Consultations in Riga
+371 25565098 (I-V 9:00-17:00)
+371 28612120 (I-V 9:00-17:00)

+371 67898343 (I-V 9:00-20:00)
Skype: PatverumsDM
Lacplesa street 75 - 1 B, Riga
Consultations in the Regions
Latgale
+371 25723222
Kurzeme
+371 25719118
Vidzeme
+371 25719266
Zemgale
+371 25719588

Information Centre for Immigrants

Information Centre Has Helped over 2.5 Thousands Foreigners

Ievietots: 28.12.2017

                     

Since 18 May 2016 the Information Centre for Immigrants (ICI) has been operating all over Latvia as a one-stop agency. During 20 months its advisers have provided information and support to 2514 foreign citizens, who arrived from 81 countries outside the European Union, and specialists working with this target group.

By 20 December 2017 ICI has provided support to 2514 persons – 1451 in Riga, 462 in Liepaja, 199 in Jelgava, 223 in Daugavpils, 179 in Cesis. In total, 3655 consultations have been provided regarding various legal and social issues. Most frequently, customers have chosen to receive consultations in person – in 2106 cases, 1021 consultations were provided by phone, 332 – using Skype, and 196 times by e-mail. The opportunity of repeated consultations was often used.

Foreign citizens were mostly interested in migration, employment, business opportunities and family matters in Latvia, as well as possibilities to learn Latvian. Customers have used consultations of an ICI psychologist 121 times.

In total, free consultations were provided to people from 81 countries. TOP 20 countries: Russia, Syria, Ukraine, India, China, Turkey, Belarus, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iraq, Georgia, Afghanistan, Egypt, United States, Azerbaijan, Eritrea, Armenia, Vietnam, Sri-Lanka.

Qualitative communication with the ICI’s customers was ensured with the help of 33 translators / language specialists with the following language skills: Dari, Farsi, Pashto, Urdu, Arabic, French, Tajik, Kurdish, Punjabi, Chinese, Turkish, Uzbek, Hindi, Spanish, Tamil, Bengali, Vietnamese, and Armenian.

Interpreter services were provided not only for customer communication with the ICI’s consultants, but also for professionals working with foreigners, for example, various state administration institutions, social services, crisis centres, education and healthcare institutions of several local governments, banks and employers. In total, the interpreting service has been provided 1845 times to 618 clients.

Professional support for working with third-country nationals has been provided to 422 specialists of various areas (social workers, managers of companies and NGOs, librarians, employees of orphan’s courts and education institutions).

In order to strengthen the civil society and develop favourable and open environment for societies and foundations in working with immigrants, NGOs Dialogue platform is being created and developed by ICI experts, currently involving 25 non-governmental organizations, which are active in the area of integration. Special Informative Days have also been organized in Liepaja, Riga and Daugavpils, where foreigners were provided with an opportunity to learn about the informative and practical resources available to them.

More than 130 volunteers have made significant contributions to organizing the ICI’s activities. They have implemented 48 informative and integration events in different regions of Latvia, including cultural nights of different nations, which have become popular in many places in Latvia.

LNT informative stories and newspaper articles were prepared to raise public awareness on the topic of migration; educational seminars and webinars as well as three international conferences on migration issues were organised.

Those who want to live, study, work or start their own business in Latvia, might find it useful to visit valuable and practical resource – website www.integration.lv. It provides foreigners and professionals with answers to various practical questions and up-to-date information on Latvian language courses and integration courses, as well as on events organized by various organizations from all over Latvia.

The ICI started to operate as a one-stop agency on 18 May 2016. Until 31 December 2017 its operations have been ensured by NGO “Shelter “Safe House”” within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. The ICI was created and developed within co-financing of the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

*persons, who are not citizens of European Union member states, countries of the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation.            

Information prepared by Rasa Salina, Communications and Social Media Expert, tel. (+371) 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@patverums-dm.lv

Infographics on Support Provided by the Information Centre for Immigrants

Ievietots: 14.11.2017

                     

Information Centre for Immigrants (ICI) operates in Riga and in the four regions of Latvia – in Liepaja, Jelgava, Daugavpils and Cesis – for over a year. It offers assistance to people of various nationalities, who have come to Latvia from countries outside the European Union, and provides information and assistance to specialists working with immigrants. Activities of the information centre are ensured and developed by the Society "Shelter "Safe House"".

During the fifteen months of ICI`s operations, it has organised diverse information and educational activities. Please view infographics to learn about the work we have done!

The Fifth Meeting of NGO Dialogue Platform Organisations Has Taken Place

Ievietots: 13.10.2017

                      

On 21 September this year the fifth meeting of NGO Dialogue Platform took place at the Information Centre for Immigrants (ICI). 19 representatives of 25 organisations that operate in the field of immigration and integration took part in it. The aim of the meeting was to learn about the latest developments in the implementation of the Action Plan for Movement and Admission in Latvia of Persons Who Need International Protection (the Action Plan) and the projects recently launched by the participants of the NGO Dialogue Platform.

The Ministry of Interior Sectoral Policy Department Policy Development Division Senior Desk Officer Sandis Barks (Sandis Barks) informed that in 2015 Latvia in a spirit of solidarity with other EU member states under the Action Plan and the European Union (EU) Resettlement Scheme undertook to admit 531 displaced persons in the course of two years — 295 from Greece, 186 from Italy and 50 from refugee camps in third countries (presently from Turkey). Up to this moment Latvia has admitted 346 persons or 65 % of the total target number of asylum seekers, mostly from Greece, and the process will continue. Presently the Ministry of Interior is working on the Report about Implementation of Measures under the Action Plan* together with all concerned ministries. S.Barks noted that the secondary movement of persons, who have obtained the status, and finding a dwelling for them are currently the main issues. These will be reflected in the report and a solution is being sought presently. “Unofficial estimates indicate that most of these persons have left Latvia after obtaining the status, and Latvia is unable to influence the process on its part. On two occasions German authorities have requested assistance in returning dislocated persons to Latvia. Presently no information is available on the number of people, who have returned to Latvia on their own.” He also informed that a parallel discussion and search for a solution in the matter of changes in legislation about provision of social guarantees to refugees and persons under subsidiary protection is under way.

During the NGO Dialogue Platform meeting two participating organisations informed the participants of the meeting about the launch of two large-scale integration projects.

Action Coordinator of Society “Innovation Support Centre” (“Inovāciju atbalsta centrs”) Inese Janisa (Inese Janiša) presented a report about activities launched in September under the "WE — in Latvia" project. The aim of the project is to provide integration courses to the target group in Riga and Latgale regions — up to 360 citizens of third countries legally staying in Latvia. The integration courses (28 academic hours) will include topics of current interest for immigrants` future life in Latvia. Courses are conducted by professionals, who work in public administration and in other fields. Courses are available in several languages. The project will also include three socializing events for participants to promote intercultural communication. Integration courses in Latgale region are organised in collaboration with other societies — "Ritineitis" (Balvi), “Latgolys entuziastu grupa “Biļdis” (Rezekne).

Representative of the Society “Cooperation Platform” (“Sadarbības platforma”) Ramils Kadirovs (Ramils Kadirovs) reported that integration courses under the Integration ABC - 2017 project have started in Riga, Daugavpils, Rezekne, Liepaja and Jelgava in September. These activities are aimed at inclusion of foreigners living in Latvia — third country citizens and immigrants — into Latvian society.

