Imagine a country that needs skilled labor due to the rapid graying of its population and whose new government still doesn’t know whether immigration brings benefits or not? Well that country, folks, is none other than Finland. Yes, the country that saw over 1.2 million of its people emigrate between 1860 and 1999 to the world and which saw the rise of an anti-immigration party from the minor political leagues to become the second-biggest party in parliament.
The party, the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, bases its newly acquired power on its anti-immigration message and strengthening “us” against “them.”
It recently published a study, which got a lot of criticism due to its methodology, which concluded that immigration costs Finland 700 million euros.
It didn’t matter if the study had a lot of methodological holes because its main aim was to send a clear message to its voters: We don’t want migrants unless they’re white.
Government immigration affairs are under Justice and Employment Minister Jari Lindström, a former paper mill worker who later became a lab assistant.
Read full story in Finnish here.
Chairman of the Swedish People’s Party Carl Haglund had at the party’s annual convention harsh criticism or the new government and echoed what Migrant Tales has been saying for a long time.
“They call this an independent account [the new study by the government on the cost of immigration],” he was quoted as saying on YLE. “Who will benefit from the account remains to be seen. It remains a mystery how we’ll succeed at luring people to move to our country when [Prime Minister Juho] Sipilä and his buddies are standing at the border labeling [newcomers] on the forehead with a price tag.”
A recent study by the OECD that revealed that migration had boosted growth in 2011 by 0.16% including pensions so it is clear that figuring out the cost of immigration is a politically charged question.
Finland is in a deep rut now with the government believing that huge spending cuts and maintaining an anti-immigration atmosphere will set the country on a new path of growth. Populism, however, is a drug. The more you use it the more hooked you get on it impoverishing this country socially, economically and politically.
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English-language names adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.