Politicians in Finland who "shop" for your anti-immigration vote

by , under All categories, Enrique

By Enrique Tessieri

Everyone needs to think, first of all, of themselves when it comes to education like an immigrant. How does an immigrant think? He thinks, nothing is owed me. I don’t have a place waiting for me at Harvard. I better understand the world I’m living in and boy, I better work harder than the next guy because I’ve got nothing else going for me. Thomas L. Freidman

The level of debate in Finland concerning immigrants and cultural diversity is still far from Freidman’s quote. Politicians who denigrate and insult immigrants and refugees as “welfare shoppers” hide the real motive behind their ludicrous claim: They are shopping for your vote.

What has happened to some of us? Those very values that made our country a good place to live in weren’t certainly built on greed. I personally enjoy being a member of my community and helping others. Many people in this country feel the same way as I.

One of the matters that I have noticed in the ongoing one-sided debate in Finland on immigrants and immigration is that some take criticism personally. They may ask: “How dare this person, who isn’t even a white Finn, dare criticize my country?!”

Nothing could be further from the truth. People who debate openly and question a social ill like racism and prejudice are should be seen as this country’s true “patriots.” Since when was apathy and spreading racism a constructive society-building process?

Such attitudes not only reveal the person’s low self-esteem but their arrogance. Some of them picture Finnish culture and Finland as something frail ready to wilt and die if it comes in contact with the outside world.

The crucial matter that stops some from overcoming their reactive arguments is acceptance of  “others.”  As we have stated on this blog previously, acceptance should be a mutual process.

A warning to all those that continue to spread urban tales about immigrants and minorities. What they write today will be read in the future. Do some of them want to look like a Finnish version of the Klu Klux Klan or someone who had a vision of the future?

We at Migrant Tales have chosen the latter route.

  1. Mark

    Politicians who denigrate and insult immigrants and refugees as “welfare shoppers” hide the real motive behind their ludicrous claim:

    Yep, God forbid that migrants or assylum seekers show resourcefulness in finding a country that has a good system. Poor people are not allowed to be resourceful, are they. They are supposed to be good ‘charity’ cases, accepting what’s handed to them without complaint and with eternal gratitude.

    Of course, the problem for Europe is that as each country battles to make their own welfare system ‘unattractive’, they undermine the welfare support for their existing citizens at the same time, unless you want to introduce 2nd class citizenship for immigrants, which is hardly a good way to welcome them. Likewise, immigrant families already suffer excessive poverty, and cutting payments only makes matters worse, making integration more difficult, making immigrant communities more resentful and further fueling racism and other problems associated with deprived areas.

    This idea that immigrants have to be dumped at the absolute bottom of the pile and they have to work their way up is quite an odd one, especially as they are immediately disadvantaged already compared to the native populations. And then natives complain that they don’t do very well! Well, they perhaps complain about that even when many of them are doing well. Selective vision.

    The key benefit of immigration is an increased workforce, regardless of the reasons for why immigrants enter a country (i.e. assylum seekers, marriage, family reunification). For that to happen, jobs must be made available and money put into equipping immigrants with skills that will get them a job.

    If you consider that immigration is intended to offset an aging population and falling replacement rate, then it’s self-evident that the cost of training an immigrant or providing welfare support in the first few years of integration is a far smaller investment than that made by society in rearing a child from birth to adulthood, with up to 18 years of day care, free education, health care, welfare (child allowance) and income support.

    Conceiving immigrants as ‘welfare shoppers’ is basically scapegoating.

  2. Yossie

    “Yep, God forbid that migrants or assylum seekers show resourcefulness in finding a country that has a good system. Poor people are not allowed to be resourceful, are they.”

    I suppose that is one way to call it, resourcefulness… And what happens when all the poor in the world become as “resourceful”? Surely Finland’s welfare system can support such a wast amount of resourcefullness. Lets just take 2 million more resourceful people right? Doesnt make a difference?

    Further more, when these peoples resourcefulness is aimed into getting into Europe, is it no wonder their countries are what they are? If they used more of their energy in making their country better, who knows what might happen.

    “They are supposed to be good ‘charity’ cases, accepting what’s handed to them without complaint and with eternal gratitude.”

    Considering the conditions these people claim come from, you would expected them to be when most of their country men arent as lucky!

    “f course, the problem for Europe is that as each country battles to make their own welfare system ‘unattractive’,”

    In due time most likely the welfare system we know it will be gone for good. Some reasons for this:

    1) Lack of pride and loss of shame

    My grand father would had never gone to Kela to get support. He would had felt embarred of not been able to support his own family or himself. Nowdays people argue that they are trapped since even if there is work available, the money is the same as they would get from benefits. There is no embarrasment of living of other people. Nowdays it would be considered stupid to work if you can get the same money from benefits.

    2) Lack of jobs

    When the welfare system was made, it was rather easy to get some kind of job. Nowdays the manual labor jobs all go to china and other low cost countries. Most likely the system was meant for to used in cases when you were between jobs or rather small cases of long unemployment.