The next NGO Dialogue Platform meeting will take place in Riga, on 23 November. It will include an in-depth discussion of experience of local governments in Latvia in the field of social integration, their integration strategies, and sharing of the best practice and implemented integration projects.

*(to complete the task set in the Cabinet of Ministers extraordinary meeting minutes No. 41, Section 1, Paragraph 16 of 28 August 2017)

ICI was established on 18 May 2016, and it operates as a one-stop agency. It is funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and co-financed by the European Union. Centre are ensured and developed by the Society “Shelter “Safe House””. Grant agreement No. PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

Information was prepared by: Agita Misāne, an adviser of the Society “Shelter “Safe House””, and Rasa Saliņa, Communications and Social Media Expert, mob. phone: (+371) 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com

Information Centre has Provided Support to Citizens of 75 Countries

Ievietots: 21.09.2017

                      

For more than a year, Information Centre has been operating in Riga and four regions of Latvia – Liepaja, Jelgava, Daugavpils, and Cesis –, which provides information and support to people of different nationalities, who have arrived in Latvia from countries outside the European Union, and specialists working with immigrants. Activities of the Information Centre are ensured and developed by the Society “Shelter “Safe House””.

During the fifteen months of the Centre`s operations, it has organised various diverse informative and educational activities.

Since the last May, the Centre has provided support to 1878 people – 1133 in Riga, 325 in Liepaja, 155 in Jelgava, 139 in Daugavpils, 126 in Cesis. In total, 2818 consultations have been provided regarding various legal and social issues. Most frequently, customers have chosen to receive consultations in person – 56%, whereas via phone and electronically – 44% times.  The opportunity of repeated consultations was often used.

Client advisers inform that foreign citizens were mostly interested in residence permits, employment and business opportunities in Latvia, while families often consulted about educational opportunities for their children.

In total, free consultations were provided to people from 75 countries, most often citizens of Russia, Syria, Ukraine, China, India, Belarus, Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. Psychological consultations are also available at the Centre – so far customers have used it 81 times. Communication with the Centre’s customers is ensured by 31 translators / language specialists with the following language skills: Dari, Farsi, Pashto, Urdu, Arabic, French, Tajik, Kurdish, Punjabi, Chinese, Turkish, Uzbek, Hindi, Spanish, Tamil, Bengali, Vietnamese, and Armenian.

Interpreter services are provided not only for customer communication with the Centre’s consultants, but also for professionals working with foreigners. Till now, interpreter services have been actively used by various state administration institutions, social services, crisis centres, education and healthcare institutions of several local governments, banks and employers. The service has been provided 1400 times to 776 clients.

Professional support for working with third-country nationals has been provided to 333 specialists of various areas (social workers, managers of companies and NGOs, librarians, employees of orphan`s courts and education institutions). In order to strengthen the civil society and develop favourable and open environment for societies and foundations in working with immigrants, NGOs Dialogue platform is being developed, currently involving 19 non-governmental organizations, which are active in the area of integration.

Special Informative Days have also been organized in Liepaja, Riga and Daugavpils, where foreigners were provided with an opportunity to learn about the informative and practical resources available to them. Volunteers who have been involved in the Centre’s activities have made significant contributions to organizing the Centre’s activities. They have implemented 39 informative and integration events in different regions of Latvia, including cultural nights of different nations, which have become popular in many places in Latvia.

LNT informative stories and newspaper articles were prepared to raise public awareness on the topic of migration; educational seminars and webinars as well as two international conferences on migration issues were organised.

The Centre’s representatives kindly invite foreigners and specialists working with this target group living in Latvia to use free consultations provided by lawyers and consultants and receive answers to questions about various social and legal issues in person, electronically or by phone. Those who want to live, study, work or start their own business in Latvia, might find it useful to visit website www.integration.lv. It provides answers to various practical questions and up-to-date information on Latvian language courses and integration courses, as well as on events organized by various organizations from all over Latvia.

Contacts of Riga Office of the Information Centre:

Info line: +371 25565098, + 371 28612120

E-mail: konsultacijas@patverums-dm.lv, Skype: PatverumsDM

Address: Lāčplēša Street 75 – 9/10, Riga

Regional contact points:

“Latgale” in Daugavpils: +371 25723222, ici.daugavpils@gmail.com

“Zemgale” in Jelgava: +371 25719588, ici.jelgava@gmail.com

“Vidzeme” in Cesis: +371 25719266, ici.cesis@gmail.com

“Kurzeme” in Liepaja: +371 25719118, ici.liepaja@gmail.com

The Centre was established on 18 May 2016, and it operates as a one-stop agency. It is funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and co-financed by the European Union. Grant agreement No. PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

Information prepared by Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, e-mail: rasa.salina@patverums-dm.lv

Representatives of Six Cultures Gathered for the Afternoon of Ukrainian Culture in Ane

Ievietots: 28.08.2017

                      

On 25 August this year the Afternoon of Ukrainian Culture took place at the Children and Youth Initiatives` Centre in Ane parish, Ozolnieki municipality. It gathered representatives of six cultures eager to learn about the Ukrainian culture and traditions. The event was organised by the Ukrainians living in the municipality and employees and volunteers of the Regional Point of Contact for Zemgale of Information Centre for Immigrants (ICI). 

All in all over 50 participants — Ukrainians, Russians, Chinese, Kurds, Arabs and Latvians — listened to the emotional Ukrainian songs and a presentation about Ukraine. The bright Ukrainian handmade embroideries were also exhibited for the participants to admire. The afternoon included a game of questions and answers, during which the participants could learn facts about other countries and each of them was glad to tell something about their own culture too. Ukrainians as the hosts of the event treated everyone to their national dishes — the traditional Ukrainian borscht, stuffed pancakes, pierogi stuffed with cottage cheese and other culinary treats.

Since most participants are learning Latvian, words of the warmest appreciation were offered to the teacher of Latvian. Near the close of the event the participants formed a Circle of Friendship and expressed their views on the role of cooperation in understanding other cultures and integration of people from various cultures.

“Upon learning about the culture of each nation and overcoming the language barrier integration becomes easier. Everyday communication has broken down the walls of internal prejudice too. After learning more about Latvian people, history, culture, feasts, traditions and gaining new friends in the process we now feel welcome and at home here", the participants of the event shared their experiences.

“This is a unique opportunity to enjoy so different cultures and languages at the same time! We really hope that the tradition of introducing each other to various cultures will continue and we will be able to learn much more about the representatives of different nationalities, who live in Latvia!”

This was the fourth event of national culture days organised in Zemgale region. Two such events have taken place in Ozolnieki municipality. On 13 August an event dedicated to Chinese culture took place in the Green Classroom of Ozolnieki Secondary School. Over 40 people attended the event, including Ukrainians, Russians and Latvians.

We would like to offer our thanks to Ane Youth Centre for its welcome, the organisers of the event and volunteers for the intimate and friendly atmosphere of the event!

ICI operates as a one one-stop-shop and provides information and support to persons, who have come to Latvia from countries outside the EU, as well as professional support to service providers in all municipalities in Latvia, coordinates awareness and availability of services to various groups of immigrants. ICI offices are located in Riga and at four Points of Contact – in Kurzeme (Liepaja), in Vidzema (Cesis), in Latgale (Daugavpils), in Zemgale (Jelgava). ICI Point of Contact in Jelgava provides support to immigrants, who have chosen to settle in Zemgale. ICI Zemgale telephone helpline:  +371 25719588, email: ici.jelgava@gmail.com, Peldu Street 7 – 211, Jelgava.

