A new app has been launched in southern France to help asylum seekers with their administrative status, accommodation, health or even their everyday needs. It's available in six languages.
A new app called 'FinDaWay' offers asylum seekers information about administrative procedures and general information about life in France. Launched in mid-May in the Var department in southeastern France, the system is available in six languages (French, English, Russian, Arabic, Spanish and Pashto) and can be downloaded free of charge on IOS and Android devices.
"This application provides asylum seekers and refugees in the Var region with immediate and personalized information to help them to understand the asylum application process and accelerate their integration into French society," the department's prefecture said in a statement.
Inspired by existing German and Italian apps, the tool is the result of a concerted effort between the Var administrations, migrant aid associations and migrant and refugee users.
Practical advice and evolution of the asylum application
The application offers administrative assistance and practical advice. For example, it lists the places where an asylum seeker can get a meal, the day centers nearby, the places where they can be treated for an ailment, and the laundries accessible in the area where they are.
Above all, FinDaWay allows exchanges between professionals and the user, who can also better understand the evolution of their asylum application.
In 2020, a special year due to the global health crisis, the Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (Ofpra) registered approximately 95,000 asylum applications (including 86,000 first applications), a figure down 28% from 2019.
As of March 31 2021, the Var department, located not far from the border with Italy, had 1,083 specialized accommodation places available. This marks a tripling of its capacity since 2017, according to authorities.