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Asylum seekers spent time in the auditorium of a reception centre in Kirkkonummi on 2 February, 2016. There is room for improvement in the co-operation between the various authorities responsible for immigration affairs, according to a report published by the Police University College.Finland could find itself stuck in a negative spiral that poses a serious threat to national and public security unless it succeeds in the development of its immigration and integration policies, warns a report published online by the Police University College.

The report identifies residential segregation as a particularly disconcerting phenomenon.

The authors of the report argue that the lack of an immigration policy that takes into consideration the security dimension is already evident in growing residential segregation, pronounced inequalities between immigrants of different national backgrounds and the heightened risk of social alienation among second-generation immigrants.

Finland has to develop its integration policy efficiently especially due to its partial failure to integrate and support the well-being of second-generation immigrants, the authors state.

They also acknowledge that the outlook for implementing the necessary reforms is not particularly bright. “It is difficult to gauge how one could be more successful in promoting integration in the future as the outlook for the national and regional economies has already been bleak for a couple of years,” they state.

Kari Laitinen, a senior researcher at the Police University College, acted as the director of the research project, titled Immigration, Security and Foresight. The report was co-authored by researchers Henrik Boberg and Pirjo Jukarinen.

Laitinen, Boberg and Jukarinen estimate that the influx of asylum seekers to the country in the latter half of last year has demonstrated that the co-operation between the various authorities responsible for immigration affairs should be strengthened and that the ownership of many of the related processes remains unclear.

They predict that international religious-political conflicts, especially the animosity between Shia and Sunni Muslims, will spread to Finland along with the immigrants. “The ramifications for the security situation are not limited to the border-crossing formalities, but they are reflected in various sectors of the society – presently as violent unrest and criminal activities at reception centres,” they write.

The national border control and law enforcement officials are barely coping with the current situation, according to the report. “The worst-case scenario of the refugee crisis is that tens if not hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants will seek entry to Finland. That would have considerable ramifications for the security situation in Finland.”

The authors remind that the integration of immigrants from Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia has hardly been a complete success story. Iraqi and Somali households, they point out, are struggling to escape the low-income bracket.

They also point out that the disparities between various immigrant population groups are notable in Finland, with income equality being higher than in any other member state of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (OECD).

The report draws attention to a disconcerting characteristic associated with the second-generation of immigrants in Finland: the share of second-generation immigrants of the 15–24-year-old population without post-primary education qualifications is the highest among the member states of the OECD.

The researchers estimate that the concentration of economic hardship and the related security challenges is a particular concern for Finland. They refer to a number of regions in Southern and Central Sweden with a high concentration of immigrants as examples of regions where “a local criminal network is creating a sense of insecurity in various sectors of the society”.

Jukarinen and Laitinen identified Sweden as a cautionary example already in October when urging Finland not to undermine the risks associated with immigration.

Finland must do its utmost to prevent such development, according to the report.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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