“Information Centre for Immigrants” is implemented within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and is co-funded by the European Union. Activities of the Information Centre are ensured and developed by the Society “Shelter “Safe House””. Grant agreement No. PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

Information prepared by Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com

 

An Event Aimed at Development of Relations Between Representatives of Different Nationalities Took Place in Ozolnieki

Ievietots: 14.07.2017

                        

Yesterday, Chinese, who live in the vicinity of Jelgava, together with the employees and volunteers of the Regional Point of Contact for Zemgale of Information Centre for Immigrants (ICI) organised a special event aimed at development of relations between people of various nationalities in the Green Classroom of Ozolnieki Secondary School. The event was organised to educate its participants about Chinese culture and traditions, as well as a demonstration of the willingness of Chinese people, who live in Latvia, to become involved and participate in the goings-on in the local society. Ukrainians, Russians and some local people took part in the event.

Participants (around 40 people all in all) played games, walked the path of sensations, learned about Chinese culture and traditions, tasted food prepared according to various national culinary traditions and made the tea of friendship. Project Coordinator Gunta Viksne (Gunta Vīksne) tells that the target audience of the event are people, who have come to Latvia from countries outside the European Union. “Chinese arrived a bit earlier for the event. Soon the woman from Ukraine arrived too. They all study Latvian together. Their meeting was very warm, they hugged each other and inquired after each other`s state of affairs. This gives them a sort of sense of security. You have come from a far away country, but still can meet with friends here. Latvian society is not very open, but such events enable people of different nationalities to learn more about each other, and possibly helps the development of a network of friends later on,” says G.Viksne.

Interpreter Semija Langa, who will attend Class 11 in the autumn, and speaks Latvian well, helps along our conversation with the Chinese Sjaofengu Džū, who lives at Ozolnieki with his wife, their seven year old daughter and four year old son for the last three years. Sjaofengu Džū is not employed in Latvia, however, he owns an enterprise in China. He likes that it is so quiet here compared to the large cities. He and his family came to Latvia to slow down the hectic pace of their life and his family appreciates it. Sjaofengu also loves the beautiful scenery and the friendly people. Since children are still small and he devoted a lot of time and effort to furnishing their family home, there has not been enough time to learn Latvian and he has begun it only this year. He does not consider Latvian a difficult language, but Sjaofengu admits that he should set aside more time to master it.

The Ukrainian Jekaterina Zborovska, a journalist by education, lives in Jelgava with her family for the fourth year. She likes living in Jelgava. “The most important thing is that it is peaceful here,” says Jekaterina. She appreciates the project, the work of the Latvian teacher Dace (Dace) and everyone, who provides assistance on a day-to-day basis. Jekaterina is studying Latvian for one and a half months and admits that the widespread use of Russian in Latvia hinders greatly the progress of her Latvian. “However we feel at home in Jelgava,” says Jekaterina, whose hobby is baking. She brought a cake made using a Ukrainian recipe for the participants of the event.

ICI representative Gunita Berza (Gunita Bērza) says that the event presented a great opportunity to learn to know people from other cultures, who live alongside us, and invites everyone to participate in the work of the centre as a volunteer, “to continue the good works aimed at creating a friendly environment in your region and in the country all together”.

ICI operates as a one one-stop-shop and provides information and support to persons, who have come to Latvia from countries outside the EU, as well as professional support to service providers in all municipalities in Latvia, coordinates awareness and availability of services to various groups of immigrants. ICI offices are located in Riga and at four Points of Contact – in Kurzeme (Liepaja), in Vidzema (Cesis), in Latgale (Daugavpils), in Zemgale (Jelgava). ICI Point of Contact in Jelgava provides support to immigrants, who have chosen to settle in Zemgale. ICI Zemgale telephone helpline:  +371 25719588, email: ici.jelgava@gmail.com, Peldu Street 7 – 211, Jelgava.

“Information Centre for Immigrants” is implemented within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and is co-funded by the European Union. Activities of the Information Centre are ensured and developed by the Society “Shelter “Safe House””. Grant agreement No. PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

Information prepared by Santa Logina (Santa Logina), newspaper "Zemgales Ziņas", and Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com

 

 
 

                  

Summer Solstice Celebration in Cesis Brought Together Foreigners Living in Vidzeme

28.06.2017. The morning of 21 June in the garden of the medieval castle in Cesis began with songs celebrating Summer Solstice. The Information Centre for Immigrants (ICI) had invited foreigners, who live near Cesis to the garden of the castle so they could learn more about Latvian traditions related to the longest day of the year.

People of various nationalities — Latvians, Chinese and Russians — all together laid the table for the occasion, learned to make wreaths from wild flowers and create Latvian signs assisted by volunteers. Children played music and everyone, old and young, had a lot of fun participating in games and dancing.

The Head of ICI Regional Point of Contact Baiba Zalcmane (Baiba Zalcmane) told about the reasons such an event was organised for foreigners in Cesis: “A year has passed since the opening of the Information Centre in Cesis in support of migrants, who have chosen to settle in Vidzeme. Jāņi (Midsummer) is nearing and we received many inquiries from foreigners with requests to explain, why Latvians celebrate, burn bonfires, make wreaths and play games on this day each year. We believed that the best way to answer these questions was to create for them an opportunity to experience Latvian traditions related to Summer Solstice celebration for themselves”. She tells that the fact that Chinese, who live in Cesis municipality, had made their own preparations and brought treats for the organisers and participants of the event indicates great interest in the subject as well.

“Regardless of the fact that some guests could speak neither Latvian, nor Russian, nor English this event demonstrated that the expression of human warmth does not require the knowledge of any language. The participants of the event were not impeded by the lack of a common language, because we understood each other without words – by means of a sincere smile and through emotions!” shares her experience B.Zalcmane.

The participants were really happy about an opportunity to celebrate this Latvian festival all together and experience a greater sense of belonging to our state, as well as meet their compatriots. Tegsijs from China: “This party was great! We value highly Latvian historical and cultural traditions, music, folklore and feasts. They are very beautiful! Thank you very much for the opportunity to participate in this celebration and I would like to thank the Information Centre for the provided support too”.

The event ended with an excursion through the medieval castle, a visit to a woman who gathers and knows herbs and makes herbal remedies and the Master of Ancient Jewellery.

The team of the Information Centre would like to offer their thanks to Cesis Tourism Information Centre — for the opportunity to organise the event for our foreign guests in the garden of the castle and for its hospitality. We would like to thank the local entrepreneurs for the treats provided for the occasion – “Cēsu alus” for drinks and “Straupes piens” for the opportunity to enjoy real Jāņi cheese!

The next event in Cesis is scheduled for August this year. Chinese nationals living in Cesis invite anyone interested in their culture and traditions to attend it!

“Information Centre for Immigrants” is implemented within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and is co-funded by the European Union. Activities of the Information Centre are ensured and developed by the Society “Shelter “Safe House””. Grant agreement No. PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com

 

                     

More successful integration of immigrants requires competent education of specialists in the field and more active exchange of experience

16.05.2017. On 12 May 2017, the international conference “Formal and Informal Education in the Integration of Immigrants” organised by the Society “Shelter “Safe House”” took place in Riga at the Hotel “Konventa Sēta”. Immigrants are present at all levels of the Latvian education system, i.e., from the preschool education institutions to the doctoral studies. The objective of the conference was to assess whether the Latvian education system is truly ready for it, whether the needs of immigrants have been identified to a sufficient degree and whether specialists are prepared in Latvia for working with this group of clients to a sufficient extent and quality.

