Foreigner, jobless and excluded from the job market despite fluency in Finnish language

by , under Enrique Tessieri

How well must I speak Finnish in order to land a job? That question, even if it hounds many of us, is a very topical question that leads us to other ones that expose the culprit of discrimination. Like most matters in Finland that deal with discrimination and racism, the burden of proof falls on the victim. 

Few will disagree that we need a more radical proactive about-turn by the authorities requiring them to monitor and challenge discrimination and racism in all public spaces.

It’s clear that if we wait for politicians in this country, never mind the government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä to improve matters on this front, we’ll be waiting for centuries long after we have turned into dust.


www.mol.fi is one site were lots of people search for attainable or unattainable opportunities.

But we don’t have centuries to wait or the patience. We want the government and the public servants of Finland to take a more active role in combating all forms of discrimination and racism in this country.

Migrant Tales receives emails regularly from its readers. The one below tells us about a recurring problem that people with high education face in this country: getting a job and unemployment.

As everyone knows, your chances of landing a job hinges in Finland depends as well on your national and ethnic background.

The person below writes in an email:   “I want to point out the fact that the language barrier and the economy have nothing to do why foreigners are not able to get a job. Foreigners should not ever blame themselves. I am fluent in Finnish. I’m a living example that doesn’t matter how highly skilled you are in Finnish language or educated, the companies don’t give a flying fuck even you have Harvard degree.” 

He continues in another email:

“I’m a 35-years old foreigner and I speak fluent Finnish and who has been living most of his life in Finland. I have BBA degree and still I haven’t got a permanent job in Finland. Last time I sent a CV to a company in Helsinki who was looking to hire a “sales assistant”. I sent the CV at 2 clock on a morning and later on that morning I got response 9 clock stating that they had “already” found a person for the position. Still even today this same company has their application in mol.fi and the expiration date was March 24.

This is just a tip of the iceberg of what I have been dealing with for decades and getting a job in Finland. And it has nothing to do with the “language barrier.” Finnish companies claim that they are not able to hire foreigners because the language barrier or lack of experience. This is not true because companies simply only hire FINNS and foreigners don’t get anything more than the crumbs on the table. I have sent an estimated over 200 CVs and I have never got a single interview in my lifetime. This xenophobia problem isn’t just in Finland but it’s all over Scandinavia and which foreigners just have to “deal” with. If Finland is suppose to be a country that promotes “equality” even for foreigners than why do European and companies from other countries treat Finns better and give them a job while foreigners don’t get anything in Finland?

If language is really the problem why companies don’t hire foreigners then how do they tell me that I don’t have a job because I don’t speak perfect Finnish?”

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