Facilitating the Integration of Refugees in the European Union

Geneva, 13 June 2018 - “LINK IT” is a newly launched project aimed at facilitating the socio-economic integration of some 500 Syrian refugees resettled in the United Kingdom, Romania, Portugal and Germany. By linking pre-departure activities with post-arrival support, the project will enable a smoother adjustment to the countries of resettlement and their labor markets.

The possibility to engage in income-generating activities is key to the integration of refugees. Photo: Syrian refugees set up the Jeenda Sweet Factory in Domiz Camp, northern Iraq. © International Organization for Migration, 2017. The UN Migration Agency (IOM) leads the project and carries out the pre-departure activities. The International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) Europe office and four national NGOs are responsible for the post-arrival actions.

The NGOs participating in the project are: British Refugee Council (United Kingdom), Asociatia Serviciul Iezuitilor Pentru Refugiatii Din Romania (Romania), Caritasverband für die Diozese Hildesheim E.V. (Germany) and Conselho Portugues para os Refugiados (Portugal).

The pre-departure phase takes place in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. IOM will administer skills assessment tests to beneficiaries in order to provide them with a certification. The document will be translated into the language of the country of resettlement, to facilitate the transition into its labor market.

Prepared by the national NGOs in the destination countries, brochures and guides on how to tackle the first challenges upon arrival and videos recounting the experiences of beneficiaries will complete the pre-departure preparation.

Other activities will target hosting communities in countries of resettlement, including events and opportunities for exchange between newcomers and long-term residents.

NGOs have room for carrying out actions adapted to their local contexts. In Romania, it is foreseen to create a website for employment matching, while in the UK volunteers will offer IT training courses.

Around 550 volunteers will be involved in post-arrival activities, including the accompaniment of resettled refugees.

ICMC Europe will coordinate the development of post-arrival activities and ensure that outputs from different countries are consistent.

“ICMC has abundant expertise in coordinating and managing refugee resettlement and integration, as well as in training volunteers for this purpose. It will be our priority to ensure that project partners have access to valuable resources,” explains Magdalena Boehm, Program Manager at ICMC Europe.

The European Commission’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund funds the project, which will run from January 2018 to July 2019. Preliminary work has already started, including a European Union Skills Share Day in which best practices to access employment across Europe were compared.