What do politicians and public officials in Finland mean when they claim that integration is a two-way process? Is it only political correctness that motivates them to make up such claims or is it code that means one-way adaption, or assimilation?
The first question that I’d like to ask is what does two-way integration mean? How is it put in practice in Finland?
The table above shows the educational background of 15-64-year-old migrants (ulkomaalaistaustainen) and Finns (suomalaistaustainen) who have completed tertiary education (korkea aste), upper secondary school (toinen aste) or comprehensive school (peruskoulu). Source: Survey on work and well-being among people of foreign origin.
In an ideal world, it is supposed to mean – I suspect – when two equal members of society representing different cultures learn from each other and try to find synergies to create a stronger and more dynamic society. For such a thing to happen, however, there must be no institutional racism. And there’s a lot of that in Finland.
But maybe we can answer the question by asking if migrants and minorities are equal members of Finnish society?
Not by a long shot.
Migrants suffer from high unemployment, discrimination and do the lowest-paying jobs in Finland. On top of this, they live in a society that is near-constantly reminding them that they are Other.
Writes Statistics Finland researcher Pekka Myrskylä in 2014:
…since unemployment rates are higher among migrants since many are employed in low-income jobs, it explains why there is a wage disparity of 25% with native Finns, who make make annually on average 36,800 euros versus 27,500 euros by migrants. The gap in unemployment benefits is even higher, totaling 39% (15,000 euros versus 9,400 euros) and up to 59% for those who are outside the labor force (7,500 euros versus 3,100 euros).
If we see a significant wage and social welfare between white Finns and migrants, one wonders what kind of pensions do migrants have these days?
Immigration law is a good example of the hostility of Finnish society towards migrants and minorities. It has been under Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s government where we have seen a tightening of laws like family reunification.
Having a lousy paying job, good anti-discrimination laws but without teeth doesn’t convince me that Finland doesn’t practice what it preaches concerning social equality.
It’s only a wise tale to pacify you and make you do nothing about improving your rights in this country.
That is why integration is a one-way process in Finland.