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Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen and other game execs decry Finland's "catastrophic" new three-month immigration law

Finnish Game leaders call out new rules that would require unemployed skilled workers to leave the country
Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen and other game execs decry Finland's

A range of new immigration reforms proposed by the Finnish government have drawn criticism not only from social activists, but also from the country's thriving game industry.

The proposed changes to the law would lower immigration quotas significantly, as well as seeing a new caveat that requires those without permanent residency to notify immigration services if they remain unemployed for more than three months. After that period, in most cases, these unemployed workers would be required to leave the country, a change that has many concerned, especially with more stringent requirements for permanent residency also being a part of the proposed reforms.

In a translated Tweet, CEO and co-founder of Supercell Ilkka Paananen was blunt in his appraisal of the new law "This 3-month rule would be catastrophic for Finland's reputation, it sends a completely wrong signal. We need MORE top talent here, and of course we don't want to drive them away, as this initiative unfortunately suggests."

The threat of a Finland brain drain 

It wasn't just Paananen, but also other professionals in the Finnish mobile gaming industry who raised their concerns. With chief sustainability officer at Rovio, Heini Kaihu commenting, "These measures seriously risk our reputation in the global talent market, where attracting talent is vital for our economy."

"We need a more inclusive and welcoming environment that embraces immigration and its potential. And we need to send a message to people who have already chosen Finland, that we value them and their contribution - that they are welcome," she added.

Many countries, such as Canada, incentivise immigration with regards to gaming and media in order to draw on foreign talent that may be otherwise unable to participate in the growing industry. However, for many in Finland the effect these proposed laws would have would be nothing short of a brain drain on the many foreign professionals working in the country as workers made unemployed by recent cutbacks may have to take their talents elsewhere.

And it's not only the mobile gaming industry that fears the effects of these proposed changes. The article which Paananen refers to in his Tweet also expresses fears from many industries around the proposed changes and the effect they will have on foreign professionals in their workforce.

Don't forget that the leading global games industry conference, Pocket Gamer Connects, returns to Helsinki in September 2023. Over 1,700 attendees from the games industry will gather for two days to network, discover, pitch and learn from 200 of the world’s leading authorities. Find out more here.