Immigrants in Kainuu

The proportion of foreign-language speakers in Kainuu is about 2.8% of the population. While there are immigrants living in all municipalities in Kainuu, the highest numbers are seen in Kajaani: over 65% of immigrants in Kainuu region live in Kajaani.

Immigrants are mainly drawn to Kainuu by work or family reasons. Most of them migrate from the neighbouring regions in Russia. The five largest groups of foreign-language speakers in Kainuu are Russian, Kurdish, Estonian, Somali and Arabic speakers.

Kajaani is a hub of immigration for humanitarian reasons

In earlier days, Kajaani was the only municipality in the region to receive immigrants who had left their countries for humanitarian reasons. Kajaani receives quota refugees, and a reception centre has also operated in the city since 1999. Kajaani Reception Centre is administrated by the City of Kajaani. In 2015, Suomussalmi made a decision to receive quota refugees. The first quota refugees arrived in Suomussalmi in 2016.

"Kainuu is a multicultural region"

Key policy documents on immigration work in Kainuu are the joint integration programme of Kainuu municipalities and the immigration work policy for Kainuu. These documents define the vision of immigration work in Kainuu in 2020 as follows: "Kainuu is a multicultural region where appreciation, cooperation and interaction lay the foundation for a good and safe life”.

The ELY Centres for North Ostrobothnia and Kainuu have a joint Advisory Board for Ethnic Relations, a committee for immigration affairs as well as a cooperation group on preparedness for large-scale immigration.

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Key stakeholders of immigrant work in Kainuu (