Ostrobothnia and Central Ostrobothnia
At the end of 2019, a total of 12,665 foreign-language speakers lived in the Ostrobothnia region, accounting for 7.0% of the region’s total population. The most common foreign languages spoken in Ostrobothnia were:
- Vietnamese (1,321)
- Arabic (1,247)
- Russian (971)
- Bosnian (704
- English (556)
- Somali (531)
- Estonian (524)
- Ukrainian (519)
- Other (492) The category Other includes languages spoken by less than 40 people and non-official languages.
- Persian/Farsi (491)
- Albanian (439)
- Bulgarian (426)
Explanations for the diversity of the immigrant population in Ostrobothnia include the opportunities of higher education, large international enterprises and the reception of refugees.
At the end of 2019 a total of 2,038 foreign-language speakers lived in the Central Ostrobothnia region, accounting for 3.0% of the region’s total population. Most of the foreign-language speakers in Central Ostrobothnia live in the municipality of Kokkola. The most common foreign languages spoken in Central Ostrobothnia were:
- Russian (269)
- Other (233) The category Other includes languages spoken by less than 40 people and non-official languages.
- Estonian (182)
- Arabic (133)
- Vietnamese (124)
- Thai (121)
- Chinese (118)
- English (112)
- Ukrainian (91)
- Persian/Farsi (56)
Reception of refugees
Ostrobothnian municipalities have been active both in receiving quota refugees and in providing refugees placement in municipalities. There are reception centres in Kristiinankaupunki, Pietarsaari, Vaasa and Vöyri. Vöyri has a hybrid unit for unaccompanied minors and young persons. That is a combined group home and a family group home. Kokkola receives quota refugees in Central Ostrobothnia.
Some of the foreign-language speakers in Ostrobothnia learn Finnish and some Swedish. Integration training as labour market training is available in both languages depending on regional demand. Full-day language teaching in Finnish or Swedish is also provided comprehensively by liberal adult education institutions.
The reforms of basic education for adults and of reading and writing instruction has created new education paths for immigrants in the field of liberal adult education.
Basic education for adults is available in Finnish in Kokkola, Kristiinankaupunki, Pietarsaari and Vaasa and in Swedish in Närpiö and Pietarsaari and from autumn 2019 also in Vaasa. Reading and writing instruction is organised in Finnish in Kokkola, Kristiinankaupunki, Kälviä, Pietarsaari and Vaasa and in Swedish in Kruunupyy, Pietarsaari and Uusikaarlepyy and Vaasa. (Information checked on 7 July 2020.)
Integration in Ostrobothnia or Central Ostrobothnia
Welcome Office provides information about the Finnish society and its services for immigrants in the municipalities of Vaasa, Vöyri, Mustasaari, Närpiö, Maalahti, Korsnäs, Kaskinen and Kristiinankaupunki, while the information service Kotouttamisportti serves all immigrants in the Pietarsaari region.
There is inter- and cross-sectoral collaboration in Ostrobothnia that aims to promote the integration of immigrants. Public and third-sector operators cooperate closely in the integration work and the promotion of good relations between population groups. The number of associations for immigrants is slightly on the increase in the region, and they have increased their activity and their supply of services. The Organisation Incubator of the Finnish Refugee Council provides immigrant associations support in the general association activities and in applications for funding.
Resurssirengas is an open information channel and cooperation network operating in the region of Vaasa. The City of Vaasa has the responsibility for its administration. The network meets regularly once every 2–3 months.
In the Pietarsaari region (including Kruunupyy) is done many kinds of multisectoral networking. The actors meet each other 2-4 times a year in their networking meetings. The Integration unit acts as a convener and an administrator and is responsible for transmitting of the actual information to the network.
At the end of 2019, a total of 4,344 foreign-language speakers lived in the South Ostrobothnia region, accounting for 2.3% of the region’s total population. The most common foreign languages spoken in South Ostrobothnia were:
- Russian (884)
- Estonian (714)
- Hungarian (285)
- Ukrainian (255)
- Thai (230)
- English (190)
- Turkish (165)
- Arabic (139)
- Polish (129)
- Romanian (114)
- Other (105) The category Other includes languages spoken by less than 40 people and non-official languages.
Year 2019 in the South Ostrobothnia was operating a reception centre in Kauhava. At the most there were three reception centres and a group home for the minor asylum seekers. A family group home in Seinäjoki accommodating unaccompanied minors and young persons with a residence permit until they turn 18 years old was closed down in June 2019.
Already established services in immigration and integration services in the area of Seinäjoki are offered by the refugee service by municipality of Seinäjoki and in the Suupohja by the integration coordinator.
Work -related migration is common in South Ostrobothnia, and the region is a pioneer in promoting immigrants´skills and in organising services for newly arrived immigrants.
South Ostrobothnia has an immigration forum for key operators dealing with immigrants. It focuses especially on issues concerning education and training for immigrants. It consists specially of central actors in the region that meet immigrants in their daily jobs. The network meets three to four times a year.