Finland plans to deport Vietnamese workers living in Ostrobothnia. Rural communities attracted the Vietnamese to fill unwanted jobs, but immigration officials say they do not earn enough money to qualify for residency in Finland.
Income limit guidelines (annual):
2 adults 18,360 euros
2 adults + 1 child 23,760 euros
2 adults + 2 children 29,160 euros
Source: The Finnish Immigration Service
Companies in Finland often struggle to fill low-paying jobs, which is why they have turned to foreign labour to keep places such as greenhouses and wood workshops running.
Many of those working jobs turned down by Finns fall below the Finnish poverty line, technically qualifying them for welfare benefits. This makes immigrant families ineligible to stay in Finland, though Finns in similar jobs earn the same salary.
Officials say the fact that the Vietnamese themselves believe they are making ends meet has no bearing on the law.
“I would be really sad if I’m forced to return to Vietnam. I would like to stay here with my husband. We’ve made good Finnish friends,” says Thi Quynh, who faces deportation.
Some 3,000 foreigners move to Finland every year in search of jobs, but most leave within their first year in the country.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health draws a parallel in the deportation of the Vietnamese workers with the cases of the foreign grannies, which have raised much public debate. Deportation orders may follow the letter of the law, but they do not always seem fair, according to officials.