SAK Immigration Policy Objectives


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Immigration and multiculturalism have been topics of considerable public debate recently in Finland. SAK is part of the labour movement, so this policy statement and its recommendations will deal only with the world of work.

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SAK Immigration Policy Objectives

  1. 1. 1·2011                  SAK Immigration Policy Objectives 
  2. 2. SAK Immigration Policy Objectives 11 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................... 2Human mobility is part of economic globalisation .................................................... 2Few foreigners live in Finland .................................................................................. 3Immigrant unemployment is nearly three times the national average ...................... 4Equal numbers of immigrants and temporary foreign workers in Finland ................ 42 WE ARE ALL ENTITLED TO DIVERSITY AND FAIR TREATMENT ATWORK ...................................................................................................................... 63 A MANAGED IMMIGRATION POLICY IS BASED ON THE NEED FORLABOUR .................................................................................................................. 74 TWO LABOUR MARKETS: AN UNACCEPTABLE OPTION .............................. 9Employers accountable for infringing laws and collective agreements .................. 10Social security for all .............................................................................................. 10Meaningful subscriber liability for infringements by subcontractors andagencies ................................................................................................................. 11Improved rights for trade unions to supervise terms and conditions ofemployment............................................................................................................ 12Greater resources and duties for public authorities ............................................... 12Finland must respect the status of migrant workers ............................................... 13Integration measures for all immigrants ................................................................. 15More and better language training ......................................................................... 15Swifter recognition of qualifications ........................................................................ 16An adequate labour market information pack for immigrants ................................. 16Allowing for the needs of immigrant families .......................................................... 16APPENDIX 1 Foreign population of Finland by nationality, nativelanguage and country of birth ................................................................................. 18APPENDIX 2 The work of SAK to promote multiculturalism and equality atthe workplace ......................................................................................................... 19APPENDIX 3 Social security of foreign workers in Finland ................................... 22
  3. 3. 2 SAK Immigration Policy Objectives1 INTRODUCTIONImmigration and multiculturalism have been topics of considerable publicdebate recently in Finland. Discussion has focused on immigrantintegration, the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers, immigration foremployment, and whether there is any need for more foreign labour. SAK ispart of the labour movement, so this policy statement and itsrecommendations will deal only with the world of work.Solidarity, equality and fairness are fundamental values of the trade unionmovement. People should not be treated inequitably because of their nativelanguage, skin colour or origin. Everyone is entitled to equitable treatmentregardless of nationality and ethnic extraction, and racism is unacceptablein any form.A responsible immigration policy will ensure that society and the world ofwork remain capable of ensuring the effective integration and employmentof immigrants. Immigrant integration has to be an interactive process thatallows for the needs of the individual. A responsible policy will also entailmanaged immigration of migrant workers based on a real need for labour.SAK stresses that everyone working in Finland should have equitable termsand conditions of employment. Employers are responsible for ensuring thatthe collectively agreed rates are paid for work done in Finland and that thiswork complies with Finnish terms and conditions. Enterprises that usesubcontractors and employment agencies must also be responsible forensuring that these business partners comply with legislation and provideproper jobs for their employees.Human mobility is part of economic globalisationPeople have always migrated from place to place and country to country.Modern migration flows are linked to globalisation and the gulf in livingstandards between the wealthy industrialised countries and the developingworld. The character of migration has also changed, with technologicalprogress enabling greater mobility and faster communications.To many people in the developing world, the wealthier countries offer avaluable opportunity for higher income. Many people in the destinationcountries for migration flows feel in turn that migration offers one solution tothe labour shortage caused by an ageing population. Immigrants andmigrant workers already form an essential component of the labour force inmany countries. The increased cultural interaction accompanyinginternational mobility is also a value in itself.The benefits of migration are offset by a downside in the form of humanexploitation. The jobs that foreigners find are often poorly paid andinsecure. Cheap labour can force decent jobs out of the market, therebyimpairing the rights and purchasing power of all employees. Developingcountries also increasingly suffer from a brain drain leading to problemssuch as poor and inadequate public health services and education. It is
  4. 4. SAK Immigration Policy Objectives 3important to give more careful consideration to the ethical aspects of hiringlabour from developing countries.The European Union has guaranteed free mobility of services and freedomof business establishment within its territory. Since the 1990s the EU andits Member States have worked hard to promote labour mobility in theinternal market. The Posted Workers Act1 stipulates the minimum termsand conditions of employment of employees working temporarily in Finlandfor a foreign employer or of agency workers hired to work for a Finnishclient in Finland. Both the Council and Parliament of the European Unionare currently processing proposed Directives stipulating the rights ofemployees from outside of the EU/EEA countries. This also testifies to thegrowing interest of the EU and its Member States in labour from beyondtheir borders.The labour market in many European countries is broadly split into twosectors, with immigrants often over-represented in jobs with minimal rightsand security. Nearly everywhere the trade union movement has beenengaged in a struggle to achieve equitable treatment of employees and tooppose the exploitation of immigrants through deteriorating terms andconditions of employment. Finland is no exception to this.Few foreigners live in FinlandFinland has historically served mainly as a point of departure for migrants,and only became a significant destination for immigrants in the early 1990s.By the end of 2009 there were about 155,000 foreigners living in Finland,corresponding to just under three per cent of the country’s total population(Appendix 1: Foreign population of Finland by nationality, native languageand country of birth). This figure gives the number of people without Finnishcitizenship living permanently in Finland, and does not include naturalisedimmigrants, foreigners working in Finland on a temporary basis or asylum-seekers. There are relatively few foreigners living in Finland compared toother countries in Western Europe.Nearly 65 per cent of Finland’s foreigners live in the country’s ten largestcities, with most of them based in Helsinki. Nearly one in ten Helsinkiresidents speak a native language other than Finnish or Swedish –principally Russian, Estonian, English and Somali.The background of immigrants living in Finland varies by nationality andcitizenship, country of birth, language, education and grounds for admissionto the country. There is no uniform immigrant population, nor are the sameimmigration measures and services suited to all. Foreigners cannevertheless be sorted according to grounds for admission2 into thespouses of Finnish citizens, students, migrant workers, refugees admittedunder the UNHCR resettlement programme, spontaneous refugees andother displaced persons, immigrants admitted for family reunification, andreturnees of Finnish extraction. The most popular reason for moving to1 Laki lähetetyistä työntekijöistä, no. 1146 of 1999.2 This more strictly refers to the grounds for granting permission to arrive and remain. The categories inthe list are not mutually exclusive.
