HEADSTART: Fostering Integration Before Departure (2014 - 2015)

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

Status: Completed

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:

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. 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
  4. 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.