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Is there racism in Finland?

May 17, 2008

One of the most successful posts of this blog is, Are you a target of racism in Finland? In my opinion the reason why so many have read it is because there is a racism problem in Finland. A Mikko wrote a recent comment, where he states, “there are some real problems in Finnish society but racism is not in the top 5.”

If unemployment is about 7% among Finns and about 20% among foreigners, certainly that shows that there is a problem. Is this due to racism, discrimination or because Finns are suspicious of outsiders?

Some Finns argue that one reason why foreigners don’t have jobs is because they don’t speak the language nor understand the culture. This sounds like an excuse to justify the present situation, whereby some foreigners continue to be marginalized from Finnish society. It is, however, a good point, but it is not a valid one. In Spain, where there are many Latin Americans who speak Spanish as their mother tongue and even have the same religion as many Spaniards. one would guess that integration into Spanish society would be easy. Wrong. Most of the Latin Americans, especially those from Ecuador, Dominicans, Bolivia and others, who are racially different-looking from Spaniards, suffer racist attacks and are at the lower end of the societal totem pole.

This suggests that that a big part of the problem resides in Spanish attitudes towards outsiders.

Why do Africans from former French colonies, where they speak French, are a target of constant racism in France? Shouldn’t a common language unite them? Or is it racism?

A so-called “civilized” country like Finland is measured by its ability to accept – not reject and exclude – and facilitate the integration of “outsiders” into society. Up to now, it has done a pretty poor job at this.

When unemployment of foreigners and Finns is at about the same level, then that will be one indication that we have slain, or at least contained, the ogre of racism that is still alive and kicking in Finland.

111 Comments leave one →
  1. Karthik permalink
    May 20, 2008 11:53 pm

    I’d posted this in the other blog as well… but perhaps fits better in here???

    Heylo folks! I am visiting my girlfriend in Finland in two weeks time.. am from Mumbai, India and have been living, working and partying (!!!) in the UK big time for the last two and a half years,,, the reason I stumbled onto this web page is because today Piritta, my Finnish girlfriend who I met in Budapest while travelling this year at Easter, says her brother doesn’t like dark skinned people..

    It’s like this… It’s her nephew’s birthday.. she’s the godmother.. and really wants to attend. While we were planning my trip there (along with the boat party trip to Stockholm from Helsinki and back) I told her I would love to be part of her nephew’s birthday celebrations.. mingle with her family and become friends. She, poor thing, said her brother didn’t like dark skinned people.. she was a little embarassed about it too… I laughed! just could’nt believe it.. in 2008!! ..and kept laughing.. BUT she was serious!!

    To me, in the UK.. this is silly… true, I have heard stories of people being racist here as well.. indeed, perhaps on some rare occasions I have experienced it as well.. but it definitely helps speaking the local language fluently and with a local accent, which I am easily able to do, and so am accepted more readily than most asians I guess.. two minutes of talking and they just feel I was born here.. just brown in colour.. son of immigrants they think.. but that cannot happen in Finland 🙂 I don’t speak the language even if I am able to ape the accent.

    ..I have also found that english speaking is considered a plus in non-english speaking countries.. due to the explosion of the internet, CNN, BBC etc. I have noticed people speaking english are given “extra points” when interacting with locals in a foreign country.. and everyone is trying to speak their best english to impress us.. anyways, I’m digressing.

    Coming back to the topic, this reaction from my girl made me search on google for “racism in finland”, and I came across this forum. Hmmm… looks like there might be some truth to what she is feeling.. I mean, being from the UK (living and working here) I could not believe this sort of attitude at SUCH a large scale as highlited in some comments here could exist.. I mean, my first few questions to Piritta were “how old is your brother again?”.. “are we living in 1895 or something??” .. “hey, this is 2008!!”

    .. but think there are still some places in this world that are not all CNN, BBC, Internet and “all are equal” kinds.. Will be VERY interesting to visit and see what they really are like in Finland!

    I always believe your attitude matters too.. I believe I’m the best when I talk to anyone.. and that attitude gets me automatic respect. Let’s see a brown man get a Finnish girl in Finland and go to parties with her in font of the Finnish men.. ha! should be real fun!!

    But then that is me.. 🙂

    Oh by the way, I have sent this link to Piritta.. will be fun if she reads what you folks have been chatting about. Interesting… very interesting!



  2. Enrique permalink
    May 21, 2008 8:28 pm

    Hi Karthik, many thanks for your valuable insights and points of view. Yes, unfortunately, racism is still a big issue in countries like Finland in 2008! Your girlfriend’s brother should know better. Possibly you could be the one to help him see matters in a different way. As there are people in Finland who discriminate because of a person’s skin color, there are many others who think differently.
    I believe that one day we’ll look at these matters and be dismayed and/or ashamed by such attitudes. However, something must be done about it. And the first big step, in my opinion, is acknowledging that there IS a problem. By acknowledging this problem we can start to change matters.

  3. From Finland permalink
    May 28, 2008 12:28 pm

    I’m from Finland, and I have no problem with most people from different countries. However, I do not support uncontrolled immigration. And many finns don’t really like it either, because it brings problems with it. If criticizing immigration is racism these days, then all I can say is that the propaganda machine called media has done it’s work.

    It IS a problem that most immigrants do not know the language, nor do they try to learn it. Of course there are those who actively attend courses to learn the language, so it’s not like every single immigrant is bad. But some immigrants come here, and abuse the welfare system we have in place and do not even try to look for jobs. Also, statistics show that immigrants do quite a big portion of crimes when comparing to the natives.

    Large scale immigration is causing problems in Sweden, France and the UK etc. It is the immigration of the uneducated masses that finns fear.

  4. Enrique permalink
    May 28, 2008 12:46 pm

    Hi From Finland, many thanks for your input. Certainly a person that comes from another country should try to learn the language of a country and its customs. The same should go for the Finns: they should learn to respect other cultures as well.
    What worries me about some of the comments from Finns is none of them see immigration as a positive matter. It has worked wonders in many countries and has been a driving force in economic development. Certainly there are all types among Finns as well as immigrants. Some foreigners are not the only ones abusing the system.
    You mentioned that foreigners commit more crimes than Finns. Could you substantiate that claim? Do you have proof that it is the case.
    Finland is a country that gave many countries immigrants. There are over 1 million Finns and their descendants that live abroad. I have lived in many countries during my lifetime. I always try to grow and advance when I move to a country. In the United States, immigrants are hard workers as elsewhere. It takes a lot of guts to move from one place to another and start anew.
    In my opinion, the best way of solving the immigrant problem is to offer jobs, opportunities and advancement. Another important factor is that the so-called natives accept people for their character and not create walls because of ethnocentrism and racism. Nobody benefits from such a situation.

  5. visiting Finn permalink
    May 28, 2008 2:21 pm

    On crime rates:
    The National Research Institute on Legal policy has this (in Finnish only, figures for 2005): . There are major differences between different immigrant groups. The biggest groups (the Estonians and the Russians) have crime rates roughly similar to those of native Finns (except for drunken driving and drug offences, where they’re higher). There are serious problems concentrated in some groups and pretending that things are well isn’t going to help any.
    On a negative attitude to immigration: for as long as I can remember we’ve been told that there will be a huge labour shortage sometime soon but it hasn’t happened yet. Instead we have serious unemployment problems. This is not the fault of the foreigners, but the anger that should be directed at our stupid government finds an easier target there. And it means that when the government tells me that ‘we’ need more immigration, I’m not giving them the benefit of doubt, I assume they’re full of it.
    I don’t see a problem with people who can get real jobs here at real wages, but I don’t like the idea of people being imported for the sake of importing people, hoping that somehow they will automagically find jobs and apartments, which seems to be the idea now. Life here is hard and mass immigration of people who do not have skills needed in the labour market is a recipe for trouble.

  6. Embo permalink
    May 28, 2008 2:34 pm

    Hello Enrique,

    Many thanks for an interesting and thought-provoking post. You wrote:

    “What worries me about some of the comments from Finns is none of them see immigration as a positive matter.”

    Fazer, Finlayson, Frenckell…some immigrant names from Finnish past, which cought to give the Finns a sense of what benefits immigration can bring. And it actually works – I do not see Finns having anti-immigration attitudes. It is multiculturalism that they oppose, and for good reason. Unlike internationalism or high-quality immigration (which you represent), multiculturalism refers to a worrying tendency of emphasizing the differences between ethnic groups and suppressing cultural criticism, except for Finnish culture, which is free game. Combined, these two things destroy trust and social cohesion. Trust and social cohesion are not tied to peoples ethnic background, but to the fact that everyone has the same rules and the same moral code. This seemingly obvious fact is obliterated by multiculturalism, but not necessarily by well-managed immigration.

    “Another important factor is that the so-called natives accept people for their character and not create walls because of ethnocentrism and racism. Nobody benefits from such a situation.”

    Exactly! This of course works both ways – the immigrants must also face and eliminate their own ethnocentrism and racism towards the natives. Especially Muslims in the West seem to be prone to these two sins. They demand islamic schools, special meals and time off for prayer at work, they incite hatred towards “infidels” in their mosques, they seemingly adapt to the host society, but attack it with bus bombs, they threaten with violence on seeing completely>random things. This is not a cultural difference or a right to practise religion, but rather a racist assault towards the West.

    “In my opinion, the best way of solving the immigrant problem is to offer jobs, opportunities and advancement. ”

    True. However, but jobs cannot merely be offered. The job candidate must possess skills to do the job. Low-income entry-level jobs (like tomato-picking) are not readily available, and even if they are, the immigrant would have to resort to social security, creating an added burden to the taxpayers. Furthermore, low-income areas will in the future have low-quality schools, making it impossible for the 2nd generation immigrants to ascend the social ladder.

    Thus, the crux of the matter is that we need quality contol in immigration. Currently, for each normal immigrant we get at least one low-quality unemployable immigrant, making the net gain zero or negative. It is this sort of quality ratio that I as a Finn oppose.