  5. 5. 4 SAK Immigration Policy ObjectivesFinland remains the choice of spouses concerning their common country ofresidence. Most immigrants are from Russia, Estonia and Sweden.Immigrant unemployment is nearly three times the nationalaverageThe age distribution of immigrants living in Finland differs from that of non-immigrant Finland. About 80 per cent of immigrants are of working age,compared to only 66 per cent of the original population. The employmentrate of immigrants in 2009 was nevertheless only 52 per cent (65,000people), whereas the corresponding employment rate of the originalpopulation approached 70 per cent. Immigrant unemployment is nearlythree times the national average. There are also major disparities betweenthe employment rates of various immigrant groups sorted by nationality.Immigrants from the industrialised countries enjoy relatively highemployment levels, whereas the labour market looks less kindly onhumanitarian migrants.The employment of most immigrants tends to be insecure. Regardless ofeducation, immigrants are often employed in service sectors, especially ascleaners and restaurant workers. There are also many employees ofimmigrant background engaged in transport, logistics and warehousingwork. Some are employed in the financial and insurance sectors. Finlandhas also attracted highly trained foreign experts, such as IT-specialists,scientists, teachers and medical practitioners.Equal numbers of immigrants and temporary foreign workers inFinlandEven though many public authorities compile statistics on foreign workers,no precise figures are available on the number of foreigners working inFinland on a permanent or temporary basis. Very little is known, inparticular, of the number of temporary workers from the EU/EEA zone.The most accurate figures for foreign workers concern permit holders fromoutside of this zone. Just under 5,500 residence permits were issued tothese “third country nationals” for the purpose of employment in 2009. Mostof these permits went to cooks, chefs, cold buffet chefs, gardeners,cleaners, agricultural workers, plumbers, heavy goods and combinationvehicle drivers, and welders. The most common nationalities of permitapplicants were Russian, Ukrainian, Chinese, Turkish, Croatian, Thai andFilipino.A combination of official statistics, academic studies and research by labourmarket organisations suggests that roughly 57,500–67,500 foreigners wereworking in Finland on a temporary basis in 2009. This is about the same asthe number of immigrants in work.Temporary employees divide into seasonal workers and posted or agencyworkers, most of whom come to Finland from other European UnionMember States. There were about 40 to 50 thousand workers of this kind in2009, with a further 12,000 employees on visitor visas working in seasonal
  6. 6. SAK Immigration Policy Objectives 5jobs lasting for less than three months. Seasonal workers come to Finlandboth from neighbouring regions and from the Far East. Some work is alsocommissioned from foreign workers on a basis other than employment.There are no reliable figures indicating the scale of this kind of work.The Finnish Construction Trade Union has estimated that about 20 to 25thousand foreigners worked in the building sector in 2009. According to amajor study made by the union in spring 2010, Finnish construction workersare already clearly a minority of the building façade renovation workforce inHelsinki, for example. Most of the foreign labour working in the constructionindustry comes from Estonia, with the remainder coming mainly from suchcountries as Poland, Ukraine and Russia.Large numbers of temporary workers are also hired from abroad to work onfarms and in market gardening businesses. The latest statistics in this fielddate from 2007, when more than two thousand agricultural and marketgardening enterprises employed some 14,700 foreign workers.Table 1 Workers of foreign origin in Finland in 2009 Workers of foreign origin about 122,500–132,500 ↓ ↓ Temporary foreign workers Foreigners permanently about 57,500–67,500 domiciled in Finland and in work 65,000 ↓ ↓ From EU countries • Permit holdersabout 40,000–50,000 from third countries about 5,500 • Seasonal workers about 12,000 (from EU and third countries)
  7. 7. 6 SAK Immigration Policy Objectives2 WE ARE ALL ENTITLED TO DIVERSITY ANDFAIR TREATMENT AT WORKSolidarity, equality and fairness are fundamental values of the trade unionmovement. Everyone is entitled to equitable treatment regardless ofnationality and ethnic extraction. Attitudes critical of immigration and evenracism have gained considerable ground in public debate. This way oftalking encourages suspicion and even hatred of immigrants, and can havedestructive social consequences. It is important to ensure that xenophobiais not permitted to gain a foothold in Finland and that we avoid antagonism.Joint measures taken by labour market organisations are crucial forpreventing ethnic harassment and discrimination against immigrants andethnic minorities at work. SAK joined Finland’s other national labour andemployer confederations in signing a declaration in 1995 to combat racialdiscrimination and xenophobia, and to promote equal opportunities at theworkplace.SAK has worked to promote immigrant and multicultural affairs in manyways throughout the first decade of the new century. The concludingdocument of the organisation’s 2001 congress Moving into the future takesa strong stand for equality, fairness and tolerance. SAK believes thatdiversity is a resource, not a threat. A globalising and equitable world ofwork is an opportunity for Finnish society. Immigrants must have the sameopportunities as the original population to participate in the world of workand the trade union movement, but the immigrant organising rate iscurrently lower than the rate for Finnish employees. By spring 2010 therewere nevertheless already more than 17,000 members of immigrantbackground in SAK-affiliated trade unions.A multiculturalism group was established at SAK and its affiliates in 2002 tofunction as a discussion forum that gathers and provides information andmaintains contacts with organisations of immigrants. This group also servesas a lobbying network and investigates service requirements. SAK alsoarranges forums for immigrant union members enabling them to meet oneanother and other organisation activists, and to highlight problems thatarise at work and in society more generally.SAK has recently been focusing on improving equal opportunities foremployees by lobbying for improved legislation, and the organisation is alsoinvolved in various associated projects. The Baltic Sea Labour Network(BSLN) initiative running until the end of 2011 seeks to prevent the unfairexploitation of labour in the Baltic Sea region, to encourage immigrants tojoin trade unions, to call greater public attention to the challenges of labourmobility, and to lobby for better management of international labour flows.SAK has worked through the BSLN project to promote multiculturalism andequal opportunities. Further details of the project are provided in Appendix2. The BSLN initiative has included projects to investigate diversity in theworld of work, and has strengthened the role of an information centre inTallinn, Estonia, that furnishes Estonian migrant workers with details ofworking in Finland, labour rights and the trade union movement.
