The fifty Thai berry pickers, who are protesting against long hours, poor pay and huge risks they take when working for Ber-Ex, not only shed light on their plight but the poor job security that immigrants generally face in Finland.
While berry pickers are seasonal workers that come from Thailand, their issues reveal a much serious problem in Finland for immigrants that hasn’t been addressed effectively.
We all know that immigrant unemployment in Finland is 2-3 times higher than the national average. According to the latest figures by Statistics Finland, the unemployment rate in July was 6.6%. Immigrant unemployment in 2011 was 21.7%. according to the Finnish Immigration Service, citing employment figures.
Finding a permanent job in Finland with the same security that most Finns enjoy is quite a challenge for many immigrants who live in this country. If you are qualified and have good language skills, there is a risk that it will take much longer to get ahead in your career than if you were a white Finn.
If there is little acceptance of immigrants among some Finns, certainly employers will take advantage of the situation for their benefit. Employers are not the only culprits but unions, regulators and even immigrants in some cases are to blame for the present situation.
I met an immigrant who had been in this country for well over 10 years and was returning back to her home country. It’s not a novel story.
“I’ve had it with Finland,” the person said. “I’ve tried everything here but never got permanent employment. Who’s going to pay my retirement?”