  7. Herja permalink
    May 28, 2008 2:38 pm

    Hi. You asked “From Finland” for statistics about crimes committed by foreigners in Finland. These statistics are taken from The National Research Institute of Legal Policy site:

    “Foreigners and crime: In 2005, about19 300 foreigners who had residence in
    Finland, were suspected of some offence. This rate was 3.0 % out of all persons
    suspected of offences known to the police in Finland. The number of offences
    committed by foreigners has increased 79 % since 1996. In 2005, about
    114 000 foreigners (2,2 % of the whole population) had residence in Finland.
    In addition about 16 100 foreigners not having residence in Finland, tourists
    and other visitors were suspected of offences in 2005.
    23 per cent of all foreigners suspected of crimes were Russians, 18 per cent
    were Estonians, and 8 per cent were Swedes. Foreigners were most typically
    suspected of traffic offences (45 % in 2005). Forcible rapes and robberies
    were offences where foreign suspects were most clearly over-represented in
    2005 (forcible rapes 21 per cent and robberies 27 per cent of all suspects).”

    See p. 451 “Foreigners and crime”

    In the category of robberies and forcible rapes some nationalities are even more frequently suspected. Personally, I don’t think there’s much in learning to respect those cultures that are continuously overrepresented in criminal statistics.

  8. Jonas permalink
    May 28, 2008 7:20 pm

    Well, I am a Swedish speaking Finn, and sadly if I didn’t also speak Finnish I am pretty sure I would not get the job I have today. That goes for most of us who live in Uusimaa for most roles. Of course, racism is not solely language based. Some Swedish speaking finns suffer discrimination because they have Swedish as their mother tongue – but ultimately they are the same race. So there is language discrimination too.

    If French speaking people who happen to be African don’t get employed in France, then that is clearly linked to racism. Here, it’s harder to make the connection – because if I were recruiting someone, I would unfortunately not employ someone who didn’t speak fluent Finnish, Swedish and English. Sorry, but these languages are all needed for the job my team do. Other European languages would be a bonus. If an immigrant comes to me who can speak those 3 languages, then that’s fine by me. Their nationality/ethnicity isn’t important. Skills are.

    The problem is, Finnish isn’t the most common language in the world – nor the easiest. That’s regretable, but that’s how it is. So, I can understand that unfortunately non Finnish speakers will find the job market harder. I am sure that goes a long way to explain the statistics you have shown on unemployment amongst immigrants. Of course, racism is also a factor. But it’s unrealistic to say:
    “When unemployment of foreigners and Finns is at about the same level, then that will be one indication that we have slain, or at least have contained, the ogre of racism that is still alive and kicking in Finland.”

    It is more realistic to say, when unemployment of Finnish speaking/equally qualified foreigners and Finns is about the same level, then we will know that racism has been slain. Otherwise you are not comparing like with like.

    Interesting blog you have here! I shall explore more.

  9. Enrique permalink
    May 28, 2008 7:55 pm

    Hi Embo, you make some very good points. Thank you for your most interesting comments. As you know, multiculturalism has its roots in Canada. It means basically that people from different cultures coexist in a society and have the same rights – as well as the right to practice their culture. I don’t know how this works in practice, but as a policy it is a better solution than just forcing people to leave behind their culture for a new one. For the first generation this is not so easy but as time goes on, the second and forthcoming generations become a part of a new identity and culture. I believe that Finland is an exemplary society for other less-fortunate countries to emulate. But part of being an example means the ability of accepting others and their cultures. It is the ability for the host country to offer the means to absorb other cultures and make them feel at home. Possibly in the future, all Finns irrespective of their race or creed can be united by one matter: Finland. Racism is wrong both directions be it from a Finn or a non-Finn. What I meant about offering jobs and opportunities is that immigrants and Finns compete for jobs on the basis of their merits. Nothing is offered on a platter. But there should be an opportunity to partake in such a competition as equals and on the merit of one’s professional background.
    When you talk about quality immigration this is very difficult to achieve. Somebody will have to do the “dirty work” that Finns don’t want to. This is the case in many countries. Can a country control who comes in? Certainly it can but it depends on where there are shortages of labor. If you need non-qualified laborers and don’t have them – what do you do?

  10. Enrique permalink
    May 28, 2008 8:08 pm

    Hi Herja, thanks you for the information on the crime statistics on foreign residents in Finland. What does this tell you? Certainly it points out that crime is a problem among some foreigners. Even so, there is a big danger: to generalize and to assume that people from such cultures commit crimes. It’s the individual NOT the nationality. Finland is a country founded on strong judicial institutions and laws. Those who break the law are accountable for their actions. Another matter that I could bring up is that crime figures can rise if we look for it. For example, if we carry out more alcohol tests on the road we will find more driving under the influence cases. I am not justifying criminal acts. For that we have the law. But the law should be like the balance – fair and with rights to everyone. But let’s not now state that all people from this country or that religion are criminals. That is wrong. Crimes are committed by individuals.

  11. Enrique permalink
    May 28, 2008 8:15 pm

    Jonas, thank you for your very good comments. Who says that you have to hire someone who does not speak Finnish. If the person does not speak Finnish how can he aspire to get a good job in a Finnish company? Moreover, as I have mentioned previously, language is only one of many tools for a person to operate in a society. In Spain there are many South Americans who speak Spanish as their mother tongue. Many have low-paying jobs because of their skills. However, that is not the only problem The problem is also the attitudes of some Spaniards towards darker-skinned and indigenous-looking Latin Americans. While I agree with you, and you don’t mention it, some Finns blame the lack of knowledge of Finnish as a factor. But I ask, what happens after they learned to communicate in Finnish. How will they be accepted then? A fine society like Finland must have the ability to integrate others and make them feel a part of this grand project we call Suomi.

  12. Jonas permalink
    May 29, 2008 2:37 pm

    Aha, sorry, I didn’t realise it’s English name was Immigration Service now. Before in Swedish, it was called (roughly translated) “Aliens/foreigners authority” (which doesn’t sound at all positive), the new name translates to “Migration Authority” roughly (but perhaps the word migration has a slightly different context in Swedish.) This name change was, in any case, at Thors’ iniative. Sfp has recognised that the whole corporate culture at this agency was geared up wrongly and not to help the immigrant.

    I agree with you, we need more immigrants actually. And we will benefit from it. In some ways,I think that Swedish speaking politicians like Thors find it easy to empathise with immigrant’s cases because they are used to fighting for the rights of our own minority. In many ways, there are parallels between our continued fighting to retain and receive our language rights to those of immigrants in their fight to get more rights or at least respect. It probably explains Sfp’s position on immigration (very pro). Also, you can see that the heavy majority Swedish speaking municipalities in Österbotten (e.g. Närpes) have won awards for their integration successes with refugees. Now of course, I will try and be cynical and present the other side; it’s good for Sfp if refugees come and integrate themselves as Swedish speakers – future likely Sfp voters. But they have genuinely been welcomed with little of the problems you see in some parts of the country.

  13. aricatch permalink
    May 29, 2008 4:27 pm

    I have something to say:
    1. I am a foreigner here in Finland.
    2. I have been here several years.
    3. Finns are not particularly racists but, they don’t like foreigners period. They mostly hate everything that’s foreign. Most of them does.
    4. Ofcourse, they will not call you with names in front of you or abuse you.
    5. They do appreciate if you try to integrate.
    6. Karthik your girl friend is serious because, I know her brother or family will not love to see someone with dark skin color in a family gathering.
    7. In most case, finns who marry foreigner(darker color ones) are a bit isolated from their friends. There are exceptions.
    8. Again, I repeat Finns are not racist. They just hate foreign objects.
    9. It takes years for a foreigner to build trust.
    10. I guess you met your girl friend in UK. As, I will not see any chance of such relationship had you been a foreigner here. Ofcourse, with the exception if you will go anything you get.
    11. My advice is call your girl friends brother personaly, tell him you are dark skinned and will he mind if you visit them. Finns are generally very honest people lets see what he say. Not that it matter. But, it is always good to have good family and friends.
    12. You have to work real real hard to prove that, you are worth something here if you are a foreigner.
    13. I also agree some foreigners have exploited the system. For your info, I have not. For your info I pay more taxes that a average Finn.
    14. I would love to kick those other foreigner out of this beautiful country who’s abuse of the welfare system makes people like me answer everyday “Why I am here?”.
    15. Best of luck

  14. herja permalink
    May 29, 2008 7:28 pm

    What do these crime statistics tell me? They tell me that somewhere there is a problem and unless that problem is solved situation is going to get worse. In my opinion lax immigration policy will increase crimes as will integration policies based on the idea of multiculturalism.

    Some here have pointed out that finnish is a small language that few know and learning a new language can be challenging to adult immigrants. Language barrier, poor education and welfare society are some factors that hinder immigrants integration to finnish society.

    But you can’t rule out culture completely. Culture is not jacket that you can take off when you arrive to a new country because you have generations of customs and values and possibly other people from that culture and all this makes you hang on to what you know. And unfortunately some of those values are in clear conflict with finnish values. It is true that we must treat people equally in our society. But when you plan immigration and integration policies you should take a look at those statistics because they tell which cultures need most help in integrating and which cultures have values that conflict with finnish values.

    You said that looking at crime figures rise if we look at them. But would that change the percentages? Remember, these figures were not from a study just about foreigners but number of foreign suspects in total crime statistics. Also, those DUI cases in your example don’t just appear from nowhere to distort statistics, they are actual cases that are revealed. To stop looking would not make those drunk drivers go away from the road, just from the statistics.

  15. Enrique permalink
    May 30, 2008 9:57 am

    Hi Aricatch, thank you for your comments. Good for you that you have been able to make Finland your home.
    Hi Herja, you are right. A civil welfare state society must also have the tools and the means to see a problem like crime and find ways of undermining it. Even though some like to see immigration as a complex thing, it really isn’t. The first step in integrating an outsider to become an insider is the opportunities a society gives an indiviual to take part through work. being on the dole or living of welfare checks does not cut it. It has an opposte effect: it marginalizes the person from Finnish society and from Finns.
    If I were going to look at some integration models, I would not look anywhere in Europe. I’d go to Canada and the United States. It is true what you say about culture. However, culture is a tool for adaption. If a culture does not find the tools or is not given them by the majority culture, then we have marginalized people. Nobody benefits. If Finland has created a modern, civil, welfare society that is an example in the world, why are some of us having such a difficult time accepting others to take part in this grand society? Do we fear that these outsiders will destroy Finland? To conclude: Employment and treating foreigners as equals irrespective of thei color, nationality or creed. Some Finns have to learn to see people that way. If you do, your life will change. It’s counterproductive to the person and society to build ethnocentric walls of indiffernce. Tear them down and note the difference. It is a two-way street that both the Finns and non-Finns will have to take part in if they want to overcome their mutual suspicions.

