Busting stereotypes and strong leadership in Finland

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrqiue Tessieri

The critical players in the struggle to expose and challenge racism and all type of discrimination in Finland will not be only with the help of the laws but by immigrants and refugees. They, if anyone else, are going to have to show strong leadership in this area.

There are already many good examples of how immigrants and refugees are challenging age-old prejudices and stereotypes in this country about themselves. One of the most important matters is that they are challenging these myths.

In this struggle we must not forget those Finns who consider all forms of prejudice shameful and unacceptable.

One of the biggest challenges confronting racism are our prejudices. This is not a simple task but not an impossible one either to tame and keep under control.

The favorite argument of those who see immigration as a threat to Finland is that some of these newcomers are incompatible with our culture. When these people move here the attacks get fiercer and is done with the complicity of stereotypes.

Politicians and future anti-immigration MP wannabes not only insult hardworking immigrants that live in this country, but use provocative adjectives to maintain and service the general atmosphere of suspicion. Be always suspicious of those that claim “I am not a racist.”

People who spread steretypethat immigrants are” lazy” have no idea what an immigrant is and are exposing their ignorance. A person does not leave everything behind in his home country to start anew if he weren’t ambitious. Take a look at the millions of emigrants that left for the New World from Europe. Were they all lazy and failures?

My International Finland published a list of some common stereotypes about immigrants in Finland.

Check them out and tell us if you agree.

Some of my favorite on the list are:

1.      They move to this country and cause a recession. (Stereotype #1)

2.      Immigrants are not entitled to the same citizen and basic rights as Finns? (#5)

3.      Immigrants are responsible for fuelling unemployment and poverty in Finland. (#7)

4.      Immigrants are more criminal than Finns. (#8)

5.      They move to this country and don’t want to learn Finnish. (#11)

  1. Martin-Éric

    1. Wrong. The majority moves to this country as professionals to revive it from its economic lethargy.

    2. Wrong. Not only are immigrants entitled to the same basic rights, but Finland has been repeatedly scolded by the European Court of Justice for trampling those rights.

    3. Wrong. See #1.

    4. Pretty much 50/50. Immigrants are over-represented in petty theft and similar small crimes and under-represented in economic and similar big crimes where Finns commit most of the offenses.

    5. Wrong. In fact, there’s fewer language courses available than there is demand for, plus there’s hardly any course offered beyond the basic level, which leaves many foreign professionals feeling that they won’t be able to progress beyond basic shopping vocabulary or ever get around feeling confident in using Finnish at work.

    • Enrique

      Hi Martin-Éric, how are you? Thank you for visitng us. You, I and many others on this blog are examples of ambitious people. Why do you think that the general view (sic?) in Finland is that immigrants are lazy and only want to live off welfare?

  2. Kari Rajamäk party or policy

    Immigrants are more criminal than Finns Of course not as the Finnish population is higher than the immigrant population.

    But if you adjust the percentage of crimes to the percentage of the population of the immigrant communities then that’s how the issue of immigrant crime should be looked at.

    But there is also the question of do you mean immigrants living in Finland or those who come into Finland to commit crimes .
    Finland is starting to see the start of a would could be described as a small crime wave of people coming from the new EU states into Finland with the sole intention of committing crimes.But Is that a immigration or EU issue?

    • Enrique

      HI KRPOP, I would debate your percentage of the population argument on criminality. We have had countless discussions on this. First, are you speaking of suspected or sentenced crimes? There is a big difference. Add to this racial profiling and then the issue takes on a new chapter.

      Those coming here to commit crimes are criminals. They are not immigrants and have no intention to stay or work here – except to commit criminal acts. Now if politicians use these criminals to point out how bad immigration is, they are not only misguiding the argument but are acting irresponsibly.