The agenda of the conference included two extensive plenary meeting papers and two parallel sections of discussions. The educational event was opened by Solvita Vevere (Solvita Vēvere), the Director of the Social Integration Department of the Ministry of Culture, and in her speech she emphasized the importance of learning the Latvian language and eduction for successful social and economic inclusion of immigrants of all ages into the Latvian society.

The audience was acquainted with the first plenary meeting paper “Integration and Education of Migrants: international requirements, OSCE, obligations and challenges” by Juris Gromovs, the Migration and Freedom of  Movement Adviser, Democratization Department, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights*.  He informed about the immigration situation of Latvia in the general picture of OSCE member states and described in details several regulatory enactments binding on Latvia that guarantee education for immigrants and the special policy of member states for resolving the education-related problems of migrants.

The other plenary meeting paper was read by Olga Cara, the Leading Researcher of the Education Research Institute of University College London**. In her paper “Learning Together: Education Programmes for Immigrant Families”, O. Cara at first described the education system of the Great Britain and immigration to the Great Britain, as well as the historical perspectives (assimilation, multi-culturalism, etc.).  In her opinion, poor language skills, cultural and material deprivation, prejudice and discrimination are the main problems faced by the immigrants and prohibiting from full-value inclusion into the society of the new country of residence. In the Great Britain, several successful education models and methods have been developed, and they are based on the principle that parents learn together with their children, i.e., the “family education model”. In this strategy, education and integration each represent one side of a common process.

Both Juris Gromovs and Olga Cara referred to the shortage of qualified specialists for the work with immigrants, and it must be recognized as one of the main obstacles for successful integration of immigrants also in Latvia.

Employees of the Society “Shelter “Safe House”” have observed that the most soaring shortage of specialists can be detected in the areas, where working with immigrants requires special skills.  The problematic areas are (1) training of teachers for working in multi-cultural environment and (2) training of social workers and social mentors, in a broader sense - preparing social safety and welfare area professionals for working with immigrants, especially, with refugees and asylum seekers. And therefore, on the afternoon the work of the conference was arranged in two sections.

In the section “Training of Education Employees for Working in Multi-cultural Environment - Opportunities and Challenges”, the doctors of pedagogy Liesma Ose and Erika Picukane (Ērika Pičukāne) shared their practical experience and recommendations. Their papers were followed by a discussion with active participation of the audience. The participants recognized that improvement of the situation requires both institutional solutions and more active self-organisation of the specialists already involved in education of immigrants, as well as the more skilful use of the existing resources and exchange of experience.

The section “Education of Social Workers for Working with Immigrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers Using New Informal Work Methods” included also two presentations by Andra Mite, the Head of the Study Direction “Social Welfare” of the Baltic International Academy, and Inga Liepa-Meiere, a lawyer and master of social work, which were followed by a discussion. Sandra Zalcmane, the leader of the section’s discussion, pointed out to the importance of acquiring good principal education in the social work, which can be used as basis for adding already specific knowledge and skills in working with different target groups. Participants of the discussions recognized the significance of the role of the head of social institutions,who might not always be educated in the social work, as the situation in Latvia shows. This is diminishing the understanding about the essence of the social work, which is the need to be ready to solve different social situations for different target groups, refugees included. It is clear that the head of institution will be the one taking decisions whether to educate the employees. The participants concluded that certain positions should be subject to having specific level of education and qualifications.

By summarizing the ideas in the section, S. Zalcmane stressed that the social workers are the ones who most often have to be the first who meet the persons, who are facing difficult situations outside their countries of residence and who need support, and therefore it is of particular importance to follow the use of different methods, both formal and informal, in own practices. The social system should not be static, but it should incorporate opportunities to adjust it to specific situations.

The participants were acquainted with the manual “Intercultural Communication and Integration of Immigrants Through New Work Methods”, which summarized different informal methods potentially applicable also in the practice of the social work.

The conference was organised within the projects “Information Centre for Immigrants” („Informācijas centrs imigrantiem”) (No. PMIF/12/2016/1/1) and “Intercultural Communication and Integration of Immigrants Through New Work Methods” (No. NPAD-2015/10274). “Information Centre for Immigrants” is implemented within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and is co-funded by the European Union. 

* J. Gromovs is one of the most experienced representatives of Latvia in the European Migration Committee of the European Council, he is a Co-chair of the European Council Committee of Experts on the Legal Status of Student Migrants and the European Council Committee for Implementation of Migration Strategy, as well as the author of several scientific publications.

** O. Cara is born on Latvia and acquired education in sociology and anthropology. She defended her doctoral thesis in University College London by studying the identity of the Russian-speaking children in the context of the bilingual education in Latvia. The research interests of O. Cara relate to ethnicity, migration and the association with education processes, as well as development of basic skills, inter-generation skill transfer and family education programmes in the context of integration. She is an expert in using complicated administrative databases in education-related matters and using mixed methods in social studies.

Information was prepared by: Agita Misāne, an adviser of the Society “Shelter “Safe House””, and Rasa Saliņa, Communications and Social Media Expert, mob. phone: (+371) 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com


                   
 
Information Day at the National Library of Latvia on May 20!

09.05.2017. To show common, diverse and unifying traits of cultural traditions of various ethnic communities, as well as to inform the foreigners living in Latvia on the informative integration resources available, the Information Day will be held at the Conference Centre of the National Library of Latvia, at Mūkusalas Street 3, Riga on May 20 from 12:00 to 17:00!

Each participant will have a possibility to meet people of various ethnic communities in a non-formal setting and to receive practical information on the integration possibilities in Latvia.

12.00 - 17.00 – take part in the creative informative workshops

Opportunity to meet representatives of the organisations from different nations in person - Tatar, Bashkir, Uzbek, Buryat, Arab, Ukrainian, Russian, Jewish, Turkish, Chinese, who will involve the audience in creative workshops and present their language, costumes and traditions. The workshops will include making of oberegs, drawing and painting national patterns, learning shaman rituals and participating in table game tournament for children and grown-ups, etc.

12.00 - 17.00 – find out more about employment possibilities in Latvia at the Vacancy Carousel

  • Opportunity to meet representatives from the State Employment Agency and Latvian Investment and Development Agency, who will inform about employment and business opportunities for foreigners in Latvia
  • Meeting various businessmen who will tell about the employment offers and current vacancies in their companies
  • Obtaining information about education opportunities for foreigners by visiting the stands of the Education Development Centre, Transport and Telecommunication Institute or Information System Management Institute

12.30 - 14.00 – participate and debate at the Thought Workshops

  • Education opportunities for foreigners in Latvia - participation of representatives from higher education institutions and “The Education Development Centre” 
  • Employment market and business opportunities for foreigners - participation of representatives from State Employment Agency and Business Incubator
  • Volunteer Work - participation of representatives from the Salvation Army and “Society of Free Interests of Youth” (”Jauniešu brīvo interešu biedrība”)

14.00 - 15.00 – tasting dishes of Oriental Cuisine

14.00 - 17.00 – Concert – a possibility to get to know more than ten ethnic cultures!