  16. aricatch permalink
    May 30, 2008 7:08 pm

    Hi Enrique, I completely agree with you. It is a two way street indeed.
    My opinion goes like this:
    Scenerio 1 : Family man shipped due to job to Finalnd : Prospect of integration : Very Low
    Scenerio 2 : Single man or woman comes to Finland with Finnish partner or finds Finnish partner : Prospect of integration : High

    It should be made compulsory to attend integration program to learn about the country, culture and basic words Finnish.

    Unemployed to be offered free program and employed to pay for the program.

  17. aricatch permalink
    May 31, 2008 5:03 pm

    Hi Herja, multiculturalism will probably not work in Finland as it will take decades for the natives to really understand and appreciate other cultures. Again, I completely agree you that asking a immgrant to throw his/her culture to the nearest bin and embrace local culture will also not work.

    So, I guess some smart solution has to be found out. One could be language unformity. Why not make is mandatory for every immigrant to take language classes and define couple of levels Which one has to clear.

    I guess that is the only way out. As, love it or hate it Finland will take in more economic immigrants in the next few years. Someone has to pay the taxes.

    And sometimes people do come to this country without having heard its name before, then after a few years starts to like this country and decides to live here and as well contribute back to the country.

    I don’t care to be politically correct but, probably joblessness is high within specific groups who are brought here to show the world about the humaniterian nature of Finland. But, the soceity denies them job and they get in cirmes and all immagrants get the blame. That’s is not fair.

  18. Enrique permalink
    June 1, 2008 12:25 pm

    Hi Aricatch, we sometimes make the mistake of thinking that culture is a jacket one takes off and puts back on at will. When we talk about a two-way street, I mean Finns as well must learn about the other cultures that live in their country. This, naturally, depends on how much interaction they have with such groups.
    In Spain, the Popular Party candidate Mariano Rajoy, who lost the March 9 general election, proposed that all immigrants that come to the country must sign a sort of immigrant contract, where they agree to learn, respect and eventually integrate into Spain. There are many reasons why such a contract would be a dismal failure:
    1) What IS Spanish culture? What IS Finnish culture?
    2) Why not force the Catalans, Basques and other regional groups to integrate into Spain? This was tried by former strongman Francisco Franco, who prohibited Catalans from speaking their own language. People are still resentful at such policies. It’s a bit like what happened with Russification in Finland.
    3) Certainly it is always a good matter that cultures learn about each other. But you cannot impose a culture on another group. It’s like leadership: you lead and inspire others NOT force them to follow you.
    4) The new subcultures that will emerge — or have already emerged – in Finland are a new manifestation of Finnish culture. The Blacks in the US speak differently to the Whites because that IS there identity. Certainly the object of all foreigners living in Finland is not to speak and act like a Helsinkian.
    5) If you want to integrate people, it will not happen with walls of indifference.
    6) The Swedes did not undermine Finland – so why would other national groups?

  19. Karthik permalink
    June 4, 2008 5:57 pm

    Heylo folks! Wow! Some lovely responses and inspired discussions happening here… I put up that first post and then was really busy with visas, travel plans etc.

    Enrique, I take you’re the owner of this blog? Good job matey! 🙂 Psst.. do you edit what goes on? 😉 All of the posts appear very respectful.. or nearly all of them, ha ha.. am sure there must have been some hot headed folk sending in flames as well.. such topics always generate debate.. and trigger the hormones!

    Right! Am off to Helsinki on Saturday (7th June).. 3 days there, 3 days in Stockholm… traveling via the Viking party boat should be fun(!!) then onwards to Copenhagen. Piritta goes back to Helsinki from Stockholm.. am skipping “integrating” with her family for now lol

    Hey Aricatch, thanks for your comments buddy.. Hmm.. well as far as I’ve seen, if a person has the right kind of attitude, real POSITIVE feel in life.. it doesn’t take long to make good friends.. even with moody people! Bring on Finland with all it’s warm, friendly and positive people I say.. just have to tap them the right way!

    Yes, I agree about the family aspect.. but then that’s not an issue with Finland alone! Any country you go to.. a partner/lover from another country (whether white-white, black-white, brown-purple, blue-black.. any colour combo :D) is always FIRST seen as an outsider.. because he/she IS an outsider! It takes a conversation and a few laughs to get to know a person properly.. of course, a beer always helps 🙂

    I’m from India and if some bloke or girl there married a foreigner, it will receive perhaps the same reaction from the family as anywhere else in the world. Once they get to know the person, automatically colour,caste, religion etc ceases to matter.. that is human nature. Comfort comes with familiarity. Can’t immediately expect a stranger to treat you like a best friend/family member can we?

    I met Piri via the internet when I was visiting Budapest earlier in the year.. she was visiting from Helsinki.. and because I’m with her this time, can’t try my charms with the finnish young ladies, otherwise could have given you a report on whether someone from outside Finland (AND is black/brown skinned) can get cosy with someone there or not 😀

    Crime, using/abusing the government’s resources, unemployment.. I would think we are talking about uneducated or lower class employment here.. people with no qualifications, beggars, a not so privileged family background… but then again, you’ve got people like this in every single country in the world! 😀



  20. Jonas permalink
    June 4, 2008 7:52 pm

    6) The Swedes did not undermine Finland – so why would other national groups
    Can you explain this statement? It doesn’t make sense to me. You can’t compare Swedish-speaking Finns with immigrants. The comparison doesn’t make sense.

    In many of the areas where you will find considerable Swedish-speaking populations, it’s the Finnish speakers that are the more recent population groups. That applies to most of coastal Uusimaa/Nyland, Turunmaa/Åboland and Österbotten/Pohjanmaa. Where as places like today’s Espoo/Esbo might be 85+% Finnish speaking, you’d only have to go back 50 to 60 years or so to find it having a Swedish majority. If you went back in a time machine to 1900, you’d find it hard to find a Finnish-speaking household in Espoo if you were going around on knocking on people’s doors.

  21. Enrique permalink
    June 5, 2008 11:08 am

    Hi Karthik, welcome to Finland! I hope you have a great stay and can meet your possible future brother- in-law. I too am happy that we’ve been able to debate a difficult topic in such a civil manner.
    Hi Jonas, what I meant by my statement is that having two cultures living side by side in Finland did not hurt the country. On the contrary – Finland became richer because of it. It’s a bit like the story with English, which has been influenced by over 300 languages. This influence has not weakened English. It has made it richer and stronger. The children of the immigrants that now live in Finland will become a national group like the Swedish- and Finnish-speaking Finns. They too will speak their special brand of Finnish to possibly distinguish themselves from the Swedish- and Finnish-speaking Finns. So, to conclude, Finland is much richer as a country because of the Swedish Finns. I hope this explains my point, Jonas.

  22. Karthik permalink
    June 5, 2008 8:03 pm

    Folks, am flying out on Saturday morning… seeing as I’ve not got that many people I know in Helsinki, anyone here care to meet up for a few drinks etc on Saturday night in town? There will be self, a friend and my girl friend.. you could bring along your friends as well.. we can have a nice big party! ..if that is anyone here is from Helsinki! 😀

  23. Enrique permalink
    June 6, 2008 10:55 am

    Hi Karthik, I would have been a pleasure meeting you and your girlfriend. I live now in Madrid since February. I hope your stay will be a great exerience. Certainly I’d encourage any others to have a coffee with you like Jonas and others.
    Many thanks for the invitation.

  24. aricatch permalink
    June 11, 2008 6:18 pm

    Hei Karthik,

    Do let us know how your trip went. I wish you enjoy your trip. I don’t live in Helsinki so, I will not be able to join you guys. But, if you ever visit Oulu let me know.


  25. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    June 12, 2008 7:21 am

    “As you know, multiculturalism has its roots in Canada. It means basically that people from different cultures coexist in a society and have the same rights – as well as the right to practice their culture.”

    Yes, the natives had a right to practice their culture in reservations. Problem is that Finland has seen foreigners as “invaders” since before after King Erik and Bishop Henry.

    Someone – foreigner – coming and *demanding* us to do things is evidently a colonial imperialist trying to “civilize the natives”. Like you now here. Why should we listen to you – are you somehow better than us? Do we need your advice? Did we ask for it? So that is maybe the resentment of “things foreign” which I think is hogwash. Finland and Finns adapt foreign things at a massive rate. The thing is… a little look into the psyche. We do it if we want to do it – not if someone tells us to do it. When faced with the facts of crime rate you go on “criminals are individuals”. Well, Finns are “individuals” too. And we like to stay that way.

    “If Finland has created a modern, civil, welfare society that is an example in the world, why are some of us having such a difficult time accepting others to take part in this grand society? Do we fear that these outsiders will destroy Finland? ”

    Well maybe thet fear isn’t unwarranted? If you want to live in an USA or Canada then why not move there. This is Finland for a reason – because this is Finland. If every country was an USA or Canada there wouldn’t be any different nations. So if you want to live in Finland and a modern, civil, welfare society that is an example in the world – then why do you work towards destroying it?

    Just wondering if we need soon to start to build a casino in some reservation.

  26. June 12, 2008 6:40 pm

    Well, I think there is racism in Finland too, even about some blogs, it’s possible to read on about racism and there is some racist troll too.

  27. Enrique permalink
    June 12, 2008 6:55 pm

    Hi DeTant, thank you for your comment.
    In the 1950s, Indians, or First Nations citizens as they are called, were objects of discrimination. Things have improved a lot in Canada. They have returned land to such First Nations’ groups. There has been an historic apology for the wrongdoing.
    Why are foreigners “invaders?”
    Are you saying that if a person has a father who is Black and a mother who is Finn that the child has not right to live in this country because he WAS born here and this IS his home. Why should he move to the US and Canada. I don’t understand where you come with the idea that because foreigners move to Finland they are going to destroy it. Have foreigners destroyed Canada, the US, Brazil and Australia? Tell me what foreigners must do? Is your solution to kick them out of Finland before they destroy the culture?
    De Tant, please define Finnish culture and what foreigners should do in order not to destroy it as you point out.

  28. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    June 13, 2008 1:28 pm

    Have foreigners destroyed Canada, the US, Brazil and Australia?

    Yes. Do you have a problem with reading history? The decimation of the native tribes bringing “western civilization”? Did you miss that in school?

    We do not want to have to deal with cultural imperialism.

