Upward trend in early integration in the azc

 April 23, 2020, Source:

Early integration and participation - already in the asylum seekers' centers - is a common interest for asylum seekers, employers, and municipalities. The Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) strives to link permit holders (also referred to as status holders) to a municipality or labor market region that offers the best opportunities for him or her.

In 2019, COA employees conducted so-called screening interviews with 6,585 permit holders. These conversations are intended to provide information about the refugee's education, work experience, ambitions, and social network. “These COA activities have now become an adult pillar within the organization. The figures show a nice upward trend, which fits in with the importance we attach to this, ”says COA board member Joeri Kapteijns. In 2018, the number of screening interviews was still 2,581. The participation of integration permit holders in the 'Preparation for Civic Integration' program also rose to 72% in 2019.

COA will announce this today with the publication of its 2019 annual report. Commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW), COA offers the 'Preparation for Civic Integration' program (in short, pre-civic integration) to prepare permit holders for living and living in the municipality. If residents receive a residence permit, pre-integration begins. Teachers of "Dutch as a second language" (NT2 teachers) from COA are working on bringing the Dutch language of license holders to at least A1min level. Training is also provided with basic information and knowledge about Dutch society (including the Dutch labor market) and case managers from COA provide individual guidance. Of the 6,348 new integration permit holders required in 2019, 72% (4,569) started the program. The main reasons for a permit holder to refrain from participating in the program are medical or psychosocial obstacles, not or hardly being present in an AZC (when using the accommodation scheme, for example) or attending another course. Customer profiles 2019, customer profiles of 5,245 unique license holders were transferred by the COA to municipalities, the so-called warm transfer. This is 87% of the total target group. The purpose of the customer profile is to pass on the information collected, including activities during the reception, from permit holders to the linked municipality. The municipality can, for example, deploy trajectories for the license holder at an early stage, aimed at finding (volunteer) work or training. The COA also encourages residents - permit holders and asylum seekers - to work in shelters or to volunteer or study during their stay. In 2019 this applies to 62% of the target group. Rather than work on integration and participation during the high influx of asylum seekers in 2015/2016, there was broad public support for earlier efforts to integrate and participate in refugees.

From 2017, COA was commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment to develop activities for early integration and participation.capacity the annual report, COA also devotes extensive attention to the growth of reception capacity and the cooperation with municipalities in the realization of new reception locations. From the summer of 2019, the occupancy increased more than expected. Based on adjusted forecasts from the Ministry of Justice and Security, COA has recalibrated the forecast utilization twice in 2019. At the end of 2019, the occupancy at COA locations amounted to 27,000 residents. The increase in staffing is expected to continue until mid-2021, with a number of management contracts also expiring. To organize this properly, cooperation with many parties is necessary: ​​Chairman of the Board Milo Schoenmaker: “You can also read in this annual report that cooperation is a spearhead for COA and for us as aboard. Collaboration with our chain partners, but also with municipalities. This also turned out again in 2019, when the shortage of reception capacity continued to increase. Municipalities where we have been, sometimes for many years, showed a willingness to allow for extensions, such as in Hardenberg and Overloon. ”