The future of a young graduate or unemployed in one of the Southern European crisis countries does not look rosy.

In January 2013, among the EU Member States, the highest unemployment rate was recorded in Greece, which hit its record of 27 per cent last November. Nearly a third of the population are expected to live in poverty by the end of the year, while Spain (26.2 %) and Portugal (17.6 %) continuing to trail close by. Youth (under 25) unemployment rates are even higher, with Greece in the lead, once again, with 59.4%, followed by Spain (55.5 %) and Italy (38.7 %), all indicating clear increases from the previous year.

Tuula Kinnunen, an expert at the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, recentlysaid in Helsingin Sanomat that the increase of jobseekers from the EU crisis countries has been noted at the Employment and Economic Development Offices of the Uusimaa region.

Last year about 4,600 EU citizens registered by the Finnish police as residents, about 600 of whom arrived from Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Greece, a double from the 300 of 2011. Inspector General Jukka Hertell from the Police Board suspects that a further 800 Greeks and 500 Spaniards will come to Finland later this year for work. “There is an increase in numbers, but they are not big,” he stated in Helsingin Sanomat.

However it is difficult to come up with any accurate figures on the movement of labour within Europe. The fact that an applicant does not need to register immediately makes it difficult to assess how many job applicants there actually are. Citizens of the European Union as well as others who have a permanent residence permit in some EU countries are entitled to seek work in another EU country for a period of three months without having to register.

Jenni Toriseva