    3) Immigrants

    For now in lesser degree but how in future? Finland has cold weather, dark seasons high taxes and small and relatively hard language. These dont encourage those immigrants to come that know they can provide for themselves. When ever I have met an highly educated immigrant, usually the reason for him to come here has been a finnish girl. Apart from that, we get the “resourceful” people who come for the welfare.

    “Likewise, immigrant families already suffer excessive poverty, and cutting payments only makes matters worse, making integration more difficult, making immigrant communities more resentful and further fueling racism and other problems associated with deprived areas.”

    And this is the reason I am not so keen on taking these kind of immigrants. If they have nothing special to offer in the job market, it will lead to these kind of problems.

    “The key benefit of immigration is an increased workforce, regardless of the reasons for why immigrants enter a country (i.e. assylum seekers, marriage, family reunification). For that to happen, jobs must be made available and money put into equipping immigrants with skills that will get them a job. ”

    Jobs must be available. Yes indeed. But when there is not? We have plenty of finns unemployed too. If it was so easy to employ people, the finns would be employed already since they have better starting point than the most of the immigrants.

    “then it’s self-evident that the cost of training an immigrant or providing welfare support in the first few years of integration is a far smaller investment than that made by society in rearing a child from birth to adulthood, with up to 18 years of day care, free education, health care, welfare (child allowance) and income support. ”

    I wonder if it is really so. I remember reading that 3 years wasnt enough for integration. In the end the immigrant would need to be educated same as a finnish child.Further more all expenses paid compared to finnish child’s parents paying most of it. But then again I do not have any numbers so makes me wonder how it is.

  3. Mark

    Yossie

    A country that receives refugees needs to make efforts to support the integration of those refugees and immigrants.

    The biggest complaint in Finland among stakeholders trying to assist immigrants enter the job market is a lack of funding, lack of proper contacts between agencies and NGO’s working for immigrants, lack of political planning and support and a lack of information. For immigrants, the problems are lack of education and training possibilties that are flexible to their needs (e.g. women with families), lack of progressive and flexible language training, lack of information, lack of recognition of non-national qualifications, and sometimes a lack of freedom to make choices. There are very limited opportunities for migrants to become self-employed, for example.

    That’s the problem. It takes time to develop and scale up expertise, and for Finland, immigration remains a fairly new phenomenon. Limited resources are spread out across Finland, while concentrations in city areas bring other kinds of problems, such as white flight, which only restricts integration even further.

    You know, you get what you put in. If Finland accepts refugees and immigrants and then does not put the resources necessary into integration, then it’s a no-win situation for everyone. At the same time, moaning about it and blaming refugees exclusively for the problem or simply saying that we should never have let them in in the first place does nothing to solve the problem. In fact, it simply makes it worse.

    it’s very easy to have a totally pessimistic picture. Even in the most difficult immigration groups, nearly half manage to find work or are in the process of acquiring skills to enter the workforce. Thousands of immigrant women, the hardest group to reach in many ways, are working in cleaning services, sales work, teaching and education, and restaurant services in Finland.

    It’s easy to have strong feelings about this subject, but it’s important to get all the facts, too.

  4. Mark

    Quoting works by using

    [blockquote] quoted text [/blockquote]

    but use greater than and less than signs instead of square brackets. Alt 60 and Alt 62 on your keyboard.

  5. depressed immigrant

    Yossie: I suppose that is one way to call it, resourcefulness… And what happens when all the poor in the world become as “resourceful”? Surely Finland’s welfare system can support such a wast amount of resourcefullness. Lets just take 2 million more resourceful people right? Doesnt make a difference

    yossie i’m somalian and i can assure you that i never understand what this welfare shopper means when they use it on us. First of all welfare is such small aount of money that no sane person would want to live on it, secondly everyone of us wants to work but foreigners need help from finnish authorities and some effort, becus many of us are being discriminated and the reason why is a label that we have or that we were given by the racist in finland. ive been in to job interviews many times i didnt receive quite friendly gesture many of those interviews on the contrary i received quite hostile gesture. The point im trying to make is we’re not welfare shoppers it’s highly disrespectful term used on us, it’s wrong, people are individuals.

    • Enrique

      –yossie i’m somalian and i can assure you that i never understand what this welfare shopper means when they use it on us.

      Depressed Immigrant, it really boils my blood when I see opportunistic politicians using the term when in reality they are shopping for your vote. I have a suggestion: Let’s call anti-immigration politicians like the ones we know “vote shoppers.”

  6. Yossie

    Depressed immigrant

    Some reason I consider somalis to be welfare shoppers are as follows:

    1) over 50% unemployment rating. You can argue that you are being discriminated, because you are black, but the fact is that there is black groups that have a better employment ratings than native finns.

    2) Finland is the end of the line when you come from Somalia. If you are going to Russia, Sweden or Norway, there is better ways to go. Why make a longer trip passing safe countries if you are looking for refuge? Why come to a country with horrible climate, dark times half a year and high taxes? To me it seems you all after the welfare benefits. If you were planning working why are you coming to a country that taxes you more to give out to those that dont?

    3) Almost 50% of somali womes are single mothers. Really? Can you explain me why it is so?

