Pilot project “Providing Refugee Resettlement Assistance to the Government of the Republic of Croatia”

Following the European Commission’s Recommendation of 8 June 2015 on a European Resettlement Scheme, 27 Member States together with Dublin Associated States agreed on 20 July 2015 to resettle within two years, through multilateral and national schemes, 22,504 displaced persons from outside the EU who are in clear need of international protection. While some Member States have been engaged in resettlement programmes for many years, this is a first common EU effort on resettlement and for a number of Member States it is their first experience with resettlement.

Furthermore on 18 March 2016, EU Heads of State and Turkey reconfirmed their commitment to the implementation of the EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan, activated on 29 November 2015 and furthermore agreed to replace disorganized, chaotic, irregular and dangerous migratory flows with organized, safe and legal pathways to Europe for those entitled to international protection in line with EU and international law. This includes the provision for all new irregular migrants and asylum seekers arriving from Turkey in Greece, and whose applications have been found inadmissible, to be returned to Turkey and in return the EU will resettle “one Syrian from Turkey to the EU for every Syrian returned to Turkey from Greece”. Priority will be given to migrants who have not previously entered or tried to enter the EU irregularly. The full implementation of this 1:1 scheme is essential to alleviate the situation in Turkey and to show that the EU is committed to fulfilling its responsibilities in terms of providing legal avenues for victims of the Syrian crisis.

Against this background, the Government of the Republic of Croatia has decided to effectively resettle 150 Syrian refugees from Turkey by 8th of December 2017, as such joining a growing group of newly emerging resettlement states.

This project is intended to provide comprehensive resettlement and post-arrival orientation as well as early integration support to those refugees identified by the Government of the Republic of Croatia (GoC) for resettlement to Croatia.

The overall objective of the project is to facilitate the resettlement of approximately 150 Syrian refugees to the Republic of Croatia before 8 December 2017. The project also aims at setting-up and delivering post-arrival orientation and early integration support for the benefit of the resettled refugees, including capacity building and networking of relevant national and sub-national stakeholders. This post-arrival orientation and early integration support will continue until the end of January 2019.

 The main project activities are as follows and include:

Facilitation of selection mission, pre-departure health assessments and visa processing:

IOM will provide logistical assistance before and during selection missions, including calling refugees to attend interviews. A maximum of two selection missions will be organized. IOM will facilitate the logistical support in terms of travel arrangements and accommodation for visa issuing at the same time as the selection mission.

Pre-departure health assessment activities by IOM upon selection of beneficiaries:

The purpose of HA is to ensure that refugees, traveling under IOM’s auspices, do so in a safe and dignified manner; facilitate integration of migrants with significant medical conditions into the health system of Croatia; and to address any mobility-related public health issues.

Movement and Travel Assistance:

In line with its mandate, IOM will facilitate refugee travel in a safe, dignified and orderly manner to Croatia. IOM and/or Croatian authorities will make necessary technical arrangements for the pick-up of travel documents to be available to refugees prior to their departure.

Reception Assistance in Member State (MS) of resettlement:

The arriving refugees will be welcomed in Croatia upon arrival to ensure a continuum of care. IOM will liaise and coordinate all of its reception activities with governmental counterparts and reception stakeholders, including obtaining all relevant permits and securing airside access for IOM at the airport. IOM will provide assistance to refugees upon their arrival, including but not limited to reception, baggage handling and customs clearance, handover, etc.

Post Arrival Orientation and Early Integration Support in Member State (MS) of resettlement:

The post-arrival orientation programme will help the resettled refugees in getting exposed to their new community and to give impetus to their continued training and integration.

Early integration support will facilitate the local integration of the resettled refugees through an integrated, two-way approach, including not only the newly arrived refugees but also the host communities and key stakeholders.

A Mobile Integration Support Team (MIT) will be established by IOM as a flexible and easily deployable facility in order to tackle local integration issues of resettled refugees immediately upon their arrival at accommodation site and, at later stages, to monitor progress and for follow-up, as required.

As necessary, IOM will enter into a separate Project Implementation Agreement with a local integration support partner to arrange the activities such local partner would either perform independently or jointly with IOM, with ongoing coordination and cooperation.