A1 Journal article (refereed)
Essential? COVID-19 and highly educated Africans in Finland’s segmented labour market (2023)

Ndomo, Q., Bontenbal, I., & Lillie, N. A. (2023). Essential? COVID-19 and highly educated Africans in Finland’s segmented labour market. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 43(3/4), 339-355. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijssp-06-2022-0171

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsNdomo, Quivine; Bontenbal, Ilona; Lillie, Nathan A.

Journal or seriesInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy



Publication year2023

Publication date20/12/2022


Issue number3/4

Pages range339-355


Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/84649


The purpose of this paper is to characterise the position of highly educated African migrants in the Finnish labour market and to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on that position.

The paper is based on the biographical work stories of 17 highly educated African migrant workers in four occupation areas in Finland: healthcare, cleaning, restaurant and transport. The sample was partly purposively and partly theoretically determined. The authors used content driven thematic analysis technique, combined with by the biographical narrative concept of turning points.

Using the case of highly educated African migrants in the Finnish labour market, the authors show how student migration policies reinforce a pattern of division of labour and occupations that allocate migrant workers to typical low skilled low status occupations in the secondary sector regardless of level of education, qualification and work experience. They also show how the unique labour and skill demands of the COVID-19 pandemic incidentally made these typical migrant occupations essential, resulting in increased employment and work security for this group of migrant workers.

Research limitations/implications
This research and the authors’ findings are limited in scope owing to sample size and methodology. To improve applicability of findings, future studies could expand the scope of enquiry using e.g. quantitative surveys and include other stakeholders in the study group.

The paper adds to the knowledge on how migration policies contribute to labour market dualisation and occupational segmentation in Finland, illustrated by the case of highly educated African migrant workers.

KeywordsCOVID-19migrantsmigration policylabour market

Free keywordsAfrican migrants; Finland; COVID-19; labour market segmentation; migration policy

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-15-06 at 20:45