According to Statistics Finland’s Working Paper series, Finland is no land of opportunity for migrants, writes Pekka Myrskylä. The Statistics Finland’s development manager claims that the employment level of Estonians and Thai citizens matches that of ethnic Finns. The majority of migrants live in poverty in Finland, according to him.
If what Myrskyä writes is true, it reveals once again how anti-immigration parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) and others have directly lied to voters that migrants get more welfare benefits than Finns.
Certainly one question we could ask is why are we being told these disturbing facts about migrants now. Why didn’t politicians, policy-makers and the media challenge the hostile attacks against migrants before the 2011 parliamentary elections, when politicians like Jussi Halla-aho, James Hirvisaari, Teuvo Hakkarainen and many others of the PS were having a field day claiming that migrants rape and live off social welfare?
The fact that most migrants live in poverty in Finland today gives us new arguments to raise our voices even more and demand basic rights. Just like the Civil Rights Movement (1955-68) of the United States, our clarion call should also be jobs and social equality.
Read full blog entry (in Finnish) here.
Myrskylä writes that 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).
Myrskylä writes: “Generous social welfare benefits to migrants appear to be an urban legend. Since migrants make a quarter less than natives, welfare benefits are smaller since they hinge on earnings-related subsidies.”
One out of five migrants who move to Finland leave the country in search for better opportunities elsewhere. As much as 80% of migrants that come from the Nordic Region and Western Europe leave.
The situation is, however, different for people from Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia where 90% stay in Finland after five years. Myrskylä said that people who come from crisis regions and from poorer nations remain because they have nowhere else to go.
Finland’s good educational system is a lure for migrants. However, many of these students move out of the country after taking a degree.