Despite the fake claims by parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, Finland has historically done everything possible to halt foreigners from moving to Finland. It was not until 1983, or 65 years that Finland passed its first aliens act.
Restrictions on foreigners and foreign companies were the rule. Did you know that even if women had the right to vote in 1906, they didn’t have the right to pass citizenship to their children until 1984? Only children of Finnish men had such a right.
This intransigence against foreigners can be best seen today through the rise of the radical right PS and the tacit approval of all Finnish parties, especially the National Coalition Party, Center Party, Liike Nyt, and Christian Democratic Party.
As we know, Finland has been traditionally a country of emigration. Between 1860 and 1999, over 1.2 million Finns emigrated mainly to North America (before WW2) and Sweden (after WW2).
Incredibly, we are still debating the pros and cons of immigration. We are still crying about our ever-worsening demographic pangs, which will hit our economy and undermine our standard of living.
The fact is that Finland needs to do more and everything possible to discourage people from moving here. The culprits are the same: red tape, the Finnish Immigration Service, exceptionalism, and too few Finnish politicians showing leadership.
Admittedly, this started to change after we became EU members in 1995, but we are still not there. Institutional racism continues to put the breaks on such progress.
When will we notice that matters have taken a definite about-turn? When the PS’ xenophobic arguments are the target of ever-growing scorn and disbelief.
We’ll know that Finland has made an about-turn after the PS suffers a crippling blow.
April may give us the first indication of the latter.