Indian diaspora is well integrated – and well paid

India is challenged by the world’s largest population of young students, who yearn to get quality education to build their future. Many go abroad to study and work. Finland is raising in popularity among Indian students, and the growing diaspora makes Finland even better known. Indian diaspora is well integrated and better paid than the Finns on average.

India’s vast young population is a true challenge for the country, which is struggling to ensure quality education and relevant skills to its young students. Even though the economy is growing, together with the need of skilled workers, the country is projected to have a surplus of 245 million workers until 2030. Therefore, India is actively upskilling and sending its youth to South-East Asia, Middle-East and Europe. Many states have public owned agencies, Skill Development Corporations, which help working-age people to upskill themselves and to get employed abroad. Altogether 17,9 million Indian citizens lived abroad just before the covid pandemic. More than half of the emigrants live in the Gulf states, especially in United Arab Emirates (3,5 million). The biggest Indian diaspora, however, is in the USA, as 4,46 million Indian Americans live there. Interestingly, Indian Americans are the highest-earning ethnic group in the United States. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are the most active states in terms of emigration abroad.
Work-based immigration from India is common in fields requiring little training, but India also has the biggest diaspora of highly educated experts. Before the pandemic, 589 000 Indians studied abroad, a little less than one third of them in the USA. Other top target countries are Canada and Australia. Many well-educated emigrating students come from middle and upper class families of the major cities, having their background in economics, engineering, management and medicine.

Finland is growing in popularity

Finland is an attractive choice for Indian students due to the standard of living, safety and the well-functioning society. On the other hand, Finland competes for experts and students with the long-term favorite destinations of Indian emigration. In 2022, there were 10487 Indian citizens living in Finland, mostly in the capital region. Many work for major companies such as Nokia, Wipro and Infosys. Interestingly Indian expat experts get 11% higher salaries than Finns on average. There are 14 organizations of Indian diaspora in Finland, supporting the immigrants and promoting Indian culture.

In 2021, there were 1155 Indian students taking degree programs in Finland, two thirds of them making master’s or doctor’s degree. In 2021, there were 495 new students, whereas in 2023 the amount of new students was increased to 729. The growth curve is easy to observe, but there is still room for a significant growth for students coming from India. In 2023, the amount of Indian students was 10% of all foreign students starting their degree studies in Finland.

Finland for the Future – One Tree Per Student Campaign

As Finland is tackling an ever-growing need of students and skilled workforce, every Indian, who accepts the invitation to start new life in Finland, means a partial solution to the problem. For this reason, the Embassy of Finland and Business Finland decided to show their gratitude in a way, which improves the sustainability of the planet at the same time. By donating a tree for every Indian degree student moving to Finland to study, the Embassy and Business Finland want to create a symbolic branch between Finland and India; the roots of these students are in India, but the branches grow towards Finland like bridges between the countries. These students act like our brand ambassadors who will soon increase the cultural exchange, the change of new ideas and innovations, and the trade between Finland and India.

At the same time, Finland wants to increase awareness of environmental issues and sustainable development as well as the importance of education and cultural understanding. The fruit trees and / or other agroforestry trees are being planted to Nongnah Village, Meghalaya as a little forest in October 2023 in collaboration with Business Finland and Finnish startup TreeBuddy.Earth. The students will receive a link from which they will be able to see the location of their own tree on a map. The campaign was launched in December 2022 on the occasion of the visit of Minister of Employment of Finland H.E. Ms. Tuula Haatainen.

HEI Finland! Roadshow

In April 2023, there was a “HEI Finland! Roadshow” organized in India with 10 Finnish Higher Education Institutes. During the tour the higher education institutions joined the forces by forming a Finland pavilion at the student recruitment fairs in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. HEI Finland! Roadshow was organized by Business Finland and Study in Finland together with the Embassy. The tour also included “Welcome to Finland” events, which were to strengthen the decision of the Indian offer holder to choose Finland as a study destination. At the event the students could interact with the Finnish higher education institutions, hear experiences by Indian alumni and learn about the residence permit next steps.

Finland Alumni Network in India

Finland Alumni Network in India brings together those Indians who have been or are currently studying or working as experts or specialists in Finland. The network creates a platform for its members for peer support, sharing relevant information and news and communicating about upcoming events. As the network brings together Indian talents with Finnish experience & knowledge, it can also be used as a talent pool when connecting Finnish companies with international talent needs with potential employee candidates.

India-Finland Startup Accelerator Program

Business Finland and the Headstart Network Foundation organized two startup mentoring days in 2022, the purpose of which was to inform Indian startups about the Finnish startup ecosystem and opportunities in Finland. This collaboration was developed further in 2023, and as an outcome, Business Finland and Headstart established “India-Finland Startup Accelerator”, a Mentoring Program for Indian startups. Altogether over 350 applications were received and 10 selected to receive for example one-on-one mentoring from Finnish experts and to hear about the Finnish cities’ offerings. The purpose is to facilitate the anchoring of the startups into Finland by nurturing the companies to be ready to apply for the startup permit and relocate to Finland.

Great International Software Developer Summit & Bengaluru Tech Summit

The Embassy and Business Finland participated in Great International Software Developer (GIDS) Summit in April 2023 and will participate in Bengaluru Tech Summit (BTS) at the end of 2023. These exhibitions organized annually in Bangalore, one of India’s mature tech hubs, bring together India’s digital talent and offer Finland and Finnish companies an opportunity to meet the brightest minds of this sector. Aalto University will organize together with the Embassy and Business Finland a panel discussion on AI and Sustainability at the main stage of the Bengaluru Tech Summit BTS 2023. The embassy and the Karnataka government aim to sign a renewal of their MoU for the Finland-Karnataka Innovation Corridor during the event.

Stay in contact with TFK-specialist Mika Tirronen, trainee Juho Holma and director Gitta Perez/BF.