    If a person is born here and is living here then they are a part of the Finnish society. The person being black or white has nothing to do with this question. It shows you cannot differentiate culture and skin color and it is you who are the racist yourself. The question is that if the person wants to live in the USA or Canada he can move there, but if he lives in Finland that is also a choice. Finland has Finnish culture. Canada has Canadian culture. If a Canadian moves to Finland he moves to the Finnish culture – if he wanted to move into Canadian Culture he wouldn’t move to Finland now would he? Now if the Canadian still insists on imposing Canadian culture on the Finns, he is an “invader”. And claiming that the Canadian culture is better than the Finnish one so we should abandon it is racist cultural imperialism.

    So again the question – what makes you superior to the Finns in their own country?

  29. aricatch permalink
    June 15, 2008 8:39 am

    DeTant I don’t get you last statement even as a foreigner who is involved in securing and implementing oversea’s projects to this country and paying my share of taxes.

    You have to understand it is a two way street. As my office pal shared with me that, they were quite sure that I cannot take this isolation from the society and would run away. Well, I didn’t I am here and paying more taxes than him. Now, he understands me and is very friendly.

    Finnish people are not racist but, they have a fixed mental picture about a foreigner most of which are wrong and base less. The foreigners whom they hate the most are the ones whom they bring to this country to show to the world how humanitarian they are. But, after that those foreigners are not allowed to get jobs (I think both side are responsible).

    For people like me who fight in abroad countries to ensure the reputation of this country is high. When, I return after a business trip I am greeted with famous swear words in the streets; when I return form a pub or a disco. I am so afraid of being beaten up if I stand in a cue to enter a disco that, I don’t go there alone or use the VIP services.

    The internal market here is no longer enough to sustain the expenses of this country. It is a globalized world, days of slavery and colonialism are gone. It is all about the biggest markets no more about the smaller countries. Here there are no more investments. So, this is the best time to change and be a little tolerant about foreigners who really work and follow the rules.

  30. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    June 15, 2008 9:37 am

    Well are you giving us advice “as one of us” is the question it boils down to. Because if you come from a country where you don’t have anything picture perfect – means you haven’t figured out it all either so why should we take your advice as a role model?

    Finland is more tolerant than it was 10 or 20 years ago. It gets more tolerant every day. It is unfair to except us to dance with the pied piper. For example when I grew up I was in a class with a foreigner. That was really exotic. Today it is more exotic to not find someone foreign in the schoolclass. And thats in one generation! So stop complaining about apples not being oranges. Tolerance is something that grows but it can not dictated.

    And if “Finland has a problem” what do you then say about Norway?

  31. aricatch permalink
    June 15, 2008 11:11 am

    Well, my idea is very simple which I have openly discussed with a lot of finns. My point is if a foreigner is doing has share for this country why not allow him to integrate. I am not complaining about anything. There is nothing as a perfect country in planet earth. You speak like a finn whose idea is a foreigner always hates this country.
    That is not correct. If you read my previous posts I have just said what the real situation stands.

    Lot of my finnish friends have also complained about my country but, I don’t take it personally. And they know me so, they are open towards me. If there is a problem accept it and try to fix it. That’s what I can do. But, I alone change everything but, one can always perform his duties properly.

    I am not trying to tell you as a finn anything. I am happy with my life and a few swear words does not bother me at all. But, every other foreigner will not understand this so, as the goverment predicts and demands more foreigners in this country who has to pay taxes to run this country. We all will arive at a stage where we will have problems.

    I like this place and I would not want a situation like france here. I also add if a foreigner is found guilty of a crime. Don’t complain just deport him/her. And don’t blame every other foreigner for that.

  32. Enrique permalink
    June 15, 2008 12:54 pm

    Hi DeTant, nobody is asking you to dance to the tune of the piped piper. I agree with you that matters have moved rapidly and towards a better situation in Finland. Figures such as 20% unemployment speak for themselves. There is definitely something wrong with the system. I know about Norway as I know about redneck USA – never mind France. Why don’t we look at countries like Canada? Why? Because when there is better understanding and respect for people from other countries — like towards Finns – only one matter can come out of such a situation: dynamism. There is not much room tolerance here. However, debate and constructive criticism is never out of place. It is a two-way street where we learn to grow and find synergy between us. Maybe it sounds a bit idealistic, but in the US is was that way when I lived there. The first important thing is work, then work, and followed by work. As long as you have weak laws, lots of stereotypes in the air about people things then move much slower.
    Aricatch, you make a very valid point. The problem with the debate over “foreigners versus Finns” is that it is two one-sided. It’s more complex than that.

  33. chattyguy permalink
    June 15, 2008 3:15 pm

    I accidentally stumbled onto this blog. The debates are stimulating and reflect the microsm of the world today and the different attitudes and opinions people have about an issue. I fully agree with the view that people, irrespective of their ethnic origin and their linguistic traditions, should not be typecast into stereotypes. If a crime is committed by a foreigner, he has committed it as an INDIVIDUAL ! There are good and bad elements in any society and their populations vary with times and conditions.
    All this debate to me symbolises the fact that Finland is finally opening up to the influences/mindsets of the rest of the world and is not anymore a iconoclastic tourist spot for picture perfect landscapes and for Santa. At a personal level, my experience with Finns has been a good one. I met a research scholar from Finland in the UK (many years older then me and a respected academic in her country). Though it took sometime for her to open up and chat freely with me, the wait was worth it. By the time I left the UK, she was a good friend of mine and we exchanged cards/gifts over christmas and messages too. I found her to be understanding and mature person.

  34. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    June 15, 2008 4:16 pm

    “Why don’t we look at countries like Canada? Why?”

    Because they don’t have an answer either. Or then explain and not with my explanation “theres always whining foreigners” even if its a model society.

    So if Canada has the very same problem… What was the problem in Finland?

    What are tha facts of the employment sector
    a) if not “shit” economy not even a booming one
    b) no entry-level jobs for the… hrm… no-speak crowd. no culture for having maids, housekeepers, no such labour-intensive service sector
    c) globalization biting

    What are the cultural hangups
    a) historical small nation syndrome (fear of loosing language and identity)
    b) historical little brother syndrome (always some bigger country, now the EU, making the rules )
    c) historical avoidance of conflict (we decided to debate in 1918) and thus a demand for conformity and unity (even outward)

    Some of those will change faster than the others, but miracles will not happen in a day.

  35. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    June 15, 2008 4:44 pm

    Hey Aricatch and Enrique, I have a little theory you might want to comment upon. What I think a part of the problem with foreigners getting employment or coping at the workplace is one of these “Finnish things”. I don’t think people recognize as it is a trait found in Asian societies and Finns tend to give outward a pretty western image (I kind of wished we looked mongolian and had yurts for summer cottages so we would be allowed to be the Ugrics we are) Anyhow:

    The Finnish society works a bit collectively, like in some Asian cultures we also have networks. Maybe not visible or called as such but still they do exist. A foreigner coming into the country obviously very seldom belongs to any established network, so their first perogative would be to find and identify them. A Finn who is a stranger in a town maybe has some established ties or can fix his networks and fit in quicker. Problem is if you don’t recognise the system and end up in the wrong network, like people loitering at the Central Railway Station, that is a sure way to find oneself in trouble and be considered a member of the wrong network. However after you establish yourself into a network, then you are accepted as “one of us” and you are allowed your individual differences. As Aricatch stated there that “As my office pal shared with me that, they were quite sure that I cannot take this isolation from the society and would run away.” so there is a test of sorts “Are you worthy for us to join into our network”. I wouldn’t say this is as pronounced as the Chinese guanxi ideas, but I would say theres certain similarities?

    So if you don’t belong to my network, I treat you as air… explains a lot of the percieved “unfriendliness”. Which then again in the “western” societies you have a “friendly initial front” but having “real friendship” is hard, whereas Finnish approach is you are cold at first and then friends for life.

  36. chattyguy permalink
    June 16, 2008 3:29 am

    I think DeTant Blomhat has given an interesting sociological explanation/theory for the perceived Finnish behaviour. I personally feel Finland is coming to grips with the dilemna of how to maintain a balance between retaining its centuries old typically Finnish life style and culture and its picture-perfect tranquil landscapes on the one hand and at the sametime open up to the economic and social nfluences of globalisation and liberalisation and alongwith them the influx of foreigners from so called ‘alien’ cultures ! But recent media reports suggest the situation would be rather grave and Finland has limited choices in this matter. The reports say Finland is ageing faster than any country in Europe, other than Italy. Worldwide, only Japan is ageing faster. The Finnish labor force is expected to begin declining by 2010. In 2015, about 20 per cent of Finns will be aged 65 or older.

    Little wonder then that Finnish Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen ‘s statement to media reflects this worry and the dilemna too. He said ‘By 2025, we would need 1.8 million immigrants if we want to solve the labour market problem. But everyone knows that’s not going to happen. There are language and geographic issues. It is hard for us to attract immigrants’ There is also the danger that eventually economic imperatives may take precedence over the rising social concerns with regard to foreigners and finnish culture ! Sad but true !

  37. aricatch permalink
    June 16, 2008 5:59 pm

    I somewhat agree with DeTant and chattyguy. DeTant my office pals are now very open to me and we all have a nice understanding. I agree with your network concept. It is all about network here. It is very important that you are seen as an asset and not an aggressor.

    Coming back to the view of chattyguy, I am deeply worried about the growing divide between Finnish and Foreigner communities. But, still there is time to fix it.

    I have already mentioned about the dangers which Finland might face unless some serious steps are taken to provide some way of livelihood for foreigners who are already here.
    Foreigners should be treated as individuals. Otherwise, reaching home for people like me without being sweared will be an achievement after 10 years.

  38. Enrique permalink
    June 16, 2008 7:12 pm

    I attended an interesting seminar in Finland last week which I took part in. One of the interesting matters brought up at the seminar was that Finland will find it extremely hard to find immigrant workers in the years ahead. There is a lot of competition out there from other cities and countries for qualified workers. One possible source could be Belorus and the Ukraine.

