4 August 2007

immigration, efficiency and value creation

I heard a story about an economist and political activist from a former Soviet republic who fled to Finland after having received threats from the police and after having her bank account blocked. Today she is working as a cleaner. It is difficult for her to be granted citizenship, as this requires language skills - how could a person acquire them while working more-than-full-time in that type of job? (I think she had three different cleaning jobs) - As I understood from the story, citizenship also presupposes some form of administrative acceptance from one's 'original country' (I don't know what that means in practice, but it seems quite troublesome if the reason why one has fled the country is the political authorities in that country).

A completely different perspective is conveyed on the homepage for the Finnish Directorate of Immigration. In a news article where the year of 2006 is summed up it is pointed out that one important project for the directorate has been to "evaluate the efficiency and value creation in Finnish immigration administration". I don't know - 'efficiency' can of course be understood in several ways (efficiency in relation to what? one wants to ask), and perhaps there can be something positive in seeing efficiency as something important if that for instance means that this process of self evaluation (the administrations were to perform to self evaluations) could lead to a higher awareness of what it is that leads to the painstakingly long and unsure waiting periods for decisions about residence permits).

But at the end of the article it becomes evident that efficiency means something different from this: there are to be redundancies in the personnel and they now have to think of more efficient methods.

And value creation? What has that got to do with anything? Why is value creation seen as something that the immigrant administration should try to achieve? I am at a loss of how to understand this.

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