Exploiting asylum seekers in the Finnish labor market reveals our failed asylum and integration policy

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Migrant Tales has written a number of stories showing how Finland’s asylum policy and treatment of about 38,000 asylum seekers that came to the country during 2015-16 has been costly and ineffective. The government claims differently for obvious reasons.  

If the treatment of asylum seekers and the policies that guide it were put under rigorous scrutiny we’d be shocked by many things.

Disagree? Tell me then how spending hundreds of millions of euros to keep people passively in asylum reception centers indefinitely reveals efficiency and a humane asylum policy?

On Friday we learn from a story published by YLE News that over a year and a half after asylum seekers tarted to come to Europe in large numbers that these are victims of exploitation and working for free.

What is even more surprising is that one inspector uncovers such a phenomenon.

Why is the Regional State Administrative Agency of Southern Finland now “shocked” by such exploitation of asylum seekers?

The Regional State Administrative Agency of South Finland worker protection inspector Katja-Pia Jenu was surprised by what she had uncovered at a restaurant in Lahti, which had working for them asylum seekers for no pay, according to YLE News.

“The fact that the restaurant’s operation was based entirely on free labour was pretty shocking,” she said.

If the Regional State Administrative Agency of Southern Finland has now opened its eyes to the situation, one could correctly ask why haven’t the unions and politicians spoken out against such unfair practices? Why hasn’t the Finnish media brought this to public light as well?

The answer is pretty simple: Asylum seekers have been demonized by the government, politicians and the media and therefore there is little interest about their plight in Finland.

This recent case is a case in point.


Read the full story here.

Migrant Tales has written about how susceptible asylum seekers, never mind certain migrant groups, are to exploitation by greedy employers.

We recently reported in April about a Porvoo-based company called A-T Puhdistus that paid its workers in black. In  2016, we asked in another story if Barona’s fast-track employment scheme for asylum seekers was a joke.

In a country where racialization is the rule rather than the exception in the Finnish labor market, the authorities appear disinterested in addressing problems in the labor market.

According to the European Network Against Racism’s (ENAR) 2015-2016 shadow report, certain professions in Finland such as cleaners, cooks and waters attract only foreigners because the wages they pay are unacceptable to white Finns.

Pekka Myrskylä substantiates the latter. The Statistics Finland researcher claimed in 2014 that there is a 25% wage disparity between white Finns and migrants. The gap becomes even bigger when we look at unemployment benefits, where there are up to 59% disparities.

Certainly if Migrant Tales knows about these cases why don’t the authorities?





  1. intternetnetsi

    “In a country where racialization is the rule rather than the exception in the Finnish labor market, the authorities appear disinterested in addressing problems in the labor market.”

    It was authorities who noticed that and brought it on. Also it was their countrymen who exploited them.

    This was clearly illegal and seems that asylum seekers themself or their countrymens changed papers.

    It was 2-3 weeks of max 6h day job to see what it is to work in finland and it was clearly misused.