Of course, for those of us who work with attracting and receiving international talent, the Corona pandemic has obviously had a huge and direct impact.
Figures from the Swedish Migration Board show that in the Gothenburg region, we have remained at about the same level this year compared to 2019 for work permits issued starting in January and February. Work permits starting in March decreased by 23% and in April by 68%. There are two work permits issued starting in May. In other words, it is now a complete stop.
When it comes to retaining skills that are already here and in many cases have been workig here for several years, we now see a great risk. If you have a work permit and are laid off, you have 3 months to find a new job. If you do not succeed, you will have to leave Sweden. If you have partners and children, there will be an abrupt exit from school / preschool and other activities. This, of course, strikes hard against individuals, but also against employers who, in the long run, will lose valuable competence and impairs Sweden's opportunities to recruit international competence in the future.
Our focus now is partly on continuing to develop tools, processes and activities to be ready to both attract and receive international expertise as the situation improves. Firstly, we work to meet the needs of those who are already here, both through political influence as well as concrete activities.
There we are responsive to the changing need and are working to adapt our activities and our operations, here are some examples. Our Open Desk Service, where we normally meet individuals physically, we have now switched to chat for short questions as well as bookable digital meetings with advice from several players. Last week we released the seats to our career program which was fully booked in 2 days. We also arranged a digital Fika to provide a social context which was greatly appreciated and now will become a recurring activity.
To round off on a positive note, Move to Gothenburg continues to be active in the international arena where our work and our results have received a lot of attention. In mid-April I had the pleasure of being one of the speakers at a conference in the Netherlands (conducted digitally instead of physically, of course) where the theme was how regions can best attract and receive international competence. In addition to further strengthening our position as one of the foremost regions around talent attraction in Europe, we learn and be inspired by other regions. This is more important now than ever.
Head of Move To Gothenburg