  3. Kari Rajamäk party or policy

    The problem with people coming into Finland to commit crimes is that theses people are members or work for criminal gangs.
    And what they do is send people into Finland who live in Finland and there job is to gather “Intelligence” or where the best places to commit crimes and then send for usually a young gang to go into Finland to commit the crime.
    Recently a gang of “New EU Citizens” where caught breaking into the cathedral, those crimes are not committed on the spur of the moment but are thought out over a period of time.
    The Finnish police hope is to catch theses people during or after the act. But if Finland had more control over its borders then this would reduce the possibly of people entering Finland “To live” with the intention of forward planing a crime.

    Do you think then Astrid Thors is wrong to release statics of where those who commit crimes in Finland who are not Finnish citizens come from?, as this would help certain immigrant groups who always get the blame when it comes to who commits crime.

    • Enrique

      –And what they do is send people into Finland who live in Finland and there job is to gather “Intelligence” or where the best places to commit crimes and then send for usually a young gang to go into Finland to commit the crime.

      How many criminals are you speaking of? 10, 100, 1,000 or 10,000. Keep this in context. We are — and I am speculating — looking at two or three-digit figures when speaking of the crimes you state. What percentage is that of the immigrant community in Finland? Pretty small. Take a look at the big picture. What would happen if we closed our borders or had greater control? Why is freedom of movement important in the EU? What positive things has it brought? The sad matter is that these criminals that come to Finland will find a way to get in even if you stiffen border control. Look at the US-Mexican border. Tighter controls will not resolve or bring down crime.

      -Do you think then Astrid Thors is wrong to release statics of where those who commit crimes in Finland who are not Finnish citizens come from?

      Let me ask you this question: What value do such stastics give that show CONVICTIONS? As you know we don’t have genes that turn us into criminals. Some groups are prone to committing more crimes than others for social rather than ethnic background reasons. The ethic background may have a lot to do with racial profiling. One of the first steps we must take as a society is to rid ourselves of as much prejudice as possible by stopping to see people through ethnic stereotypes. In the US the majority of prison inmates are blacks. Should I therefore fear all blacks and consider them potential criminals?

  4. Kari Rajamäk party or policy

    If Finnish borders where tougher theses petty criminals would move onto another country the fact its easy to enter old EU countries is one of the factors why they come into Finland or Sweden etc etc
    Had they been sent by for example into Finland for the sole purpose of stealing a document for example from an Noika executive with the purpose of selling it on then there would be repeated attempts to enter Finland. But petty thief’s go where the easy pickings are.
    But if you house was burgled and your most personal items stolen and never to be found would you share the same view that theses are only a “handful of criminals” when you become one of their victims.

    I think you would find that most serial killers are white heterosexual males,

    So you would think its would be “Prejudiced or “racist” to tell your wife or girlfriend this as a way to make sure she can be safe when she is out ,as she would know who tend to be the victims of criminals like theses.

    • Enrique

      –If Finnish borders where tougher theses petty criminals would move onto another country the fact its easy to enter old EU countries is one of the factors why they come into Finland or Sweden etc etc

      Sorry KRPOP, your line of thinking on how to lessen crime does not convince me. What you are saying is that we should have more police to deter crime. The difference between I and the True Finns on this issue is pretty clear: Panic that leads to hysteria. In order to keep the hysteria rolling you load it with fear-mongering. I am surprised that people that should know better don’t understand nor do they want to the benefits of our civil liberties. Many autocratic regimes around the world use these argument: more spending on security will bring more security. What it brings is INsecurity.

      One more point: Our law-enforcement and border control is adequate.

  5. Kari Rajamäk party or policy

    Most crimes are committed because of social reason Finland has a education system which makes sure that people can get a education in the hope they can elevate themselves to a level where there not be a reason to commit crimes to make ends meet Finland already has too many policeman which shows that this policy works.
    Other countries who did not have this attitude are seeing the result of this and now are having to increases policing and large use of CCTVs to deal with the crime which comes when you don’t make suer your citizens have a education

    To sneak a small amount of drugs into Finland can be seen as we can not catch everyone.
    But a situation of large cars vans being brought into Finland with the sole purpose of committing a crime and to leave the same day, does not show a adequate border controls its shows a border which to many is seen as the doors or Stockmann once inside they can do their daily or weekly shopping and leave with a friendly smile from the EU.

