Juha Sipilä’s government is one of the few in the world that still ponders whether immigration is good for the host country

by , under Enrique Tessieri

The Finnish government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä must be one of the few if not the only one in the world that is still pondering whether immigration is good or bad for the country. Even if the new government decided to carry out such an assessment by an independent body, thanks to pressure by the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, it’s universally accepted by economists that immigration is good for the host country. 

But plans to carry out such an assessment not only shows the xenophobic mindset of the PS but the shameful lack of leadership of the country’s two major parties in government, the Center Party and National Coalition Party (NCP).

A recent study by the OECD showed that immigration boosted the Finnish economy by 0.16% in 2011 including pensions. 

Näyttökuva 2015-4-22 kello 23.07.54
This story by YLE was a good example of questionable journalism in Finland. Find out why here.

Such plans to commission such an assessment are also a direct insult to all migrants and minorities living in this country.

The only party that has criticized the assessment on the cost of immigration is the Swedish People’s Party. Its chairman Carl Haglund said Saturday that “it remains a mystery how we’ll succeed at luring people to move to our country when Sipilä and his buddies are standing at the border labeling [newcomers] on the forehead with a price tag.”

Not only is the government unsure whether immigration is good or bad for Finland, immigration affairs are handled today by PS Minister of Justice and Employment Jari Lindström, who is a former paper mill worker and lab assistant. 

Do you believe that the plight of migrants living in Finland will improve with Lindström? Do you believe that Lindström has the political will to challenge discrimination and structural racism in this country?

If you do then you know something that a lot of us don’t know.

The assessment by the government has its roots with the PS. In an attempt to lure voters before the April elections, the populist conservative party’s message turned into a hostile campaign against immigrants and minorities. Two weeks before the elections the results of a questionable “study”  by PS thinktank Suomen Perusta was published claiming that the benefits of immigration are mixed since it costs Finland 700 million euros a year.

Following the PS narrative, the “study” by the anti-immigration party painted everyone who wasn’t born in Finland with a single brush by grouping them as immigrants irrespective if the person is a white German or a refugee from Somalia. The 75-page report only mentions the term refugee once.

Why the PS “study” only uses the term refugee once in the report reflects the party’s view and their suspicion that most of them are so-called “welfare shoppers.”

While it’s clear that this PS has lured many voters thanks to its xenophobic message, equally shameful is the silence by playing along with it.

By playing along with this political prank by the PS, the Center Party and NCP reveal their own anti-immigration and especially anti-cultural diversity stances.

I don’t want empty statements by the government like “racism won’t be tolerated.” They are empty words that have no meaning, especially in this xenophobic environment. Talk is cheap. What such affirmations tell us in fact is that the government is not going to challenge racism but continue to give you the impression that they will.

In order to save the government money, since it is going to make hefty cutbacks that will hurt migrants and poor Finns like single mothers the most, I have a recommendation: Don’t carry out the assessment. Take my word and that of the vast majority of economists who near-universally agree that immigration is good for the host country.

But by embarking on such a questionable assessment you will only continue to maintain an atmosphere of suspicion and fuel xenophobia in Finland, which will benefit the PS politically. The impact of such a stance will not only scare people away from this country but discourage new skilled immigrants and expats from moving here.

In four years time don’t be surprised if xenophobia has strengthened its stranglehold on Finland and that we’ve become impoverished as a result.

The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English-language names adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings. 

  1. Yossie

    Your arguments make absolutely no sense what so ever. You believe immigration is beneficial to host country and have the backing of all the economist in the world, yet you absolutely refuse to have assessment made that would prove your point. Why?

    Also, how would making assessment feed atmosphere of suspicion? Is it exactly opposite. Isn’t refusing to make assessment and hiding the facts exactly what would make people suspicious?

    So considering these points, why are you so much against it? Is it because you know it would not play to your advantage? Let’s look at the OECD study you seem to keep as the highest authority here. Looking at the same baseline figures that give you the infamous 0,16% of GDP for Finland, we get following numbers:

    Canada -0,06
    Czech Republic -0,01
    France -0,52
    Germany -1,13
    and more

    These are of course the baseline numbers, the study also gives the numbers where all expenses except debt and defence are included:

    Finland -0,08

    So we can safely say your blanket claim of immigration benefitting the host country is exactly the same kind of single-brush rhetoric you claim to be against. It of course makes sense that benefits of immigration depends on the type of immigrants arriving, the social policies of the host country and other factors. Making universal claim of the benefits would be impossible.

    • Migrant Tales

      If you disagree with my claim why not disprove it by showing me an empirical study that proves the immigration is bad for the host nation. Certainly the US, Canada and many other countries don’t think so.

    • Yossie

      I thought I just did. The very same OECD study you keep talking about. It gives for example Germany and and France negative financial gains for immigration. Though my point was that you can’t make any universal claims that immigration will always and everywhere be beneficial. Finland is not US and it is incredibly stupid to make assumption that if something works in US, it will automatically work the same in here. You need to do a country and immigration flow specific study.

      Now, tell us why you don’t want the assessment if you are so sure of your claims?

    • Migrant Tales

      You are making the assumption that immigration means instant growth. By “good” to the host society I mean new blood, innovation and growth. Immigrants challenge old structures and help with the host society create new ones that are more effective than the old ones. But yes, there is near-universal acceptance by economists that immigration brings benefits to the host society. That’s a fact.

      I think it is disingenuous on your part to claim the contrary.

