Foreigners an asset in rural districts

Report highlights contribution of foreigners out of town

A report from the rural research institute Center for Landistriktsforskning has found that foreigners make an important contribution to rural areas in terms of entrepreneurship, culture and education. But the report suggests that the municipalities in these areas could do even more to capitalise on their potential.

The report found that foreigners who come to rural districts contribute in a number of different areas. They support business life with new talent and education, and they start new companies, creating jobs.

Country appeal
Carsten Hansen, the minister for housing, urban and rural affairs, thinks the rural parts of the country are also attractive to immigrants. “We have a small homogenous country and, for enterprising people, rural districts offer good opportunities to start your own business,” he said.

“There are cheap homes, lots of space and most often municipalities that are both fast and flexible when it comes to getting a new company going. And, seen in an international context, the distances are small, so it’s no mystery to me that people from other countries see possibilities.”

Room for improvement
The report makes recommendations for how rural districts can better exploit foreign talent. Among other things, it recommends involving interest organisations such as the Red Cross and drawing on the experience of urban businesses that have had success recruiting foreigners.

Hansen things that business and integration can be complementary. “We have a rich business life in the rural districts and this is exactly one of the things that creates and maintains cohesiveness,” he said.

“Therefore, I see good opportunities to draw on all of the good forces because business life is a completely natural pivotal point for good integration.”