In the project Nordic Integration Cooperation we will focus on one theme at a time. Our first theme was how municipalities with an aging population can benefit from immigrants and refugees.
New arrivals as a resource for the rural area
Since 1990, the Nordic population has grown by 15 percent to about 26.5 million. Net immigration accounts for two thirds of population growth. This implies a great potential for many small or peripheral municipalities with aging populations and labour shortages in the welfare sector.
The challenge lies in getting new arrivals to stay in the long run – and not moving to the city areas once they have been granted a residence permit. It is about getting a home and be included in both work and social networks. "So you feel at home and feel needed", as a refuge expressed it.
Conclusions and policy implications
- Clear leadership in the municipality showing that immigration and integration is a growth issue
- Help finding permanent housing, preferably near asylum housing
- Well-developed cooperation between municipalities in the region and within the municipality - with the local business community, public employers and civil society through an integration coordinator and mentoring program for faster skills mapping, job matching, language training and social community.
Learning examples and facts
Here we highlight a few small or peripheral Nordic municipalities that have managed to increase the number of new arrivals that remain in the area. The learning examples come from the report "From migrants to workers" and the Norwegian District Centre's report. We also give voice to relevant actors who are given the opportunity to contribute their personal experiences and reflections on the theme.
Facts are supplemented by statistical data and maps showing what the migration flow looks like in the Nordic countries.