Myths surrounding immigration to Finland
Reading posts and getting information on immigration in general in dynamic multicultural societies, one can pick out the myths that some Finns still use to claim that immigration is a bad thing.
1) Immigration takes away jobs from Finns.
2) Immigrants come to Finland to take advantage of the welfare system.
3) Immigrants have to abandon their culture and become Finns. This is what I would call “integration by perkele.”
4) Multiculturalism fuels ghettos.
5) Finns will disappear when more foreigners come to the country.
1) Some studies point that immigrants take low- and high-end jobs. Moreover, they become consumers and create services through increased productivity. This argument that jobs will be snatched by foreigners was common in the early 1990s. It is no longer an argument used in official circles.
2) The motives for an immigrant is usually to secure a better life somewhere else. Living off KELA or unemployment benefits just doesn’t cut the grade. The best and fastest way to secure a better standard of living for some immigrants is through work.
3) This form of integration is not possible because people cannot turn their culture “on and off” like a switch. When people move to other countries, they learn new habits and customs. They integrate in order to function effectively in society.
4) What has fueled racial ghettos is discrimination and suspicion. If society is open to diversity and there is respect for each others cultures, it undermines the creation of ghettos and cultural marginalization.
5) Nobody will disappear. Culture changes and takes on new values that help it to survive. The English language, which has received influences from over 300 languages, has not disappeared. It has become stronger. Diversity will strengthen and make Finnish culture more resilient. If multicultural Karelia would be part of Finland today, surely we’d understand the strength that diversity brings.