Higher unemployment and economic woes spell big trouble for migrants and visible minorities

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Finland got shocking news Thursday when postal company Itella announced that it may shed up to 1,200 jobs, according to Yle in English. Taking into account that unemployment shot up in 2013 to 7.9% from 6.9% in the previous year, what do these two news stories mean for the migrant and visible minority community?

Those who lived through the early 1990s in Finland, when this country suffered its worst economic downturn in a century and when unemployment soared to around 18%, it’s nothing unusual that migrants were hit especially hard back then.

Since migrant unemployment is normally two to three times higher than the national average in Finland, that means the jobless rate for migrants at that time was 53% in 1994!

Kuvankaappaus 2014-1-23 kello 21.08.33
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While unemployment in Finland is still lower today than that 10.5% average for the European Union, migrants and visible minorities have a lot to worry about since the recession will be especially harsh with them during two consecutive election years.

Just like about twenty years ago, the dire economic situation will offer self-declared and closet racists the opportunity to layoff migrants or to make their life miserable at work. How? By letting them know that the shadow of unemployment hangs constantly over them.

Contrary to the early 1990s, when Finland didn’t have a large anti-immigration party like the Perussuomalaiset today, migrants and visible minorities will be scapegoated and victimized relentlessly by greedy and opportunistic politicians.

With the Euro MP elections in May and the parliamentary elections in April 2015, the going for migrants and visible minorities in Finland and Europe is going to get tougher.

The situation resembles a sinking ship where most of the passengers will be sacrificed to the chilling waters because there are too few lifeboats for everyone.

What will make matters worse is the dog-eat-dog climate that will discourage solidarity.

 

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