    The true Finns are a party with a an anti immigration and anti EU rhetoric and on the issue of “EU Crime” they can get two votes on this issue “Immigration” and “EU” this is one of the reason why their percentage on the polls has sky rocketed and others are trailing behind .
    Because I don’t think any other party who can be seen as a serious challenge this year hold both “Anti immigration” and “Anti EU” polices, both which hold support in the minds of many voters .

    • Enrique

      –“Immigration” and “EU” this is one of the reason why their percentage on the polls has sky rocketed and others are trailing behind .

      I agree: thanks to rhetoric and vague plans of action that are unworkable, the True Finns are promising the world to the voters. When do you think their political bubble will burst? Maybe it will start deflating before the elections and then it will big time if they get into goverment. They have no coherent policy on immigration or the EU except to stir a lot of reactive behavior towards hard-working immigrants and the EU. In other words they are a mirage created by anger.

      You want to know why so many people are on the move? 1% lives off 40% of the world’s wealth and because 50% of the people of world live with less than 2 dollars a day. Do you think people are dumb and don’t know where to go?

  6. Kari Rajamäk party or policy

    I am a hard working immigrant myself and have never had any racist or hostile behaviour towards me so I think that” hard working immigrants suffer abuse” is not 100 per cent accurate” .

    As a open supporter of the True Finns shows that the True Finns do not have a problem with immigrants coming into Finland but they have a issue with certain areas of immigration,
    The economic abuse of the asylum system by mainly unskilled illiterate people is one issue. which not just the True Finns but most Finns agree needs to be stopped a issue and situation which has nothing to do with hate or anger but just sensible reality

    Dont think the bubble will burst to be with honest with you, other political parties across Europe have stolen the policies of the far right as they are aware of the mileage that theses policies will bring .

    • Enrique

      –I am a hard working immigrant myself and have never had any racist or hostile behaviour towards me so I think that” hard working immigrants suffer abuse” is not 100 per cent accurate” .

      I am happy for you. But it is difficult to understand your situation because you are speaking anonymously.

      –The economic abuse of the asylum system by mainly unskilled illiterate people is one issue. which not just the True Finns but most Finns agree needs to be stopped a issue and situation which has nothing to do with hate or anger but just sensible reality.

      If there is abuse and if we live in a democracy, why not point this out specifically. But that is the rhetoric of the True Finns: speak in general terms from the OPPOSITION without proving anything never mind giving workable solutions. Right, “most” of the asylum-seekers are illiterate. Spreading myths, stereotypes and fallacies is what the True Finns have done masterfully. Oh, right, there is the Nuiva manifest. A real “masterpiece” that will do wonders for this country. Fortunately there are enough people in this country to know that the path of the True Finns would be a disaster. No matter how many MPs you get you will always be a minority.

      Could you please enlighten me by what you mean that more parties in Europe are turning to the far-right or stolen such ideas on immigration? Where in our values (Constitution, laws) is it ok to hate other groups, exclude them and bash them relentlessly? I think what you are pointing out is a recipe for a future Yugoslavia.

    • Enrique

      –As a open supporter of the True Finns shows that the True Finns do not have a problem with immigrants coming into Finland but they have a issue with certain areas of immigration.

      This statement says it all and is the red herring of the True Finns (anti-)immigration policy. What you are saying here is hey we are all for women’s rights but we don’t know if women are ready to be liberated. The last matter that the far-right anti-immigration wing of the True Finns is interested is civil rights. Freedom of speech means the right to insult others and exclude certain groups from society because you think you have the cultural right (this would never be accepted among Finns) to dictate how others must be. And they are not only immigrants that True Finns loathe but other minorities as well.

