Foreigners Happier than Native Finns and Risks of Immigration Revealed in a New Report

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A father and son attending a welcoming picnic for the refugees arriving in Finland on September 12 2015. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

A father and son attending a welcoming picnic for the refugees arriving in Finland on September 12 2015. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

A report by the Police University College, Immigration, Security and Foresight, published on Friday, offers a comprehensive view on immigration and its risks.

The study reveals that there is less ethnic discrimination in Finland than in the EU and OECD countries on average. Only 12 per cent of 15-16-year-olds experience belonging to a discriminated group. Racial discrimination is almost non-existent in working life.

People with foreign background also trust the police, justice system and the citizens more than an average Finn.

The majority of those with foreign background (74 %) experience their life quality as good and they are notably more happier in their relationships (86 %) than the Finns in general (77 % are satisfied with their relationships and 78 % in their life quality).

In addition, 83 per cent of immigrants were satisfied with going through their daily chores, and the vast majority have at least one Finnish friend.

83 per cent of immigrants were satisfied with going through their daily chores, and the vast majority have at least one Finnish friend.
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A reception centre in Turku. Picture: SPR

The report also focuses heavily on the risks of immigration. In 2015, about 32,500 refugees arrived in Finland. In 2015, there were about 200 active reception centres, with 28,000 people, from which 2,000 were minors.

However, according to the National Police Board, only two of every thousand police missions were related to refugees in autumn 2015.

The report however stresses that the size of the centres drains the resources of the police. Some centres host as much as 700 people and it takes several patrols to, for example, stop a mass brawl (usually sparked by differences in nationalities and e.g. religion). In addition, some refugees have difficulties in trusting the police which increases the necessary number of officers to arrive on the scene.

The Finnish Police Federation says that the current resources of police forces are inadequate, especially at scarcely populated areas, and the police needs additional education to understand the cultural differences. A considerable amount of refugees also has a background in police or military forces (mostly Iraqis), which decreases the safety of the police officers.

The Finnish Police Federation says that the current resources of police forces are inadequate, especially at scarcely populated areas, and the police needs additional education to understand the cultural differences.

According to the report, the number of sexual crimes conducted by people with a foreign background increased in 2015. The number of foreigners as suspects of sexual harassment increased from 14 per cent to 45 per cent during September and December.

When observing the whole year (494 cases and 386 suspects), 22 refugees (44 per cent) were suspects from a group of people born abroad. From all suspects involved in sexual crimes, six per cent were refugees.

Of rapes, the number of suspects with a foreign nationality increased from 24 per cent to 27.

In total amount of rapes, the number of suspects with a foreign nationality increased with 21 per cent (180 cases in 2014, 217 cases in 2015).

The report also highlights the most relevant challenges, when considering immigration and the safety of society in the future.

  1. The internal safety of the reception centres.
  2. The poverty of families with a foreign background and living in confined spaces. The differences in income are bigger than in any other OECD country. In communities of Somalis and Iraqis, low-income has become permanent.
  3. The increase of hate crimes. The hate speech in social media and public discussion. Violence against the reception centres.
  4. The weaker employment of the foreigners with a refugee background. Especially the refugee women have a significantly larger risk to remain outside the working life.
  5. In Finland, abandoning of studies is more common among immigrants when compared with other countries. Finland has succeeded worst from among the OECD countries in educating the children of immigrants and integrating them into working life.
  6. The endangerment of democratic discussion considering the politics of immigration. The lack of facts in politics makes the decision-making harder.
  7. The problem behaviour among the sons of immigrants. Skipping school, drug try-outs, binge drinking, participating in fights and bullying.
  8. The sexual harassment and sexual crimes are clearly overrepresented when compared with the population in Finland. A victim with a Finnish background is usually a young woman. A victim with a foreign background is usually a man.
Protesters in Helsinki demanding closing of the borders in September 2015. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Protesters in Helsinki demanding closing of the borders in September 2015. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

According to the report, in the worst scenario there would be an influx of tens or hundreds of thousands of refugees to Finland.

In conclusion, the report says that should uncontrolled immigration to Europe continue for years, the countries would not survive without jeopardising the national economy and the peace in society. As an example, the report refers to Sweden, where uncontrolled immigration has caused housing shortages. Some of the refugees are now accommodated in tents.

As a result, last November, the neighbouring country started applying stricter regulations to limit the influx of refugees.

Sweden began temporarily to register the arriving refugees at their southern border. In practice, the police are allowed to check the identity of anyone crossing Sweden’s borders. Before they were only allowed to check the identity of those suspected of criminal activity.

Also, in Sweden, all new asylum seekers are given temporary residence permits only, a major change from previous policies which included permanent permits.

According to the report, in the worst scenario there would be an influx of tens or hundreds of thousands of refugees to Finland. This would have serious consequences to the safety of the country. In places, the police, customs and border control can barely survive even now.

When considering safety, the situation is not over after the formalities at the border but instead reflects upon various sectors in society.

Currently the major problems with immigration lie in the violent unrest and criminal activity at the reception centres.

More info

The authors of the Immigration, Security and Foresight (191 pages) are Kari Laitinen, Pirjo Jukarinen and Boberg Henrik. The government commissioned report was conducted in 2015 in collaboration with the Statistics Finland and the National Institute for Health and Welfare. The Police University College was responsible for the direction and coordination.

Finland has a population of about 220,000 foreigners, from which 47 per cent are women. In addition, there are 322,711 people living in Finland with a foreign background. According to the Citizens Act, a person is a foreigner, if one doesn’t have a Finnish citizenship.