    4) Foster children. After they started to do DNA tests to prove relations, there started to come a lot of claimed foster children with somali refugees’ family reunifications.

    Now I cant say why you have received hostile gestures at interviews. But after all they did ask you to come for an interview. Several ones as you told too. Maybe you misread their behavior? Suppose its hard to tell since its not us in there to witness what actually happent.

  7. Yossie

    Mark

    Thank you for the quote tips

    There indeed seems to be a lot of need for money in the integration industry. This is why I have always felt puzzled when people say multiculturalism enrich us. For me it shows as people coming here in whom we need to use a lot of money before they can be providing for society. In the end, the last immigration minister refused to calculate what is the cost of all this for the country.

    If there is no money to go around for integration. It actually makes a lot of sense to say we should not take more. It will confine the problem since there is no more integradable people coming so we can use the resources we have to integrate those we already have. This doesnt mean we cant take students and others who can apply for a job straigh away without need for excessive integration.

    While blaming immigrants for all might not be the best approach. There should be some responsibility for immigrants too to make their best. As make it, failure in integrations means we are not using enough money in it. To me it looks like the worse they integrate, the worse the integration industy works, more money they get.

    Enrique talks a lot about respect. To me respect needs to be earned. I do not give it automatically when asked to. I do respect Fatbardhe Hetemaj since once in an interview, I saw her telling how once her family came to Finland, her parents wanted them spent their evenings together studying finnish in their home. And you can hear that when she speaks. That I can admire while if I dont always agree with what she says.

    • Enrique

      –Enrique talks a lot about respect. To me respect needs to be earned.

      Respect from whom? From you? Then we’d have to wait generations and even such a long time your answer would be maybe.

      How many Somalis do you know?

  8. Peter

    Thank you Enrique for opening up this discussion. It is evident that some wish to point the finger at newcomers as “welfare shoppers” etc., whilst attempting to avoid the issues at hand. I’ll quickly address the discussion in the comments above and then offer my own scant contribution.

    Yossie: There are problems in every ‘group’ in society including our so called ‘native population’. By pointing the finger at Somalis you stereotype some 11 000 plus persons, (many of whom are full Finnish citizens) as morally deficient.

    And by the way, your ‘facts’ do not appear to correlate with those held by Statistics Finland (http://www.stat.fi/index_en.html) and many other sources. You may wish to check their sources.

    I suggest that you do not use urban myths as a factual basis for argument in future. The statements you have made are inflammatory. Stigmatizing others simply leads to further marginalization and deprivation. If you care about this country and its future, you might consider it necessary to break down many of the social barriers that exist preventing newcomers from full integration in our society.

    And now to my own contribution…

    Enrique draws attention to the term “patriot”. Indeed, many persons–including myself–consider themselves patriotic.

    I am proud of this country and maintain a critical view in the hope that WE continue to uphold its many positive facets. (i.e., a high regard for education, social democratic values, a consciousness of the natural environment and respect for nature … I’ll stop myself before I ramble on too much!)

    However, sadly the term patriot has been high-jacked by the Tea Party set and conservative nationalists in the USA. Therefore, I wish to rescue it, so to speak, clarifying what I as a patriot in Finland mean when using the term.

    As Sydney J. Harris once wrote: “Patriotism is proud of a country’s virtues and eager to correct its deficiencies; it also acknowledges the legitimate patriotism of other countries, with their own specific virtues. The pride of nationalism, however, trumpets its country’s virtues and denies its deficiencies, while it is contemptuous toward the virtues of other countries. It wants to be, and proclaims itself to be, “the greatest,” but greatness is not required of a country; only goodness is.”

    As a patriot, I welcome all who wish to contribute to our society. Culture in NOT fixed, language is NOT static. A Finlander–that is, an inhabitant of Finland–is not of fixed color, creed nor language, but a person who wishes to work together for the good of all in society.

    To scapegoat a ‘group’ within our society is to create rips within the very social fabric. Ultimately like a torn garment, a society divided amongst itself cannot prosper!

    In the UK under the Thatcher government (1979-1990) “single mothers” were much vilified as “scroungers” and “lay-abouts”. This did nothing to help them or their children, but (much like immigrants today) it allowed the conservative right to feel morally superior. The effects of such practices have long lasting implications for our society. Let’s bear this in mind!

  9. justicedemon

    A very simple question. Why is it that there are no recorded cases in which integration allowance has been reduced on the grounds of refusing work or training?

    Integration allowance is only paid to immigrants. If immigration for welfare is as common as these racists suggest, then we can only conclude that the Finnish officials at local employment offices are systematically breaking the law by not advising KELA to reduce the integration allowances of claimants who refuse to work. This would constitute massive and systematic misconduct by hundreds of officials in local employment offices throughout Finland.

    The choice is simple: either immigrants are not refusing work and the immigration for welfare label is merely an empty PerusNazi propaganda slur, or hundreds of government officials are systematically conspiring to hide such refusals.

    Over to you, Hannu… Go find the statistics on TEM statements to KELA that specifically reference a cut in integration allowance due to refusal of work or training.

  10. Laputis

    “Some reason I consider somalis to be welfare shoppers are as follows:

    1) over 50% unemployment rating. You can argue that you are being discriminated, because you are black, but the fact is that there is black groups that have a better employment ratings than native finns.

