The International Organization for Migration is launching a project to prepare Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey for resettlement in Europe. The Link It project funded by the EU hopes to overcome problems faced by migrants in integrating successfully in host countries.
A group of 500 Syrians refugees in the MENA region – Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey – will take part in the first stage of the project. The aim is to prepare them for social and economic adjustment to their new lives in Europe. The refugees will eventually be resettled in four EU states: Germany, Portugal, Romania and the United Kingdom.
The project will start with pre-departure orientation courses for the refugees currently based in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Information collected about each refugee’s background, education and skills will then be passed on to authorities in the receiving countries. This is intended to support the Syrians’ integration into the labor market as quickly as possible.
The IOM’s Chief of Mission in Romania, Mircea Mocanu, says “ensuring migrants can contribute economically and socially to their host communities is key to the future well-being, prosperity and cohesion of European societies.”
“Too often, Europe has seen underemployment of migrants and refugees, negatively affecting the economic potential of the communities,” Mocanu says.
The Link It project also aims to help the Syrian refugees to overcome language barriers and problems arising from cultural differences such as discrimination. After arriving in the European host country, the refugees will be offered orientation and training activities in what the IOM describes as “tailored post-arrival support.”
Dipti Pardeshi, the IOM Chief of Mission in the UK, says successful integration must be a “holistic and two-way process, when both refugees and the local community understand one another’s expectations, practices and cultural differences.”
To ensure the integration process works both ways, the project will help local governments and employers to receive the refugees by offering them training in integration best-practice.
The project, which will run for 18 months, is led by the IOM, with partners:
- International Catholic Migration Commission
- British Refugee Council
- Asociatia Serviciul Iezuitilor Pentru Refugiatti Din Romania
- Caritasverband für die Diozese Hildesheim E.V.
- Conselho Portugues Para Os Refugiados CPR
Other resettlement programs
In September 2017, the European Commission announced a plan to resettle at least 50,000 of the most vulnerable refugees throughout the EU over the next two years. The success of integration, however, may differ: A Commission report published in March noted significant differences between integration programs in various EU countries.