  8. 8. SAK Immigration Policy Objectives 7Many trade unions have also produced their own brochures and othermaterials in various languages to explain typical features of working inFinland and the rights of employees.3 A MANAGED IMMIGRATION POLICY IS BASEDON THE NEED FOR LABOURMost sectors of the Finnish economy have enough labour for their needs. Ithas been observed that foreign labour is often hired in the industriesorganised by SAK more because of poor terms and conditions ofemployment or a desire to cut business labour costs than because of agenuine labour shortage. Exercising judgement over the availability oflabour safeguards the employment of workers who are already in theFinnish labour market and ensures that employees are hired from thirdcountries on fair and decent terms. This discretion will continue to benecessary for as long as pro-active and retroactive supervision of termsand conditions of employment remains inadequate and the employmentsituation is unfavourable.Despite the general employment situation, however, Finland can sufferlocalised labour shortages in particular industries or specific enterprises.Hiring employees from abroad may be one solution to the problems ofenterprises and industries where a labour shortage hampers operations orprevents growth. To avoid labour shortages, it is also important to forecastlabour requirements with optimal precision and to train employees for workin industries that are threatened by labour shortages. If insufficient labour isavailable for hire in Finland, then a realistic estimate of the short and long-term need for foreign labour is required. This is the only way of arranging asystematic, managed policy of immigration for employment that is based onreal need.Current statistics and studies are not accurate enough. Estimates of theneed for labour from abroad are too often based solely on the rate ofretirement and job vacancies. Much more government research is requiredto forecast foreign labour requirements by industry, with detailed researchconducted into the terms and conditions of employment actually enjoyed byforeign workers and the pay criteria applied by employers. Statistics onemployees arriving from other European Union Member States should beimproved in particular in order to ascertain the number of employeesconcerned, the industries in which they work and the duration of their stayin Finland.SAK feels that all businesses should comply with OECD guidelines formultinational companies, which emphasise that an enterprise shouldprimarily hire local staff. Any foreign workers who are required shouldprimarily be hired as direct employees and not through agencies.Employers hiring from abroad must be liable for ensuring that the workerreceives adequate pre-departure information on the job that has beenoffered and the associated duties, on the required language skills andvocational qualifications, on the terms and conditions of employment andthe rights and duties of employees, on trade union activities, and on Finnish
  9. 9. 8 SAK Immigration Policy Objectivessociety. Any direct or indirect collection of recruitment fees from suchworkers must be outlawed.Labour recruitment should become a focus of official control, andemployers must provide the necessary support and protection toemployees if evidence of migrant labour abuse emerges, such as enticingworkers to Finland with misleading promises. Steps must also be takenagainst the perpetrators of such practices, for example, by blacklistingthem.Recruitment of workers from abroad must be ethically sustainable. Finlandmust not export its potential labour shortages to developing countries, norshould labour migration undermine public services in countries of origin orskew their educational systems to serve the needs of industrialisedcountries for trained professionals at the expense of the developing world.A successful labour immigration policy will require a partnership betweenboth sides of industry, and the involvement of both sides in formulating,monitoring and evaluating public policy and legislation. There should alsobe greater national and international collaboration between various publicauthorities and labour market organisations in matters of labourimmigration.SAK RECOMMENDS: • Discretion over the availability of labour should continue for as long as pro-active and retroactive supervision of terms and conditions of employment remains inadequate and the employment situation is unfavourable. • The pay criteria of employers hiring workers from abroad and the terms and conditions of employment of these workers must be investigated. • Statistics on immigration and labour mobility must be improved, particularly with respect to temporary labour arriving in Finland from other European Union Member States. • Recruitment of labour from abroad should be subject to regulatory control by public authorities. Self-regulation by enterprises does not suffice. • Recruitment must be conducted in an ethical manner, and employers must provide the necessary support and protection to employees if evidence of migrant labour abuse emerges, such as enticing workers to Finland with misleading promises. • Public authorities must collaborate more closely with labour market organisations. These organisations must be involved in formulating, monitoring and evaluating immigration legislation and policy. • Any foreign workers who are required should primarily be hired as direct employees and not as agency workers.
