When the year comes to an end, it is convenient to look back and remember the news that moved us during the last 12 months.
2019 has been an intense year. Foreigner.fi has published more than 1,000 stories, which reported on crimes that horrified all of us, changes in the Finnish society, elections and political instability, labour market trends and also about the people who left us.
Here is a compilation of our main stories this year, month by month, with a focus on the topics that most interest foreigners.
The Finnish Intelligence Service detects an increase in hate campaigns
Individual actors pose a potential threat that is hard to anticipate”, warn Supo's experts on its latest summary of the National Security Review
Finland investigates the granting of illegal visas in its Embassy in Turkey
The National Bureau of Investigation and the Foreign Ministry have been following activities in the Embassy for a few months already and "a person has been remanded for trial."
More than half of the asylum seekers do not get permits to stay in Finland
Most applicants fail because they receive a negative decision or because their applications are dismissed or expired.
Postage stamp commemorating the 3 Gold Medals won by Matti Nykanen at the Calgary Olympics / Posti-ja-telelaitos.
Matti Nykänen flies into eternity
The best and bravest ski jumper the world has known died last night at the age of 55 years.
Finland includes massive immigration among the main "threats" to national security
The National Risk Assessment published by the Ministry of the Interior points to large-scale immigration as a threat on the same level as terrorism and "violent, large-scale civil disturbances."
Finland will need to hire thousands of foreign nurses in the near future
A recent scandal in the elderly care system might derive in a job opportunity for many people with a nursing degree, either if they already live in Finland or that want to come from abroad.
Nursing degrees in Finland raise job opportunities
Taking a nursing or practical nursing degree in Finland is an open door to several different job positions in the Finnish labour market.
Sexual abuse and forced marriages: Finland seeks strategies against child trafficking
Experts believe there are far more victims than shown in official statistics and demand an action plan against human trafficking.
Over 90,000 job opportunities in the technology field in Finland
Due to labour shortage in the IT and tech fields, Finland will need to fill more than 90,000 job positions in the next four years, and needs foreigners to do it.
The angriest country in the world
The Social Democrats (SDP) narrowly defeated the far-right True Finns and will return to lead the formation of the Government after 20 years.
Foreigners more often suspects of criminal offences than Finns, according to Statistics Finland
The Finnish statistical office says in drug offences Somali men are suspects 3.4 times more often than Finnish men and in the case of sexual offences Iraqi men are suspects 12.8 times more often than Finnish men.
Migri rebuked for delays in the processing of residence permits by the Deputy Chancellor of Justice
The Deputy Chancellor of Justice, Mikko Puumalainen, ordered Migri to inform him no later than 10 November about the measures undertaken to ensure that the legal deadlines for processing the residence permit applications are met.
Finland, the right place for adult learning
In Finland, the rate of adults participating in learning activities is among the highest (28.5%) and almost triples the European average (11.1%).
Foreigners completed nearly 30% of doctoral degrees
Information and communication technologies, natural sciences, mathematics and statistics are the favorite study fields of international students, according to Statistics Finland.
The most endangered seal in the world lives in Finland
The Saimaa ringed seal or saimaannorppa lives only in Finland in the Lake Saimaa. In the beginning of the 20th century, the seals were almost hunted until extinction. Today there is hope for their salvation.
Poverty, social exclusion and loneliness, the bitter face of Finland
The latest figures on income and living conditions published by Statistics Finland show that 890,000 persons (16.4% of the household population) were at risk of poverty or social exclusion. And 950,000 Finns aged 16 or older (21.2%) suffer loneliness.
The Finnish towns that will pay you 10,000 euros for having a child
If you want to get some extra money for your family and at the same time do a good service to the Finnish nation, then memorize the names of these places.
100th anniversary of Finland’s constitutional democracy
Most of the official celebrations and events will take place in the Parliament, the Presidential Palace, the Government Palace, the National Archives and the National Museum.
"I had only four interviews in six years after sending almost 2,000 job applications"
Carmen Tomás has lived in Finland for more than thirty years. During this time she has experienced the country's brightest stage while working in Nokia, but also the darkest as a job seeker with foreign background. In this interview she describes what Finland has taught her and gives interesting advice to newcomers.
Finnish population grows due to immigration
The country's population increased by 1,667 persons during January-May. The reason for the increase was migration gain from abroad, according to Statistics Finland.
Finland, among the European states with highest household welfare
Finnish GDP per capita expressed in purchasing power standards was 110% of the EU average.
Government canceled the 115,000 euros grant to the True Finns' youth association
The reason is a picture of a dark-skinned family published in its Twitter account during the EU elections, accompanied by a call to vote for the True Finns party "so that Finland's future will not look like this".
