Attitudes to immigration becoming more positive

A new study found that recent sex abuse allegations against immigrant men had not hardened attitudes about immigrants, it did the opposite.

Composite picture / Credit: European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

The attitude of Finns towards immigration have become progressively more positive since 2000. That’s the results of new research from the Finnish Business and Policy Delegation EVA.

EVA has been monitoring Finns’ attitudes towards immigration since the 1990s, and in the new report the most obvious change in attitude about immigrants is the perception that Finland needs more immigrants to fill jobs that would otherwise have a lack of Finnish candidates as the birth rate declines, and the percentage of elderly people in the population increases.

Sex crimes allegation has no impact on attitudes

The study finds that recent allegations of sex abuse against children in Oulu and Helsinki have not had any particular impact on the overall attitude of Finns towards immigrants either.

“Recently there has been a lot of talk about the hardening of immigration attitudes, but in fact they have become a little bit softer” says Ilkka Haavisto, Research Manager at EVA.

Participants were asked in autumn 2018, and again at the start of 2019 about their attitude towards immigrants and it was more favourable in 2019.

However, 52% of people surveyed think the level of immigration is too high; but that’s down just slightly from 53% in autumn last year.

Political persuasion is the biggest factor deciding someone’s attitude towards immigration with the most positive groups belonging to Greens, Left Alliance and Swedish People’s Party. Political party supporters with the most negative views on immigration are the Finns Party and Blue Reform.

The survey is based on results from 2000 people around the country aged 18-70 who supplied data to EVA researchers.