  10. 10. SAK Immigration Policy Objectives 94 TWO LABOUR MARKETS: AN UNACCEPTABLEOPTIONAn increase in foreign workers in certain industries organised by SAKaffiliates has given rise to a two-tier labour market in which foreign workersare disadvantaged. Foreign workers may not enjoy such benefits asovertime and weekend work bonuses or holiday compensation. Femaleforeign workers are doubly disadvantaged, and there are shortcomings inindustrial safety and housing conditions.Most of the problems arise at workplaces where the workers aretemporarily in Finland and the work is distributed through subcontractingchains. There are difficulties in the construction and technology, transport,agriculture, cleaning, market gardening, hotel and catering, and otherindustries. Many foreigners also have to pay agency fees when seekingwork in Finland, even though such fees are illegal.An increasing proportion of work is nowadays commissioned withoutconcluding an employment contract, with many foreigners forced to work asbogus entrepreneurs or on an assignment basis. This occurs in many linesof work, ranging from industry to wild berry picking. The circumstances ofthis kind of work typically bind the workers to one enterprise, forcing themto suffer the associated business risk without sharing in the profits of theundertaking.Workers may accept such unsatisfactory arrangements because theirearnings in Finland are often higher than wages in their countries of origin.They also often remain dependent on the agent or the party providing thework, and therefore reluctant to contest their justified claims. Oneparticularly vulnerable and elusive area comprises domestic service worksuch as housekeeping and childcare duties performed under uncleararrangements. Working conditions in this field may be so poor that theyinfringe fundamental rights. Nor does it help to dissolve this second-classlabour market that charges are seldom preferred in cases of discriminationat work, as some public prosecutors fail to recognise this offence orunderstand its seriousness.Abuse of labour recruited from abroad has become increasingly commonand can also involve features of trafficking. These problems generallybecome increasingly blatant when workers are brought over greaterdistances to Finland or when they are less familiar with the country’s socialand working conditions. A new offence of extortionate work discriminationincorporated into the Finnish Penal Code in 2004 has failed to deterdiscrimination at the workplace. This provision is seldom applied, and thepenalties imposed for the offence have been lenient. The statutorydefinitions of extortionate work discrimination, forced labour and humantrafficking should be revised.Finland must be committed to combating human trafficking and must makegreater efforts to identify cases of forced labour. Greater resources must beallocated for this purpose. Public prosecutors must also be trained torecognise discrimination at work, extortionate work discrimination andtrafficking more effectively, and to press the appropriate charges for theseoffences.
  11. 11. 10 SAK Immigration Policy ObjectivesThere are also undocumented migrants in Finland whose circumstancesremain largely unknown. The discrimination suffered by this group isexceedingly difficult to detect, as most people in such circumstances avoidany contact with official or even unofficial agencies, including trade unions,out of fear of exposure.Employers accountable for infringing laws and collectiveagreementsThe two-tier labour market has emerged due to the operations of employerswho are unwilling to comply with legislation or collective agreements. SAKdeplores the fact that workers and reputable businesses have to financesocial services on behalf of other operators who ignore or evade their legalduties.Employers must be liable for ensuring that all work done in Finlandcomplies with Finnish laws and collective agreements. The problem ofunlawful employment agency fees must also be tackled.With the associated problems of unlawfully low pay and other defects interms and conditions of employment, abuse of migrant labour reduces taxand social insurance revenues, infringes the rights of workers, and gives anunfair competitive edge to the perpetrators of malpractice and to theemployers who allow it to continue.Defects have also been found in safety training of foreign workers.Employers must shoulder their responsibilities in this area and familiariseall employees with the safety aspects of their work to ensure that they arecapable of working without endangering themselves and others. This willrequire more time and expense in the case of foreign workers, but work-related accidents must not be permitted to occur simply because ofinadequate knowledge or language skills.Social security for allAlthough European Union Member States decide their own national socialsecurity arrangements, there are also European provisions governing thesocial rights of workers, including an employee mobility Regulation and aco-ordinating Regulation on social security systems. These Regulations arebased on the idea that workers should be insured in the country where thework is done.The Finnish social security system is unusual in the European Union,insofar as it is divided into employment-based and residence-based socialsecurity (see Appendix 3: Social security of foreign workers in Finland).Foreign workers enjoy the same status in Finland as the original populationand are fully covered by Finnish social security.A person coming to work in Finland is covered by employment-based socialsecurity, meaning earnings-related pension, industrial accident andunemployment insurance, immediately on commencing work. The right toresidence-based social security benefits and services in Finland takes
  12. 12. SAK Immigration Policy Objectives 11effect if the person concerned is forecast to remain in Finland permanently.Residence-based social security includes the sickness and parentalallowances, unemployment benefit, national pensions and familyallowances paid by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela).The criteria for regular residence associated with residence-based socialsecurity will have to be reassessed when Finland formulates its position onthe relationship between its national social security system and Communitylaw.Social welfare benefits are financed from tax revenues in Finland, whereasthe funds that enable payment of earnings-linked benefits based onemployment come from the social insurance contributions of employers andemployees. Under the insurance principle, eligibility for benefits depends onparticipation in the associated contribution process.Liability for arranging the social security of people working temporarily inFinland generally remains with the worker’s country of origin. Such workersrepresent cheaper labour for employers, as there is no duty to pay socialinsurance contributions for them in Finland. They are also not liable for taxin Finland. Employers must nevertheless arrange industrial accidentinsurance for workers entering Finland from outside of the European Union.Meaningful subscriber liability for infringements bysubcontractors and agenciesIn addition to foreign businesses that trade regularly in Finland, there arehundreds