Plan of the Day:

  • Opportunity to receive free consultations in person about social and legal issues from professional lawyers/ consultants from the Society “Shelter “Safe House””
  • Everyone will have a possibility to take part in excursions to get to know the National Library of Latvia, excursions will be held in the Latvian, Russian and English languages and they will be free of charge
  • Getting involved in the game tournaments organised by “Society of Free Interests of Youth”
  • Creative workshops for children and grown-ups - “Let’s Meet - the Youth of the World!” (“Iepazīstamies – pasaules jaunieši!”), where seven young persons from different countries will show, tell, create and guess funny exercises

Everyone Interested is Invited - Entrance Free!

The Information Day is organized by the Societies “Shelter “Safe House”” and “Cooperation Platform” within the project "Information Centre for Immigrants". Its goal is to show common, different and unifying aspects of the traditions of various nations, as well as to facilitate international integration. Follow the information also on www.integration.lv!

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com

 
 
                  

Volunteers from All Around Latvia are Invited to Participate in “Volunteer Leadership School” Training

10.04.2017. Society “Shelter “Safe House”” invites leaders, organisers of voluntary work and volunteers from all around Latvia to take part in “Volunteer Leadership School” training scheduled for 22 and 23 April this year at Rixwell Hotel, 8/10 Minsterejas Street in Riga. 

The training is aimed at the development of the ability of active volunteers to involve followers for the purpose of implementation of integration measures and strengthening the sustainability of volunteering in Latvia. 20 volunteers from the regions of Latvia and Riga, who are already involved or plan to become involved in activities related to multicultural environment in the future, will participate in the two-day long training course.

It will be possible to apply for the training until 13 April by way of completing an application http://ejuz.lv/lideruskola. All applicants will receive an individual approval until 15 April 2017.

Experienced specialists Gunta Kelle (Gunta Kelle) and Linda Uzulina (Linda Ūzuliņa) will introduce the theory and practice of the subject of the training to the participants of the event. Agenda<<

“Volunteer Leadership School” training is provided free of charge, transportation costs to the location of the event will be compensated to participants from the regions of Latvia, participants will be provided catering and accommodation as well.

Should you have any questions or require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact Volunteer Coordinator Lauma Busa (Lauma Buša), phone 26244773, e-mail: lauma.busa@gmail.com.

The training is organised under the Project “Information Centre for Immigrants” supported by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. The project is implemented by the Society “Shelter “Safe House””. The project is co-financed by the European Union. Grant agreement No. PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com

 

                  

The Third Meeting of NGO Dialogue Platform Organisations Has Taken Place

14.03.2017. On 9 March 2017, the NGO Dialogue Platform was held, an activity of the “Information Centre for Immigrants” project implemented by the Society “Shelter “Safe House””. It currently unites 11 non-governmental organisations, who focus on immigration and integration matters on a daily basis. The event was also attended by representatives of the Social Integration and Civil Society Development Division of the Social Integration Department of the Ministry of Culture and the Projects and Social Integration Division of the Department of Education, Culture and Sport of Riga City Council.

During the first part of the meeting, Agita Misāne, an adviser of the Society “Shelter “Safe House””, shared the information she obtained at the 3rd European Migration Forum, which was held on 2–3 March in Brussels. Anita Zorgenfreija, a Senior Referent of the Social Integration and Civil Society Development Division of the Social Integration Department of the Ministry of Culture, who also participated in the work of this forum, made some additions to her speech.

Ilze Meilande and Irina Vasiljeva from the Projects and Social Integration Division of the Department of Education, Culture and Sport of Riga City Council informed attendees about the latest news of the Riga City integration programme, in particular the latest projects of the Riga City Council – “Welcoming Cities” and “AMITIE CODE”, as well as  about tenders for social integration projects for non-governmental organisations.

Svetlana Djačkova, a representative of the Latvian Centre for Human Rights, and Inese Šūpule, a researcher of the Baltic Institute of Social Sciences, told about the studies, which are currently implemented in the organisations they represent.

Anita Īvāne from the society “Latvian Civic Alliance” informed about the tender of projects “For Growth and Development of NGOs of the Riga Region”, which plans to grant funding for projects to promote an intercultural dialogue and the development of civil society, the work of NGOs of national minorities in the Riga Planning Region and to improve integration of the Roma in the society. More about the tender: http://nvo.lv/lv/news/publication/izsludinats-projektu-konkurss-rigas-regiona-nvo-iz-8164/.

The second part of the NGO Dialogue Platform meeting was held in the premises of the society “Cultural and Education Centre “Miras””, where there is also a Muslim prayer hall. Imam Muhammad Giga and other representatives of the society shared their experiences and contemplations about integration problems of newcomers arriving from Muslim countries. The “Cultural and Education Centre “Miras”” is an active participant of the NGO Dialogue Platform.

Last year, two NGO Dialogue Platform meetings were held within the scope of the project “Information Centre for Immigrants” – on 9 September 2016 in Riga and on 24 November in Cesis. The purpose of such meetings was to strengthen civil society and to create a favourable and open environment for societies and foundations for work with immigrants.

Already since 18 May 2016, a sustainable coordination system for supporting of immigrants at the national level is developed by the Society “Shelter “Safe House”” in the framework of the project “Information Centre for Immigrants”. ICI operates as a one-stop agency, providing the information and support to the third-country citizens, giving professional support to service providers in all the local governments of Latvia, co-ordinates the research and availability of the services for various groups of immigrants. The project “Information Centre for Immigrants” co-financed by the European Union within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.Grant Agreement No.PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com


                  

Mother Language Day emphasizes cultural diversity and multilingualism

21.02.2017. On 21 February 2017, the 17th annual International Mother Language Day* was celebrated in the world. Already for the second year in a row, volunteers of the Society "Shelter "Safe House"" chose to spend this day together with the people from various countries to listen together to the sounds of diverse mother languages.

This year interested persons from Syria, India, Cuba, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and other countries of the world gathered together within the framework of the thematic event organized by the volunteers. Although more than ten different languages were heard during the event, this did not prevent the participants to hear and understand each other.

Photo gallery

"The participants at first used a large-scale map to show the ways they got from their homeland to Latvia or how they travelled to especially important journeys.  Besides, regions and countries where the mother language of each participant is spoken were marked out on the map", Lauma Busa (Lauma Buša), volunteer coordinator, tells about one of the creative workshops.

Afterwards, the participants were asked to choose and sing a song in their mother language to others. "Although at the beginning people were a little bit shy, already after a short while, encouraging each other, the participants sang the songs in Latvian, Tamil, Punjabi, Arabic, Russian, English, Tigrinya, Spanish and other languages. Although the lyrics often could not be understood by most of the participants, the melodies implied that many songs were about love, a family and other values important to the participants."

At the end of the event the participants joined together in a song in the Latvian language so it could help them understand Latvia better. After the event quite a few participants admitted that it was very nice to show others at least a small part of their culture and that, in fact, one of the few languages that can unite people regardless of their homeland, language and mentality, is music.

The activity was held within the framework of the project "Information Centre for Immigrants" which is implemented by the Society "Shelter "Safe House"" by support of the  Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. Since 18 May 2016 volunteers of the project have organized in total 17 informative and cohesive events in various regions of Latvia, including, World Refugee Day, culture evenings of various nations. Grant Agreement No.PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

*International Mother Language Day is annual observance held on 21 February, first announced by UNESCO in November 1999. Its goal is to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism (information from Wikipedia). 

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com


                  

Information and education activities are implemented for supporting immigrants in Latvia

30.01.2016. Aimed for ensuring support services to third-country nationals residing in Latvia, the Society “Shelter “Safe House”” organized various informative and educational activities in the framework of the project “Information Centre for Immigrants” (ICI), during seven months of the last year.

