Immigrant youths often want to leave Finland even if they’ve spent most of their lives here, according to a new survey. Racism and prejudice were major factors. Immigrants’ linguistic abilities and networks abroad also help pave the way.
According to a survey carried out by TAT Group, SEK PRO and 15/30 Research, the integration of young immigrants into Finnish society is a long process. For many, building a life in Finland is not on their agenda.
Youths with a Russian, Estonian or Somali backgrounds often do not consider themselves Finns, even if they have resided in the country for most of their lives and are Finnish citizens.
On the contrary, they maintain a strong individual cultural identity and an awareness of where home is. The study says they refer to themselves as Russian, Estonian or Somalian – and are proud of the fact.
Those interviewed said they often experienced racialism from older people and inebriates but they also singled out the media.
Somali youths were, in particular, the target for racial abuse. However, Estonians responded that the smaller cultural gap made them feel more at home in Finland.
Hopes and expectations regarding working life were the same as those of Finnish youths. Of prime importance was getting a job in line with one’s education and training, job satisfaction as well as a pleasant working environment. Immigrant youths also possess a high motivation to gain training. The research also shows they have strong linguistic abilities and possess a wide international social network.
Estonian and Russian youths place great faith in their ability to get employment in Finland. However, Somali youths feel they are at a disadvantage owing to their background.
Many Ready to Move Abroad
Youths interviewed for the survey would easily be prepared to leave Finland. They cite the lengthy duration of integration as well as racialism. Other factors prompting departure included internationalism, a desire to travel and a desire to develop themselves.
Somali youths had the greatest willingness to leave and often wanted to return to their homeland. They cite a desire to someday return to their country of origin or live in a Muslim country. In addition, Finland is perceived as being prejudiced and unequal in working life. Somali youths often feel they cannot achieve their goals in Finland.
Estonian and Russian youths do not actively consider a return home. They usually feel that Finland could be their future home or they plan to move elsewhere.