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Illegal immigration in Finland and the European Union

July 29, 2008

The approval on June 18 by the European Parliament (click on T6-0293) of a common EU policy on illegal immigration is going to fail for a very simple reason — there is a market for these types of immigrants and because they provide bad employers a chance to cheat the system and slash overheads. The EU has an estimated 8 million illegal immigrants.

In sum, the stricter stance adopted by the EU Parliament is nothing more than a red herring, a misleading clue to a very complex problem.

As you know, two more directives are also awaiting approval by the EU Parliament: 1) promote legal skilled immigration through through the so-called “Blue Card” directive; and 2) punish employers who hire illegal immigrants.

Just like some employers are hiring and exploiting illegal immigrants in the EU, politicians in the region are bringing up the issue by promoting ineffective get-tough stances to score political brownie points from their voters. They dare to take such a cowardice stance because those they attack do not have the rights to defend themselves nor do they vote. It is like a giant bullying a crippled midget.

If I were serious about clamping down on illegal immigrants, I’d go after the businesses and the criminal gangs that assist these people. Why don’t politicians get as tough on these big and small businesses? A little bit of investigative journalism could reveal a lot.

The first time I met an illegal immigrant in Finland was in the 1980s. He was a Mexican cook who was brought from his native country to work and be exploited by a popular Helsinki restaurant at the time.

While we should follow laws, what happens if the laws we pass are flawed and create a broken immigration system that permits many companies in the EU to operate with impunity in exploiting undocumented workers? What about if these laws cause human rights violations and encourage countries with questionable immigration policies to lower their standards, as Amnesty International pointed out.

The United States is a good example of how tough immigration laws can create a mess. Here is what an International Herald Tribune editorial wrote about illegal immigration on July 22, 2008:

There is nothing good about America’s merciless campaign of immigration enforcement. But at least there are emerging signs of resistance from one of the most important players in the debate: employers…

…But business has begun pushing back. In some states, business groups have helped to kill tough immigration bills. They argue that they need workers, and that it is too hard to avoid hiring undocumented ones, and that ill-conceived laws go overboard in punishing well-meaning companies and their legal employees…

…If America is every going to emerge from the immigration chaos, it will be because business interests finally joined the fight.

Let’s hope that when they fight, they lobby against abusing immigrants.

EU laws will probably face the same fate as punitive immigration laws in the United States because, like it or not, illegal immigrants offer an economic incentive for the region. While the new EU directive gives police greater detention powers, up to 18 months — it still falls far short from resolving the matter because it does not address the issue effectively.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. De Tant Blomhat permalink
    August 8, 2008 8:49 pm

    Yeah, so as any other foreigner you are promoting illegal activities.

  2. Enrique permalink
    August 8, 2008 9:28 pm

    Nope, I’m just pointing out how ineffective immigration policy. It’s a red herring. If you look at the problem deeper, there are many other issues. Legal businesses are making money off these people and criminal gangs as well. If everyone were REALLY against illegal immigration, we’d had wiped it out decades ago. It’s like prostitution — it’ll always remain because there is a market.

  3. DeTant Blomhat permalink
    August 9, 2008 2:39 pm

    That is true, but you cannot expect the EU just to burrow its head in the sand can you? The problem is that some of the EU countries have had a laissez-fair policy and have the exploitation industrialized, while some other countries like Finland try their best to do things “by the book” and find this illegal immigration something that needs to be rooted. Maybe by giving a carrot and the stick – carrot being that there is a viable immigration path and the stick to the exploiters.

    If we just burrow our head in the sand the exploitation will be free range. It will destroy Finland and the Finnish society and the way of life and make us another 3rd world country with slums and illegal immigrants living in shacks.

  4. abdull permalink
    July 16, 2010 7:42 am

    hello for every one 🙂
    i want ask about illegal immiration in Finland
    im from that immigrat people who dont have any rights
    i really want some help if there s any solution that i can have it to be a legal person in your contry
    plzzz help me

    • Enrique permalink
      July 16, 2010 11:24 am

      Hi abdull, and welcome to Migrant Tales.

      One of our legal experts is JusticeDemon, which could send you off in the right direction concerning your query.