    2) Finland is the end of the line when you come from Somalia. If you are going to Russia, Sweden or Norway, there is better ways to go. Why make a longer trip passing safe countries if you are looking for refuge? Why come to a country with horrible climate, dark times half a year and high taxes? To me it seems you all after the welfare benefits. If you were planning working why are you coming to a country that taxes you more to give out to those that dont?

    3) Almost 50% of somali womes are single mothers. Really? Can you explain me why it is so?

    4) Foster children. After they started to do DNA tests to prove relations, there started to come a lot of claimed foster children with somali refugees’ family reunifications.”

    I am not Somali, but I think the answers to above reasons are considered following:

    1) most Somali women are unemployed. Most likely it has something to do with female role in Somali culture. The unemployed Somali women are definately included in figure.

    2) I have heard from few immigrants that they knew nothing about Finland before they came there, so that´s why they came. I know that many immigrants have returned home, after living some period in Finland. So in reality they wouldn´t come, if they had more information or knowledge about Finland.
    Russia BTW has enough bad reputation worldwide, connected to frequent racist attacks, not so good welfare system etc.

    3) I was reading that Somali practise polygamous marriage, where one man can marry several women. But, since it is against Finland´s law, they have to hide it. And leave officially only one wife. So many official “single mothers” in reality are married women.

  11. justicedemon

    Yossie

    1) over 50% unemployment rating. You can argue that you are being discriminated, because you are black, but the fact is that there is black groups that have a better employment ratings than native finns.

    By this naive argument Finns in Eastern and Northern Finland are similarly welfare shoppers. Well over fifteen percent of the Finnish workforce also quite suddenly became welfare shoppers in 1991. The very fact that the PerusNazis focus on Somalis as opposed to other immigrants with darker skin already exposes the fine structure of racial discrimination in Finland.

    2) Finland is the end of the line when you come from Somalia. If you are going to Russia, Sweden or Norway, there is better ways to go. Why make a longer trip passing safe countries if you are looking for refuge? Why come to a country with horrible climate, dark times half a year and high taxes? To me it seems you all after the welfare benefits. If you were planning working why are you coming to a country that taxes you more to give out to those that dont?

    The post-civil war Somali diaspora numbers over two million people. Only about one per cent of these displaced human beings settled in Finland. Most of the arrivals came by train from Moscow, which was one of the few destinations open to direct flights from Somalia at the time. This is why the earliest arrivals in Finland tended to be from the Somali middle and upper social classes. Remember the horrified racists complaining that these darkies are so nicely dressed that they cannot possibly be refugees? Russia at that time was a politically unstable entity emerging from the ruins of the USSR, and there are indications that Russian officials herded incoming Somalis onto trains bound for Leningrad and Helsinki as there was no State apparatus to accommodate them.

    3) Almost 50% of somali womes are single mothers. Really? Can you explain me why it is so?

    Please quote a source for this statistic. Even if true, how is it in any way relevant to anything other than a crude attempt to stigmatise people?

    4) Foster children. After they started to do DNA tests to prove relations, there started to come a lot of claimed foster children with somali refugees’ family reunifications.

    This is an obscene reversal of the truth. In fact when dna testing was introduced the Directorate of Immigration immediately had to cancel over one hundred family reunification refusals because the authority had quite arbitrarily chosen to disbelieve the claims of biological parents concerning the identity of their children. Family reunification specifically recognises kafala, and this can be expected to arise frequently in conditions of civil war where orphanhood is commonplace (it was common enough in Finland after the civil war and various other 20th century conflicts). Applicants for family reunification are in any case required to provide evidence of family life.

    • Enrique

      –The very fact that the PerusNazis focus on Somalis as opposed to other immigrants with darker skin already exposes the fine structure of racial discrimination in Finland.

      Well said, JusticeDemon. It also shows the cowardice of these PS anti-immigration critics. They pick on easy targets only for one reason: political gain. They “shop” for votes.

  12. Yossie

    Peter

    And by the way, your ‘facts’ do not appear to correlate with those held by Statistics Finland (http://www.stat.fi/index_en.html) and many other sources. You may wish to check their sources.

    If you think my facts are wrong, you would do well to actually come up with the “right” statistics rather than just point the index page of stat

    My sources was:

    1) http://www.stat.fi/til/tyokay/2008/01/tyokay_2008_01_2010-04-20_fi.pdf

    3) http://www.stat.fi/til/perh/2010/02/perh_2010_02_2011-11-30_tau_005_fi.html
    http://yle.fi/uutiset/teksti/kotimaa/2009/11/somaliaideista_suuri_osa_yksin_lastensa_kanssa_1148161.html

    4) http://www.hs.fi/kotimaa/artikkeli/Maahanmuuttovirasto+ruuhkautunut+somalialaisten+kasvattilapsihakemuksista+/1135259707578

    I would consider these rather reliable no?

  13. Yossie

    Enrique

    Respect from whom? From you? Then we’d have to wait generations and even such a long time your answer would be maybe.