      Another issue that the True Finns are in favor of is ditching EMU and EU membership. What do you think about that? Oh, right, crime will go down then.

      This is how I see the country if the True Finns ruled Finland: It would look like a semi-dead village in the countryside inhabited 80% pensioners. Even if we’d be poor we’d have our rabid nationalistic fervor to feed on.

  7. Kari Rajamäk party or policy

    I came into Finland dropped mannerisms which Finns find uncomfortable promoted my culture in the interest of Finns.
    Anyone who lives in Finland who bases their life around their birth culture and starts demanding discussions about immigrant issues has no place in Finland its a absolute lack of respect towards Finland and its culture.
    If immigrants are having problems in Finland then that’s their fault as I seem to get on OK and I am a “Foreigner” so what’s their excuse.

    If you think that the true Finns are going to fail at the election
    I will bet you 2o euros (charity of your choice) that the True Finns will come 4th or higher.
    If your so confidante that they will fail at the election you should have no trouble snapping it up . As they say put your money where you mouth is…

    • Enrique

      –Anyone who lives in Finland who bases their life around their birth culture and starts demanding discussions about immigrant issues has no place in Finland its a absolute lack of respect towards Finland and its culture.

      KRPOP, so the soltuion is to join a racist party like the True Finns or leave the country? I can tell by your stance that you did not live in a democratic society, where people participate and can differ in opinion. Finland — as far as I know — is not that type of a country.

      Are you certain that you have integrated enough into Finnish society? Being quiet and not respecting other people’s ideas is a sign that you have integrated poorly.

      And all this stuff about the “lack of respect” comes from societies where people “must respect” authority; ie are countries were repression is the rule. Finland needs active pro-active immigrants not people who obey and are complacent.

      Coming in fourth place is no big deal. Coming in first, second or third place is.

  8. Tony Garcia

    “Finland — as far as I know — is not that type of a country. ”

    You are dead right, everyone is entitle to have opinion and express it, even those who are critical to this reckless immigration policy Finland has today.

    “not respecting other people’s ideas is a sign that you have integrated poorly.”

    Enrique, be carful with what you say, you don’t respect many people’s ideas. You only respect those who agree with you.

    “Finland needs active pro-active immigrants not people who obey…”

    Could you please clarify to us what should immigrants not obey?

  9. xyz

    You are dead right, everyone is entitle to have opinion and express it, even those who are critical to this reckless immigration policy Finland has today.
    -Did you buy your TV already?

  10. JusticeDemon

    Rajamäk

    I came into Finland dropped mannerisms which Finns find uncomfortable

    This was an interesting remark, but what does it mean?

    You stopped picking your nose or scratching your bottom in public?
    You stopped eating garlic?
    You stopped belching loudly at the dinner table?
    You stopped making lewd remarks about members of the opposite (or the same) sex?
    You stopped binge drinking and urinating in the street?
    You stopped beating your children?

    What were these mannerisms of which you speak?

    I’m also puzzled as to what an immigrant should do when a very common habit is widely condemned. The best example is talking with your mouth full. Every child in Finland is told ei saa puhua ruoka suussa! but this kind of conduct is nevertheless very common in Finland, partly because Finnish people have a much lower level of sensitivity to it as a social faux pas than many immigrants.

  11. xyz

    Today I went to the labor office. They told me that I could also study Swedish if I find Finnish too difficult. Then I asked how my chances are to find a job with Swedish since I read this article:
    http://yle.fi/uutiset/news/2010/11/immigrants_learning_swedish_over_finnish_run_into_problems_2114684.html
    They said, well actually they do speak Finnish here. So I was wondering why they tell me that I should learn Swedish?

    My next question was about the Finnish language courses. What are my chances to find a job here after I complete such an intensive course. I read that only 1 out of 6 do find a job afterwards.
    They said: Well you have to look positive into the future. Maybe you run your own business?