    • Yossie

      Certainly, immigrants challenge the old structures. That is why you want more and more immigrants here right. May I however point out that there is also a possibility that the “new structures” that immigrants might bring are not necessarily more effective or better. Things might actually end up going worse, instead of better. It is also questionable what constitutes being “good”. All matters are not objectively measurable.

      If it is economist proven fact, then the assessment would surely prove it and clear the atmosphere of suspicion. Why are you against it?

    • Yossie

      Still haven’t answer my question. This is the 4th time I´m asking it. Why are you against the assessment if you are so certain of the outcome? You seem to do that a lot Enrique. If someone ask you some hard questions, you try to avoid the question by some totally unrelated question (like you did with Steve, you still haven’t answered him what laws and change you want). If people still keep challenging you to answer the question, you ignore them.

    • Migrant Tales

      Yossie, state your question then instead of claiming that I’m avoiding it. I’m waiting. I don’t answer obvious questions like where did Lohela say she’s against religious freedom. Anyone who has followed what she’s written knows that she was and voted against gay marriage, is paranoid about Muslims and bases her whole political message on xenophobia. She was one of the person’s who signed the Nuiva manifesto, which is a Halla-aho blueprint for keeping Finland white.

    • Yossie

      State my question? I have been stating my question in every single comment: Why are you against the assessment if you are so sure about the benefits? Having the assessment would prove your case and clear the suspicion would it not? So why are you against it?

    • Migrant Tales

      If policy could troll well this one does. We have enough studies that show that the benefits that immigrants bring to the host country outweigh the costs. This assessment only reinforces a negative climate in Finland and the perception that immigration is “a problem.”

      When will the government publish this assessment?

    • Yossie

      What studies are you referring to? Share all those many studies that have been made of immigration in Finland then. So far you have mentioned the OECD study that gave Finland negative gains when all costs were accounted for.

      Refusing to make the assessment is exactly what makes the negative climate. It creates suspicion that you are hiding something by refusing to make the assessment.

    • Yossie

      Well, Enrique? Where are those studies? You tell us there has been enough studies, yet you fail to mention any of them.

    • Migrant Tales

      Yossie, you suggest that immigration/migration is something unnatural like love. It’s not and never has been. Everyone, including you and your relatives, have moved or migrated. The Garden of Eden never was in Finland.

      If immigration were “bad” there wouldn’t be countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Brazil and so forth. The only difference with Finland and some European countries that migration to them has been more recent.

      I have mentioned a number of times an OECD study that show that immigration helped GDP to grow. http://www.migranttales.net/oecd-study-states-that-immigration-boosted-finnish-economy/

      The fact is that you wouldn’t be eating pizza today or all those other delicious things found in Finland if it weren’t for migration.

      Here is a more comprehensive study that may shed some light on your question:http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~uctpb21/doc/CDP_06_04.pdf

      So, can I ask you the following question: Are Finns beneficial to Finland? I mean most of the crime that’s committed here is by Finns. Could you show me a study that proves that Finns have been beneficial to Finland?

      The question you ask me is as dumb as the one you ask about immigrants. People move about, migration is a fact like it or not, learn to deal with it and make the most of such a resource.

    • Yossie

      “If immigration were “bad” there wouldn’t be countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Brazil and so forth.”

      Are you kidding me? You want to take US as an example of how good immigration is? If I recall right, most of the natives or people who had lived there for generations and generations were wiped out. Sure it was good if you take the angle of the immigrants, but pre-immigration societies were destroyed. Sorry if the prospect does not sound very tempting.

      “I have mentioned a number of times an OECD study that show that immigration helped GDP to grow.”

      Like I said in the start. That study gives negative gains for many countries. I fail to see how that proves how immigration would always be good. Also it gives negative gains for Finland when all expenses are accounted for.

      “Here is a more comprehensive study that may shed some light on your question:http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~uctpb21/doc/CDP_06_04.pdf

      This does not answer to my question at all. That study is:
      Is Immigration Good or Bad for the
      Economy?
      Analysis of Attitudinal Responses

      Analysis of attitudinal responses. Did you even read that? It studies peoples opinions of immigration. It talks absolutely nothing about if immigration is good or not. Is that best you can do? The fact that you can’t come up with any proper studies just highlights the need for the assessment. Your excuse of enough studies does not hold water.

    • Yossie

      Nothing to say then Enrique? I suppose all that talk about enough studies was just lies.

      If immigration was absolutely good always, then why on earth almost all countries regulate immigration? Why are we talking about sharing the burden of refugees and those claiming to be refugees? It is because immigration can be very bad if its not regulated.

    • Yossie

      Trolling? Is this a new trick in your books now? When someone challenges your rhetoric and shows the weakness of your claims then you start to blame them for trolling. You did it here and now it seems you did it with Steve. Is it because you can’t come up with any real arguments?

  2. Medusa

    This blog is one freaking propaganda of crazy sorts targeted at immigrants to drill in to them that Finland is racist. I have been rational earlier with the fools here, but know better now. The one premise this blog has recently had is to support bringing in more immigrants >more > more>more…doesn’t matter where they come from, what background they have had, what skills they bring, what their beliefs are etc. Just bring them the hell in and usher in a multicultural society. I guess a multicultural society that has a generous sprinkling of fundamentalist freaks, censored, censored and types…but hey it is multicultural I guess to the ‘intellectuals’ on this blog. Thanks to reading some stories here and getting wrongly influenced, I have been eyeing Finns differently…even if for a jiffy, thinking that maybe they are racists? Luckily the brief spell is over so for me- R.I.P Migrant Tales.

    • Migrant Tales

      Medusa, again we see the real you coming out. Thank you for dropping by.

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