HEADSTART: Fostering Integration Before Departure
Geographical Coverage: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Slovakia.
Duration: January 2014 – June 2015
Donor: the European Union (European Integration Fund), Ministries of Interior of Austria and Italy and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers in the Netherlands
Summary: This initiative combines meticulous review and analysis of the existing practices in pre-departure integration support to migrants, with the development of new practical tools and intensive network- and partnership-building among the policymakers and practitioners in the countries of origin, but also with their counterparts in the countries of destination.
The project is composed of four project components:
- Review and assessment of global approaches and practices in pre-departure integration support with the focus on the EU and its neighboring countries (Eastern and Southern Neighborhood with the emphasis on the Mobility Partnership countries; Western Balkans) and establishing links with the post-arrival integration services;
- Supporting network-building among practitioners from countries of origin and destination during a 1,5-day workshop in Rome for 70 participants actively engaged in pre-departure integration support provision the aim of improving the relevance of pre-departure integration measures to supporting socio-economic inclusion of third-country nationals entering the EU, and coordination of their content and delivery modalities with the post-arrival services;
- Strengthening of existing Migrant Resource Centers (MRCs) and supporting of the creation of new ones by developing an MRC Handbook (translated into 6 languages) with recommendations on the standard operating procedures, design, institutional set-up, training, competences, data collection and evaluation and so on, based on lessons learnt by project stakeholders; and
- Closing EU Final Policy Conference presenting the results of the project and wide dissemination of its findings and tools in the EU and the third countries via partner networks.