Trying to secure a future in uncertain circumstances. The social security of temporary migrant workers in Finland.

Mika Helander, Peter Holley, Heidi Uuttana

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    This article deals with temporary migrant workers experiences of social security in Finland, and the question how temporality influences the motivations of migrant workers to find out about their rights in the welfare system. What kinds of experiences do temporary migrants have? Have they met specific problems related to temporariness? The article shows how motivations to find out about the welfare system are linked to the length of stay of the migrant, sector of work, gender of the temporary worker, country of origin of the worker. Finally motivations are in a high degree influenced by objective possibilities of accessing the welfare benefits of the country, for instance related to problems in receiving work permits, residence permits, and the national insurance institution (KELA) insurance cards. The article shows how many temporary workers, especially within seasonal agricultural work, are in Finland solely in order to work, and are not directed towards other aspects of life while in Finland. Temporary migrants learn about the Finnish Social Security System through their own experience, which makes their knowledge dependent on initiation processes at work places. In many cases a private insurance is required from the temporary worker in order to get the visa and many immigrants are not motivated to contribute to a system, which they don’t benefit of. Migrants incorporate possibilities provided by the social system. They thus adjust their subjective expectations to the objective conditions. Sometimes this adjustment is done in frustration as benefits are out of reach despite having to contribute to the system financially by paying taxes.
    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)
    Issue number777
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • social security
    • labour migration
    • motivation
    • time

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