of enterprises operating with no permanent establishment. Thegeneral rule is that foreign employers must take out pension and accidentinsurance for employees working in Finland.There is nevertheless no duty to arrange employment pension insurancefor workers from outside the European Union who are posted to Finland ona temporary basis if an A1 or E101 certificate indicates that theseemployees have pension insurance in their countries of origin. Enterpriseswith no permanent establishment tend to operate as subcontractors in theconstruction, engineering and cleaning sectors. It is virtually impossible tomonitor from Finland whether a foreign employer has arranged employmentpension or accident insurance in the worker’s country of origin or paidlawful wages for the work.Legislation on subscriber liability3 took effect on 1 January 2007, with aview to improving the quality of business competition and compliance withguaranteed minimum terms and conditions of employment, and ensuringthat subcontractors and employment bureaux discharge their statutoryobligations.While this legislation has proved necessary, it does not yet guaranteehealthy competition, nor does it prevent infringements of terms andconditions of employment. The new law must therefore be revised to stress3 Laki tilaajan selvitysvelvollisuudesta ja vastuusta ulkopuolista työvoimaa käytettäessä, [“Act on theContractor’s Obligations and Liability when Work is Contracted Out”], no. 1233 of 2006.
  13. 13. 12 SAK Immigration Policy Objectivesthe duties of employers, with more effective sanctions and regulatorycontrol. The duties of parties commissioning work and of principalcontractors must be extended to include liability for the wages, pensionsand social security contributions of subcontractor staff and agency workers,and also for any unlawful agency fees that have been collected fromworkers.Improved rights for trade unions to supervise terms andconditions of employmentTrade unions supervise the implementation of collective agreements atworkplaces. The supervisory abilities of unions, of shop stewardsrepresenting them at workplaces and of local labour protection delegateshave been enlarged in recent years to include agency work. The employermust also inform staff representatives of the names of employees from thirdcountries and of the collective agreement governing their terms andconditions of employment. This duty also applies in cases of subcontractingand agency work.Opportunities for regulatory control by trade unions are neverthelesslimited. There is no guarantee that subcontractors and enterprises usingagency workers will even have an elected staff representative. For thisreason, the right of trade unions to supervise the implementation ofminimum terms and conditions of employment and wages should beenlarged to ensure that conditions at workplaces can be supervised inassociation with public authorities even when there are no locally electedemployee representatives.Collaboration between labour market organisations and labour protectionauthorities must be improved, and a system must be established wherebythe labour protection authorities that supervise compliance with generallybinding collective agreements can rapidly verify whether the terms andconditions of employment of workers comply with these agreements andwith statutory requirements.Additional powers are also required for tackling cases of malpracticeconcerning wages and other aspects of employment. Trade unions shouldenjoy independent standing in civil actions to enforce minimum conditionsof employment. This is the best way to defend the rights of vulnerableforeigners lacking the local legal knowledge and language skills that arerequired to pursue such actions in person. The claims filed by organisationscould concern cases with ramifications for equal opportunities and non-discrimination. An independent right of action will nevertheless only beeffective if employers or the purchasers of labour and services are subjectto adequate sanctions.Greater resources and duties for public authoritiesEnsuring adequate regulatory control resources for public authorities wouldbe an investment that would pay for itself many times over in terms ofhigher tax revenues and improved competitive conditions for the business
  14. 14. SAK Immigration Policy Objectives 13community4. Adequate regulatory control of employer compliance is animportant factor in ensuring equal rights for foreign workers.Public authorities in Finland currently have no real powers to overseeforeign enterprises operating with no permanent establishment. Informationis required to verify whether the undertaking meets the criteria forpermanent establishment and is accordingly liable to pay taxes and socialcontributions. The common information system currently under constructionbetween the governments of EU and EEA Member States must ensure thatworkers, subscriber enterprises and public authorities are in a position todetermine whether a business operating in Finland with no permanentestablishment has discharged its duties as an employer to pay taxes andsocial security contributions in the country of origin.Failure to pay employer contributions to the Finnish industrial accidentinsurance scheme cannot be verified in advance. Compliance with the dutyto insure could be supervised more effectively by setting up an employers’register for the accident insurance scheme.Credible regulatory control requires adequate official powers, effective andcomprehensive co-operation between government agencies, and astrengthening of statutes that currently ensure only superficial supervision.Additional capable officials and other resources are required at the workpermit authorities, border guard, police and tax administration, with similarreinforcement of effectiveness in labour protection inspections focusing onforeign labour and subscriber liability. The electronic foreign labourmonitoring system of the Finnish Immigration Service must also beexpanded to cover not only the pay and other terms and conditions ofemployment of foreign workers, but also compliance with employerobligations on the part of the undertakings and agencies that hire theseworkers.Finland must respect the status of migrant workersFinland has not yet ratified International Labour Organisation (ILO)Convention no. 143, concerning Migrations in Abusive Conditions and thePromotion of Equality of Opportunity and Treatment of Migrant Workers,nor Convention no. 97 concerning Migration for Employment. It also has yetto ratify the United Nations International Convention on the Protection ofthe Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, eventhough Finnish legislation already largely satisfies the requirements of thisinstrument.To improve the status of migrant workers, Finland should at least ratify thislatter Convention, together with ILO Convention no. 143, which obliges acontracting State to determine whether there are illegally employed migrantworkers on its territory and whether there depart from, pass through orarrive in its territory any movements of migrants for employment. A country4 For further details on this subject, see the November 2010 publication SAK:n tavoitteet harmaantalouden torjumiseksi [“SAK objectives for combating the grey economy”].
