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Paavo Väyrynen sparks criticism over immigration comment

Paavo Väyrynen sparks criticism over immigration comment Paavo Väyrynen
Paavo Väyrynen sparks criticism over immigration comment Rauno Vanhanen
Paavo Väyrynen sparks criticism over immigration comment Seppo Riski
Paavo Väyrynen sparks criticism over immigration comment Astrid Thors
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Comments by Foreign Trade and Development Minister Paavo Väyrynen (Centre) on recruitment of immigrants to alleviate labour shortages have been sharply criticised by experts.
      Väyrynen said in the Centre Party’s Internet publication Apila on Sunday that Finland should not promote extensive work-based immigration. In Väyrynen’s view, jobs for which there are no workers in Finland should to go to other countries.
Promotion of immigration is mentioned in the government’s policy programme.
      Rauno Vanhanen, head of the government’s political programme for work and enterprise, was surprised by Väyrynen’s comments.
      Vanhanen says that all sectors face a shortage of labour in the future, because the ageing population means that the number of people of working age is declining.
      "Only between five and ten per cent of immigrants have come here for work it would be better if a significantly larger proportion were work based."
      Vanhanen notes that economic growth requires an increased input of labour. "If we accept that labour can decline, it would be a surrender to the weakening of a key element of economic growth."
Also criticising Väyrynen’s views was Seppo Riski, head of the Confederation of Finnish Industry (EK).
      "Väyrynen’s road is the road of atrophy", Riski said.
Already on Sunday, soon after the publication of Väyrynen’s remarks, his views were denounced by Minister of Labour Tarja Cronberg (Green) and SDP Party Secretary Maarit Feldt-Ranta, who said that Väyrynen was living in the past.
      On Monday, Väyrynen sought to clarify his comments, noting that he does not oppose labour-based immigration as such, but he does not favour widespread immigration. He wanted to take up the matter before it is discussed in a ministerial group for immigration policy.
      Foreign Trade Minister Väyrynen suspects that the "net benefit" of immigration would remain small, because services need to be provided for the families of the immigrants, for which more labour is needed. In addition, Finland must care for the employees when they retire.
      Väyrynen says that it would be better for Finland to take guest workers, who would not move permanently to Finland, and whose families would stay in their home countries.
The idea of guest workers is slammed by Immigration and European Affairs Minister Astrid Thors (Swed. People’s Party) as "completely against the policy like of the government". In her view such a system would lead to more distortions than before.
      Thors noted that within a few years, 1,000 new workers will be needed in the Helsinki region alone, and that the hospitals are not even included in the estimate.

Helsingin Sanomat

  18.9.2007 - TODAY
 Paavo Väyrynen sparks criticism over immigration comment

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