Immigration to Finland: Is the Finns Party Really Against It?

Commentary, Finnish Politics, Foreigners in Finland
immigration to finland

Last week, Yle News ran a debate in English involving political candidates across Finnish political parties. In that debate, the Finns Party was portrayed to be against ALL types of immigration to Finland.

I applaud the mainstream media’s initiative to conduct a debate in English with the intention of increasing the accessibility and inclusivity of politics to immigrants.

Having said that however, it does come across as a surprise as to how current debate has relegated to such a low level of intellectual discourse, evidenced by how Yle anchored the following topic:

Word-by-word QUOTE from the YLE video caption:

“Finns Party candidate Erlin Yang says that it’s “totally wrong” to say that his party is anti-immigrant.”

 

Of course The Finns Party–represented by an immigrant Erlin Yang himself– is “totally not” against immigration. Why is there a need to delegate such precious debate time to addressing such a silly anchor?

What The Finns Party is against is uncontrolled immigration to Finland.

Because I personally am tired of the Finns Party being misprepresented, I have taken the liberty to translate Mr. Erlin Yang’s stance into English. Also, translation does not mean endorsement. I am personally voting for the Greens Party.

Here is what Mr. Erlin Yang said, which I felt is an accurate official position of The Finns Party:

“The Finns Party is a political party which aims to serve and represent the working class in Finland. It officially espouses the following values:

1. To increase the employment rate in Finland;

2. To foster a healthy start-up scene and to promote entrepreneurship in Finland;

3. To advocate for the development of Finnish culture;

4. To secure the economic security of Finland and therefore enhance the well-being of every resident;

5. To insist on fair wages;

6. To protect the interests of minority and vulnerable groups in Finland;

7. To promote the health of children and ensure safety in schools;

8. To guarantee a high quality and accessibility of basic services to elder citizens and retirees, so that they can enjoy their retirement with dignity.

Related to immigration to Finland, the Finns Party is FOR immigration into Finland under one or more of the following reasonable conditions:

1. For the purposes of professional work;

2. For the purposes of studies;

3. For the purposes of reunion with family.

The Finns Party is against immigrants who are insistent on coming to Finland to exploit the Finnish welfare system. In particular, it is staunchly against immigrants who are involved with human trafficking, drugs dealing and “refugees” who insist on staying in Finland illegally.

The justification is because this latter group is considered net-takers to the Finnish welfare state. Furthermore, this group threatens the very social fabric of Finnish society.

Erlin Yang agrees with the basic tenets that underlie the vision and mission of the Finns party.

As a Chinese immigrant to Finland himself, he greatly respects the Finnish way of life and values. Erlin Yang considers it his personal calling to contribute to the betterment of Finnish society by encouraging more meaningful interactions between legal immigrants and natives. He strongly believes that immigrants and natives can work together to achieve a more prosperous, cohesive and harmonious Finnish society.

Erlin Yang admits that there might have been some members of the Finns Party who previously made controversial and provocative statements targeted at immigrants, in particular refugees. He stresses however, that this is not the official stance of the Finns Party and that these members are in the rare minority.

Here, Erlin Yang attests to the fact that he has never once faced discrimination within his party. On the contrary, he has received overwhelming support from fellow party members who wish for immigrants to be represented.

Against this context, The Finns Party does not necessarily encourage “multiculturalism”—undoubtedly a sensitive term in Europe these days.

As one viable alternative to a “multicultural Finland”, he stresses that the will to integrate is key to maintaining a harmonious society. From the current situation, Erlin observes that not all immigrants have demonstrated this desire to integrate.

All in all, Erlin Yang concludes by purporting the view that it is only logical, humane and essential that a country accepts new immigrants along principles of common values.
These values include the pursuit of freedom, the desire for progress, principled virtues of loyalty and integrity, and the willingness to work hard.

Erlin emphasized that it is ideal for immigrants to adapt proactively to the ways of the locals and respect local traditions, people and cultures.”

So please agree and disagree to official positions, not what you THINK the official position is. -.- And please do not sensationalise political topics unnecessarily.

Classy!! How Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong dealt with the BBC reporter’s implied "white man’s burden".

Misc

Have you guys watched the latest snippet of BBC’s interview with PM Lee Hsien Loong shared by Channel News Asia today?

Our PM Lee Hsien Loong BBC appearance was soooo much BURN. WATCH! 😀

 

I especially LOVED how PM Lee responded to the reporter’s condescending assumptions in his line of questioning. So much class!