  39. chattyguy permalink
    June 17, 2008 3:17 am

    I fully endorse the view of Enrique that Finland will find it difficult to attract skilled immigrant workers in the years to come from certain parts of the world. Despite Finland’s recent ‘Look East’ policy in this regard, the fact is that for qualified/skilled Indians, Chinese (Hong Kongers and Taiwanese included) and Koreans, the U.S, Canada and the UK are the preferred destinations. Europe mainland, somehow, as a whole has not been able to attract substantial numbers of skilled asians because of language/culture issues and the perceived xenophobic attitudes/right wing group acitivities (esp Germany). Added to these, the climate, remoteness and the seemingly initial unsocial countenance of Finns make it even more difficult for Finland to attract the better qualified and skilled immigrant workers. The economic order of the world is changing and other nations are becoming more competitive thereby forcing Finland to rethink about its proverbial ‘ice-cold’ reserve and die hard ‘old world’ attitudes which appear to be out of synch. with contemporary realities !

  40. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    June 19, 2008 11:51 am

    I don’t think it is as much attracting the skilled workers but not attracting the unskilled. As you see theres loads of foreigners unemployed – they’re with the wrong skillset that the employers require. And they are making the noise – not those skilled workers, as they are employed already.

  41. aricatch permalink
    June 19, 2008 8:57 pm

    Well, I agree with chattyguy and DeTant. It is still not easy to live in Finland for foreigners with family as I guess it is too late for them to blend in. Living in isolation from the soceity is not an easy task. So, the big chunk goes to US, Canada and UK. Unless something exotic work is really available for a single person who is ready to make a fresh start.
    I have met a few fellow foreigners who have come to this country with Finnish partners. Quite a number of them could not find work and are now deeply frustrated. They are now complaining about everything. As one lamented to me “I was told there are lot of jobs there you will get something”. Not to forget the ones whom the goverment brings.
    But, my observation goes this way that, people who are capable of doing something do get something to do.
    The world market has shifted there are new players in the field and if Finland does to change tactics it will head for a bad game in the next 10 years.
    I did meet Finnish people who are very positive about foreigners. Mostly they are mid-aged people and above the young ones are not so, happy about the fact. But, if they meet a friendly like minded foreigner they do appreciate.

  42. Finlandesa permalink
    July 1, 2008 10:55 pm

    I live in Spain with my “dark-skinned” SPANISH husband. (He looks like Spanish who has been in the beach all the summer. ) How many times he has to hear from his compatriots; Go to your own country! Vete a tu pais! That´s racism, or isn´t it?
    And how about India? Of course, in India , there doesn´t exist racism because they call it; caste discrimination.
    I think we have racism in Spain, in India and in Finland. I´m not better than you and you are not better than me.

  43. Enrique permalink
    July 2, 2008 6:28 am

    Hi Finlandesa, many thanks for your points of views and for taking part in this blog. I would be the first one to denounce racism everywhere. It happens in different degrees and in different ways everywhere. As human beings we should do everything in our lifetimes to undermine the spread of racism. If you think about it, it is one of the greatest social illnesses of humankind. Certainly education is one important step in the right direction.

  44. aricatch permalink
    July 2, 2008 7:26 am

    Finlandesa and Enrique we don’t live in the perfect world. We live in a world of humans having prejudices.
    Since Finlandesa brought up India, I would like to contrbute my observations with regard to racism in India and Finland.

    1. Caste : You will/can be discriminated based on your family name which indicates your caste.
    2. Class : The financial class you belong which indicates how rich you are. India is strictly a class soceity.
    3. Skin color: You skin color (Yes skin color). The concept of black and white does exist in the Indian soceity. It plays a very important role in relationships in India.

    PS: What I understand now. Things are improving rapidly as more and more people are getting away from poverty and joining the middle class.

    1. Your nationality : Depends from where you come Germany (Developed) or India (Developing and taking away our jobs).
    2. Skin color: Requires extra effort if you have dark skin color in private life. In working life does not matter that much. Normally, Finnish people are very intelligent and professional.
    3. Finland is not a class soceity.

  45. aricatch permalink
    July 2, 2008 7:30 am

    In short discrimination exists every where in some form or the other. The only way to get rid of it is to igrnore racism and be positive and move ahead in life. The crazy fellows no matter whereever they are will shutup one day or the other. TRUST ME!!!

  46. Enrique permalink
    July 2, 2008 7:41 am

    Thank you Aricatch for your views. I grew up in the US when there were very serious racial problems and when people like Martin Luther King rose up against all odds to challenge the demon of segregation. What about Mandela of South Africa? What about all those that aimed for a so-called perfect world? Certainly the best way to change things is with your example but ideals are like a sports competition: You strive to win in order not to come last. If ignoring racism has helped you, then all power to you, Aricatch. One way to stop racism is having strong laws against it.

  47. aricatch permalink
    July 2, 2008 10:09 am

    Well, I agree with you Enrique. There are various ways to tackle this parasite in our soceity. I was speaking at the personal level. Ofcourse, that coupled with good laws will do marvel.

  48. Enrique permalink
    July 2, 2008 10:47 am

    Yes, you are right, Aricatch. Strong laws that protect foreigners are one of the answers to what you correctly call “the parasite in our society.”

  49. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    July 27, 2008 6:44 pm

    Yes what about South Africa. Just look at Zimbabwe.

  50. Enrique permalink
    July 27, 2008 11:01 pm

    What about them? Mugabe in Zimbabwe and xenophobia in South Africa.

  51. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 11, 2008 1:23 pm

    You want us to let these people come here and dictate us how to conduct our business?

  52. Juha permalink
    August 17, 2008 11:14 pm

    I’m a Finnish man who has been working with foreigners (mainly refugees and asylum seekers) for years here in Finland. I’ve had the chance to witness the initial reactions of these people when they first arrive in this country, as well as the many difficulties (and often success) they later have when trying to integrate into Finnish society. I am a Finn, which means I obviously have an insight into the opinions that normal Finns have about foreigners.

    Firstly, I do aknowledge that there IS racism and discrimination against foreigners (especially people of dark skin color) in this country. However I cannot agree to the fact that so many foreign people participating in discussions about Finland claim that this is a country of nazi skin heads waiting to beat-up the next black man they see on the street or that the society as a whole (meaning public policy, health care, education) is somehow discriminatory. I understand very well that Finnish people are often extremely cold and reserved towards foreigners but I have heard countless of remarks from foreign refugees and students claiming that nowhere else in Europe have they been received as well as in Finland, with social welfare services covering all of there financial and medical needs, there children being offered the highest quality education, even studies in their own native language as well as studies in their respective religions. My sister is a teacher with many immigrant pupils in her class and she told me that the school system goes to great lengths in organizing the education of immigrant students. I know Africans and Asians who have been made to feel more than welcome in local Finnish churches and schools, making Finnish friends.

    Yes, it is difficult for foreigners to find work here. There ARE employers reluctant to considering employing foreigners, whether due to reasons of prejudice, downright racism, or because the applicant doesn’t have the required knowledge of the Finnish language. BUT, why is it that I have black friends here, who speak the language fluently, and have NEVER had any problems finding work (and they have worked in many different fields)? It saddens me alot that so many in this country go to great lengths in helping refugees and other foreigners in need and I only find that this country is labeled completely racist. I once asked a group of Somalis who had been living in Finland for quite a while if they had experienced racism. They responded simply that 90% of Finnish people are good and 10% are racist. I am certain that WHEREVER you go especially in Europe you WILL find racism. Especially in eastern-European countries or countries not accustomed to foreigners. If a drunk on the street shouts offensive things to a black person, I am sure this happens in other countries as well.

    Finnish people are generally very reserved and do not have a good knowledge of foreign languages/cultures, hence the difficult connection with foreigners. DOES EVERYTHING NEED TO BE ATTRIBUTED TO RACISM? Finns, especially elderly citizens do find it hard to accept anything that is new, different or revolutionary. This applies as well to native Finns trying to go against the flow.

    I am sorry about the bad experiences foreigners have had in Finland but I believe things are changing. In the upcoming years we will be needing the effort of many foreigners in the labor market due to our aging population. I hope their arrival will continue to enrich this society.

  53. Tiwaz permalink
    August 20, 2008 8:17 am

    It has to be attributed to racism because there is sad trend amongst immigrants to refuse to look in the mirror.

    Many want to live in Finland, but do not want to integrate.
    Many want a job, but do not want to possess required skills.

    It is easier to say “Finns are racist because immigrants are unemployed” than look at yourself and say: “I can’t speak with locals in their language, I do not behave properly in definition of local norms and I might not even have valid certificates. No wonder nobody wants to hire me.”

    Because first shifts blame away from you, and second would require you to do something to yourself to fit in and get forward.

    1. Learn language. Finns prefer to use Finnish… Go figure.

    2. Learn proper conduct. Finns follow Finnish code of conduct. So should you in Finland. (makes things so much easier for you.

    3. Get your skills and certificates up to date. Certificate from some school/university in Iowa is not going to impress your employer. They have no idea what that means in terms of knowledge and skills. Get them exchanged into Finnish equivalent and they know what to expect from you. (this has something to do with proverb of bying a pig in a bag)

  54. October 30, 2008 10:52 pm

    Hi all,
    I pop over this site by chance and it’s interesting indeed. I didn’t have time to get through all topics but I’d like to say your blog is works. I have no clue whether I faced with racism or haven’t but I wanna share my story with you. Btw, who could help me to define which name for the case I have been through.

    I came here in 2005, graduated from the polytechnic here, major in business and I can’t speak Finnish, I did work hard 1 year but later I gave up because it is not interesting to me, sorry for that.
    I was looking for a job, office job as I have working experience, 5 years or more than that. I did went to some other countries to work in short time but finally I decide to move to Finland. So, to have a better integration for myself, I took a degree program.
    The mission to look for job is a really hard nut to crack,I would say so. Those agent companies which provide recruiting services refuse my CV all the time because I can’t speak Finnish 🙂
    Finally, there’s a foreign company has vacancy position that not require employee speaking Finnish. I did apply through agent company to reach that position and also try to contact directly to the company.
    I get a chance to be interviewed and get a job by having specific experience. Funny enough, that agent company send me refuse message again that I’m not qualify and they produce to our boss list of qualified applicants for interview without me in it.
    Finally, my boss chose me.

    So… would you guys help me to tell what the case I am in? Could or could not name it as racism? why all agent companies don’t even let me have a chance to be interviewed?
    Thanks for reading 🙂

  55. Enrique permalink
    November 1, 2008 8:51 pm

    Hi CK, and welcome to Migrant Tales. I am happy to hear that you got picked after all. One of the problems in Finland is that there is still this very strong idea about “us” and “them.” If you donçt speak Finnsh, it only makes matters more difficult.
    It is unfortunate that there is still not a large enough foreign community in Finland where they could hire foreigners. This is quite common in countries like Germany, UK, the US and elsewhwere. As more foriengers come, they need services and this creates jobs and tax revenues for the state.

