Tightening family reunification requirements is like putting a noose around human rights

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Like Europe, Finland is also suffering from a lack of leadership. When we start to fear our ineptness in solving problems, we slide into our shells with the help of populism, simplistic solutions, and wishful thinking.  

The latter can lead us to many unpleasant places like social media lynchings, witch hunts and shelve indefinitely values like human rights.

Everyone knows that the family is a fundamental human right. Article 16 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights states:

Näyttökuva 2016-4-21 kello 7.30.11
Source: UN.

And here’s one of my favorite articles of the latter Declaration:

Näyttökuva 2016-4-21 kello 7.31.32
Source: UN.

We have written in Migrant Tales about a worrying trend and how the Finnish government plans to tighten family reunification requirements in this country.

One of the most recent examples of how Finland is crawling into a shell was the scrapping of residence permits on humanitarian grounds.

Imagine. Finland only granted 119 residence permits last year under such circumstances but still needed to vote on it in parliament.

What does that tell you about the state of this country?

In my opinion, it paints a bleak picture of how Finland, and like Europe, we’ve lost our way amid the refugee crisis.

The latest step in this questionable direction is a plan by parliament to tighten further family reunification requirements.

Writes YLE News:  “The government has proposed a significant hike in necessary income levels for people who want to bring family members from outside the EU to Finland. If the proposal goes through, a sponsor would need to earn 2,600 euros per month after taxes in order to be allowed to bring a non-EU family member to the country.”

What’s not clear in the story is if Finnish nationals have the same requirements.

Why do we want to tighten family reunification requirements and scrap residence permits on humanitarian grounds?

The answer is simple: Because we have an anti-immigration party in government, the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*. Moreover, they are in government with the Center Party and National Coalition Party, which need their support to slash spending to the tune of billions of euros.

Other parties like the Social Democrats, who are in the opposition and voted for scrapping residence permits on humanitarian grounds, are near-silent.

Why do the government and most of the opposition in Finland support tighter immigration policy? Because Finland is an island in Europe and wants to remain that way. All this talk about “multiculturalism” and “Nordic social equality” by politicians and policy makers is disingenuous, to say the least.

Instead of speaking of how important social equality is we should ask who has such a privilege in our society. It’s not migrants and minorities.

The language used by politicians to describe immigrants, immigration, asylum seekers and cultural diversity is another source of concern and shows how low we have stooped in Finland and Europe.

Politicians and the media commonly use inhumane terms such as “illegal immigrants” when speaking of the challenges. Refugees don’t ask for asylum at our border but instead politicians claim that our Russian border “leaks” of “illegal immigrants.”

Imagine, asylum seekers are seen by government ministers as a problem like a leaking roof.

That how bad things have become in Finland these days.

The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party 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. The direct translation of “Perussuomalaiset” is “basic” or “fundamental Finn.”