A group of five States met in Brussels on 28-29 August 2019, at the Fedasil premises, for an opportunity to share information on their national resettlement programmes, exchange good practices and compare the different processes on how to link pre-departure and post-arrival stages.
Through presentations and the discussions, experts were able to identify the differences and the similarities between their programmes and see concrete possibilities to improve phases of their own programmes using each other’s practices.
Fedasil presented the Belgian reception programme for resettled refugees and post-arrival orientation in the resettlement centre, with focus on how they bridge pre-departure and post-arrival using specific activities. The resettlement centre, opened in 2004 with a capacity for 200 places, has 40 employees. In general, the trainers who have participated in the pre-departure phase of the process are the same that welcome the refugees at the airport, which create an important link for the resettled refugees: ensuring that they see a familiar face upon arrival. They will be in contact with these trainers for the whole of their 6 weeks staying at the centre.
“At the centre, aside from language classes, there are 10 to 12 other informative workshops given by trainers and other partners. Once they have arrived, the goal is to provide them with as many tools as possible to navigate their new life”, says the resettlement coach from Fedasil’s centre in Pondrôme.
Participants also had the chance to learn about Fedasil’s Early labor market integration project that was launched in 2018. The project started with a mapping of the main obstacles to employment of asylum seekers, and continued with a pilot in Flanders. Using a screening process, the idea is to learn how to design the pilot for a specific group: social workers screen profiles with help of a translator, and once at the reception centre the newcomers can get advice and referrals to the citizenship and integration entity. It is important to note that in Belgium the access to the labour market is granted four months after arrival, and that the focus of the programme is on short-term access to work to kick-off the integration process. Many migrants however do not want to wait for the result of the screening and prefer seasonal work to be able to earn fast money.
Another project explored during the exchange was the LINK-IT project. Funded by AMIF and driven by IOM, the project links pre-departure and post-arrival support to facilitate the socio-economic integration for resettled refugees in the EU. The 18-month-long project looks into how to improve the integration and support received by Syrian refugees resettled from Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey to Germany, Portugal, Romanian and the UK.
This mixture of discussions, sharing and learning had a complementary benefit for the subject in question. The group was able to reflect on what each of them could take back home. This activity showed that although each MS already does a lot in their own processes, there is much to gain by learning from each other. EU-FRANK’s PDO Network is a response to the need of bringing States together and creating a platform for synergy and exchange between the actors in this field.
You can read more about this activity on Fedasil's LinkedIn page.
Author: Scarlett Rueda Ståhl
Last modified: 2019-10-02