    If I remember right, its you who always go on saying how we need mutual acceptance, respec and equal opportunities. So I would assume you do demand respect from everyone.
    Now, if you had read what I said, you would know I do respect some immigrants. However I do not simply give my respect to everyone automatically. In my opinion respect needs to be earned.

  14. Yossie

    Justicedemon

    By this naive argument Finns in Eastern and Northern Finland are similarly welfare shoppers. Well over fifteen percent of the Finnish workforce also quite suddenly became welfare shoppers in 1991. The very fact that the PerusNazis focus on Somalis as opposed to other immigrants with darker skin already exposes the fine structure of racial discrimination in Finland.

    If you actually read what I said earlier, I do see finns being major part of why the welfare system will collapse in the end. Now why do I stick my head out for somalis in here? Mainly because they are in the top end of the unemployment statistics and depressed immigrant arguing against being called welfare shopper, so I provided the statistics why I believe they are in general.

    The fact that they are so much more overreprisented compared to some other black groups needs to explained. If you come up with some other explanation, please do share and prove me wrong. (at least Laputis gave something to think about)

    The post-civil war Somali diaspora numbers over two million people. Only about one per cent of these displaced human beings settled in Finland. Most of the arrivals came by train from Moscow, which was one of the few destinations open to direct flights from Somalia at the time. This is why the earliest arrivals in Finland tended to be from the Somali middle and upper social classes. Remember the horrified racists complaining that these darkies are so nicely dressed that they cannot possibly be refugees? Russia at that time was a politically unstable entity emerging from the ruins of the USSR, and there are indications that Russian officials herded incoming Somalis onto trains bound for Leningrad and Helsinki as there was no State apparatus to accommodate them.

    Well that was back then when the prestiged upper class of Siad Barre´s dictatorship came here to escape the mess they had caused… True refugees to boot.

    How about the refugees after that?

    Please quote a source for this statistic. Even if true, how is it in any way relevant to anything other than a crude attempt to stigmatise people?

    For some reason my reply to Peter waits for moderation but if I link the source again

    http://yle.fi/uutiset/teksti/kotimaa/2009/11/somaliaideista_suuri_osa_yksin_lastensa_kanssa_1148161.html

    http://www.stat.fi/til/perh/2010/02/perh_2010_02_2011-11-30_tau_005_fi.html

    For me I see this as a means to get all out of the welfare while still retaing islamic marriage.

    This is an obscene reversal of the truth. In fact when dna testing was introduced the Directorate of Immigration immediately had to cancel over one hundred family reunification refusals because the authority had quite arbitrarily chosen to disbelieve the claims of biological parents concerning the identity of their children. Family reunification specifically recognises kafala, and this can be expected to arise frequently in conditions of civil war where orphanhood is commonplace (it was common enough in Finland after the civil war and various other 20th century conflicts). Applicants for family reunification are in any case required to provide evidence of family life.

    a quote from the news about this case

    “Hakemusmäärän kasvua selitetään muun muassa perheessä olevien kasvattilasten määrällä. Hakemuksista selviää, että lapsia on nykyään lähes joka perheessä, kun pari vuotta sitten heitä ei ollut juuri lainkaan, kertoo Maahanmuuttoviraston johtaja Heikki Taskinen. ”

    http://www.hs.fi/kotimaa/artikkeli/Maahanmuuttovirasto+ruuhkautunut+somalialaisten+kasvattilapsihakemuksista+/1135259707578

    Nowdays in every family when there were hardly any before…

  15. Mark

    Yossie

    Mark wrote:“then it’s self-evident that the cost of training an immigrant or providing welfare support in the first few years of integration is a far smaller investment than that made by society in rearing a child from birth to adulthood, with up to 18 years of day care, free education, health care, welfare (child allowance) and income support. ”

    Yossie wrote:I wonder if it is really so. I remember reading that 3 years wasnt enough for integration. In the end the immigrant would need to be educated same as a finnish child.Further more all expenses paid compared to finnish child’s parents paying most of it. But then again I do not have any numbers so makes me wonder how it is.

    Yep. There are other factors to take into account as well. Even after Finnish children start to reach adulthood, welfare payments are likely to be paid to them. 21.4% of Finns aged 15-24 are unemployed in 2010, that’s 68,000. They are all getting welfare too, until they find a job. So if it takes 5 or 6 years for some young Finns to find proper work, as it appears, then if it only takes 3 or 4 years for an immigrant, then it’s still money well spent, i.e. it would cost less compared to adding a labourer via the Finnish gene pool. Remember also that we will need workers very soon, and it takes nearly two decades or more (for skilled work) to ‘make’ a native Finnish worker.

  16. Mark

    Yossie

    There indeed seems to be a lot of need for money in the integration industry. This is why I have always felt puzzled when people say multiculturalism enrich us. For me it shows as people coming here in whom we need to use a lot of money before they can be providing for society. In the end, the last immigration minister refused to calculate what is the cost of all this for the country.

