Refugees are a relatively new phenomenon in Finland compared to other countries. The majority of the Finns became acquainted with refugees after the arrival of the first large group of Somali refugees in the early 1990s. Due to a lack of correct information and knowledge, quite negative opinions about refugees arise and the opinions differ a lot. For example, some people think that terrorists and criminals are being brought to Finland. This is of course not true. The refugee system contains effective means to prevent various abuses. The interviewee will be in contact with a number of different authorities during their application process and their background will be carefully researched before any final decisions are made.
Some people are afraid that the refugees will take the jobs of the Finns which will lead to an economic crisis in Finland. As mentioned in our previous blog, a lot of work and effort is put into the integration process. If the integration process runs smoothly and correctly, this will lead to a significant positive effect on public finances. Competence in the labor market is increasing and new skills are emerging. This is of course what everyone strives for and therefore good integration is also of great importance.
During the interview, we asked what kind of changes the Finnish refugee council would like to see. What would they do differently if they could? To this, Mr. Malinen replied that he would hope that in the future Finland would allow more quota refugees into the country every year. Allowing more quota refugees would be an easier solution for all parties. Everything would then have been arranged such as houses, integration programs, etc. (this part is more widely explained in our last blog) This would help to avoid problems such as money issues, homelessness, no medical assistance, etc. Problems that arise when for example asylum seekers who enter the country without assistance have to deal with.
Mr. Malinen also hopes to see more interaction between local residents and refugees. Often the refugees are coming from a very vulnerable place, and social contacts would be very helpful for them. It will make them feel like they are part of society, and it will help them to learn their new language better and can lead to great connections with the outcome of a possible job.