Finland’s anti-immigration sentiment surprised a lot of people

by , under Enrique

Finland is a country that is graying at a rapid pace and needs to bring skilled labor. Some parties, like the Perussuomalaiset (PS), believe that immigration especially from outside the EU should be stopped at all costs. Others don’t mind as long as immigrants bring skills and contribute to society by paying taxes. 

In the face of these two opposing views, Finland is on a collision course.

Whatever opinions you may have on immigration and cultural diversity, the fact is that our population is aging at a fast pace.

According to Statistics Finland, the number of pensioners will rise from the present 17% (905,000 persons who are older than 65 years) to 27% by 2040 and 29% (1.79 million) by 2060. Better medicare will fuel this trend. Persons over 85 years in Finland will rise from 2% (108,000) to 7% (463,000).

One of the interesting matters that few speak of these days is how wrong forecasts got it. They may have estimated correctly population growth and age structure, but never in their wildest days did they expect so much opposition to immigration. So much so, in fact, that we saw the rise of an anti-immigration and anti-EU party in 2011, the Perussuomalaiset (PS), which gained 39 seats in parliament versus 5 in 2007.

In the spring of 2008, a survey by the ministry of finance revealed that Finland would need almost two million immigrants by 2020 to plug the labor shortage caused by our aging population.

The Ministry of the Interior saw back then the economically active population would decline by 189,000 in 2009-20.

”In order for increasing immigration to compensate for [the] workforce leaving the market, Finland would require some 300,000 immigrants between 2009 and 2020,” said Tarja Rantala, chief inspector for the immigration department of the ministry of interior.

Even if Statistics Finland estimated in May 2007 that the immigrant population will almost double nationally by 2025 to 300,000, its clear that their forecast was too conservative.  A new report by the official statistics agency published in February 2013 now sees the immigrant population of Helsinki and surroundings to rise to around 300,000 by 2030.

Certainly the latter two estimates by the ministry of finance and ministry of the interior were made when PS chairman Timo Soini led a party of five MPs.

It is unfortunate that Europe is being overtaken  today by ever-growing populist anti-immigration and anti-EU sentiment. The present situation will prove costly for countries like Finland, which need to attract more skilled labor to the country and adapt to their ever-culturally diverse societies.

In many respects, the present situation is Finland’s doing. During most of its time as an independent country it had systematically restricted as much as possible foreign investment and immigration to the country. We are now paying a high price because of that policy.

As long as the PS continues to cast a strong populist anti-immigration and anti-EU shadow in Finnish politics, and as long as politicians lack the courage to challenge it in earnest, Finland’s immigration policy will never serve it the way it should.



  1. Brave

    Finland is anti colours.
    Whats that means only EU?
    Does only EU has creatures we call it human? There are humans all around on this planet… who told only EU people has right to move and and live in Europe?
    Whats europe now?
    Europe is only a name… most people in europe are poor and live so simple.
    Finnish government has no word except EU and white?
    They have nothing except focus on immigrant?
    What that mean except hate and being narcissist?
    What Finnish ministries has except a white colour?
    There are many problems in this country but they just blame immigrant for everything .. the only thing they have talk about is immigrants… what more else?
    Oh else….. money tax… tax tax
    They want rich immigrants? Why a rich immigrant should come to Finland???? A racist country full of hate with a dark winter ????
    IF you are rich and you have a big company and u can feed some Finns in ur company then u r a perfect foreigner???
    This is government of Finland….
    Best thing is money… money money money love u so much honey
    and then
    Immigrants should not come here… we want only white skins
    Dont u see foreigners who pay tax to u and make a lot of things in here?
    What u have to talk about except money and immigration?
    Never seen a wise man in here… never heard a wise word in Finland.
    Finnish government has one goal they just have different name and groups.
    Nothing will be okay in Finland… never and all will go to be worse and worse.
    They talk like they are perfect…huh…. what u have show us?
    Ur hands are empty, so why ur so proud of yours?
    I am telling this to u yellow ants in government… u r all racists… RACIST. RACISTS, and people who support u are racist too… i never seen an organization in Finland who really try forus… yes there are many offices and organizations in the name of humanity… but they are all liars…. and in union with racist government… they just make themselves busy with us… because they want and need job… that’s a job for them….
    They cant solve any problem… Finland is in a deep of a pit and nothing can save it,

  2. Brave

    anti-immigration and anti happiness… they are very sad.. so very bad… that’s why they are against different people who come to Finland…. hey YOU yellow crocodiles we… exactly we foreigners can make Finland colourful… and u hate us because u hate colours and happiness.
    YOU ARE ALL LOSERS… don’t forget that and u all made a dark destiny for Finland with Ur thoughts, words and acts… thats not a joke thats a history and history always been a destiny for a nation.

    Yellow crocodile you are Finnish government.
    and soon you will eat each other…
    No one likes other one… all are against each other and no one do even a normal thing …
    They all run around a circle… a Marsh
    There is a cold war between yellow crocodiles and every one try to dance on marsh….
    Is that possible?
    Now its my turn… my turn to laugh at you and my turn wont finish… never