Migrant high unemployment in Finland is a good way to measure discrimination and social exclusion

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Apart from Jim Crow laws and centuries of discrimination, one of the many social issues that the U.S. Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s addressed was high unemployment among blacks. In a country like Finland, which sees work as a crucial pathway to inclusion and acceptance, it’s clear that unemployment is an effective to way to socially exclude and subjugate groups from society.

The expectations of some Finns about migrants is so low that they are willing to accept them to work in low-paying jobs that they would never take.

According to a Helsingin Sanomat article, the jobless rate among migrants rose by one fifth to close to 30,000 migrants compared with a year ago. Migrant unemployment in 2012 totaled over 22%.

As long as unemployment is 2-3 times higher than the national average, it means that migrants, and especially their children, will be denied a better life in Finland.

Why isn’t abysmally high unemployment among some members of the migrant community in Finland an issue? It not only shows, in my opinion, the little social consciousness of some migrants but our little interest in tackling social ills like intolerance and discrimination.

The present situation reveals as well how Finland has benefited from high unemployment among migrants. Not only does it keep certain migrant groups in check, it keeps social workers employed and anti-immigration politicians from parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS) in the headlines.

One answer that sheds light on the above-mentioned is that racism makes people and groups invisible.

Kuvankaappaus 2014-2-10 kello 7.53.15
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Attempting to answer the question, why we’re not paying enough attention to an issue like high unemployment among migrants, is the problem.

Certainly I can give you a long list of excuses why a migrant is unemployed. What I’m not doing is dealing with the many causes of the problem, like structural racism, or how unemployment and social welfare are used to socially exclude migrants.

True, language and the ability of a migrant to adapt to a new country play crucial roles in that person’s adaption and integration.