  12. xyz

    I found it quite funny that there are only foreigners (who knows if they really are) posting here who are in favor of the True Finns. Maybe they are just so popular in Finland since there are now more immigrants who live in Finland *lol*

  13. Jonas

    XYZ, where do you live? If you live in some areas, it is not at all a bad idea to learn Swedish first. Additionally, if you have a particular job in mind (particularly if you wish to work in daycare or elderly care), it is not a bad idea; there are shortages of Swedish-speaking personnel in some fields. Finland has two national languages and it is absolutely correct that immigrants are given the opportunity to integrate into the language group of their choice – particularly the young who can easily learn more than one language (just as indeed Swedish-speaking children do). It is, however, vital that the authorities live up to their legal obligations in linguistic service provision, which they are not always doing. Equally, it is important immigrants are given advice that is based on reality. It would not be sensible in most cases to learn Swedish over Finnish in Helsinki, for instance (except perhaps for children or those particularly wishing to enter one of the career groups with big shortages).

  14. Prometo

    @xyz “Swedish” is another tactic that the majority throws at new immigrants in Finland so that they do not master either language competently and feel outside of society, dejected, etc. As Martin pointed above their are no Finnish language courses available above advanced areas. The powers that be are trying their damndest to keep immigrant’s misinformed, uneducated, and most importantly, unable to communicate with eachother -IN FINNISH- in an international forum in Finland. The fact that we communicate in English is their victory in preserving their heimolaiskunta äidinkieli amongst themselves.

  15. Prometo

    That being said, you have to fight back, every day, push yourself in Finnish as hard as you can, tell Finn’s that you do not speak English and fight hard to change society’s view on what or how a Finnish speaker sounds like or where he or she is from. I personally have given up on these pathetic Työväenopisto Finnish ‘for foreigners’ courses and am studying the language on my own. Close friends who are broad minded Finns with a global outlook are helping me out by meeting with me on a regular basis to practice the Finnish I know and to expand my knowledge. I have been here for 9 years and it seems the situation is getting worse, not better. The only way to fight that force that pushes you down is advanced knowledge of Finnish. Its the only way to get ahead and to change stereotypes, and patters of the majority is to be the exception to what they think you are. Like Mohandas said, Be the change you want to see in the world. Taking that advice will get you far in Finland.

    • Enrique

      Hi Prometo, I really like that quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” That is exactly what we must build in Finland.

  16. xyz

    If you have been here for 9 years and still didn’t make it then I think it is better to go to another country. I think these language requirements are just an excuse. Even so you speak the language you might get a job but then there is also the question of advancing in this job. Do you think you will have the same opportunities?

    • Enrique

      xyz if you want to know how things were here before, it was much worse. I once apprlied for a top job at Huhtamäki that required traveling in Latin America (my father spoke Spanish to me as a kid) but guess what happened? We were down to the final two interviews for the job and then I get a call from the company stating that if they don’t like the person they are going to interview they will call me. I got pretty upset and told him that if I cannot go to the interview on equal terms then he could take me off the list. “But you are not a Finn,” he said. Imagine, a multinational company… Companies like Neste (today Fortum) called themselves “international” even though they had no foreign staffers. They had a strict policy: we don’t hire foreigners as staffers. JusticeDemon can fill you in more about the 1980s. Check out the Restricting Act of 1939 and how Finland restricted foreign investment in the country. Foreigners weren’t even allowed to own land. They had to get special permission. The aim of the Aliens’ Office back then was to keep as many foreigners out of Finland as possible.

      What we have today is a different type of discrimination which is more astute and clumsy than we had before.

      I wish you the best of luck xyz!

  17. Klay_Immigrant

    Come on people this is common sense. Unless you know that you will live exclusively in a majority Swedish speaking area of Finland then you would be a fool to learn a language only spoken by 5% of the total population instead of the main native language. If you want to have the greatest chance of succeeding in Finland and gaining employment then you should learn the language spoken by the most. It’s that simple.

