The Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment in the Satakunta region is interviewing nurses in Spain, which has the EU's highest unemployment rate. The first recruits will soon begin taking Finnish-language courses before beginning work here in November.
The pilot programme has piqued the interest of Spanish healthcare workers.
More than 2,000 nurses from all over Spain have applied to take part. The project's coordinator, Samuli Jalkanen, says that the first recruits are being chosen from the northern Basque Country.
"Compared with the Costa del Sol, for instance, the climate in Bilbao is closer to that in Finland. We already have cooperative partners there, and furthermore the locals speak both Basque and Spanish, so there is a readiness to learn languages," he points out.
Jalkanen agrees that the difficult economic situation in Spain is a key reason for the interest. The national jobless rate is 24.1 percent with about half of adults under 25 looking for work. Most of the nurses who have expressed interest in relocating to Finland are young people without dependents.
Those deemed to be best suited for the project will be enrolled in a 200-hour course to study the Finnish language and learn the basics of the national health system.
In the initial phase, a maximum of 60 nurses will come to Finland to work in both the private and public healthcare systems.
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