Number of persons with foreign background exceeded 400,000
The share of Europeans among the persons with foreign background born in Finland is 48%, that of persons with Asian background 27%, and 22% for persons with African background.
9 Finnish universities among the best of the world
The influential QS World University Rankings ranked nine Finnish higher education institutions among the 1,000 considered the best in the world. Finland, once again, does better in relative terms than other, much larger countries, such as the UK, Germany or Sweden.
Photo: Finnish Police.
Police detain a suspect of abusing minor girls for years in his Helsinki apartment
The Helsinki police department published a photograph of the detainee so that his possible victims may contact the investigators and help clarify the case.
Police shot dead an armed man in Helsinki
The Police was reported about loud noises and a possible fight inside of a private apartment in Kullervonkatu. When the agents arrived, two women fled from the flat and a man armed with a gun remained inside, "behaving threateningly towards the police".
Migri denies a residence permit to a man for being Muslim and younger than his Finnish wife
The Finnish Immigration Service argues in its decision that "it is unusual for a Muslim man to commit himself to a significantly older woman". The wife complains it is "humiliating being treated as a stupid".
Finland distrusts citizens with dual nationality
The acts governing the Finnish Defence Forces have been revised to allow only people with solely Finnish citizenship to be appointed to military positions or officer posts.
Victims of human trafficking increased "dramatically" in the first half of this year
By the end of June, 115 persons were admitted to the Finnish Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking. This figure represents an increase of more than 50% compared to the same period last year. Among the people assisted there are victims of labour and sexual exploitation, cases of forced marriages, forced begging and trade in organs.
Two police officers shot in a night ambush in Porvoo
The incident took place in a small industrial area where the patrol moved after receiving a regular alert. As a result, one of the police officers resulted seriously wounded. The other agent has already left the hospital.
23.7% of the foreign workforce is unemployed
70.4% of the men and women who make up the foreign workforce live in three Finnish regions. Swedish-speaking Åland archipelago is the area with the lowest percentage of unemployment among immigrants.
Finland draft budget 2020: tax increases and focus on foreign talent
The draft budget for 2020 includes strong tax increases on fuels (250 million euros), tobacco (50 million) and soft drinks (25 million), combined with a 200 million reduction of taxation on earned income for employees, pensioners and benefit recipients. There will be also a reduction of tax deductibility of interest payments on home loans. On the spending side, the Government allocates more money for universities and employment services, for families and to attract talent from abroad.
Helsinki's Oodi voted as the best new public library in the world
Other candidates that made it to the final were Green Square Library and Plaza in Australia, Bibliotheek Lockhal in the Netherlands and Tūranga –Christchurch Central Library in New Zealand.
Finland seeks the key to retain international talent
Unemployment among foreigners almost quadruples that of the entire economy, despite calls from the Government to employers to change attitudes and incorporate more professionals with foreign background. In November, 350 experts will meet in Turku to develop strategies to overcome the mental barriers that still prevent companies' teams from becoming increasingly international.
9 facts to explain Finland's educational success, according to OECD
The organisation that brings together the 36 most developed economies published today its annual indicator Education at a Glance 2019, comparing the education systems worldwide.
Russia will allow tourist trips to Saint Petersburg region without paying visas
Visitors will have to apply for a free digital visa before travelling. If the application is approved, they will obtain permission to cross the border for trips of a maximum of 8 days.
Finland has the highest alcohol prices in the EU
Read in this article which are the most expensive and cheapest Member States to enjoy a beer or a glass of wine.
Student broke into Kuopio Vocational College with a sword, killed a woman and injured 9
The police had to shoot in order to stop the suspect, who is in a hospital in intensive care. He is a native Finnish born in 1994, who was carrying "an edged weapon" and a firearm, police said. One of the persons injured is a police officer.
The victim of the attack at Kuopio College is a young Ukrainian girl
She was one of the students of Savo Vocational College, which is located in the eastern city of Kuopio, where she lived with her partner.
Two children seriously injured in a car fire in a Prisma parking lot
Both kids suffered serious injuries, including burns in their faces, which required hospital treatment.
Who cries for Ceilia?
The African community in Finland mourns a 38-year-old woman killed by her husband, who today has been remanded into custody by the Päijät-Hame district court.
Non-EU citizens will need permission to buy real estate in Finland
As of 1 January 2020, the Ministry of Defence will become the permission authority.
Sexual offences increased in Finland so far in 2019
According to Statistics Finland, 1,128 rapes were recorded from January to September, which was 121 cases more (12%) than in the same period of 2018. Similarly, other sexual offences increased.
Photo: Finnish Police.