Customer consultants at contact points of ICI in Riga, Daugavpils, Jelgava, Cesis and Liepaja have provided in total 940 consultations on legal and social issues to third-country nationals. The most topical issues: migration issues, acquisition of Latvian language, employment, family issues and healthcare. Most frequently customers have chosen to receive consultations on site – 628 times, via phone – 254 times, whereas electronically – 58 times.  Free consultations were ensured in total to 522 third-country nationals from 46 countries, including: Russia, Ukraine, China, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Belarus, India, Pakistan and Eritrea. Also psychologist`s services are available in the project, which were provided to three persons, who received in total 19 consultations. 

The Society informs, that qualitative communication with customers of ICI was ensured by 18 interpreters/language experts with knowledge of the following languages: Arabic, Kurdish, Farsi, Dari, Chinese, Tigrinya, Pashto, French, Hindi, Urdu. Services of interpreters were actively used also by various state administration institutions, social services, crisis centres, education and healthcare institutions of several local governments, banks and employers. The service was ensured in total 265 times and for 231 third-country nationals.

Professional support for working with project target groups in the last year was provided to 87 specialists of various areas (social workers, managers of companies and NGOs, librarians, employees of orphan`s courts and education institutions), providing 100 consultations during a seven-month period.

Information on current events in the migration area, the asylum system and admission and integration issues of refugees and persons with the alternative status was provided to 159 representatives of local governments in seminars/discussions “Refugees in Latvia and in the World”, which were organized in Liepaja, Kuldiga, Aizkraukle, Rezekne, Saldus and Dobele. Meeting on site with asylum seekers gave the participants of seminars an opportunity to ask questions and receive answers about the daily life of asylum seekers before arriving in Latvia, and to learn about future plans of these people.

In order to strengthen the civil society and develop favourable and open environment for societies and foundations in working with immigrants, 11 non-governmental organizations, which are active in the area of integration, are currently involved in the NGOs Dialogue platform.

During the informative days in Liepaja and Riga, third-country nationals had an opportunity to learn about informative and practically usable resources.

A significant contribution in organization of activities was made by volunteers involved by ICI, who have implemented in total 16 informative and cohesion activities, including the World Refugee Day and cultural evenings of various nations.

The following activities were organized for raising of public awareness of the migration issue: six informative stories on LNT, articles in the press, two educational webinars on the topics “Introduction to Migration” and “Rights of Migrants”; international conference “Migration in Media: Fact, Message, Perception” was organized; design and content was updated for the website www.integration.lv.

Representatives of the Society “Shelter “Safe House”” indicate, that working on ensuring of ICI services will be continued in this year and, in addition to the existing activities, the work is currently underway on distribution of information in universities of Latvia and embassies of third countries in Latvia. The organization invites third-country nationals to continue being active and use resources available to them.

Free consultations are available via phone, electronically or on site at:

Riga office of the project “Information Centre for Immigrants”: +371 25565098, + 371 28612120

E-mail: konsultacijas@patverums-dm.lv

Skype: PatverumsDM

Address: society „Shelter„Safe House””, Lāčplēša Street 75 – 9/10, Riga

Additional information: +371 67898343 (I-V 9:00 – 17:00)

Regional contact points:

“Latgale” in Daugavpils: +371 25723222

“Zemgale” in Jelgava: +371 25719588

“Vidzeme” in Cesis: +371 25719266

“Kurzeme” in Liepaja: +371 25719118

Already since 18 May 2016, a sustainable coordination system for supporting of immigrants at the national level is developed by the Society “Shelter “Safe House”” in the framework of the project “Information Centre for Immigrants”. ICI operates as a one-stop agency, providing the information and support to the third-country citizens, giving professional support to service providers in all the local governments of Latvia, co-ordinates the research and availability of the services for various groups of immigrants. The project “Information Centre for Immigrants” co-financed by the European Union within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.Grant Agreement No.PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

*A third-country national is any person who is not a citizen of the member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com


                  

Reflection of the Migration Topic in Media Discussed at the Conference

09.12.2016.To share experience on reflection of the refugee crisis and integration issues in Sweden and Latvia, as well as to shape the public understanding of effects of the refugee crisis in Latvia, on 2 December, the Society “Shelter “Safe House”” organised the international conference “Migration in the Media: the Fact, the Message, the Perception” within the framework of the project “Information Centre for Immigrants”. This event gathered specialists of 100 different fields from state and non-governmental organisations, as well as students, representatives of mass media and other interested persons.

In the opening speech of the conference, Roberts Putnis, Head of the Media Policy Department of the Ministry of Culture, emphasised aspects of interaction of the society and media, as well as mentioned the duty imposed by laws of Latvia on the public media in integrating the society. “The legal regulatory framework of the public order stipulates that media are no just a space for public resonating. The legislator of Latvia took it a step further and — similarly to solutions of democratic societies close to us — assigned the public media to integrate the society. Likewise, a relevant legal norm stipulates a duty for the public media “to promote the participation of representatives of different groups of society in the development of programmes and content”, as well as “to ensure broadcasts for minorities. These work tasks of the media stipulated by law impose a huge load of responsibility on the content makers of these media, i.e. journalists and editors”. He indicated that the Ministry of Culture, in working in extensive working groups of professionals for a year and a half on the Media Policy Guidelines, which have just been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, had to conclude, among other things, that the professional quality of media, establishment of standards of ethics and education of media professionals were crucial priority directions, wherein the active political actions of the state was necessary. R.Putnis informed that it was planned to develop the new administration of the public media with institutionalised quality management and determination of accountability by 2018. “Looking to the future, I attempt to forecast that the media environment will not become any simpler; therefore, such kind of conversation as today is highly crucial and necessary”.

Based on the long-term experience of “Shelter “Safe House”” in work with third-country nationals, the head of the society Sandra Zalcmane expressed an opinion that the explicit majority of residents of Latvia had never encountered immigrants in real life, “hence, their opinion, often insecurity or even fear, is mostly shaped by media. Now in particular, the role of media in reflecting these topics has never been so important”. Likewise, in her opinion, the documentary fact, the media message and the audience perception are not symmetrical. 

The focus of the conference was the practical work of media in reflecting and analysing migration issues. Issues of the topics were examined from the academic perspective as well, while the journalist and documentary film-maker Sandijs Semjonovs shared his experience in working in “hot spots” across the world — Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Maja Dahl, representative of the Swedish Holding Arena Ide, in her plenary report provided an insight into the Swedish mass media system, as well as described the alternative world of Internet media, which often expresses racist opinions exactly in relation to migration. Likewise, the rapporteur described the fundamental principles of ethics of the Swedish media. The second part of the report was devoted to immigration in Sweden, where, just as elsewhere in Europe, the number of asylum seekers has rapidly increased over the recent years, which is perceived by many Swedes as a social threat. Sociological surveys suggest that the majority of Swedes considers that media hide the truth about the extent of immigration and dissemble the actual statistics of crimes committed by immigrants. The content analysis of publications, in turn, suggests that a neutral perspective is the most widespread in media; moreover, in the remaining part, negative attitude towards immigrants explicitly dominates over the positive reflection of immigrants. Over time, negative attitude becomes more frequent, while neutral attitude decreases. Likewise, the interest of Swedish media in the “refugee crisis” somewhere else is insignificant — it is perceived almost only as a Sweden’s problem. Last October, Swedish politicians agreed on determining stricter immigration requirements, enhancing border control and restricting family reunions of immigrants. Media have widely reflected these amendments to laws and — for the most part — supported non-critically. The voice of immigrants themselves in mass media is practically not heard.

