YLE: Maahanmuutto jakaa edustajaehdokkaita

by , under All categories, Enrique

Comment: Here is an interesting story published by YLE on how immigration is a hot issue in the election. One of the questions (number 5) on the YLE questionnaire to the candidates asks if  “immigration and tax support (to this group) should be tightened?” Those candidates and parties that “totally agreed” with the statement were the True Finns and other anti-immigration parties like Muutos2011 and Vapauspuolue.

The majority of the candidates of Kokoomus and the Center Party were “somewhat in favor” of tightening immigration policy and tax support. The majority (49%) of the Social Democrat candidates, however, were “somewhat of a different opinion.” Fifty-seven percent of the candidates of the Swedish People’s Party were “totally against” tightening immigration policy and tax support.

The majority of the Greens (57%) were “somewhat in favor” of tightening policy and tax support.

One of the big questions we have to ask of those that are asking for stricter controls is what they want to tighten if the present law is already pretty strict?

One candidate from my constituency said that it was ok to lower tax support to immigrants because Finland pays some of the highest support in Europe. The candidate forgot to tell us, however, that if we take cost of living into account such benefits are in line with the European Union average.

The stance and the willingness of some candidates to use the immigrant-bashing card to get votes is a sad reality of Finland today.

Do you agree?


Maahanmuuttajien vastaanottaminen ja tukeminen verovaroin jakaa kansanedustajaehdokkaita. YLEn vaalikoneen perusteella perussuomalaisten vanavedessä tiukennuksia kaipaavat erityisesti oikeistopuolueet, kuten kokoomus. Liberaalimpaa mielipidettä ylläpitävät RKP, vasemmisto ja vihreät. SDP seilaa muiden välissä.

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  1. JusticeDemon

    There is an obvious problem in the survey question. This question is one of a long series of very wide ranging general queries that are largely designed to elicit a quick tickbox response from the candidates. The responses in turn must be sufficiently formalised to allow for later statistical processing.

    The outcome of this process is often an unacceptable degree of oversimplification and a failure to recognise that many questions are interconnected. For example Finland is identified as a stable trading partner and a target for foreign investment partly because it is a State party to a complex web of international legal instruments.

    The current UK government was elected in part on a platform of “tightening” immigration controls, and it has been pursuing various initiatives in the hope of influencing certain key figures (principally the grand total of residence permits issued). However, if we look at the immigration policy areas that have been specifically targeted so far, we find migrant workers and foreign students in the firing line. This focus on comparatively soft targets is hardly surprising when the aim is to bring about a cosmetic change in immigration statistics, but it bears little or no relation to the previous election rhetoric. Recent debate in Britain has focused on introducing a quota system for migrant workers without damaging economic growth. A new area of debate that opened up just last week concerns the extent to which policy changes can be made concerning foreign students without damaging the UK education system.

    In the case of Finland, the single most effective measure for reducing general immigration figures has already been announced: the closure of the Ingrian migration programme. The image selected by YLE for this latest article is highly misleading: the typical immigrant in Finland is not an English or French-speaking black African, but a Russian or Estonian-speaker of Ingrian origin together with immediate family members. Finland could cut its overall immigration rate tomorrow by closing down the rest of its returnee programme, but the political fallout from such a measure would be considerable.

    A great deal of fuss has been made of family reunification programmes, but here again the devil is in the detail. The UK could introduce restrictions on family reunificiation, but it might be wise to wait until after the upcoming Royal wedding before doing so (election survey question: do you think people should be allowed to bring foreign spouses into the country?). Finland could do likewise, but only in the teeth of opposition from Finnish citizens in mixed marriages (OK, Urpo Leppänen is no longer with us, but there are many others in similar circustances). In any case if the objective is to prevent reunification of families from the Horn of Africa, then there are also nearly always children to consider. The survey of election candidates did not include the question: should the State routinely require the separation and estrangement of children from their parents?

  2. Klay_Immigrant

    An off the topic question.

    Do you feel that visible immigrants faces more obstacles now or in the late 80’s in Finland particularly in the job market?

    The answer may seem to be simple because there are more visible immigrants now than then so more measures have been put in place for equality but you also have to consider that there wouldn’t have been an anti-immigration backclash gripping the nation in the late 80’s as there were so few immigrants in the first place. Also then no one could be certain exactly how visible immigrants would adapt to Finland and what impact they would have unlike now. As I was still in nursery in the late 80’s I genuinely don’t know the answer to my original question so would appreciate anyone who lived in Finland in the late 80’s (Enrique, JusticeDemon) for their opinion. Thanks

  3. JusticeDemon

    Very few ordinary Finns had ever seen a black person before the Helsinki Olympics. The earliest immigrants of colour consistently reported that they were stared at in public places. Discrimination against visible minorities in accessing private services has been reported and documented in various ways since well before the 1960s. This includes gaining admission to bars, restaurants and night clubs, securing privately rented accommodation and arranging bank loans (a black family breadwinner in a mixed couple can almost expect the indignity of suffering refusal of a home loan application unless accompanied by the Finnish spouse). These problems have persisted to some degree, despite improved legislation and more sophisticated evidence gathering techniques.