  56. Tanya permalink
    November 25, 2008 8:33 am

    I would love to visit Finland one day, i have a friend in Estonia who visits Finland but i guess its normal for her. I am from Canada and i don’t want to be hated because i only speak English.

  57. Enrique permalink
    November 25, 2008 12:41 pm

    I hope you do, Tanya. Welcome and thank you for your comment.

  58. ANTHONY NIGERIAN permalink
    December 22, 2008 2:25 pm


    • Enrique permalink
      December 22, 2008 5:50 pm

      Hi Anthony Nigerian, welcome to Migrant Tales. The answer to some of your question could be the comments and posts in this blog. However, why not get in touch with some Nigerians or Africans in Finland and try to get it straight from the horse’s mouth. I am sure they can give you valuable tips. Post-graduate studies in Finland are very international/multicultural. You can even do your thesis in English.

  59. December 22, 2008 10:03 pm

    Reason why the post was so popular, is that now it’s propably the first this issue is going to be debated. Immigration and racism. Problem is, that the debate is still quite childish “You’re guys are racists!!” “No we’re not, you are just stupid”. And well, that issue seems to interest people now, so almost everything found fron the net connected to it, will get attention.

    As for the Finland being a racist country, yes and no. If you think that the exclusion by your neighbours or strangers is racisms, you’re just plain wrong. As that has nothing to do with looks. It just kinda is same for everyone (I’m talking about the people I know). As for the employment, that might be somewhat true, but then again, the racism isn’t the only reason for it. It’s quite a pain in the ass for companies to fire people in every situation. Be it that the worker just sucks, or that the company is doing bad. Because of that, people want to minimize risks when hiring, and if they have bad experience about people with different color/nationality/something else, they just tend to hire from the group they have best experience with. This might change over time when there’s more experience about different people, that is if there’s different experience about it.

    As for the police, they’re just police, usually annoying towards everyone, without reason. Same is customs, I have some big problems with customs personnel everytime I go somewhere, just because of my looks. I look like a average finn, exepct that I usually dress kinda weirdly. I guess it’s same with others, if you don’t blend in too well, they want to check you.

    But anyhow, as I said earlier, now the debate about immigration / racism is heated, so I guess there will be people after it here too. For better or worse, I like it that there finally is a debate in public about it. Still waiting for it to get some valid arguments too 🙂

    As for living in Finland. It’s pretty much that if you don’t act like a finn, then many people will look at you weirdly. But if you look like a foreigner, but act like a finn, then there shouldn’t be problems, usually.

    • Enrique permalink
      December 22, 2008 11:09 pm

      Hi N, and thank you for dropping by. Some of the posts may revolve around “you’re-racist-no-racist” axis. But as you said, it is a good matter that people are starting to debate the issue. Maybe through the debate we can learn bits and pieces of each other and move forward. Probably the interesting matter about the whole issue is that we don’t know nor many do not want to know. Racism, just like any other social ill, undermines our values as a society.

  60. Major Sob permalink
    January 26, 2009 11:54 am

    I am an Indian and did not encounter much racism in Finland.I was actually treated with a lot of respect wherever I went.Dunno why though.I am darker than the average Indian.Just got the right group of people I suppose.

    • Enrique permalink
      January 26, 2009 11:24 pm

      Hi Major Sob, welcome to Migrant Tales and thank you for sharing your views and experiences in Finland. Nice to hear that your stay was pleasurable. Did you ever go out dancing on Saturday night?

  61. February 28, 2009 8:55 pm

    Immigrants love to complain about racism when things aren’t going in their way. Even you “Enrique” demand that i should bend over for becos some odd reason… not going to happen.

    I’m not going to your country and demand local people to respect me… why are you doing that kinda thing here? you need to earn your respect. Too hard for you? are you freeloader?

    • Enrique permalink
      February 28, 2009 9:04 pm

      Hi JP, those are pretty strong words. Respect is the basic element that unites people. Without it we do not have a very constructive relationship. Why are you attacking immigrants? Why don’t you pick on the politicians and policy makers whom you must think are totally lost. Why don’t you organize an anti-immigration party. Is that too hard for you?

  62. Antti permalink
    March 6, 2009 10:43 pm

    Hello, nice to find blogs like this just by stumbling, keep up the good work.

    Juha wrote:
    “DOES EVERYTHING NEED TO BE ATTRIBUTED TO RACISM? Finns, especially elderly citizens do find it hard to accept anything that is new, different or revolutionary. This applies as well to native Finns trying to go against the flow.”

    Just as my 2 cents, I would like to say that this is an important point, that has its roots in the history of Finland which also affect the attitudes towards outside influences.

    Apart from single entrepeneurs, foreigners through out history are percieved to have had a mostly negative influence on Finland, as it happens to lie between east and west in the periferia of Europe and being a nation that has existed only 90 years (compared to ie. Sweden that has its origins in the viking ages), there is even confusion amongst Finns about the national identity, let alone self-esteem.

    Also the society was an agrarian one only 50 years back, and jumped straight into being a post-industrial one, meaning that there isn’t too much industry to provide jobs for a mass workforce (outside construction that employs quite a lot of foreigners) that don’t require some higher education, and even if you do have an education -ie. a doctor- there is the language issue making employment extra difficult.

    It would be interesting to know how well second generation immigrants are coping, as they know the language and have a better chance of integrating as well, also going to the same schools as native Finns etc.

    Also I missed the point where anyone has told people to “bend over” in here… I also hope JP’s aware that most likely his Nokia phone runs on software coded by ie. Indian guys working in Finland paying taxes etc… the kind of immigrants that a lot of them are, paying taxes, and which you never hear Halla-Aho talking about.

    • Enrique permalink
      March 7, 2009 6:36 am

      Hi Antti, and welcome to Migrant Tales and for sharing your thoughts with us. Your point that some Finns’ attitudes of foreigners must have a lot to do with history. There is, in my opinion, too much doom and gloom scenarios out there about how creating a more diverse society will imply for Finland. Some of these that are spreading this type of fear are people such as Halla-aho, who should know better.
      Do you think that our fear of foreigners is a threat to Finland?

  63. MeduzsaCanada permalink
    May 17, 2009 10:26 pm

    Hi I took some time to read most of what was written on that blog…wow… wow… let’s say that i wanted 1st to have news from “Karthik” trip in June in Finland cause he went to go see his girlfriend and wondered how it went.

    i have met someone very special from there, as well and will be going to visit him also so we don’t stay too much time apart, but it will be my first time there. i never asked myself any questions about if there was racism there until on of my friends from europe kind of mentioned most of the european, scandinave etc are a bit racist, so i decided to google it and here i am on this blog… :S

    I am from Canada, born and raised and browned skin. When i red many of the messages on the blog, made me kind of realize wow… to be able to live in a society, where i don’t ask myself or almost never in my lifetime “am i being a victim of racism” is really a nice feeling. Where i don’t pay at all attention to the nationality, skin color etc… of the person with whom i choose to go on a date with, it is great. I had great jobs and career opportunities since i ended college for the past 10 years and have been able to climb the latter, in terms of position and salary without having to think of my skin color wow, i think it is amazing.

    I am not saying that discrimination does not exist at all in Canada, but my ancestor’s mother, grandparents had a few difficulties, but at the same time Canada was a country that contributed alot into a all are equal society even when the US were in all kind of political debates regarding blacks. Therefore i am very happy that i’m from there.

    Although there are many beautiful places in the world i would personnaly want to go somewhere else at one point in my life to work for a while, and never onced asked myself any questions regarding racism… all i thought about was my skills and then being a woman, cause i find that there is more discrimination in work place towards women, not even cultural backgrounds.

    all that to say, i will be going to Finland, and didn’t know at all what to expect, i just want to be close to a love one, and i didn’t even ever asked him anything since we met last year about our color differences… what should i expect when i arrive in Finland? what would be the best way to kind of blend in? i am leaving in about 3 weeks going there after a trip to China.

  64. jane martine permalink
    July 30, 2009 2:17 pm

    i am in Finland now for 2 year, all i can say i have experienced some differences which i have never seen in my country, when i came here i was telling my sister that i would like to make lots of friend here and to take them to my country , my sister told me i should wait after one year i wont be telling her that thing i didn’t understand why she said so.

    I have tried to be nice to people here but didn’t work out, my flatmate is a racist, i didn’t know that but she was behaving weird to me, one day she told me that half of the Finns here they are racist , she told me her father is racist

    She said that her mother divorced and married to Nigeria guy and they had a baby , so she said most of their relatives they don’t consider that baby as really Finn since the baby is half Nigeria and half Finn.
    She was saying if she would have been a member of parliament or minister she would have put high tax for foreigners because we are using their services free.
    In my class Finns they have their own place to seat they don’t wanna mix with foreigners.
    My friend is working somewhere and you know what his boss told him that he received some information from some where that the work their doing there is not for black people ,they should give to Finns or Europeans . that job doesn’t require any Finnish language so is that not racist?
    One black guy have been slapped by finish guy on the bus because is black , that Finnish guy he didn’t wanted black in the bus.
    One day i went to K market and i was looking for some thing one Finnish women come and when she saw me she look at me and say mita with anger is that not racism.
    My friend know lot of Finnish people who live in his country for more than 10 years now, some of my friend classmates they have gone to do their internship in his country while my friend he did not get internship here in Finland because of Finnish language so are those Finns went to take their internship into non-Finnish speaking countries what are they doing ?
    Fucking racist .
    On train , bus people are talking shit about foreigners .
    This country is difficulty their is lot of racist believe or not.

    Gog bless Foreigners in Finland , God bless Finland , foreigner we are dying
    they are champion in our countries oh i want to go abroad , i want what , while they are treating us like animals , died, we are human being just like you , the different is just black and white .

    So i came to realize why my sister was telling me that at the first place racism in FINLAND .
    ” We shall overcome “

    • Enrique permalink
      July 31, 2009 4:24 am

      Hi Jane Martine, thank you for sharing your ideas with us and welcome to Migrant Tales. I believe your story is that of many who move to Finland – we move to the country and have big hopes of building a home and then are disappointed. The racism you speak is a problem in Finland but you should never let it get you done. That is exactly what those who are filled with prejudice and hatred want – to destroy your self-esteem and give up. The best way to fight racism is confronting it, or by sharing your thoughts in a blog on the subject.

