Government announces Future of Migration 2020 Strategy

by , under Enrique

The government published Thursday its Future of Migration 2020 Strategy. While these types of official strategy reports are important and offer a general view, the big question is if they gives us a bigger picture of the direction our society is heading in this century. 

Read the white paper (in Finnish) here. An English-language version will be available after summer.

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Read council of state statement here.

One of the matters that surprised me about the strategy report is that it doesn’t use the term ”multiculturalism,” which has been replaced by the term diversity (moninaisuus). In English a good synonym for multiculturalism is cultural diversity. Why does the report only speak of diversity?

These kinds of omissions always raise concern about what the government really thinks of cultural diversity and, most importantly, how it should be promoted and defended.

The Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) said that the white paper didn’t go far enough, reports YLE in English.

“As someone who has been monitoring immigration policy for a long time, I don’t consider this to be a major change,” says Riitta Wärn, an EK labor market specialist. “There’s not really anything surprising or new laid out in this policy.”

Another question mark is  Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen, who is liked by the anti-immigration Perussuomalaliset (PS) party for her conservative ideas about immigration and stated publicly that homosexuality is a sin.

The positive matter about the 2020 strategy is that it openly speaks out against racism and discrimination and how these latter social ills undermine good ethnic relations.

It states: ”The Future of Migration 2020 Strategy has a number of key objectives: managing the labour market; ensuring equal rights for all employees; improving employment opportunities for people from an immigrant background; pursuing a more successful integration policy; aiming at a faster processing of asylum applications; and fighting discrimination.”

While our laws in Finland ensure that immigrants and visible minorities will be treated equally before the law, it is quite another matter if this always happens in real life. More importantly, do we have the resources and the will to challenge intolerance?

The report suggests, however, that the government is serious about such matters.