The First South Ostrobothnia Immigration Programme is approved

International students around the table in the premises of Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences.

The working age population in South Ostrobothnia is rapidly declining. This, combined with favorable job growth, has caused labour shortages and will continue to affect the region’s vitality. One solution has been seen in the promotion of labour and education-based immigration.  

So far, however, development has been very slow and South Ostrobothnia has lagged behind the other Finnish regions in terms of immigration. Many projects and working groups have been set up to promote immigration and provide better services for immigrants. However, the field of action is rather fragmented and no clear common development objectives and measures have been defined at the regional level.   

In November 2021, the South Ostrobothnia Regional Council started preparing a Regional Immigration Programme to address this need. MDI Public ltd was responsible for the preparation of the Programme. The work involved the compilation of an extensive statistical package, including interviews, surveys and workshops. Many immigration experts in the province have been involved in the drafting process. The Regional Board approved the Programme in September 2022.   

The Immigration Programme contributes to the objective of the Regional Strategy for South Ostrobothnia to stabilize the demographic structure of the region on a sustainable basis. In terms of immigration, this means doubling net immigration from 2019 levels.  

The Immigration Programme summarises the region’s objectives in four themes: 1) employment, 2) education, 3) health, well-being and housing, and 4) two-way integration. For each theme, objectives and indicators are defined and examples of possible measures to implement the Programme are listed. The Programme also includes a separate statistical analysis. An annual report on the achievement of the Programme’s objectives is submitted to the Regional Board.