Ilva Skulte, associated professor at Riga Stradiņš University, in her presentation examined the main media issues related to the reflection of migration in aspects such as selection of news to be published, choice of terminology to be used, framing of news — selection and layout of titles and illustrative materials, expression of journalists’ and experts’ emotions, honest admission of own ideological position, and choice of commentators and interviewed experts.

The conference ended with a panel discussion of rapporteurs under the lead of Roberts Putnis. Experts shared thoughts on the point of their work, responsibility of media and the fact whether journalists can and need to distance themselves from the heroes of the materials prepared by them.

The project “Information Centre for Immigrants” co-financed by the European Union within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.Grant Agreement No.PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, phone: 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com


                  

International Conference “Migration in the Media: the Fact, the Message, the Perception” will Take Place in Riga

21.11.2016. On 2 December 2016, at 10:00–15:30, international conference “Migration in the Media: the Fact, the Message, the Perception” will take place in Riga, at the “Tallink Hotel Riga”, Elizabetes Street 24. The conference is organized by the society “Shelter “Safe House”” within the framework of the project “Information Centre for Immigrants”.

The objective of the conference is to share the experiences of reflecting the refugee crisis and the issue of integration in Sweden and Latvia and raising public awareness of the impact of the refugee crisis in Latvia.

Topics:

- practical work of the media when reflecting the migration issues;

- migration topic in the media: issues;

- stories of about the experience gained while working at ‘hot spots’.

Representatives of the Ministry of Culture, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), RSU, journalists-practitioners, as well as Swedish experts from Arena IDEA group will take part in the conference.

Agenda<< of “Migration in the Media: the Fact, the Message, the Perception”

To apply for participation in the conference, please register (click the link below) by November 28: https://goo.gl/forms/izQu2Gbj45rmJDg02

For additional information, please contact: Gunta Vīksne, Project Manager, phone: 29180450, e-mail: gunta.viksne@gmail.com

The project “Information Centre for Immigrants” co-financed by the European Union within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.Grant Agreement No.PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, phone: 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com


                  

You are invited to apply for a seminar on migration in Dobele!

27.10.2016. Within the project "Information Centre for Immigrants", Society "Shelter "Safe House"" organizes a seminar - discussion "Refugees in Latvia and in the world" on November 25, at Brīvības Street 7, Dobele.

The purpose of the seminar is to extend the knowledge of specialists of various municipal institutions, population of the municipalities, and the society in general on current migration processes, the asylum system, acceptance and integration of refugees and persons having acquired an alternative status in Latvia.

The speakers of the seminar will be experienced professionals: Sandra Zalcmane - Head of society "Shelter "Safe House""/ social worker, Alvis Šķenders - lawyer of society "Shelter "Safe House""/ customer consultant, and Gita Miruškina – lawyer of society "Shelter "Safe House""/customer consultant.

Topics of the seminar: society "Shelter "Safe House"" experience in working with immigrants, including asylum seekers, refugees and persons having acquired an alternative status; activities implemented and services available within the framework of the project "Information Centre for Immigrants"; an overview of the asylum system in Latvia; an insight into the terminology - a third-country national, a refugee, a person having acquired an alternative status, an immigrant having received a temporary residence permit, an immigrant having received a permanent residence permit; an overview of the different client groups - asylum seekers, refugees, persons having acquired an alternative status, non-accompanied minor asylum seekers; rights and duties of the asylum seekers, refugees and persons having acquired an alternative status; availability of employment, social security, and education to refugees; socio-economic inclusion of refugees: a current situation and an action plan for displacement of persons which need international protection and their acceptance in Latvia; availability of translation services and criteria for their provision. A meeting with the target group is planned during the discussion part of the programme.

Additional information: Gunita Bērza, Head of the regional contact point "Zemgale" of the "Information Centre for Immigrants", mob. phone: +371 25719588, e-mail: ici.jelgava@gmail.com

Seminars-discussions "Refugees in Latvia and in the World" were held within the framework of the project since May of this year in four cities - Liepāja, Kuldīga, Aizkraukle, Rēzekne, and they have been attended by ~120 employees of the municipal authorities and the State Employment Agency from 23 municipalities of Latvia, including municipality of Liepāja, Nīca, Kuldīga, Brocēni, Alsunga, Ventspils, Rucava, Pāvilosta, Balvi, Rēzekne, Daugavpils, Cibla, Baltinava, Ludza, Zilupe, Krāslava, Aglona, Viļāni, Viļaka, Aizkraukle, Pļaviņas, Jaunjelgava, Krustpils.

The project “Information Centre for Immigrants” co-financed by the European Union within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.Grant Agreement No.PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, phone: 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com


                  

New IT tools on integration in Latvia

28.09.2016. Society "Shelter "Safe House"" which has been implementing the project "Information Centre for Immigrants" (ICI) since May 18 informs of the availability of new IT tools for integration activities in Latvia.

As of today, an updated integration website - www.integration.lv - in terms of design and content is publicly available. The purpose of the website is to compile the information on services and possibilities available to the third-country nationals, as well as for society in general, including governmental and non-governmental organizations which are working with this target group. The specialists of the Society point out that the website content in future will be provided by compiling and publishing information on integration activities sent by organizations, and by updating already existing information. In future, useful materials developed by those who implement the projects of the European Third-Country Nationals Integration Funds will also be available, as well as informative materials prepared within the framework of the Shelter, migration and integration fund.

Apart from the above information resource, a possibility to receive the latest information on the services and activities available within the framework of the project ICI also on smart phones is offered to every visitor of the Society and ICI regional contact points in Liepāja, Jelgava, Cēsis and Dauavpils.

In order to inform the clients, the Society started to use iBeacon developed by Apple which sends specific news to the smart phone users who have installed a KNOQ app with an enabled data transmitter Bluetooth. iBeacon ensures reception of signals and information up to a range of 70 meters - thus, information can be received by each interested person already approaching the address.

Each user of the free KNOQ app receives information on his/her smart phone in the language installed on his/her mobile phone - thus, for example, the information received by a foreigner who attends the office of the "Shelter "Safe House" at Lacplesa Street 75 - 9/10 or the ICI contact points becomes a personal and customized guide for him/her.

TOP 10 countries which citizens have visited and received consultations in ICI the most during the period of four months are Russia, Syria, Ukraine, Iraq, India, Afghanistan, China, the United States of America, Pakistan and Eritrea.

At present, the KNOQ app functions already in 20 countries: Bulgaria, Canada, Canary Islands, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Puerto Rico, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, Great Britain. The mission of KNOQ is to make the latest technologies available to people and to make environment more comfortable and responsive by help of IT solutions.

In Latvia, KNOQ is available in more than 500 places - supermarkets Maxima, Riga Technical University, trade centre Spice and Spice Home, the National Library of Latvia, etc.

Aleksejs Jeļisejevs, a KNOQ representative, points out that Society "Shelter "Safe House"" is the first non-governmental organization in Latvia which has started using this innovative tool for providing information.