    The standard of service in the public sector also exhibits disparities between the treatment experienced by various population groups. I recall one case in which I accompanied a black Finnish citizen to a interview at a jobcentre in Espoo. The interviewer insisted on seeing the interviewee’s passport, studied it carefully and then explained that the interviewee could not register as a jobseeker because there was no residence permit in the passport – such is the impact of a black face in a formal procedure.

    To some extent discriminatory behaviour has been driven underground. Whereas in the 1980s a black person might be barred from a night club “because we don’t serve your sort here”, it is now more likely that the reason offered will be an unsubstantiated and unspecified claim that the person concerned has “caused trouble here before” or is “not complying with the dress code”. These objections magically evaporate when a lawyer and camera crew appear on the scene. The difference is that door staff now know that their conduct is wrong and potentially actionable.

    More interesting is the case with accessing private rented accommodation. There is still enough scope for a high school social studies project in which prospective tenants of varying background contact a landlord to enquire about a vacant tenancy. Naming and shaming the offending landlord does not occur, however, perhaps because truth is not an absolute defence against charges of defamation in Finland (Finnish Penal Code, chapter 24, section 9, subsection 1, paragraph 2). This did not prevent the television presenter Timo Harakka from famously demonstrating the phenomenon by telephoning the same (anonymous) landlord twice during his TV show. In the first call Harakka convincingly mimicked the accent of a Somali speaking Finnish and was told that the vacancy had already been filled. He then dropped the accent for the second call a short while later and was promptly invited to view the vacant property.

    Visibility is a relative concept. Speakers of Russian and Estonian are a visible minority in Finland, and often prefer not to use their language in public places because of social opprobrium. Russian-speaking women are often assumed to be prostitutes. This has not really changed much in the last 25 years.

  4. JusticeDemon

    Further to my first post in this thread above, this article makes the point quite clearly. The first three paragraphs show that the intention of the policy change is to curb numbers. The specific policy area targeted is migration for formal education, together with employment during and immediately after this education.

    Now compare this with populist election rhetoric focusing on cultural diversity and the alleged work shy character and benefit dependence of immigrants.

    • Enrique

      –Let’s hope this would happen some day: http://www.vaalimanifesti.fi/

      Hi Sami, are you serious? ONe of the problem with those that are pushing this xenophobic document is that they think they are doing Finland a favor. It is not only disgraceful but unconstitutional. We wrote about this last year.

  5. JusticeDemon


    How are you going to do that without introducing discriminatory rules restricting the rights of parents to choose the schools that their children attend? Please bear in mind that a very large proportion of immigrant children are culturally and linguistically Finnish. Presumably you would also “place” these immigrant children in schools other than those chosen by their parents. What will you do in the overwhelmingly most common case where there is one foreign and one Finnish parent?

    There is this tiny problem called the rule of law. It means that there is no dictator who can point to each family in turn and say where the children must be “placed”. Instead you have to formulate general rules that apply equally to everyone. That’s what law is.

    Please also bear in mind that complex rules cost more to administer. How much extra tax should we pay in order to defray the cost of hiring additional education department staff that are qualified to implement such “placement” policies?

  6. Yrjö

    TV-ohjelma Hyvät, pahat ja rumat 16.9.1993, Jari Sarasvuo luki Oulusta tulleen kirjeen: pakolaismiehet raiskaavat naisia tyrmäystipoin. Eräästä raiskatusta löytyi 17 miehen spermaa.

    Maahanmuuton vastustajien nimittely rasisteiksi on asiatonta: maahanmuutto on eri asia kuin rotusorto. 1993 lopussa Ruben Stiller haukkui presidenttiehdokas Raimo Ilaskiveä (kok) rasistiksi kun tämä ehdotti somalien maahanmuuttoon rajoituksia.

    2010 keväällä pääministeri Mari Kiviniemi haukkui opposition (“flirttailua rasismin kanssa”), tilanteessa jossa hallitus oli päästämässä Suomeen ilma työlupaa EU:n ulkopuolisia työntekijöitä. Ei onnistunut, olisi tuonut Suomeen ehkä kymmeniä tuhansia kiinalaisia, intialaisia jne, vaikka maassa oli jo ennestään pari sataa tuhatta työtöntä.