Participants in the project, Ingrid Birgithe Mathisen from Rana bibliotek (left) and Jarl Håkon Olsen, Communications Advisor at Rana Utvikling, together with Ingvild Skogvold, Managing Director of Ranaregionen Næringsforening, during the presentations of the pre-project in Bodø on June 9th

This is how they will welcome foreign workers

20 percent of migrant workers leave Norway after their first year, and a staggering 40 percent leave after four years. A multidisciplinary group in Nordland aims to make it easier to settle in the region.
Through the project "Ny i Nordland", various stakeholders, including Nordland County Council, Rana Municipality, Rana Utvikling, Nord University, the Norwegian Tax Administration, and the police, have explored potential solutions to facilitate migration and arrival from other countries.

Poor Adaptation
Currently, migrant workers face a complex bureaucracy and poorly coordinated services, including reception and integration services that are not user-friendly or tailored to their needs. Moreover, more than half of all immigrants in Nordland consist of labor and family immigrants, and the county's business sector requires foreign expertise to meet its needs.Therefore, establishing a user-friendly and comprehensive reception system for labor immigrants, their partners, and families becomes even more crucial. Extensive interdisciplinary work has been ongoing this spring to facilitate the access and reception of foreign labor to Nordland and Mo i Rana.

Project Objectives:
  1. Ensure a large and sustainable workforce consisting of international workers in Nordland.
  2. Establish a more comprehensive regional reception system where labor immigrants and family immigrants have access to coordinated, tailored, and informative services.
  3. Facilitate quick and smooth issuance of necessary documents and permits for international Nordlanders while working towards their effective integration into the local community.
Smoother & Faster
 When the stakeholders came together for the project, it became evident that there was significant potential, and more importantly, feasibility, to make the arrival process smoother, faster, and more comprehensible. Here are some examples:
  • Applying for visas, bank identification, and child benefits can be challenging and complex, and understanding the paperwork process can be time-consuming.
  • Public systems have limited understanding of the journey international newcomers go through in these systems and lack coordination among themselves.
"A welcome to the ball-throwing system" was how one foreign newcomer described their experience in an interview conducted by the "Ny i Nordland" project.

Further Recommendations
In June, the findings and recommendations from the pre-project were presented at a seminar in Bodø. The project identified three prototypes recommended for further development in Nordland to provide international newcomers with a "soft landing" in the county:
  • Super Host
A local contact person familiar with the community, its structure, and how it functions, acting as a guide. The Super Host can introduce newcomers to the local culture and help establish social connections within the community.
  • Service Coordinator Team
A service coordinator who enhances collaboration, cooperation, and information flow among integration actors in Nordland, transcending municipal boundaries. The focus is on the entire user journey, both before and upon arrival.
Establishing a coordinating integration team in Nordland County Council is recommended for this purpose.
Some of the mentioned objectives include strengthening cooperation across municipalities and with the voluntary sector, improving access to tailored language training, and, importantly, enhancing access to the labor market. For instance, examples were shared from the stage about foreign labor unable to access relevant jobs in Norway due to inadequate Norwegian language skills, or international students lacking knowledge about job opportunities in Nordland after completing their studies.
  • Nordhub
A hub where public agencies in Nordland come together with their solutions to streamline the arrival and application processes for international newcomers, thereby preventing delays or prolonged procedures. Participants who have collaborated, explored solutions, and contributed to Nordhub include the Norwegian Tax Administration, the police, BankID, and the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI).

"The business sector has a significant need for expertise, and we must open the door wider and lower the threshold for international newcomers to our region. Ny i Nordland is an important and exciting project that provides not only knowledge but also great ideas for solutions. Going forward, it is crucial to further develop and implement these ideas and prototypes," says Ingvild Skogvold, Managing Director of Ranaregionen Næringsforening.

Nordland County Council is the project owner, with the following entities also participating: Rana Municipality/Rana Utvikling, Bodø, Gildeskål, and Herøy municipalities, and Nord University. The project has received support from the Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Digitaliseringsdirektoratet) and the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture.

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