“The world is a diverse place. Nobody has a monopoly of virtue or wisdom.” –PM Lee Hsien Loong

Here’s a toast to our Prime Minister for standing his ground so well! =)

This is another classic case of a “What is” VS “What should be” conversation. The people who preach that Singapore “should” do this and that– Just look at their track records. Have they done anything constructive for Singapore?

In other words, IF our nation ever vanishes one day, do these “should-sayers” with NO stakes in Singapore have to suffer the consequences?

It’s easy to preach “should”s when you don’t have to be responsible for the livelihood of many, isn’t it?

Don’t get me wrong, of COURSE it is good to have noble ideals. However, in a world of constrained resources and responsibilities, leaders have to make tough trade-offs and choices.

With freedom of expression comes A LOT of responsibility. Will I trust the masses with complete responsibility?

Looking at the UK’s recent excellent choice of BREXIT, OPPS! I think I’ll pass. Thanks and no thanks!

5 Minutes with Mr. Patrick Tay, assistant secretary-general of NTUC.

Misc
patrick tay ntuc

Recently, the report by the Committee of Future Economy has raised considerable interest and concern in Singapore. Against this backdrop, we have the huge privilege of having 5 minutes with Mr. Patrick Tay, the assistant secretary-general of NTUC today. He will share with us some of his thoughts about preparing Team Singapore for the future workforce.

Mr. Tay will also be at the Singapore Management University tomorrow to talk about the opportunities and threats of the future workforce. Do join in if you are interested in this topic!

WW: Hello Mr Patrick Tay! Can you tell us more about yourself and what you are doing?

Patrick Tay: Hello Wan Wei!

I am the assistant secretary-general of National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and am currently overseeing the Future Jobs, Skills and Training (FJST) Department and Legal Services Department.

I Am also an elected Member of Parliament (West Coast GRC) and Chairman for the Manpower Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC).

WW: On Feb 9, the Committee of the Future Economy recommended 7 strategies to take the Singaporean economy forward. Strategy #2 is to utilise and acquire “deep skills”. What is the meaning of “deep skills”?

Patrick Tay: It means we must go beyond trying to attain the highest possible academic qualification to focus on acquiring a personal mastery of skills.

As we embrace digital disruption and technology, we must acquire deep skills to create and add value and utilize these skills effectively on the job.

WW: How do you suggest Singaporeans be prepared for future jobs that do not even exist currently?

Patrick Tay: The future jobs will either be very “Hi-Touch” or very “Hi-Tech” because what can be Digitised, Robotised or Mechanised will be Digitised, Robotised or Mechanised.

Singaporeans can be prepared by being:

  • Agile (flexible to move across, move into and move up);
  • Able (upskill, second skill, multi-skill, deep skill); and
  • Adaptable (to changes).

This is so that Singaporeans stay ready, relevant and resilient….ready with new skills, relevant for new jobs and resilient to new changes.

WW: Singapore’s growth for 2017 does not really seem too optimistic. Singapore is also not a welfare state–so there might not be enough cushioning in the event of layoffs . Do you have some tips for Singaporeans to cope with acquiring deeper skills in the event that they are structurally unemployed?

Patrick Tay: The 2016 growth results of 2% is promising.

I expect continued uncertainties, consolidation and disruptive challenges in 2017.

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There will be industry transformation maps for all 23 clusters/sectors of the economy. What is important will be how we translate that to the ground and properly execute/implement the manpower strategies entrenched in those maps so that workers can benefit.

In this respect, the Labour movement is working closely with tripartite partners and stakeholders to identify what are the future jobs, skills and training needed and to cascade it to all workers sector by sector.

WW: How can Singaporeans continue to be competitive in a region where wages are lower than within the country? Apart from “working harder”, is there anything else we can do?

Patrick Tay: We need to be better than the ‘cheaper’ countries.

We need to create value and have that extra value add to ensure we are always ahead in terms of quality and reliability than those who are ‘cheaper’ than us.

WW: What are some programmes that NTUC has for Singaporeans that will value-add us greatly in 2017, but we are likely not to know about yet? Perhaps because they are not as widely publicised as hoped, or simply too complicated?

Patrick Tay: We are hard at work in expanding the Labour movement network to ensure we look after the interests and welfare of ALL workers and the entire working population in the areas of

  • Care (caring for our workers in need),
  • Fair (ensure fairness, protection and progressive practices), and
  • Grow (helping the working population grow in their jobs and careers).

WW: What is the one biggest misconception that Singaporeans are likely to have about NTUC that is far from the truth?

Patrick Tay: That the Labour movement only looks after rank and file workers.

We now have an expanded Labour movement that look after all workers and the working population in Singapore.

We hope you have enjoyed the interview with Mr Patrick Tay today! Featured picture courtesy of Singapore Press Holdings.