Police investigate the disappearance of Milla Aaronen as murder
At this stage, the big unanswered question is where is Milla's body. In view of the police statement, it does not seem that the suspect has confessed or that the investigators have a clear idea of the whereabouts of the murdered girl.
Restrictions on the right to work of foreign students in Finland
As in almost everything related to immigration laws, there is a substantial difference between the right to work for students from EU member states and those from so-called third countries.
Cleaning and restaurants, main industries for foreign employees
Of the foreigners employed in Finland, every fifth of them (20%) worked either in the industry of general cleaning of buildings, restaurants and mobile food service activities or temporary employment agency activities. Among the data there is a hopeful sign: the industry of tertiary education is also among the five most common industries only when the residence time in the country is one to three or four to six years.
University of Helsinki restaurants remove beef from the menu
Instead, pork, chicken and meatless proteins will be used.
Finland, where all inhabitants are organ donors
Over 500 people are waiting for a donation in Finland. Despite all the efforts, every year 5 to 10% of those waiting for a transplant die. For this reason, authorities decided a few years ago that everyone is a potential donor.
The postal strike in Finland is over
Posti workers will return to work immediately. The agreement provides that 700 employees who the company wanted to place under a new collective agreement with lower pay, return to the previous collective agreement. Sympathy strikes, for example those announced in railway services and ferries, also cancelled.
Auschwitz Memorial denounced display of a Nazi symbol in a Finnish bar
At the entrance of the bar there is an iron sign with the phrase 'Arbeit Macht Frei' that imitates the entrance to the death camp.
Finland sanctioned for violating human rights of asylum seeker killed in Iraq
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Finland violated Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention on Human Rights. The state will have to pay 20,000 euros to the victim's daughter for damages and other 4,500 euros for costs and expenses. This is the first time the country has been discovered to violate the European Convention on Human Rights.
'Crime', the topic most associated with immigration in Finnish media
The government annual report on immigration to the OECD details that keywords related to immigration combined with crime and offences were mentioned in 1,934 articles published between July 2018 and June 2019.
Finland: 40 years of subsidized meals for higher education students
The meal subsidy programme administered by Kela offers students in higher education healthy and balanced meals at an affordable price. The country spends 32 million euros per year to guarantee this benefit.
Residents of Finland spend the most on housing among EU member states
Finland is also the country where housing expenditure recorded the largest increase in the last 10 years.
Finland breaks the hex and enters football history
Pukki and Tuominen take the Finnish team to their first European Championship after beating poor Liechtenstein 3-0.
These are the foreigners most wanted by Finnish women to get married
The favourites are no longer Latinos from southern Europe or Swedes or Germans, as it used to be decades ago.
80 years since Winter War
This year marks the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Winter War. The conflict started on 30 November, when the Soviet Union attacked Finland without a declaration of war, and lasted 105 days.
Today is Finland's Envy Day
At the beginning of November, the Finnish Tax Administration makes available to the public the data on income and taxes of individual taxpayers. The media can request a list of the richest people in the country, which dominates the news coverage.
52,000 Finns want to pay more taxes for flying
A citizens' initiative reached on Thursday the signatures required for Parliament's consideration.
Helsinki airport tests new technology to allow liquids in hand luggage
The aim is to make security checks smoother and twice as fast as now. Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands already uses this new technology.
Photo: Finnish Government.
This is the new Government of Finland
The new Government of Sanna Marin has 19 ministers. The Social Democratic Party has 7 ministers, the Centre Party 5, the Green League 3, the Left Alliance 2 and the Swedish People’s Party of Finland 2.
Finnish authorities rescued two orphaned children from Al-Hawl
The municipality in which they are staying or may live in the future will not be disclosed to protect them from the public eye. 10 Finnish women and about 30 children are still in the refugee camp. Society is divided on whether the Government should repatriate these women, whom some consider "terrorists". Human rights organizations say the Government must first and foremost protect human rights.
2,000 births less in Finland so far this year
During January-November, 42,015 children were born throughout the country, which is 2,008 fewer than in the corresponding period in 2018. Still, the country's population increased due to migration gain from abroad.
Photo: Elina Hakola.
Faisa Egge, immigrant entrepreneur of the year: "I started collecting bottles"
The Organisation of Finnish Entrepreneurs (Suomen Yrittäjat) awarded 3,000 euros to a Kenyan immigrant. She came to Finland with almost nothing and now she runs a company which offers home care assistance to seniors and disabled in Central Ostrobothnia. She also created jobs for other foreigners in the care sector.
Countdown to repeal the penalty for the unemployed for not finding work
The activation model that allows Kela to cut the benefits of unemployed who do not find work will be abolished in January 2020. It was created by the Government of former Prime Minister Juha Sipilä. The current Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Aino-Kaisa Pekonen, has labeled it "unfair."