  65. Michaelangelo permalink
    August 24, 2009 11:53 am

    One question. I saw this word “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” when I wrote my thoughts. So, is this some kind of forum that you accept only if someone says that there is racism in Finland so, you wanna make this kind of propaganda? (I have these thoughts as soon I do not see many positive comments)

    Anyway, I did not say something bad and did not curse and also everything I said was true. But if I see that my thoughts were true, I will just write about that kind to other forums (without mentioning your forum’s name of course, cause I do not want to find it here haters) about what is going on here!

    sorry, but I like being fair in my life and do not want to see things like that.

    Have a nice day! 🙂

  66. August 31, 2009 3:00 pm

    I must say, excellent topic of discussion. I was looking for this topic for a research when I came across this thread. However, it surprises me to learn about the various complains made in some of the posts. I am from Bangladesh and I am attending college in Thailand. Over the last few years I have made a number of international friends, from the US, Russia, India, Finland, Poland, Germany, Austria, Nigeria etc. We hang out every single day just like we do with our friends back home, and I cannot complain about any of them having any kind of problems about race, religion, or culture. Some of them even took a trip to my country with me.

    I don’t think it is right to call anyone racist for any matter. We all have our differences, and I think time, education, and history all play an important role on a person’s belief. The USA is not what it used to be 50 years ago, neither will be the other nations in a few years. Research shows that young people worldwide are more likely to mix with multicultural societies than the previous generation due to more social interaction in school, a major part in their upbringing. ( Well guess what, the older generation will not live forever with their beliefs, and will be replaced by the modern youth eventually ).

    I’ll skip the Jobs and Crimes part.. 😛

    • Enrique permalink
      September 1, 2009 7:23 am

      Hi EM, thank you for paying us a visit and sharing your views. Probably when “foreigners” are on neutral ground, for example in a foreign country, their attitudes towards territoriality changes.
      I liked very much your view of the future shape of multicultural societies. Cultures have always mixed and been interested in each other. If you think of it, it is a sensible thing since we can always incorporate new things that make our survival and culture more interesting.
      Bangladesh was formerly East Pakistan. Do you think that the hartred that sparked indpendence from West Pakistan is still alive in your country? Are Pakistanis seen as nice people in Bangladesh?

  67. September 1, 2009 3:55 pm

    Well it depends. For instance, my grandmother would probably be happy to shoot someone from Pakistan ( not literally ), probably because of the violence our parents and grandparents have witnessed, and she lost a son in the war, and so did millions. However, I don’t see much hatred around people my age or among my friends. We do have a lot of friends from Pakistan, both here and at home. I don’t see the point of hating a whole nation over history. There are still a lot of Urdu speaking people residing in Bangladesh and they are not under discrimination in any ways ( of course there are exceptions ). Everything needs a little time to change I guess. It has been close to 40 years after all. Where are you from Enrique? Your name sounds Latin 🙂

    • Enrique permalink
      September 1, 2009 9:04 pm

      Hi EM, thank you for giving us a short roundup of what people still think of Pakistanis in your country. You make another important point that I hope others will read carefully: I don’t see the point of hating a whole nation over history. Do you think that you are a minority in your country or in Asia for thinking in such a way. In Finland there is still a lot of suspicion against Russians for what happened in World War 2. For how long can you hate a country that did you wrong?
      I was born in Argentina but grew up in the California. My mother is Finnish.
      What are you studying in Thailand?

  68. September 2, 2009 4:12 am

    Well, I don’t think I am a minority anymore, or at least I don’t get the feeling in my country. I don’t see much of that in Thailand either. As long as you are nice to them, they are nice to you. There is a lot of Pakistanis and Indians settled in Thailand, many of them quite successful. However, I have learned in the last 4 years that in Asian countries it is very important that you know their language, to avoid any discrimination. People tend to be more friendly and treat foreigners like locals if you know how to speak with them in their language. As for other Asian countries I don’t really know.

    Finland supposedly has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. I guess that adds up to one more reason why they don’t really like foreign immigrants as someone in this thread said that according to stats, majority of the crimes in Finland have been committed by the non-Finnish.

    I am about to finish my Bachelor in Electronics and Communication engineering. If you are wondering, I was looking for this topic since I am planning to get my masters degree from Espoo(EVITech). Thought I should do a little research on the situation in Finland..haha..

    What about you..what do you do?

    • Enrique permalink
      September 2, 2009 8:21 am

      Hi EM, it´s pretty interesting to note how language plays an important role in a person´s integration into a society. Certainly it is important but it may even be more important in some countries. In Finland, language is an important unifier among Finns. Certainly this is the case as well as for other cultures but historically it is important for the Finns. In the 19th century, Finns won language rights even though they were the majority. The official language was Swedish until 1862.
      Espoo would be a good place to study. As you know, it is right next door to Helsinki.
      I am a journalist with a background in social sciences. I am doing PhD research of immigrants´perceptions of Finnish society, culture and institutions. I also lecture. So, as you can see, a little bit of all.

  69. September 9, 2009 12:03 pm

    Nice talking to you Enrique. Its always good to meet knowledgeable people 🙂 Do let me know if you are on Facebook. Will look forward to keep in touch!

  70. Meletios permalink
    September 29, 2010 10:12 am

    Nice read and my two cents…
    I am an Asian and live/work in UK.
    I keep reading stuff about immigration, but always feel frustrated when people talk about it without understanding it properly. Let me explain…
    Out of the total immigration in a typical EU country, 80%-90% are from WITHIN EU
    and rest from outside EU( which includes Africas/Asias/Americas).
    This distinction is very important as in my experiences the momemnt your skin color is anything than white, u r are discriminated against without a chance
    but if u r white skinned, atleast u have a chance atleast until you dont speak 🙂
    I am not slating anyone, just my observations.
    Still when people talk about stopping immigration then REALLY only talk about stopping immigrants from NO-EU countries, as their country is in EU they CANNOT DO anything about EU migrants. SO WE HAVE BIG BIAS here.
    Now, if you compare the crime facts as often mentioned in comments, I am 100% sure you will find more high level jobs done by non-EU migrants for the simple fact they have to prove their credentials to get a visa against say a EU migrant who can come in anytime and do whatever he/she wants.
    Again not slating anyone just pointing out the obvious differences

    • Enrique permalink
      September 29, 2010 10:20 am

      Hi Meletios, welcome to Migrant Tales! Thank you for your comment. I could not agree more with you. We have a lot of fun in this blog disecting what the other person is saying. Sometimes when we open up the argument we find it to be empty and unfounded. Isn’t it incredible, however, that we have the technology to put people on the moon but we talk about other cultures like in the Middle Ages.

      We hope you take part in our daily debates.

  71. Hannu permalink
    September 29, 2010 10:53 am

    “Out of the total immigration in a typical EU country, 80%-90% are from WITHIN EU”

    Lets check.
    According to change between 08-09. people by county born.

    Eu27 +4224
    Rest europe +3177
    Africa +1825
    North america +183
    South america +334
    Asia +4561
    Oceania +59

    I wouldnt say that 19,4% is even near of 80% or 90%…
    If we look change between 05-09 its 20,54% and 1990-2010 its 16,92%

    Maybe Finland isnt typical or you just invented your percentages.

  72. xyz permalink
    September 29, 2010 11:28 am

    Interesting that there are so less Europeans in Finland even so Finland is in Europe.

    • Enrique permalink
      September 29, 2010 11:58 am

      Hannu, the actual figure is 56,106 EU citizens (Oops! I made a mistake originally), which is 36% of all immigrants. Click here for more information. If you want to find the ratio between non-EU and EU citizens click here.

  73. Hannu permalink
    September 29, 2010 12:22 pm

    Enrique your percentage and amount is correct but its EU citizens not NON-EU.

  74. xyz permalink
    September 29, 2010 1:16 pm

    Here is a study from immigrants entered Finland between 1989-1991:
    Out of 10,500 working-age immigrants
    3000 moved away, retired or died
    58% have a job

    “40 per cent of those followed in the study were living as owner-occupiers and a fifth of them had completed either a professional or academic degree in Finland.”

    “More than half of the studied immigrants succeeded in entering into more permanent employment from temporary jobs and from the cycle of unemployment periods or training courses.”

    I don’t know but this sounds more like you have to run your own business if you want to survive there

  75. xyz permalink
    September 29, 2010 3:25 pm

    Helsingin Sanomat sent inquiries to the 50 largest companies employing people in Finland as to whether or not they have set up some kind of programme or taken some steps to hire employees with foreign backgrounds. A total of 36 companies sent their responses, and seven out of them had established such a programme or taken such steps.

  76. Hannu permalink
    September 29, 2010 4:10 pm

    I checked UK too. 2001 Countries of birth of the foreign-born population, europe 33,1%….

    Sometimes when we open up the argument we find it to be blatant lie 🙂

  77. Erik permalink
    October 1, 2010 2:13 am

    Hello there, I’ve read the whole string and it was quite interesting.

    Let me introduce myself first. I am Greek 21 years old currently living and studying in Amsterdam of the Netherlands.

    Before I never had the impression of Finland being a “hot” destination for immigrants. I always thought that UK, France, Netherlands, Germany had the highest percentage of immigrants. From the Nordic countries I think Sweden is the one with a lot of foreigners.

    The point is that from young age I was always thinking of moving to Finland, not as a political or economical immigrant but simply because I love the country. Mostly cause of the Metal scene… silly but true, what can I do? Insomnium /m … hehe! Then the landscape is so beautiful, it feels like the country is isolated somehow and I absolutely love that, I’m tired of the chaotic way of life in big metropolitan centers so I was always thinking of moving somewhere to middle or a little bit northern Finland in a small town.

    Anyway the point is that after some research done and of course reading this blog, I am kind of unsure about doing that. Do you think I’ll be able to intergrate well? I don’t have any problem learning the language and follow up with the Finnish culture… I already speak almost 3 languages ( 2 of them perfectly and 1 fluently and a little bit of Italian which of course I don’t count). So for me to learn a new language is not an obstacle, I would be more than happy to do that. Actualy how long do you think one need to learn this language, attending special courses and stuff? Also other thing I wanted to ask is if you think that I’ll have a problem cause of my appearance? Obviously I don’t look like a Nordic man, I look like a Greek/Italian that means that I am a little bit more darker than they are… My point is… do they discriminate all the foreigners? Or some nations are more tolerated… considering Greece is also part of EU because someone mentioned that for EU citizens it’s much easier.