  18. xyz

    Enrique: Do you use linkedin? You have to check the profiles of people working in some of those companies. There are plenty who have never worked or studied abroad. What do you expect from them?

    • Enrique

      That’s a good question. I think you have to market yourself and beat them were you are strong. Aren’t there jobs out there that only require English? Remember it is only one person you need that will tell you that you “are hired.”

  19. JusticeDemon

    Prometo (interesting nick!)

    I can readily understand the motivation to learn Finnish despite the obstacles, as I did something very similar. Insisting on using Finnish for official transactions was a big part of this.

    It is unfair to claim that underprovision for upper-intermediate and advanced learners of Finnish is some kind of deliberate official policy. The fact is that Finnish for adult immigrants is a relatively new field in which the most urgent need is for elementary level instruction. Until about 1991 there was virtually no systematic pedagogical theory on teaching Finnish as a foreign language to to non-academic adult speakers of “exotic” native languages.

    The general regulations governing liberal adult education apply equally to everyone. This means that if you can get a group together (I think you need five, or maybe seven learners), then you can secure fairly substantial public subsidies to pay for a teacher. This applies to virtually any subject that can be understood under the broad heading of sivistys.

  20. William O'Gorman

    Fascinating list! My two cents worth:

    1. They move to this country and cause a recession. (Stereotype #1)

    Cool…quite the opposite actually. I hope that my actions will in time actually influence and bring more money to this country not to mention I currently bring a lot of money to my community as it is- and not just through tax!

    2. Immigrants are not entitled to the same citizen and basic rights as Finns? (#5)

    Same citizenship or rights? far enough then I should pay less tax then the real Finnish people. If I am not considered an equal then I should’nt have to pay!

    3. Immigrants are responsible for fuelling unemployment and poverty in Finland. (#7)

    My skill set is something that no other Finn can provide in Finland. Does that mean that I am taking someone elses job? But I get the point of this. In Ireland we had the same stupid comments. Irish people were not willing to work in the crap jobs but immigrants did and still the Irish compained about not getting work and foreigners taking their jobs. Wake up and get off the doll queue.

    4. Immigrants are more criminal than Finns. (#8)

    I guess this is true since I have 1 speeding ticket. Finns dont commit crime …dont you know.

    5. They move to this country and don’t want to learn Finnish. (#11)

    Dont need to really. Happy here with , wait for it, Finnish friends!, who have no problem. Play football, Sahlu and all that. Nice people actually! Someday I will get it but for now my work and life and my contribution to local community through my work dont need Finnish. Have a class every Thursday which is nice. I can say my birthday and where I come from. Look at me! Actually the funny thing is, and this is probably just my case, is that I am literally so busy working that I dont have time to learn Finnish properly! I mean the 3 or 4 hours a day it takes to really get the language down. I am sure this post might annoy some here but hey I pay my taxes and do a damn good job here. Great stuff! (also just bought a house and paid my god damn taxes for that too….!)

    • Enrique

      Hi William, great stuff! This is an example of how immigrants should create their own place in Finland: Just do it! as the person said. There are many examples in Finland like this.

  21. JusticeDemon

    Nice one William

    A Scottish Chinaman running a car valeting business in Oulu!

    I wonder if you are aware of MPS Selection, a Finnish multinational company now operating in 24 countries that was founded in 1975 by an immigrant.

  22. Tony Garcia

    XYZ, I disagree with just about everything you say, but I do wish you best of luck in your job hunting.

    A little peace of advice, don’t listen to what people from employment office has to say, they are there to read you a script. A tape recorder would do a better job. I moved to Finland on the 1st of January, few days latter I did the usual going about, Magistrate, Kela, MOL. The woman in there started to explain what I had to do the claim benefits, I told her to look at my CV. I told that I was a different immigrant, if I didn’t get a job I would go back to the UK. She replaying saying that would be very difficult. 15 days after that meeting I was staring my first day in Nokia as an engineer. All my years in Finland, beside paternity leave, I never received one cent in social welfare. A record that some followers of this blog can only dream about.

