Plans to pay migrants less social welfare planned by Prime Minister Petteri Orpo’s government are a wet dream that spans back to 2016, when then Social and Health Minister Hanna Mantylä aimed to pass legislation that would grant migrants less social welfare than native Finns. Fortunately, such a law did not see the light of day since it was unconstitutional.
The unconstitutionality of such a law rests on Section 6 of the Constitution: “Everyone is equal before the law. No one shall, without an acceptable reason, be treated differently from other persons on the ground of sex, age, origin, language, religion, conviction, opinion, health, disability or other reason that concerns his or her person.”
Read the full story (in Finnish) here.
Thus, if you are going to pay less social welfare to a group, the measure must apply to everyone in order for it to be constitutional.
Efforts to get foreigners to get less social welfare than native Finns, was brought up again in 2018 by Finland’s Nobel Prize in economics, Bengt Holmström. He said that white Finns must not share power and privileges with migrants and their children. In other words, they should get lower salaries and social security benefits so that it does not irritate Finns.
According to Statistics Finland’s Working Paper series published in 2014, Finland is no land of opportunity for migrants, according to Pekka Myrskylä. He claims that the employment level of Estonians and Thai citizens matches that of white Finns. The majority of migrants, however, live in poverty in Finland because they make less money, according to him.
Surprisngly, she did not respond to my tweet.
National Coalition Party MP Pia Kauma is another politician who has been hellbent that migrants should be paid less social welfare.
In 2014, the MP from Espoo pointed an accusing finger at migrant mothers claiming that they bought with social aid new baby carriages while Finnish mothers bought used ones. Kauma never backed her statements but at the end she apologized because her claims were proven false and based on hearsay.
In 2021, she sprung back to xenophobic life and proposed to tighten social security guidelines for migrants. Her aim was was to link language skill to social welfare levels.
Orpo’s government plans to breathe life to such a plan but it may have legal challenges and be unconstitutional.
Others like former Green League MP Osmo Soinivaara have suggested more of the same and that social welfare levels should be different for foreigners and native Finns.
Researchers like Pasi Saukkonen believe social welfare cuts planned by the government end up costing more and causing social inequality.
He said that it was vital that if immigrant benefits are cut, the impact of the measures must be closely monitored. “Because if such measures are not effective, they will only create more inequality in this country. And it will be costly,” he added.
So what do you think, will the government find and implement legal acrobatics to justify foreingers get paid less social welfare?It will be interesting to watch but it already faces a big legal hurdle.