    • Enrique permalink
      October 1, 2010 4:37 am

      Hi Erik, I am happy that you found us. Welcome to our blog. Finland is a beautiful country and it has a lot to offer. Some will advise you to have a job before coming here. The situation is pretty bad in this respect for some people. We look forward to your comments.

  78. Tiwaz permalink
    October 1, 2010 7:55 am

    -“Helsingin Sanomat sent inquiries to the 50 largest companies employing people in Finland as to whether or not they have set up some kind of programme or taken some steps to hire employees with foreign backgrounds. A total of 36 companies sent their responses, and seven out of them had established such a programme or taken such steps.”

    Real question is… Why should they?

    If immigrant cannot fulfill requirements of company, it is fault of immigrant. Not company.

    Companies should maintain strict policy of absolute equality. Best one takes the spot. No excuses for immigrants, no benefits. And neither for natives.

  79. xyz permalink
    October 11, 2010 4:32 pm

    Who is talking about benefits there?

  80. CommieCowboy permalink
    February 3, 2011 3:22 am

    If I were from the one country with more Nightwish fans than Justin Bieber fans, I’d probably look down on foreigners. 😛

  81. no name permalink
    July 1, 2011 3:16 pm

    hello everyone, i married a finish woman i went for a visa they refused me visa 2 times with big racism ,all the finish people i have mate are very good and my wife is the best woman you can ever live with, i tried not to visit Finland anymore but my wife is in bad condition she is crying for more than 4 months, i dont have intention to marry an Epicurean woman in my next world cos they are wicked and racism, i dont have strong heart to leave my wife other wise i would have leave her and live my life, i have told her to come down to Africa to stay with me when ever she is not at work but she is such a scared person she can not stay in a noisy place and she can not stay with out electricity, Finland people is the most wicked people in Europe, what i hard from my wife is that they woman in control of visa section in that Finland embassy said that she hate Africans that is the worst thing a woman can do or say to her fellow woman, i pity for my wife cos she dont know what to do, and she want me as soon as possible,if is not cos of her i dont have intention to apply for visa , i got in to this problem cos i fail in love and if i try to leave her she will die, i am confused this makes me to hate finish people if is not cos of my wife i dont think that i will ever dream of going there anymore but i dont want anything to happen to her cos she is so kind, all i have to do when i get that visa is to stay with her for 89 days and go out of that country , i wish my wife could accept to divorce me ,

  82. JusticeDemon permalink
    July 1, 2011 7:19 pm

    no name

    You should apply for a residence permit, not a visa. It makes no sense to request a visa for the purpose of “visiting” your wife. A family should seek to live in the same household.

    Refusal of a residence permit application from a spouse is highly unusual, and you are entitled to know the grounds for any refusal. The decision on a residence permit application is also open to appeal, which means that you can get a law court to review the grounds and to strike down the decision if the grounds are unlawful.

    Your wife can lodge the application on your behalf in Finland. You will then probably need to visit a Finnish embassy abroad for an interview and verification of identity.

  83. July 1, 2011 10:55 pm

    finnish ppl are racists , period, i am indian and faced racism everyday in helsinki and espoo. shamefull , it gives bad picture of finland to the world. i hope they read these feednbacks and improve.

    • Enrique permalink
      July 3, 2011 10:01 am

      Hi praks and thank you for dropping by Migrant Tales. One of the aims of this blog is to be a forum and a voice of the immigrant community. I think we have achieved this.

      What do you think could be done to make some Finns more acceptant of immigrants?

  84. alien permalink
    July 5, 2011 9:57 pm

    Hi noname;
    Brother I dont want to generalize about the whole nation, but as far as is concerned to the system, the foreigners have no rights in this country.
    In the eye of the system and as a result of that most of the Finns, you are guilty unless proven not. I am an example, that you can follow my story in;
    I do not want to repeat it. So if you are not politically under persecution and enjoy a decent level of life, forget Finland. And it does not really matter if you ask for a visa or resident permit, they dont like people from third world countries. They judge you by color and your ethnicity, not your knowledge or competence. If you are tough and you can accept their looks and are prepared to answer why you are here every morning that you see a Finn, then it is different story. Any thing shorter than that, be prepare to eat your loaf of bread washed in the blood.
    So it is up to you, brother.

  85. September 4, 2011 12:51 pm

    I just bumped on this blog, after some disturbing experience in Oulu Police to be specific. In Finland if you are a dark skinned person you are automatically a prime suspect of some crime. Just visiting the police to inquire about something, they are already suspicious of you.There is too much negativity among the Finns towards the foreigners especially dark skinned people. Many of us dark skinned people who found ourselves in Finland because of studies, find it hard to believe the way Finns behave towards us. Many Finns are misled and do not know how foreign students live in Finland. But they have a preconceived mind about foreigners. I think that Finland is not ready to accept foreigners in their society because there are no measures in place to integrate them in their society. The schools are getting many students from Africa for example, but they do not care about the well-being of these students in school and outside. There are no programmes to bring the foreign students and local students to mingle and work together. These are some factors that shows that the Finns on a large scale are not ready for foreigners. Many Finns think all Africans in Finland are refugees and getting the social welfare, but on the contrary most of us are not! It is for such issues hate foreigners. It is a pity that even those in the school who should be well informed, think the same. Employers are also not ready as the experience of many people shows. But if they have to change if they are willing, which I doubt, they need to introduce some programmes to integrate foreigners in their society and change their negative attitude towards foreigners. I’m sure Finland may quite benefit a lot this.

    • Enrique permalink
      September 4, 2011 7:43 pm

      Hi Max Jay and welcome to Migrant Tales. The problem with foreign students getting to mingle with the locals is a challenge in many parts of Finland as well as in other places outside the country. It is a tragedy that a foreign student can stay in a Finnish city for two years and have hardly any contact with the locals. Unfortunately a lot of work still has to be done in Finland for immigrants to be accepted and acknowledged. This makes it especially hard during difficult economic times and when some MPs in the PS want to seriously curtail immigrants from coming here. How do we integrate immigrants into Finnish society: mutual acceptance, respect and equal opportunities. Work is a good integrator.

  86. Pankaj permalink
    September 18, 2011 6:45 pm

    I am an Indian and I have been in Finland for approx 10 months now…I have been to many other countries and i love to go out to nightclubs on Friday and Saturdays..
    In other countries I have been to nightclubs and girls respond well for eg Stockholm, London, Paris..
    But in Helsinki I dont know why…for girls its like a turn off, many wont even respond…and act as if you are transparent…and i dont even have a first chance…
    And i have a decent personality decent looks….darker than a White…but quite fair compared to a average Indian.
    are they too reserved ? I feel really creepy..and have never felt this in other European countries.
    Would love a Finnish girl put a take on this..

    Though on the work side there is great respect or that may be due to my skills?

    • Enrique permalink
      September 19, 2011 3:59 am

      Hi Penkaj and welcome to our blog, Miigrant Tales. What can I say…Ever tried visiting some cities and smaller towns outside Helsinki? Maybe this could help.

  87. Niko permalink
    September 19, 2011 1:33 pm

    Hmm, Pankaj’s comment made me think. Is it racist if the girls are not attracted to people with some certain skin colour (even to some westerns with very tanned skin)? In job interviews it would be extremely racist not to pick an employee for his looks, but the dating world is different and appearance plays a big part of it. Girls (and guys) can discriminate a person for countless reasons… if the person is too skinny/fat, has glasses etc.

  88. Klay_Immigrant permalink
    September 19, 2011 7:16 pm

    Pankaj it must be just you. I’m just about to move to Finland after graduating and have been there many times before as I have a Finnish girlfriend.

    In nightclubs and bars there I’ve had no problems striking up conversation with the ladies (innocently ofcourse) and I’m mixed race (black/white) even though most people pass me off as Asian as not very dark skinned and have straight black hair.

    Bear this in mind next time, Finnsh girls and Finnish people in general don’t like show offs or people who are materialistic and boast a lot. That may work here in the U.K. and impress but will have the opposite affect in Finland where you’d probably only attract East Europeans with that kind of behaviour. Also aggressive persistent pestering of Finnish girls would make them stand their ground even stronger, rather than give in. They are a strong willed, independent, stubborn, humble and modest lot and that’s why I love them.

    Goodluck but I’m afraid to say the problems lie with you whatever they are, and not on Finnish women disliking non-Nordic looking men. Typical foreigner blame the locals/country instead of looking at oneself and then they still wonder why immigrants get such a bad reputation.

  89. Pankaj permalink
    September 19, 2011 9:07 pm

    Ok sorry If i meant this i am not trying to blame …just wrote what i see
    As Klay said yes Finnish people are not like UK etc and Niko yes in the dating world its fair to do that
    But overall i think the point is every country is unique in a different way
    certain things will differ from country to country and that’s the good part.
    It would be so boring if all places are same…food everywhere is same, reception is same?

    Thanks for the advice Klay 😉 and Enrique thanks for the welcome 😀

  90. MST permalink
    October 6, 2011 10:31 pm

    Many people in Finland and other European countries resent foreign students because they chase after white women and often leave mixed babies behind. This is especially true of Africans. The darker they are, the more they love white women.

    • Enrique permalink
      October 7, 2011 12:15 pm

      Hi MST, so black men come to Finland just to chase after white women… Hmmmm… I would see that as a normal male-female thing but why add all the stuff about fatherless children? How do you know? Did you know that white Finns like dark women? But this is only an assumption. I personally consider a sign of bravery to cross ethnic lines. I once walked hand in hand with a black woman back in Los Angeles. The stares we got will surprise you. Try it one day.

      • Enrique permalink
        October 7, 2011 2:41 pm

        People are talking about protests in the United States by common people as the “American spring.” Do you think we’ll see something of the same in Finland?

  91. Karl Bruner permalink
    March 1, 2012 5:43 pm

    If someone doesn’t like the way Finns treat them, they should leave. Dark people are always causing problems.

    • Migrant Tales permalink
      March 1, 2012 6:04 pm

      Hi Karl Bruner, welcome to Migrant Tales. Do you know how many comments, like the one you made, we get on this blog? Too many. Is that how you deal with a problem? Do you run away?

      –Dark people are always causing problems.

      I disagree. I think people with your attitudes are a problem in this country.


  1. Migrant Tales thanks to all of you « Migrant Tales

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