Familian 2023 eduskuntavaali- ja hallitusohjelmatavoitteet -
Familia esittää, että kevään eduskuntavaalien 2023 jälkeiseen hallituksen ohjelmaan tulisi sisällyttää seuraavat asiat:
1. Useamman äidinkielen rekisteröinti mahdollisuus väestötietojärjestelmään
Finland is a multilingual country, but officially everyone can have only one registered mother tongue. Registering more than one mother tongue would allow better multilingual services to be designed, such as healthcare, social services, and education. It would also give a better picture of what languages are used in Finland and would also promote equality between the languages used in the family and give a better picture of the linguistic identity of individuals.
2. Perheenyhdistämisen oleskelulupaprosesseja on nopeutettava. D-viisumi mahdollisiksi myös perhesuhteen perusteella
Every year, thousands of people apply for a residence permit in Finland on the basis of family ties. In recent years, more than 80 percent of these applications resulted in a positive decision. The problem lies, however, in the slowness of processing permits based on family ties, as nine months is the maximum duration allowed by law, but this is often exceeded.
While many members of intercultural families apply for a permit in their home country and are waiting for a decision there, some have already arrived in Finland before and live permanent family life here. The situation of those, who wait for a decision on their permit in Finland, is very difficult, as they have no right to work, they cannot access employment services, and cannot start studies leading to a degree. In this, they differ, for example, from asylum seekers.
The lack of the right to work is a major stress factor for those waiting for a family-based permit and their spouses. Families pay the bill for the status-lacking transition phase for a long time after obtaining the permit, both financially and socially. Integration cannot start when the waiting person is practically excluded from work, studies, and services.
Moreover, those family members of Finns cannot apply for a long-term visa, the so-called D visa. Introduced in Finland at the beginning of June 2022, it was meant to ease the process of moving to Finland for professionals, and it is planned to be extended to many other categories of immigrants and their families. Nonetheless, family members of Finns are not included in the list, although it is in Finland's interest that such intercultural families would choose to settle here.
Ultimately, as was also indicated by a report by the Non-discrimination ombudsman, the child's right to family life with both parents is often overlooked in the decision-making process regarding residence permits. The Finnish Immigration Service often interprets existing legislation more strictly than necessary, leading to the rejection of some of the residence applications against the interest of applicant children who live in Finland. It would therefore be good if a further investigation would be done on the protection of children's rights in the processing of all residence permits.
3. Äitiyspakkaus on myönnettävä kaikille perheille, joissa ainakin toinen vanhempi kuuluu Suomen sosiaaliturvan piiriin ja samalla nimi muutettava
A baby is born to both parents, but the allowance for it is still termed as “maternity benefit”. In addition to the gendered name, the problem at the moment with the allowance as meant for maternity only is that it is tied to the person giving birth, and if that person is not covered by the Finnish social security, the family will not receive maternity allowance. That is even if the child's other parent is Finnish, and the child is born in Finland.
These situations concern, for example, those families living in Finland where the mother is not entitled to Finnish social security due to her work status, for example, or the mother is waiting for a decision on the right to stay. These parents are also not entitled to the public services’ maternity and child health clinic, not even if the father is covered by Finnish social security. This is despite the fact that maternity and child health clinic services prepare and support in parenthood the whole family, not only the mother. Changing the benefits as meant for the entire family is crucial for securing the health and well-being in Finland of every pregnant mother and newborn, and would also be a concrete action in the name of more equal parenting.
4. Opetussuunnitelmaa päivitettävä seuraavalla hallituskaudella ja lisättävä oman äidinkielen opetus opetussuunnitelmaan.
According to the Constitution of Finland, everyone in Finland has the right to maintain and develop their own language and culture. Such right is secured through the teaching of every pupil's own mother tongue, supporting the development of active multilingualism. Therefore, the teaching of one's mother tongue/home language must be included in the basic school curricula. Organizing mother tongue teaching nearby the pupil's home or during the school day promotes the pupil's attendance at the teaching. Most of the mother tongue teachers estimate that the teaching would improve if the teaching were organized according to the age of the pupils, and returned to the basic curriculum alongside other lessons.
5. Suomen oltava hyvä maa kaikille asua – hyvien väestösuhteiden edistäminen oltava kotoutumisen ytimessä
Our society is becoming more and more diverse all the time. The state and state bodies, as well as other actors, have a duty to promote integration in such a way that the immigrant becomes a full participant in the host community. When planning integration measures, the heterogeneity of immigrants as a group, and individual differences, should always be taken into account . The person's existing education and work experience must be better identified and utilized in integration and employment, by offering continuing education and courses.