    Well, it’s genuinely very difficult to calculate exact costs. Economic modelling on that kind of time scale and complexity isn’t like lego bricks, mate! 🙂

    Not a lot of money is going, and it’s jobs for Finns too, though more immigrants are able to help other immigrants. They get work and help with the integration of others. It’s a good way to do it. It’s hardly an industry when you are talking about just 20,000 immigrants, the majority of whom are already in the labour force or are on maternity leave. Also, many immigrants come here and start work immediately. I had work within two weeks. Finland didn’t have to pay for my very expensive education and training or the work experience that I had accumulated, or my potty training, denture filling etc. I came to Finland a ‘ready-made taxpayer’ 🙂 And there are many others like me. I wonder how much our productivity offsets the extra costs for some immigrants? What is it, 3 taxpayers for every immigrant welfare dependent, or something like that. That means that immigrants alone could easily support a 25% unemployment rate among the immigrants population, and assuming these are mostly ‘ready-made taxpayers’, it could be even higher.. And that’s also not taking into account the fact that many high skilled immigrants are on much higher salaries than the average Finn, so maybe it’s even higher. For that reason, I think it’s not that big a burden to the Finnish taxpayer.

  17. Mark

    As make it, failure in integrations means we are not using enough money in it. To me it looks like the worse they integrate, the worse the integration industy works, more money they get.

    Well, that’s certainly not true. The public sector services in Finland have to meet quite strict productivity targets and managers have to show proper value for money or their projects and programmes are shut down pronto. You have to understand also that much of the ‘industry’ is funded from the EU, which channels money into integration by funding Ministry programmes and Finland’s 3rd Sector.

  18. Mark

    Enrique talks a lot about respect. To me respect needs to be earned. I do not give it automatically when asked to. I do respect Fatbardhe Hetemaj since once in an interview, I saw her telling how once her family came to Finland, her parents wanted them spent their evenings together studying finnish in their home. And you can hear that when she speaks. That I can admire while if I dont always agree with what she says.

    Yep, respect to her too. I wish my family would do that :D.

    You know respect is important, but so is trust. And if you hold back on your respect from the beginning, that undermines trust. It creates a situation where you are saying ‘go on, give me a reason to like you’, which doesn’t exactly create a situation of trust. Once you lose trust, it’s hard to get it back. By holding back respect, you hold back trust. One of the most enabling and empowering things that Finns could do is simply to trust immigrants want to succeed. The positive atmosphere that that creates goes a long way to creating opportunities to be productive that immigrants would be only too glad to take advantage of.

  19. Mark

    Peter

    If you care about this country and its future, you might consider it necessary to break down many of the social barriers that exist preventing newcomers from full integration in our society.

    Well said, Peter!

  20. justicedemon

    Yossie

    The argument that a high sectional unemployment rate automatically indicates workshy character of individuals in the segment concerned is what I specifically described as naive. There are many reasons for unemployment, and it is obvious PerusNazi propaganda to reduce all of these reasons to an alleged unwillingness to work on the part of any specific minority.

    Perhaps you should consider the challenge that I threw out to Hannu above. There is no need for idle racist speculation here, because WORKSHYNESS IS DIRECTLY MEASURABLE. The social welfare system in Finland has very clear mechanisms for dealing with workshy claimants. If a claimant refuses work or training, then there is a highly specific procedure for reducing the benefits payable to that claimant. In the case of recent immigrants a formal statement must be sent to Kela, which then issues a certain type of administrative decision to reduce the rate of integration allowance payable. The entire process is computerised, with unique codes used for these statements and decisions, and the decisions are open to judicial review. This means that it is very easy indeed to provide highly precise statistics on benefit reductions for this reason, and if the benefit payable is integration allowance, then we know automatically that the claimant must be an immigrant.

    So how is it that no such decisions are ever made? There is no trace of them in the archives of the Insurance Court and the people who advise and assist immigrants in such matters never see such cases. The answer is either that the evergreen allegation of workshyness is entirely unfounded PerusNazi propaganda or that Finnish officials in local employment offices up and down the country are involved in a massive and systematic conspiracy to conceal it.

    You very specifically asked about the route taken to Finland, which was largely via Moscow in the early 1990s. I gave a very specific and reasoned explanation for this. This accounts for most of the spontaneous asylum seekers in which the arrival route is relevant. Subsequent arrivals have mainly come through reunification programmes.

    Why does the rate of single motherhood matter, provided that the children become well-adjusted adults? To the extent that fathers are identified, they are liable for child support, and any benefits payable will be exactly the same, regardless of the number of mothers bearing the children of any particular father. There is no question of bigamy involved, and it is in no way illegal for a father to have children by more than one mother, nor is there any legal duty to marry any of those mothers for the purpose of population registration.

    I suspect that there are many reasons for trends in family reunification. The legal and administrative framework in this area has not remained constant, either, so it is very difficult to compare periods reliably. How do you feel about abandoning your children?