  15. 15. 14 SAK Immigration Policy Objectivesthat has ratified this Convention must also determine whether these migrantworkers are subjected to conditions contravening relevant provisions.Finland must be proactive in protecting the rights of mobile workers, and itmust do more to co-operate with international agencies such as theInternational Organisation for Migration (IOM).SAK RECOMMENDS: • Increased employer liability. The duties of parties commissioning work and of principal contractors should be extended to include liability for the wages, pensions and social security contributions of subcontractor staff and agency workers in the subcontracting chain. • Trade unions should enjoy independent standing in civil actions. • Regulatory control of employers hiring foreign workers should be made more effective, with additional sanctions where required. • Additional capable staff and further resources should be allocated to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (inspections of migrant workers and subscriber liability), the Border Guard and the police for improved regulatory control of the terms and conditions of employment of foreign workers. • Finnish industrial accident insurance must continue to cover everyone working in Finland. The only exceptions to this would be workers who are covered by the legislation of another European Union Member State or a State Party to a bilateral social security agreement. • Regulatory control of occupational health services should be enhanced. • The boundary between laws governing trafficking offences and extortionate work discrimination and the associated need for any new legislation should be studied. This will also involve clarifying the concept and status of forced labour. • Finland should ratify ILO Convention no. 143 and the United Nations International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
  16. 16. SAK Immigration Policy Objectives 155 WORK AND LANGUAGE SKILLS EASEIMMIGRANT INTEGRATIONImmigrant integration is a two-way process: foreigners moving to Finlandwill adapt to life here, but Finnish society will also change with the arrival ofpeople from other cultures. The entire country – including workplaces,residential areas, associations and the membership of trade unions – willbecome increasingly international and diversified.Language skills and employment facilitate immigrant integration, andregular work is the most effective way to safeguard the livelihood ofimmigrants and their families. The unemployment rate of immigrants inFinland nevertheless remains considerably higher than that of the originalpopulation. Public authorities must investigate the principal reasons forimmigrant unemployment and the obstacles to finding work. They mustcollaborate with labour market organisations to find solutions to thisproblem. Full employment must remain the aim in integrating permanentimmigrants of working age.Integration measures for all immigrantsNew immigrant integration legislation that is due take effect in Finland on 1September 2011 will seek to respond more effectively to the needs ofcontemporary society and immigrants. SAK believes that the newlegislation must also bring migrant workers into the scope of most officialimmigrant integration measures. The new legislation will requireEmployment and Economic Development Offices or local authorities toprepare an initial integration needs analysis for all immigrants. This willform a basis for assessing the need for language courses and anyadditional or further training that is required for accessing effectiveimmigrant integration measures and rapid employment. Employment andEconomic Development Offices or local authorities will have to ensure thatan individual immigrant integration plan is prepared for immigrants whennecessary. Immigrants will also be guided towards customary measures topromote employment, such as labour market training and other vocationaldevelopment services.Employment and Economic Development Offices and local authorities havenot always managed to implement immigrant integration plans in theagreed manner, and so continual supervision of the quality andimplementation of immigrant integration plans will also be required.Adequate support must be provided for immigrant integration withoutreducing the resources allocated to other employment policy measures.More and better language trainingAll immigrants must have access to language courses. The prospects offinding work are better for those who can speak the language of a countryand understand how its people behave at work. It is essential for an
  17. 17. 16 SAK Immigration Policy Objectivesimmigrant to learn Finnish or Swedish in order to lead a full and normal lifeoutside the home. The standard of language courses currently arranged forimmigrants varies widely, and there are often long queues for courseadmission. The instruction is also not always suited to the immigrant’sneeds and current standard. The government must make a thorough andcareful study of the problems of language training and of the quantity andquality of these services. The number of language courses of varyingstandard should be increased and the quality of language instruction mustbe improved. Immigrants must also be given an opportunity to take part inlanguage training during working hours and employers must contribute tothe associated costs.Swifter recognition of qualificationsQualifications – especially those earned in Finland – improve access toemployment. The Ministry of Education and Culture must acceleraterecognition of foreign qualifications and the degree equivalence process.Additional resources must also be allocated to the further training that isrequired for working in Finland. Apprenticeship and other vocational trainingcombined with Finnish and Swedish language instruction will facilitateimmigrant employment. Training formats of this kind have a good trackrecord and should be used more often. Skills tests are also a way for manyimmigrants to gain the required vocational competence, and there shouldbe more opportunities to take such tests.An adequate labour market information pack for immigrantsBesides instruction in the Finnish and Swedish languages and anappreciation of the national culture and social system, immigrants must beprovided with adequate facilities and resources for learning about thelabour market and the world of work, and for acquiring the necessary jobskills. These learning opportunities must be made readily available toeveryone moving to Finland, whether on a permanent or temporary basis.Many employers take advantage of immigrant ignorance of the minimumterms and conditions of employment in Finland.The information package provided by the Ministry of the Interior to all newimmigrants must include adequate details of the labour market and a clearexplanation of the work of the trade union movement. As members of atrade union, immigrants are in the best position to defend their rights atwork and help to prevent the emergence of a two-tier labour market.Allowing for the needs of immigrant familiesImmigrants are not merely a labour reserve that leaves the country whenno longer required, but real people who often have families to support.Immigrant integration planning must allow for the needs of the whole family,with greater attention paid to providing language and literacy skills trainingto people who remain in Finland for humanitarian reasons, and particularlyto many women raising families at home. Efforts must be made to bringsuch people into the labour market by providing suitable training. This is the
