10 Feb HEADSTART: spotlight on pre-departure integration measures for labour migrants in the European Union (EU)

IOM is the lead agency for the project HEADSTART: Fostering Integration Before Departure, which builds on existing expertise and good practices to foster better pre-departure integration measures for third-country nationals migrating to the EU.

The first phase of the HEADSTART project was launched in Budapest in February 2014 and ended with a coordination meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, in November 2014. This phase consisted in a global review of pre-departure integration measures including pre-departure information and/or orientation[i]; migrant skills development[ii]; job matching measures [iii] and recognition of skills and competences. The global review publication is expected to be released in early 2015.

The second phase of the project will revolve around the role of Migrant Resource Centres. A publication on Running an effective Migrant Resource Centre: Handbook for practitioners is expected to be released in the spring of 2015. Building on discussions held in Rome (24-25 September 2014) policy-makers and practitioners will gather for a final Policy Conference in Vienna (May 2015) to discuss their experiences and recommendations.

IOM has been involved in pre-departure integration activities for over 50 years, developing a number of important resources to assist practitioners in identifying and addressing migrants’ pre-departure needs. Today, IOM takes stock of the discussions held through the HEADSTART project to explore promising practices and their potential to advance migrant integration in host countries, including Canada.

The HEADSTART initiative also provides IOM with a formidable opportunity to showcase flagship pre-departure initiatives such as the Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) project.

The HEADSTART project is undertaken in partnership with the World Association of Public Employment Services (WAPES) and authorities in charge of integration issues in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Slovakia, and co-financed by the European Union Integration Fund, Ministries of Interior of Italy and Austria and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers in the Netherlands (COA).

Click here to learn more about the HEADSTART project.

[i] On issues such as basic information about the country and its institutions, daily life, values and culture of the destination country society, labour market, visas and work permits, taxation and social security, education and healthcare.
[ii] Including language training, life skills, professional and vocational skills of destination.
[iii] Job search, counselling and recruitment assistance, entrepreneurship guidance)