Foreigner.fi is born today. We come to fill an empty space in the panorama of the media of Finland, a country that lives immersed in a stage of enormous transformations, like most of the countries are.
Only two decades ago, the presence of foreigners on the streets of Finnish cities constituted an almost testimonial phenomenon. Its scope was limited to a few entrepreneurs, travellers in search for adventures and the first Erasmus students eager to know the charms of this exotic country of ice and cold. A nation then little known outside its geographical context which, after suffering a terrible crisis in the mid-nineties, had just opened its doors to Europe by joining the EU and amazed visitors with its captivating beauty.
The reality of Finland is nowadays considerably different. As other members of the European Union, since the beginning of this century the country has suffered the same shocks and has gone through the same processes of change experienced by its partners. And it has contributed generously to face the same difficulties and challenges that Europeans have confronted in unison, among them the global financial crisis, the boom of migratory flows and the globalization of tourism.
Finland is still today a place of low immigration compared to other parts of the world. The country occupies the 78th place in the percentage of immigrant population, just 6.23% of the total. Even so, in these two decades the presence of people of foreign origin in the streets, workplaces, businesses, entertainment venues and places of touristic interest has normalized. To the point of being resonable to say that this nation –which continues to lead the most prestigious statistical rankings- could no longer do it so well without the contribution of the foreigners who participate in its achievements with their work and talent.
According to the UN, at the end of 2017 there were 343.582 immigrants in Finland. During 2018 several thousands more have arrived mainly for family, work and educational reasons and are still waiting for the legal permits to reside among us. To them we must add the millions of foreigners who visit temporarily the country every year searching for leisure, vacation, and new experiences.
All those people -no matter if they are immigrants from EU or non-EU countries, refugees, asylum-seekers, stateless, students or tourists- make up a critical mass of individuals that need to know more about Finland and demand information channels created by and for themselves. This is the reason why Foreigner.fi is presented today, humbly but with the firm vocation of becoming the reference source of information for foreigners in Finland. We want to help them to improve their lives.
Our journal will offer foreigners the information and the professional advice they need to resolve their doubts about legal and administrative issues, to exercise their rights and fulfill their obligations in their host country. We also intend to explain visitors how to enjoy Finland's charms during their stays.
Finally, Foreigner.fi will try to become a space for debate from which to launch proposals that contribute to improving mutual understanding between foreigners and Finnish nationals. Always with a critical spirit, but also with the utmost respect for Finnish laws, institutions and citizens.
Under those premises we begin our work today. We know our task will not be easy, but we are sure that it is worth facing the challenge.