  18. 18. SAK Immigration Policy Objectives 17most effective way to ensure active social participation by women and careof the family, which is a crucial element in integrating immigrant families.Young immigrants must correspondingly have access to the additionalsupport teaching and preparatory education at schools and secondaryeducational institutions that are required to enable their progress intofurther education.Immigrants have tended to gravitate towards the same residential areasparticularly in larger cities. While this is not necessarily a problem, itcombines with lower educational levels and a high rate of rental housing toexacerbate the risk of growing deprivation in certain neighbourhoods. Localauthorities must do much more to prevent the emergence ofunderprivileged urban residential areas. Rising immigrant homelessness isa particularly disturbing trend. Immigrants must also be guaranteed accessto affordable housing.Immigrants must have access to local social welfare and health services ina language that they can understand. It is also important that they retaintheir native languages in Finland and pass these on to their children.Multilingualism is a benefit to the individual and to society as a whole.SAK RECOMMENDS: • Everyone moving to Finland should be informed about Finnish society, the customs of the working world and the work of the trade union movement as part of the basic information package required under the Integration Act5. • Application of the new Act must ensure that all immigrants have access to an initial integration needs analysis and are able to take part in Finnish or Swedish language courses and other immigrant integration measures. • The number of Finnish and Swedish language courses at various levels must be increased considerably, with more attention paid to improving the quality of language training. • Language training should be included in vocational training for immigrants. • Employers recruiting staff from abroad must contribute to the costs of language training and vocational orientation. • Recognition of foreign qualifications and the degree equivalence process must be accelerated. • Additional resources must be allocated to the further training that is required for working in Finland.5 Laki kotoutumisen edistämisestä, no. 1386 of 2010. The provisions on the basic information packageare set out in section 7 of the Act.
  19. 19. 18 SAK Immigration Policy ObjectivesAPPENDIX 1 Foreign population of Finland by nationality,native language and country of birthSource: Statistics Finland: Census data 2009. Population of Finland 5,351,400 Foreigners Foreign language native Foreign born155,700 (2.9 %) speakers 233,200 (4.4 %) 207,000 (3.9 %) Russian 28,200 Russian 51,700 Former 47,300 USSR Estonian 25,400 Estonian 25,100 Sweden 31,000 Swedish 8,600 English 12,100 Estonia 21,800 Somali 5,500 Somali 11,700 Russia 7,300 Chinese 5,100 Arabic 9,700 Somalia 7,110 Thai 4,500 Kurdish 7,100 China 6,600 Iraqi 4,000 Chinese 7,100 Iraq 6,200Figure 1 Foreign population of Finland by nationality, native language andcountry of birth in 2009. Source: Statistics Finland: Population databreakdown 2009.
  20. 20. SAK Immigration Policy Objectives 19APPENDIX 2 The work of SAK to promote multiculturalism andequality at the workplaceJoint workplace training materials from the national labour marketconfederationsIn 2007 the national labour market confederations of Finland (SAK, theFinnish Confederation of Professionals – STTK, the Confederation ofUnions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland – Akava and theConfederation of Finnish Industry – EK) prepared joint training materials forworkplaces on promoting equal opportunities at work. The materials wereprepared by Linnea Alho, Outi Viitamaa-Tervonen and Pauli Juuti at KiljavaInstitute and JTO School of Management, and were entitled Mahmoud,Mertsi ja Maija: Monimuotoinen työyhteisö ja syrjimätön työn arki [adiversified workplace and non-discrimination in daily work]. These Finnishlanguage training materials are available online at → Tämä onSAK → Maahanmuuttajat.Making multiculturalism a resource at workSAK has been involved in several immigrant and multicultural projects. TheEtmo6 project financed by the European Social Fund EQUAL CommunityInitiative was implemented in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and the City ofTurku in 2001–2005, focusing on 16 workplaces where immigrants wereemployed. This project provided a platform for one of the earliest surveys ofimmigrant working conditions, comparing such aspects as differencesbetween immigrants and the original population concerning attitudestowards work and adaptation to the world of work. The project preparedtraining materials on multiculturalism and a video presentation entitled Olensuomalainen – tarinoita työelämästä [“I am a Finn – tales from the world ofwork”].Education for a multicultural workplaceSAK was the administering partner in the Petmo7 project, which followed onfrom Etmo. This project was implemented at 17 industrial, public sector andprivate service workplaces in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa. The partners inthe Petmo project were three training organisations (TSL8, Kiljava Instituteand JTO School of Management), the Confederation of Finnish Industry –EK, eight trade unions affiliated to SAK, and the TU9 and Tehy10 tradeunions affiliated to the Finnish Confederation of Professionals – STTK.There were also three international partners in the project from the UnitedKingdom, France and Austria.6 Monikulttuurisuus voimavaraksi työyhteisössä (“Multiculturalism as a resource at work”).7 Perehdyttämällä monimuotoiseen työyhteisöön (“Orientation for diversity at work”).8 Työväen Sivistysliitto – the Workers’ Educational Association of Finland.9 Toimihenkilöunioni TU – the Union of Salaried Employees (now known as Pro).10 The Union of Health and Social Care Professionals.