      JusticeDemon, any suggestions?

  5. abdou permalink
    July 18, 2010 9:45 am

    hello Enrique and thank you for your answer
    so can you tel me what i can do becouse i dont know reaaly what i have to do and i need help
    is that ok if i go to the post police to told them im illegal and i need help ??
    im afraid that they arest me or somthing
    so please tel me what i can do
    and thank you so much

    • Enrique permalink
      July 18, 2010 7:12 pm

      Hi abdou, if I were you I would get in touch with other immigrants who are trying to get their legal situation sorted. I would also get in touch with the Red Cross, Amnesty International and other human rights organizations and ask them what I should do.
      If anyone else who reads this blog could help, please add a comment for abdou.

  6. abdou permalink
    July 18, 2010 10:54 pm

    thanks enrique
    ok i will do that thank you for your answer

    • Enrique permalink
      July 18, 2010 11:07 pm

      Abdou, I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors. The more sources that can advise you the better.

  7. abdou permalink
    July 18, 2010 11:55 pm

    thank yolu so much you did wil is like you help me : )

  8. Tiwaz permalink
    July 19, 2010 6:08 pm

    You should go to the police and explain your situation.

    Being illegal is never good position or acceptable. Specially not in Finland. You cannot change from illegal to legal without going to proper authorities, and trying to “outsmart” the system will usually just turn against you.

    Be honest, go to police and if your case is valid. You get aid.

    And word of warning. If you are illegal because there are no proper grounds for you to come to Finland… You will be expelled, as you should be.

    But you are not one of those are you?

  9. abdou permalink
    July 20, 2010 9:44 am

    hi Tiwaz and thank you so much for you answer and your advice
    so i have to go to police to explain my situation and see what they can do with me ?
    i didn t spend here a long time i have here in finland just one week and its hard to live like illigel
    im afraid that if i go to police they will arest me or somthig

    • Enrique permalink
      July 20, 2010 9:49 am

      abdou, do not follow Tiwaz’ advice. I think that would be a mistake.

  10. abdou permalink
    July 20, 2010 1:08 pm

    thank you for both of you
    i dont have any anther solution coz here its reaaly hard to live illigel so that s why i have to go to the police
    i dont have place to sleep not too much money language…
    if you can just give some name s or phone s of sociate who helps the immigrats that i can touch with theme to ask for some advice…
    and sorry that i can speak english verry well

  11. abdou permalink
    July 20, 2010 5:55 pm

    sorry that i can t speak verry well english

  12. Tiwaz permalink
    July 21, 2010 4:10 am

    -“abdou, do not follow Tiwaz’ advice. I think that would be a mistake.”

    Then what should he do?

    He is illegal. He has no “magic” social security number. Nor can he purchase one from black market.

    Without SS-ID, he cannot do jack shit. No reputable employer will hire him, he cannot go to hospital, receive any benefits.
    No decent landlord will rent him a house.

    Without social security idenfitication, he is nothing. Only way to get it, is through due process.

    Sooner or later he is going to have to go to police, and sooner he does it less he has lost.

  13. abdou permalink
    July 21, 2010 11:19 am

    hello again
    can you tel me
    by the way you know my situation
    just tel me what can the police do to me
    coz im really afraid i dont know the low of finland and also i dont know them laguage
    plzzz tel me the truth it s ok
    for me the police is only solution

  14. Tiwaz permalink
    July 22, 2010 7:19 am

    Police can arrest you, quite likely to do so for duration of investigation. And if no acceptable grounds are found for your presence, you are sent back to where you came.

  15. abdou permalink
    July 22, 2010 8:01 am

    thank you for every thing
    thank you

  16. September 12, 2010 3:20 pm

    Hi guys …
    i arrived in finland last year … my came i came like a tourist but after 15 days , i decide to stey in this beautiful contry. i have 3 diplomas in economics , management , and leader ship programme as well i was manager in my contry in multinationnal company …
    i tink i like this contry and dont care if i am in legal situation i am working; enjoying a beauty of this contry ;
    i think exception from autorities to understand this kind of situation and and give a permit for people with good background because we can halp and to move forward with economie because realy this contry needs imigrants

    see ya


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