Simple, move to a muslim country where being an ‘Ali’ is a plus…..
Many asylum seekers can and do seek help from reception centres in order to find new living arrangements, but if unsuccessful they’re forced to turn to private and pricey brokers.
Ameer Ali, an asylum seeker from Iraq, says he has been trying for some time now to find a rental property in the Helsinki area but doesn’t think he’ll get one.
“I have searched dozens, if not hundreds of homes, without result,” Ali says.
The number of people competing for flats is evidently so large that even Ali’s newly-gained residence permit, his college education and his fluent English don’t appear to be adequate.
Usually when people look for a rental apartment, agents ask them for previous and current addresses and their place of employment.
“The only thing I have to write on the application is my name, phone number and my email address,” Ali, who still lives in a reception centre, says. “There isn’t a chance that anyone will pick me,” he says.
“Things don’t get any easier when you have an Arabic name,” he adds.
Ali says that he applied to rent two different flats in the Haaga district of Helsinki, saying that one of the criteria he needed was to be able to speak Finnish.
“Speak Finnish, don’t be a foreigner”
The housing cooperative of the other apartment said that they do not rent flats to foreigners, Ali says.
“It’s clearly discrimination but it can’t be proven,” he says.
Since he still lives at the reception centre, Ali is able to look for help but resources are limited.
“Many of those who look for apartments without the centre’s help are forced to turn to expensive, unofficial real estate brokers who charge a thousand euros to find an apartment,” Ali says.
The majority of asylum seekers would prefer to live in the capital region, according to Ali, and he is one of them.
Ali says that he doesn’t want to be forced to move out of the area because his contacts in Finland – and his internship position – are all based in Helsinki.