    So, forget MOL, keep sending CV’s and good luck.

  23. JusticeDemon

    lol@Tony the Toby

    All my years in Finland

    And you still can’t speak Finnish.

    How much was the private insurance covering full coverage against the costs of accident and permanent hospitalisation? How much did you pay for private nursery, education and health care services for your entire family? How much did you pay for your own private police force? What did it cost to arrange your own private fire brigade? How much did it cost you to build and maintain the private road network leading to your home? How did you arrange private utility services like water and electricity?

    Most importantly, how could you afford to opt out of all of these public services on the salary of an engineer at Nokia plc?

    I think you obviously had another source of income, possibly from criminal activity. Did you pay tax on this?

    On the other hand, you could just be chronically thick, with no real understanding of the full scale of Nordic welfare provision.

    That’s much more likely.

  24. xyz

    I told that I was a different immigrant, if I didn’t get a job I would go back to the UK.
    -Listen, I moved to Finland because my girlfriend is Finnish. Should I wait my whole life until I find a job here in order to be able to live together with my girlfriend?

    All my years in Finland, beside paternity leave, I never received one cent in social welfare.
    -Yeah, why do you not speak Finnish then. Because you are a different immigrant?

  25. Tony Garcia

    XYZ, I tried to be nice to you, wish you luck, give a bit of my experience and some advice and you reply with rudeness. Well I still wish you good luck but this is the end of our conversation.

  26. foreigner

    5. Wrong. In fact, there’s fewer language courses available than there is demand for, plus there’s hardly any course offered beyond the basic level, which leaves many foreign professionals feeling that they won’t be able to progress beyond basic shopping vocabulary or ever get around feeling confident in using Finnish at work.

    – I have a problem with this *there’s fewer language courses available than there is demand for* I used to live in Kokkoa, a small town, and whenever they had organized the course directed at intermediary level people, the course got to be cancelled due to lack of participants. Two years, I think, they tried and after that, i saw no advertisement of that. Now i am in Oulu. They have the advanced course. So, the fact is just the opposite. There’s no demand (except a handful, 2-3 at most in places like Kokkola) for advanced courses, save big cities where higher number of immigrants live in.

    • Enrique

      Hi foreigner and welcome to our blog. Thank you for taking the time to share your views with us. Finnish- and/or Swedish-langauge courses are super important and a means to get your foot into the door of this culture so to speak. Crucial are jobs that would be the icing on the cultural-adaption cake.

      Have those advanced Finnish-language courses been effective. Have you learned a lot of new things?

  27. JusticeDemon

    lol@the TobyJug

    Funny to see the TobyJug spit his dummy out like that.

    It’s rude of xyz to point out that both partners in a couple should have a say in where that couple chooses to live (this offends the Toby’s sense of machismo, which is SO appropriate for Finland), and to call attention to the fact that the Toby failed to learn a word of Finnish during his imaginary years in Finland (and therefore depended on the charity of others in all sorts of social and commercial transactions).

    lol

    Tony the Toby

    Can’t laugh without you.

  28. JusticeDemon

    foreigner

    I’m not sure that you are really disagreeing about oversubscription of Finnish language courses, simply because an intermediate level course could not be held in Kokkola, a town of just under 46,000 residents with only 660 native speakers of languages other than Finnish or Swedish over 18 years of age at the end of 2009.

    Indeed it would be quite surprising to find enough participants for such a course from such a catchment area.

    Oulu is certainly one of the leading cities in Finland for immigrant integration programmes, and has shown a degree of consistent long-term commitment that puts many larger cities to shame.

