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International project HEADSTART: fostering integration before departure

The main aim of the project is to enhance the capacity of service providers in the countries of origin to deliver relevant and cost- effective pre-departure integration services to the third-country nationals migrating to the EU, through improved networking among themselves and their counterparts in the countries of destination in the EU, and better coordination of the pre-departure and post-arrival provision of relevant services based on the good practices in this field identified by the project. The other goal is to improve socio-economic integration outcomes for third-country nationals in the countries of destination due to improved information and training provision prior to departure. To meet these objectives were chosen following activities:

1.       Review and assessment of global approaches and practices in pre-departure integration sup-port with the focus on the EU and its neighbouring countries and establishing links with the post-arrival integration services.

2.       Knowledge sharing and network building among practitioners from countries of origin and destination during a 1.5-day workshop and a half-day marketplace event, supported by an ongoing virtual exchange on a dedicated webpage.

3.       A handbook for Migrant Resource Centres as a specific vehicle by which to channel pre-departure information and training provision with recommendations on the standard operat-ing procedures, design, institutional set-up, training, competences, data collection and eval-uation.

4.       Closing EU-wide policy conference.


Building on the above activities and their outcomes, the project will improve the quality of pre-departure integration support in the countries of origin as well as socio-economic integration of third-country immigrants in the EU through increasing the access to and quality of pre-departure integration support and subsequent successful adaptation and inclusion at the earliest possible stage upon arrival, including through access to comprehensive information, language and other types of training, and support in recognition of qualifications and skill validation.


The project is managed by the IOM office in Budapest, Hungary, with the support of the IOM offices in the participating locations such as Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Slovakia. Everything takes place in coordination with the particular project partners:

·         World Association of Public Employment Services (WAPES);

·         Ministry of Interior, Austria;

·         Austrian Integration Funds (OIF);

·         Ministry of Interior, Czech Republic;

·         Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), Germany;

·         Office of Immigration and Nationality (OIN), Hungary;

·         Ministry of Interior, Italy;

·         Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, Italy;

·         Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, the Netherlands;

·         Centre on Coordination of Foreigners Integration of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, Slovakia

 and associated partners:

·         Ministry of Labour, Social Protection and Family, Moldova;

·         Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia;

·         Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244;

·         Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244;

·         Servico de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras, Portugal.


The HEADSTART project is co-funded by the European Union and Ministries of Interior of Austria and Italy and will last for 18 months (from 1st January 2014 to 30th June 2015).


For more information about the HEADSTART project contact: Magdalena Majkowska-Tomkin, tel: + 36 1 472 25 19, mmajkowska@iom.int, or in  the Czech Republic Lucie Sladkova, email: lsladkova@iom.int.


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