    You suddenly stopped talking about dna, even though you introduced your point by saying After they started to do DNA tests to prove relations, there started to come a lot of claimed foster children. You noticed that this was costing you credibility so you have now dropped the point and tried to pretend that you never mentioned it. What was the relevance of dna testing, other than ultimately to expose an embarrassing and unlawful anti-client bias in decisions of the immigration authorities? How would you feel if some stranger told you over your own protests that your kids were not yours? Let’s say you are separated at the airport and some jobsworth chooses not to believe you (you are obviously a liar, after all: you have a shifty look in your eyes and you try to argue with official wisdom) and has your kids shipped off to some orphanage that also chooses not to believe your protestations? What do you do? Shrug your shoulders? Forget your children? It’s not really suffering after all, is it? Like castrating camels with house bricks: it only hurts if you get your thumbs in the way.

  21. depressed immigrant

    Yossie: 1) over 50% unemployment rating. You can argue that you are being discriminated, because you are black, but the fact is that there is black groups that have a better employment ratings than native finns.

    2) Finland is the end of the line when you come from Somalia. If you are going to Russia, Sweden or Norway, there is better ways to go. Why make a longer trip passing safe countries if you are looking for refuge? Why come to a country with horrible climate, dark times half a year and high taxes? To me it seems you all after the welfare benefits. If you were planning working why are you coming to a country that taxes you more to give out to those that dont?

    Yossie, what about prejudice against us somalis , that we’re lazy or bums, that we can speak finnish language even though i was almost born in finland. Everytime i go to your paltalks in iltasanomat or Iltalehti you finns are spreading lies about us, that we’re lazy , that we came after your money and your woman, so no wonder everytime i go to job interview there sits a person who spends most of his time in those paltalks reading those lebeled lies about us somalis, so dont give justification we somalis we dont have no reputation becus of highly prejudices against us. Yossie you should know we somalis are INDIVIDUALS!! i cant speak for other somalis for what they do, i can speak only for myself and for my action, You finns oddly put us all somalis in one box. And what comes to you wondering what am i doing in such country like finland? listen my mom brought me to Finland when i was 8 years old due to civil war, if it was up to me i would never come to this prejudice, cold country. But ive to admit, there are some good finns out there who have been nice to me, it’s what keeps us going knowing that there are still empathetic people. Yossie if you dont foreign people to put all finns in one box, dont do that to us. we’re all individuals, we’re different from one another ok?. Now there many of us who came here with their parents, when they were infants, so are you going to accuse those infants as welfare shoppers?? and what comes to 50% unemployment of somalis, it’s strange that in other countries somalis are employed pretty well but in some odd reason not in finland. MAYBY SUOMI SUOMALAISELLE IS WHAT’S HAPPENING IN FINLAND. OTHER JUST COME HERE WITH HIGH EXPECTATION, BUT LITTLE DO THEY KNOW, THEY’RE ARE NOT WELCOMED.

  22. depressed immigrant

    Enrique : Depressed Immigrant, it really boils my blood when I see opportunistic politicians using the term when in reality they are shopping for your vote. I have a suggestion: Let’s call anti-immigration politicians like the ones we know “vote shoppers.”

    Exactly

  23. depressed immigrant

    leputis: 2) I have heard from few immigrants that they knew nothing about Finland before they came there, so that´s why they came. I know that many immigrants have returned home, after living some period in Finland. So in reality they wouldn´t come, if they had more information or knowledge about Finland.
    Russia BTW has enough bad reputation worldwide, connected to frequent racist attacks, not so good welfare system etc.

    I swear we knew nothing about finland when we came here, we came by accident. Sometimes i wish my mother never brought me to finland, im sure she by now is regretting coming to finland. it has cost her, her health and our health too. You cant imagine what is like to be a somali in finland: prisoning yourself at your house when you know that your not accepted by the society so everywhere you go you have this paranoia that people are staring at you with a hostile stare. you go to get get a service be it in shop or any service places, every 5 you get only 1 friendly gesture. when you walk the streets you get nastty stares, sometimes you get called names or worst cases you get jumped by a drunkard or mental person. your selfesteem is gone, you get all sort of mental problems, severe constant anxiety and depression, lonelyness. you go outside and try to find your kinds, but you dont find them anywhere, the ones who’re in the mall are either druggies or or alcoholics numbing their depression. so what do you do? you stay at your little world, in your house, that’s the only place where you feel save, but it’s too lonely for you staying indoors.This is partly a description of what i go through in finland, ofcourse im thankful that im not in my country in the middle of war, that im save in finland, but living in finland as an immigrant has it’s challenges. finns do not seem to understand what we’re going through, they think we’re living phat and smile on our faces, all being happy when reality is a total different than that.

  24. depressed immigrant

    Bytheway , im not here to seek sympathetic points, i just wanned to clear up, what’s real what’s not, about what we go through. i had to pointout since some finns always got something nasty things to say about us. im so sick n tired of going to finnish paltalks slamming us all the time, it’s depressing and pointless. it will only lead to people hating eachother.

  25. Mark

    Bytheway , im not here to seek sympathetic points, i just wanned to clear up, what’s real what’s not, about what we go through. i had to pointout since some finns always got something nasty things to say about us. im so sick n tired of going to finnish paltalks slamming us all the time, it’s depressing and pointless. it will only lead to people hating eachother.

    I believe you. I can see how your lonelineness and isolation in Finland is real and unpleasant, and I’m not surprised to hear that your mental health suffers. The ideas that some Finns have about immigrants are insulting, disgusting, unfair, racist and ignorant.

