EXPAT Project in a nutshell

EXPAT is a two-year European Union Interreg IVA Central Baltic Sea Region -funded project. Its ultimate aim is to make the CBSR a more attractive destination, a more welcoming region to settle in, and a home to stay for talented internationals.



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Budget: 1.3 M €, of which 80% from the European Regional Development Fund, Central Baltic Interreg IVA Programme
Timeframe: 1.1.2012-31.12.2013

Why this project?
In order to maintain and to increase the competitiveness of our cities and regions, we need skilled and educated foreign labour. While the region is already a relatively attractive destination, we are not benefitting fully from the international talents moving in and living here – nor are the internationals benefitting from the opportunities the region should have on offer. The EXPAT project addresses the factors that hinder the expats’ smooth arrival and good quality of life in the Central Baltic Sea Region and develops methods and solution to improve the identified challenges, because this will serve the interests of both the expats and the region as a whole.

What do we do?
The project seeks to facilitate the improvement of services and networks available to the international talents and their families before their departure from their home country, upon their arrival in the region and during their stay. This means, for example: Ensuring the visibility and accessibility of accurate information on the region and immigration procedures already in the country of origin. Better coordination among the public service providers for all the necessary registration, permits and practical information for newcomers. And physical and digital spaces for professional and social networking with both locals and other internationals.

Concrete results

The novelty and added value of the project is in combining existing social and professional networks into one platform. Furthermore this platform will also act as an information channel for the public administration to efficiently communicate with international talents.

1. The social network platform will be piloted to
· enhance the interaction between internationals and locals. A place where they can meet and get to know each through hobbies and leisure activities.
· improve access to the practical knowledge on living in the CBSR e.g. taxation, civil rights and benefits
2. An information package on soft departure to the CBSR
3. Improved soft landing services through stakeholder cooperation, including potential creation of new services
4. Reports on the themes of social networks, soft departure and soft landing services

Achieving our aims

The EXPAT Project is divided into four work packages, three of which are thematic and one administrative. For the WP Leaders and other project partners, please see "Project facts".

WP 1 Project Management and Communication
WP 2 Social Network Development
WP 3 Soft Departure
WP 4 Soft Landing

The bulk of the project divides roughly into four phases: Benchmarking and inventory, Content development and pilots modeling, Piloting and Wrap-up.

Benchmarking and inventory
The idea is to gather information on the soft landing and soft departure services and networks both generally (a database) as well as expats' subjective experiences of them. Additionally, the project actively seeks imitable functional practices through case study visits to Stockholm Global Expat Center and Amsterdam's Expatcenter and by highlighting good practices in the partner regions. We will already begin engaging stakeholders during this phase.

Content development and pilots modeling
In this phase, the project partners will analyse the results from the first phase to develop models of an online social network platform that addresses the issues and opportunities discovered in each region. In the meanwhile, we'll commence a series of workshops with key local actors (e.g. service providers) and stakeholders (e.g. expats and businesses) to incorporate their views onto the development of the pilot.

Piloting
In this phase we will pilot the social network platform and collect feedback from its users. The local workshops will be wrapped up with a session focusing on the continuation of stakeholder cooperation independently of the project.

Project Wrap-up
We will collect feedback from the stakeholders on the whole project and draft recommendations. We will present the results of all phases and local workshops to policy makers. Finally, we will arrange a closing conference open to the public with the aim of engaging international talents, locals and policy makers in the discussion initiated by the stakeholders.

2 comments:

  1. Hi!

    I'd like to know who are the stakeholders in this project? Is funding (giving money) the only way to become a stakeholder or are there some other ways? Like working in the project, giving premises to the projects use, supplying goods or something else?
    From where comes the 20% of the funding? Does it come from cities, expats, private persons?

    A interested student

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  2. Dear student,

    Thank you very much for your interest in the EXPAT project, and for taking the initiative to find out more!

    The raison d’etre of EXPAT is to improve the settling-in and quality of life of “expats and international talents in the region”. So the EXPAT’s stakeholders include for example soft landing service providers (ranging from permit authorities like immigration police to public or private information services for immigrants), public and private initiatives for social and professional networking (like the International English Speaking Association, or Jolly Dragon in Finland) as well as soft departure service providers (e.g. embassies). Thus, a single actor cannot really “become” a stakeholder in this case; they’re fairly defined by virtue of being organizations who have an interest in the mobility of international skills.

    In addition to collaboration with our stakeholders in workshops, we will also arrange and participate in events open to the public in all project regions. The upcoming events will be advertised here in the blog, and we very much invite you to take part! If you are interested in getting more involved, please contact the lead partner organization Uudenmaan liitto (Uusimaa Regional Council, contact details on project partners –page).

    As for the project funding, the 20% comes from different sources for each partner. Most of it is covered by the partner organizations themselves, or by national cofinancing, i.e. by the state.
    We hope this answered your questions, but please contact us again, in case you were left wondering!

    Kind regards,
    the EXPAT project team

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