixture of wind, sleet, snow and SAD is not enough to dampen Sweden’s mood, as the country uses its cunning and stealth to creep into the top ten of a prestigious nation branding index.
“This gives recognition to Sweden as a very well-managed company,” said Christina Saliba to the TT news agency. Saliba is the chief executive of the Swedish branch of PR agency Weber Shandwick, which compiles the annual Country Brand Index in conjunction with the FutureBrand agency.
Australia, Canada and the United States are the three countries deemed to have this year’s strongest brands, while Sweden joins the list in tenth place for the first time in the index’s short four year history.
“Despite the fact that Sweden is a small country, we excel in many contexts, with several internationally recognized brands and a number of international stars,” said Saliba.
The study is based on responses to a questionnaire sent out to entertainment and business travellers as well as a panel of 30 international experts.
Sweden swept aside the opposition to score first place on two of the detailed sub-rankings.
“With forward-thinking privatized pensions, low inflation and one of the highest rates of GDP per hour worked, Sweden is a world leader in living standards,” according to the study.
The country has also garnered admiration for its green approach.
“With a comprehensive plan for an ‘Environmental Sweden,’ the country’s policy for ecologically sustainable development endeavors to solve all major environmental problems for the next generation.”
While Sweden fails to make a mark in a number of other areas, such as History and Arts & Culture, the country does manage to score top ten results across a range of fields.
Considered stable and secure, the country comes fourth on the safety ranking. Here neighbouring Norway is considered the safest of havens.
Sweden also scores highly (8th) for ease of travel to, from and within the country. But the Netherlands is considered the best facilitator of travel.
New Zealanders top the list in terms of friendly locals, with Swedes claiming a very creditable seventh position.
Canada gets the nod for the range of activities available to families, with Sweden dropping one place to sixth from last year’s index.
Japan is the best country in the world in which to hold a businesses conference, according to the study, while Sweden is tenth.
Business travellers wishing to extend their stay to include a vacation are told that Sweden is the seventh best place in which to do so. Not bad for a country without the sun, surf and barbies of top ranking Australia.
And only the Netherlands and New Zealand are considered to have more political freedom than their Swedish counterparts.
Given a choice to live anywhere outside their home country, most people surveyed opted for Australia, while Sweden is the sixth most popular choice.
The quality of products made in Japan is deemed higher than anywhere else. Sweden claims tenth spot on the product quality ranking.
Japan again scores highest as the country in which the latest technologies are most prevalent. But Sweden shows it can be techy too with a fourth place finish.
“Sweden has a good international reputation. Things are well ordered. We get good results for honesty in our relations with other countries. We are considered punctual and we follow the terms of our agreements.
“The fact that Sweden is on this top list gives a lot of added value to the business and tourism sectors,” said Christina Sabina.

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