Type of Information
- Project or programme
- Media coverage
Petra Winberg (Login to send email)
Contact Person Function
Welcome Office is an information centre project in Ostrobothnia for all immigrants. The target group includes all individuals whatever their reasons for immigration are. The project pays particular attention to the provision of guidance and information for immigrant workers, their families, individuals who have immigrated because of family reasons and international students. The aim is to facilitate their integration into Finnish society and working life. Welcome Office also offers its services to an array of operators, organisations and employers, educational organisations in the area, the third sector and projects. Project area:
- Vaasa, Korsholm and Vörå (Vaasa area)
- Närpes, Malax, Korsnäs and Kaskinen (K5 area)
- Kronoby, Larsmo, Pedersöre, Jakobstad and Nykarleby (subregion of Jakobstad)
Issue/Challenge and Goal/Assumption
The aims of Welcome Office were:
- to establish a low-threshold information centre and provide its services to municipalities, enterprises and employers, different actors in organizations concerned with education, the third sector and different projects
- to create a webpage which contains regional and general information about the society
- a close collaboration between different actors in the regions to provide basic information about services and different functions in Finnish society.
How does it work
A low-threshold information centre desk for immigrants in Vaasa area and K5 area in Ostrobothnia, Finland, with centralised and easily accessible information on immigration, recruitment, working life, public authority services and societal issues. The foundation for the project is a joint developmental strategy model of the information centre by the Bothnia Integration project and other regional partners. The project also aimed to create an internet portal which makes information available on regional and general society. Welcome Office strives to galvanise regional and sub-regional networking and information exchange. A vast amount of immigration related expertise exists in the area. Measures were to be taken during the project to highlight awareness of other relevant partners. The project seeked to contribute to the following issues:
- More effective integration of immigrants into society and working life.
- More rapid recruitment of foreign workers coupled with efficient guidance into societal services whilst supporting regional companies in their quest for global competitiveness and a skilled labour force.
- An increase in regional know-how relating to immigration issues. The purpose of the Welcome Office project was to support and promote integration and opportunities for active immigrant participation in Finnish society. The project also aimed to promote equality and positive interactions between different population groups.
Welcome Office provides information about:
- Finnish society
- services provided by the authorities (the Police, the local Register offices, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (KELA), the Tax Office, Employment and Economic Development Office)
- language courses
- educational possibilities
- social and health care
- day care
- the educational system -
- leisure activities
Good results and the target aim of the project was reached, even though the function itself did not continue in all areas after the project time. From 1.7.2014 the Welcome Office has continued in Vaasa and K5 area with financing from the municipalities that are involved in this form of service. Information centres have been established during the project time and they have continued to provide service in immigration matters by visiting the information desk, and by e-mail or phone. A website was opened to the public to give information about Welcome Office and it's services. It also contains information relevant to immigrants and those working in immigrant matters, as well as news on upcoming events etc. related to immigrants in the Vaasa and K5 areas. At the end of the project time, the Welcome Office function has continued to exist and thrive in the Vaasa and K5 areas. Funding after 1.7.2014 is dependent upon the municipalities taking part in the service and is continuing in the same form until 31.12.2014. The aim of those responsible for managing the concept, is to have a permanent solution for the Welcome Office by beginning of 2015.
An external project evaluation was done by Evapro Consulting Oy. The evaluation showed that all strategic objectives in the project were met and the functioning operation in the form of an existing information desk was a ready-made business concept. The evaluation made the Welcome Office concept a good example of how developed actions can be put into practise within an EU project to correspond to the needs of the customers.
Who will benefit?
All immigrants coming to Vaasa and K5 areas as well as subregion of Jakobstad.
Source of funding and Resources used
Welcome Office was an EU- and municipality financed collaboration project. The project was carried through in the Vaasa and K5-areas and the subregion of Jakobstad, and covered 50% of the project funding. The other half of the funding was financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) granted by the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia and the European Social Fund (ESF) granted by the Ostrobothnian ELY Centre.