  21. 21. 20 SAK Immigration Policy ObjectivesAn academic programme of four study credits for diversity trainers wasdeveloped during the Petmo project. This has enabled Kiljava Institute andJTO School of Management to arrange training courses for workers’representatives and supervisors.The project also produced a manual for use by immigrants and joborientation trainers entitled Erilaisuus sallittu [“It’s OK to be different”],edited by Päivi Vartiainen-Ora and Auli Korhonen, 2007.A Petmo project guide to the world of work for immigrants in Finland isavailable online through the website of the SAK e-learning environment Sea Labour Network (BSLN)A three-year Baltic Sea Labour Network (BSLN) initiative financed by theEuropean Union seeks to prevent the exploitation of cheap labour in theBaltic Sea region, to encourage immigrants to join trade unions, to callgreater public attention to the problems and challenges of labour mobility,and to lobby for better management of international labour flows. Theproject brings together 26 partners from the nine Baltic Sea States. BesidesSAK, the participants from Finland are the other national employeeconfederations: the Finnish Confederation of Professionals – STTK and theConfederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland –Akava.The project has conducted interview-based research concerning tradeunion membership and participation among speakers of the Estonian andRussian languages, and their experiences of the world of work. It has alsoprovided a platform for arranging training for shop stewards, trade unionofficials and immigrant organisations on such subjects as cross-culturalencounters, labour mobility and issues arising from cross-border working.Two guidebooks have been produced during the project: • The Finnish Trade Union Movement – what every employee should know provides basic details of the work of Finnish trade unions, explaining how to join a union and the importance of membership in four languages: Finnish, English, Russian and Estonian. • Insurance against an accident at work or occupational disease for employees coming to Finland has been published in five languages: Finnish, English, Russian, Estonian and Polish.Both guidebooks are available online at → Publications→ Publications 2010.The BSLN project will continue until the end of 2011.Tallinn Information CentreThe Tallinn Information Centre was established in 2002 to provideinformation and advice on aspects of working in Finland. It serves as a
  22. 22. SAK Immigration Policy Objectives 21source of basic details concerning Finnish wage levels, taxation, terms ofemployment and labour legislation, and explains the services of tradeunions and the principles of trade unionism in the Nordic countries.The Information Centre was originally part of a three-year project financedby the European Union Interreg IIIA programme to improve co-operationbetween the Finnish and Estonian labour markets. The partners in theproject were SAK and its affiliated trade unions, the Finnish Union ofSalaried Employees – TU11 and the Confederation of Estonian TradeUnions – EAKL. SAK and its affiliates and TU continued to fund theInformation Centre project until the end of 2008, and its work of providinginformation on the Finnish labour market has continued at an office inTallinn maintained by the Finnish Construction Trade Union.The project strengthened collaboration between Finnish and Estonianlabour market organisations and helped to make Estonian migrant workersmore aware of the norms that govern work in Finland and of the trade unionmovement.The Information Centre received about 9,500 visits during the initial projectfrom people interested in Finnish working conditions and the services of thetrade union movement, with a further 8,000 enquiries received by e-mailand telephone. Most people seeking advice were employed in construction,services, engineering and transport, agriculture and forestry, and healthcare.11 Now known as Pro.
  23. 23. 22 SAK Immigration Policy ObjectivesAPPENDIX 3 Social security of foreign workers in FinlandThe following table provides a general guide to the main principles anddoes not cover special cases or exceptional circumstances.Social security entitlement may also be based on bilateral social securityagreements that Finland has concluded with the Nordic countries, the USA,Canada, Chile, Israel and Australia.Country oforigin Under 4 months 4 months–2 years over 2 yearsEU/EEA orSwitzerland If employment pension Right to sickness Covered by Finnish contributions are paid, insurance benefits, residence-based and then there is a right to child home care employment-related child home care allowance and family social security. allowance and local allowance. National authority public health pension and survivors’ services. Insured in pension accrue. Finland against work- Covered by Finnish related accident and Unemployment occupational illness. Security Act. Insured in Finland against work- related accident and occupational illness.EU/EEA orSwitzerland, Right to medical care. Right to medical care. Right to medical care.posted Otherwise coverage by Otherwise coverage by Otherwise coverageworker the social security the social security by the social security system of the country system of the country system of the country of origin. of origin. of origin (where status of posted worker continues).Thirdcountry Insured in Finland Insured against illness Covered by Finnish against work-related in home country, and residence-based and accident and against work-related employment-related occupational illness. accident and social security. occupational illness in Finland. Covered by Finnish Unemployment Security Act, but no entitlement to unemployment benefits.