  29. Martin-Éric

    xyz, I’m really amazed that you have been offered to study Swedish, since I have been asking for this for over 10 years, without success. As far as I can tell, integration classes in Swedish are only offered in west coast municipalities with Swedish majority. As such, if you have heard of any integration classes in Swedish being offered in Helsinki, I’d really like to know where and when. PS: no, ARBIS’ “intensive” class does not count, because it’s only 2 afternoons per week. To qualify for integration measures, a course must offer 20 hours of teaching per week.

  30. Martin-Éric

    Sure enough, checking just now among the integration classes offered, the only place where any integration classes in Swedish are offered in the whole Finland, right now, is Närpes. There are also labor training classes offered to Finnish speakers to improve their Swedish in Raasepori. Other than that, nothing. Last time I checked (in September, if I recall correctly), in addition to the same two above, there were also integration classes in Swedish being offered in Vaasa. Otherwise, that’s it. Everything else is Finnish classes. I would thus really like to know which damn työvoimatoimisto in the metropolitan area has offered non-existing Swedish integration courses to XYZ.

  31. xyz

    Martin: I am not sure if this was an integration course. She said I do not qualify anymore for any integration course since I have lived already 3 years in Finland. She just said that I should maybe learn Swedish since it is closer to my language. But what is the use of Swedish in Helsinki?

  32. Martin-Éric

    Actually, according to the current policy, you qualify regardless of how long you have lived here. The minute you are registered as unemployed at the employment office and you are found to be of foreign origin, they will immediately offer language classes as labor training. That people who have exceeded 3 years (normal integration period) or 5 years total (maximum extended integration period) fall off the integration measures is irrelevant since, according to current policy ANY unemployed immigrant who does not master either of the two national languages is eligible for language classes (but not for the other integration measures).

    XYZ, I would be very curious if you could go there again and agree with them that Swedish would indeed be easier for you to learn and ask where you could in fact take full-time Swedish classes paid by the employment office. Since they offered you Swedish, they would also have to know where the class is being offered, since there would be no incentive for them to offer a course that is not available.

  33. xyz

    Martin, I actually went to the EURES Center near the central station. I am not sure if they will tell me the same story in the Hakaniemi employment office. But to be honest, I don’t see any point to learn Swedish in Helsinki. My firend is a native Swedish speaker and also says that it is hard for him.

  34. Martin-Éric

    XYZ, do you have the name of the bureaucrat you spoke to at the EURES center in Kluuvi?

    I fully realize that there is little point in starting with the minority language, since it would amount to self-exclusion from the vast majority of the jobs. However, the point is that, in theory, someone can freely choose which of the languages they want to integrate in. In practice, hardly anyone ever mentions the Swedish option, because the course simply isn’t offered anywhere asides from in those 3 Swedish-speaking municipalities which I mentioned earlier. As such, for some bureaucrat to venture into offering you either choices implies one of two alternatives: 1) there indeed is a little-know way to register for Swedish classes and get the employment office to pay for that and I’d like to know how, or 2) that bureaucrat is dumb enough to offer you a course that is non-existent. Over the years, I have indeed met really thick bureaucrats at the employment office, but none of them would be THAT dumb that they would offer something non-existent.

    Martin-Éric

  35. xyz

    Well, in the EURES center you have to go to the third floor. After you open the door to the employment office you turn right, go to the end of the corridor and turn righ again where you go to the end of this corridor. I think it was the last room on the left hand side in this corridor. The woman was blond and had some issues to walk. Unfortunately, I don’t know her name.

  36. foreigner

    JusticeDemon

    Yes, I disagree but it would imply that foreigners or immigrants are not willing to study Finnish and that’s where you might have problems as I understand but we all agree that in small cities, there aren’t simply enough immigrants to keep the intermediatries/advanced courses running. Like I mentioned eariler, now I am in Oulu and seeing a vast number of language ocurese being offered by publicly funded organizations, even on ‘just drop by’ basis, I wonder if it’s even possible to oversubscribe. But again if I talk this way, it becomes a political issue, unwillingly.

Leave a Reply