Learning Finnish is one of the best integrators. It is necessary to combine more broadly in-class language teaching with practical work as part of the integration training, so that immigrants learn from the very beginning the Finnish used in working life. Also, for some immigrants to Finland it is not possible to access proper integration training, yet it is important that Finnish language studies would also be possible for this group. Learning Finnish can promote staying in Finland after work or studies.
Finally, If Finland wants work-based immigration, our social attitudes must change. It is equally important that our society and the people who live here are receptive, and those who move here must feel that they are part of this society. Public attitudes and structural racism, as well as the well-being and services of families, all must be addressed to keep intercultural families in Finland or attract foreign labor. Integration into Finnish society, exposure to discrimination and racism, and the ability to find a job in their profession to support the family, all together affect desire of intercultural families to stay in Finland.
6. Työmaailmaa on kehitettävä vastaanottavaiseksi kaikille maahanmuuttajataustaisille henkilöille
We must aim for a Finland where it is easy for employers to recruit foreign experts, and the latter can get to work quickly. At the same time, we must also create good conditions for integration and employment for those who already live here in Finland. Discriminatory structures and racism in recruitment, as well as excessively high and inflexible language and educational requirements, are among the factors that prevent employment from many immigrants.
Many international professionals in Finland end up unemployed, underemployed, or starting a new career. For an immigrant, it usually takes years to build a new career in Finland, because foreign education or work experience is often not recognized in Finland. We must focus on utilizing the talents of experts already living in Finland, by offering opportunities through education to bring one's own degree or competence into Finnish standards.
Additionally, we must allow immigrants to develop their language skills where these develop best usually, in a meaningful, real-life environment such as at work. Language learning in the workplace is more effective than sitting on courses for some people, especially for those aiming for practical work tasks. Therefore, language studies must be integrated into the working day at workplaces.
Finnish work communities need more diversity, and for that, employers’ attitudes and prejudices about hiring immigrants must be also addressed. Experiences about the benefits and significance of a diverse work community must be shared more widely and thus influence the attitudes of work communities and society as a whole. Additionally, incentives must be created for private companies to hire immigrants whose Finnish language skills are not yet perfect. It can be considered by employers very challenging to hire a person who does not have fluent language skills, and therefore it is important to provide enough information to employers.
The employment of immigrants studying Finnish should be encouraged in the public sector, even if the language learner does not yet have perfect Finnish language skills. The state can set an example by hiring immigrants for public sector jobs. Ultimately, equal access to employment must be facilitated by replacing the current recruitment practices with anonymous recruitment, where prejudices cannot be attributed to people solely on the basis of their names or appearances.
7. Antirasismi keskiöön – rasismin ja syrjinnän vaikutukset tunnustettava kaikilla yhteiskunnan osa-alueilla
The effects of racism are often deeper than we think. Experiences of racism have a broad impact on a person's well-being, and many young people feel that racism has affected their identity and mental health even many years after exposure to racism. If a person repeatedly encounters racism, it can cause chronic stress, which can lead to both psychological and physiological symptoms.
It is therefore important to focus on the prevention of racism and discrimination at all levels of society to improve well-being. It is particularly important that there is a commitment to anti-racist practices at the state level, also because discrimination and negative experiences make integration into the country more difficult.
The most important means of preventing racism are education and access to information. The attitudes of young people must be actively influenced from early childhood education, by addressing racism continuously, not only in isolated, actual cases. Additional training for anti-racism work is especially needed in early childhood education, where those who work with children play a major role in dispelling societal prejudices and creating a more equal atmosphere. A stronger emphasis on anti-racism is necessary in the national curriculum, particularly because the matters recorded in the curriculum also guide the Board of Education's resources and project funding. Additionally, emphasis on anti-racism must be put in the education of public sector professionals who are in contact with people from different backgrounds, such as police, health care, and social workers.
An essential part of politics is also raising issues in public and social debate. Hiding racist behaviors and structures does not eliminate them, but shifts the responsibility for racism to the person who experiences it. Issues of racism must be more extensively raised in public debate, and racist hate-speech in public discourse needs to be tackled more firmly. Political decision-makers and authorities must also lower the threshold for reporting experienced racism and discrimination, and people handling reports must be trained to act fairly in such situations. The complainant about racism should feel that he or she is being listened to and cared for, and that the issues are addressed properly.