Do mobile phone companies and insurers discriminate against immigrants living in Finland?

by , under Enrique

Migrant Tales published Monday a story about how mobile phone operators in Finland require immigrants to make at least a 300-euro deposit and be a resident of this country for two years to get a mobile phone line.  

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The Ombudsman for Minorities is a good place to inquire about your rights. They have a customer service line that one can call on weekdays 10-12  at +358 (0)71 878 8666

Thanks to Stephen Penny, whose blog entries have been published previously on Migrant Tales, wrote to us about the problems he’s been having in getting a mobile phone line in Helsinki. “Nightmare!” he tweeted. “I went to get a pre-paid SIM at the weekend, & was told 5 years for a mobile contract or EUR300-500 up front deposit!”

Penny said that one operator, Elisa, told him that it would take as long as five years before he could get a contract.  He said that the 300-500-euro deposit would only be refunded when the contract ended, normally after 24 months.

Asking a potential customer to pay a 300-500-euro deposit can be a tall order if you are a refugee and living off social assistance, which amounts to a few hundred euros a month.

An official at the Ombudsman for Minorities told Migrant Tales that the only reason why a phone operator can ask a potential client to meet the two-year residence requirement is if the person doesn’t have a credit history.

Another official at the National Discrimination Tribunal of Finland (Syrjintälautakunta) said that there was no cases brought to the tribunal’s attention concerning the two-year-or-more residence requirement by Finnish mobile phone operators.

Another interesting story that was brought to our attention Tuesday was how some Finnish insurance companies like IF require immigrants to have a social security institution Kela card for two years to get life insurance.

Writes Joe: ”I had a similar experience when I tried to get a life insurance policy here and was told that, even though I’m an EU citizen, I would have to live in Finland for between 2 and 5 years before any insurance company would consider me.”

Carlos Loarca confirmed in an email what Joe said: ”My experience about the insurance company IF [one of the biggest or the biggest in Scandinavia] told me that I can not apply for a personal insurance after I have my Kela card for longer than 2 years.”

The official from the Ombudsman for Minorities office was unaware that insurance companies like IF require immigrants to have a Kela card for two years to get life insurance.

One way of moving ahead would be to complain to the Ombudsman for Minorities with some concrete cases and/or bring it to the attention of the National Discrimination Tribunal of Finland as well.

If you want your case to be heard by the Ombudsman for Minorities, write to mingranttalesblog@gmail.com .

 

  1. Farang

    “I went to get a pre-paid SIM at the weekend, & was told 5 years for a mobile contract or EUR300-500 up front deposit!”

    You should be more accurate with these. The above statement is misleading.

    There is no requirements for residence or deposit if you take pre-paid SIM card. Pre-paid SIM cards can be bought by anyone, you don’t even have to prove your identity.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –You should be more accurate with these. The above statement is misleading.

      He meant getting a contract with the telephone operator without having to dish out a 300-500-euro deposit.

    • Farang

      No, there is clearly mentioned: “I went to get a pre-paid SIM at the weekend”

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