    It always surprises me the lengths that some will go to in using their energy and their intelligence to defend that basic collective stupidity and ignorance of a racist society. They say Finland is not racist, and the whole while they call immigrants liars, cheats, Finn-wannabees, charity seekers. Who the hell do these people think they are kidding? If they are not racist, they should simply condemn it and make even the tinyest effort to understand what living as an immigrants is like in Finland and to respect the stories and experiences of immigrants.

    Many Finns have this racist and disgusting attitude towards foreigners, based on negative stereotyping, scaremongering in the media and scapegoating. Populist politicians then jump on the badnwagon, fan the flames of resentment, and then laugh all the way to the ballot box.

    The people that come on here trying to defend it and trying to undermine statistics that clearly show the situation in Finland only demonstrate, time and again, the diseased mentality that defends racism by first denying it, and when they cannot deny it, diminishing it.

    If you want me to believe Finland isn’t racist, then stop doing this. Be open minded, fair, and try to adopt a reasonably respectful and positive attitude towards immigration. If there are problems, I’m sure that most of them can be solved.

    If you want Finland to remain forever white as snow and the modern world never to touch these shores, then fine. But don’t pretent it isn’t racism and xenophobia, because it is.

  26. Mark

    The thing that disappoints me about politicians is when they say things like ‘there isn’t a racism problem in Finland’, or ‘multiculturalism is dead’. As leaders, they give permission to other people to say and believe the same even when it isn’t true.

    Whey they say it isn’t a problem, what they mean is that it isn’t perceived as a big enough problem among the electorate for them to start getting caught up in the moral minefield that is trying to explain and tackle racism.

    When they say that ‘multiculturalism is dead’, what they mean is that populist arguments that immigration is bad have started to convince a significant portion of the electorate, such that to come out and argue against racism is going to lose you votes. That it’s been shown time and again that there are no such things as a ‘multicultural policies’ of left-wing goverments, they nonetheless play off popular perception.

    It was always the case that if you started to seriously lose ground on an ideological point in politics, that you simply had to abandon the stance or you were in danger of never getting into power again. Leave trying to win the argument to the ‘idealists’ and the sociologists. Politicians are pragmatic, at the best of times.

    The problem is though that it’s not just political ground they give up, it’s moral ground. The chances are that the silent suffering of immigrants subject to daily, weekly or monthly racist abuse goes on, and even increases. Meanwhile, racists take their propaganda to new levels, with the very distinct policy of denying all racism, because if you deny that something is racist, then you cannot be accused of racism when you do it.

    If you think that is stretching it a little, I had an argument today with someone who said calling someone a black c*nt was not racist because, ‘well, he’s black isn’t he?’ They think that focusing on a fact means that they are stating something that is merely true, and so how can it be racist. This same kind of argument is put forth again and again by racists criticising the publicity that Migrant Tales gives to racism in Finland.

    If it’s something insulting and denigrating about immigrants or particular races, it’s not racism if they can claim it is as fact, regardless of how shaky or questionable that fact is. They deny there is even a racial element even when one is blatantly obvious (black – but he is black, it’s a fact, it’s not racial to recognise it as a fact). And by hiding behind these facts, they can say there is ‘no racism’.

    Of course, there are many nuances to the denial of racism, and these are just some of them. The word that come to mind when it comes to some politicians and their attitudes to racism? – spineless! It’s easy to play the denial game if you know that half the population is also playing it, and most of the other half cannot be bothered to argue about it, even if they know what it is.

    Political apathy and racism! They make happy bedfellows.

  27. Asian (Realy I am Chinese so I know my own reality)

    Ihan kiva kun täällä on somali keskustelemassa. Blogin keskustelijat tuntuvat suurelta osin olevan valkoisia maahanmuuttajia tai valkoisia kantasuomalaisia.

    Te keskitytte vähän liian paljon pelkkiin ongelmiin. Tietenkin maahanmuuttajilla on ongelmia niin kuin kaikilla yhteisöillä. Mutta te valkoiset keskustelijat teette ongelmista ainoan asian. Eivät maahanmuuttajat ole pelkää ongelmaa. Voisiko joku alkaa keskustella miten tästä edetään eikä vaan ongelmissa märehtimistä.

    Itse kannatan värillisten maahanmuuttajien organisoitumista tiukaksi poliittiseksi ja taloudelliseksi voimaksi. Jos valkoiset eivät työllistä, sitten kannattaa työllistää itse itsensä. Samalla voisi työllistää muita värillisiä. Tietynlainen taloudellinen omavaraisuus suojaa värillisiä valkoisten oikuilta. Värillisten kirkkojen ja moskeijojen voisivat alkaa pitää tunteja yrittäjyydestä ja kouluttaa värillisiä lapsia vastustamaan rasismia, rakentamalla ylpeyttä omaa kulttuuria ja rotua kohtaan. Kulttuuri koulutus olisi tärkeä osa opetusta. Maltillinen uskonnollisuuden on pyrittävä paremmin palauttamaan syrjäytyneet ja näköalattomat värilliset takaisin yhteisön jäseniksi.

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