KNOQ app free download:    AppStore   Google play

The project “Information Centre for Immigrants” co-financed by the European Union within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.Grant Agreement No.PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

*A third-country national is any person who is not a citizen of the member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, phone: 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com


                  

First Seminar on Migration Finished in Dagda

31.08.2016. On August 25 and 26 the first of ten seminars about work with third country nationals for interprofessional groups took place. It was organized by NGO “Shelter “Safe House”” within the project “Information Centre for Immigrants”. Aim of the seminar – improving intercultural communication skills and knowledge about integration of third country nationals including asylum seekers and persons granted refugee or subsidiary protection status. Such seminars promote development of interdisciplinary and interinstitutional team building.

Professionals from Dagda Municipality, Tourism Information Center, Indra Primary School, Dagda Belorussian organisation “Verbica”, Krāslava Municipality, State Employment Agnecy, State Fire and Rescue Service of Latvia, Red Cross Latvia, NGO “Invalīdu brālība “Nema””.

“Refugees or persons granted subsidiary protection status are one of the target groups of State Employment Agency. In this seminar I learned new things about legal and social matters which will come in handy working with people with different mentality, life experience and faith” says Irina Beitāne, Dagda coordinating expert in project “Atbalsts ilgstošajiem bezdarbniekiem” (Support to long-term unemployed), State Employment Agencty, Krāslava branch. 

Oksana Rutka, Dagda Tourism Information Center manager believes the seminar was very useful to improve intercultural communication skills and is grateful to moderators for interesting methods which helped improve understanding about reception and integration of third country nationals in Latvia. “I got theoretical knowledge. In the same time I developed my skills to put the knowledge to every-day practice. In this training I expanded my view on migration, integration and cultural diversity. In future communication with third country nationals I will no longer be affected by the stereotypes and myths I had before.”

Lecturers of NGO “Shelter “Safe House”” Gita Miruškina, Alvis Šķenders, Sandra Zalcmane moderated the two-day seminar on such topics as terminology, immigration to Latvia, integration history, stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, EU and immigrant integration, EU immigration policy, migrants rights and obligations internationally and in Latvia, intercultural communication, refugees in Latvia, resources for integration, assistance to vulnerable groups of third country nationals etc. Seminar also focused on culture differences and diversity management.

The project “Information Centre for Immigrants” co-financed by the European Union within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.Grant Agreement No.PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, phone: 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com

 

                   

Information Day at Vērmane Garden Park on Saturday, August 27!

19.08.2016. To inform third country nationals* residing in Latvia regarding the informative integration resources available to them, as well as to introduce them to Latvian culture and traditions, the Information Day with a Vacancy Carousel and a concert featuring various ethnic communities will be held on August27 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Vērmane Garden Park, Riga, within the framework of the Project “Information Centre for Immigrants”.

During the Information Day, all interested persons, including representatives of various ethnic groups, will have a possibility to find out about the labour market opportunities and services provided by the governmental authorities and civic society organizations, to understand their operation, as well as to engage in various support activities.

The State Employment Agency by help of its activity “Vacancy Carousel” will provide the information on the employment possibilities for the third country nationals, while the representatives of Riga City Council Welfare Department will tell about the possibilities of various social services and support. A number of merchants and employers will also take part in the event presenting job offers of their companies and current vacancies. The practitioners of the Society “Shelter “Safe House”” will also provide free consultations on social and legal issues to the participants of the Information Day.

During the Information Day, there will be a possibility to participate in a number of activity studios such as educational interactive activities, creative workshops, to find out the secret of henna drawings and also to get one, to play attractive games, etc.

All participants who attend all booths and participate in the activities provided there will be given surprise gifts at the information booth!

At 2:00 p.m., after the Information Day and the Vacancy Carousel, everybody is welcome to a concert, during which there will be a possibility to get to know the harvest festival traditions of 15 various ethnic groups, to listen to songs and to watch dances. The following ethnic groups will be represented in the concert – Georgians, Bashkirs, Tatars, Kazakhs, Poles, Russians, Jews, Ukrainians, Uzbeks, Armenians, Buryats, Chinese, Italians, Germans and Latvians.

The Information Day is organized by the societies "Shelter "Safe House"" and "Sadarbības platforma" within the project "Information Centre for Immigrants". Its goal is to show common, different and unifying aspects of the traditions of various nations, as well as to show a possibility and base for international integration. The first Information Day was held on August 6 at Jūrmlas Park, Liepāja.

Come and enjoy the day with us! :)

The project “Information Centre for Immigrants” co-financed by the European Union within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.Grant Agreement No.PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

*A third-country national is any person who is not a citizen of the member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, phone: 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com

 

                   

Information Day in Liepāja on Saturday, August 6!

03.08.2016. To inform third country nationals* residing in Latvia regarding the informative integration resources available to them, as well as to introduce them to Latvian culture and traditions, there will be the first Information Day held on August 6 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Liepāja, at Piejūras Park near the Swan Pond within the framework of the project "Information Centre for Immigrants".

There will be a possibility to meet lively participants of Liepāja female folklore group "Atstaukas", children and youth society "Liepāja New Hawks", and organizations of different ethnic groups - we`ll meet Jewish society "Goral", Liepāja Russian community "Posolon", Byelorussian community "Mara", Poles, Germans and Lithuanians of Liepāja. There will be also guests from Saldus - Russian community ensemble "Lira" which will both fellowship with others and delight people with its bright songs and costumes. During the course of the day, everybody will have a possibility to enjoy also Byelorussian and Polish songs, as well as to listen to Liepāja Russian community concert.

Each interested person will be able to receive practical information and consultations regarding social and legal matters from the specialists at the booth of "Shelter "Safe House"". The State Employment Agency will inform on the possibilities of employment for the third country nationals, while the representatives from "Kurzeme Business Incubator" will tell about the possibilities to develop successful business.

There will be a possibility to take part also in a number of activities - creative workshops during the Information Day. The society "Latvian Farmers` Federation" will ask to participate in competitions with degustations, there will be a possibility to find out a henna drawing secret and to get such a drawing at the workshop of society "Collaboration Platform". It will be interesting to meet Kuldīga volley-ball players from the society "K-Volejs", as well as to participate in a drawing studio and in a number of various fun sports activities.

All participants who attend all booth and participate in the activities provided there will be given surprise gifts at the information booth!

The Information Day is organized by the societies "Shelter "Safe House"" and "Sadarbības platforma" within the project "Information Centre for Immigrants". Its goal is to show common, different and unifying aspects of the traditions of various nations, as well as to show a possibility and base for international integration.

Come and enjoy the day with us! :)

The project “Information Centre for Immigrants” co-financed by the European Union within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.Grant Agreement No.PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

*A third-country national is any person who is not a citizen of the member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, phone: 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com


                  

Information Center for Immigrants gave 150 consultations all over Latvia

12.07.2016. The receipt and re-registration of residence permits, family reunion, proof of means of living, employment and commencement of business activity in Latvia are the most topical questions in which the consultants of clients of the Information Centre for Immigrants (ICI) project provided free consultations to 97 third-country* citizens from 20 states.

By 30 June of this year, 153 consultations had been provided as a whole in Riga and four regions – Kurzeme, Zemgale, Vidzeme, and Latgale. TOP-5 of the states the citizens of which most often applied for help are Ukraine, Russia, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.

To ensure mutual communication between the service providers and the third-country citizens, including asylum seekers, refugees and persons with an alternative status, the interpreting service, available within ICI, in the languages that are rare in Latvia was used by Latvian Red Cross, State Employment Agency, medical and local government institutions, and clients themselves. The most popular languages for which interpreters were needed most often were: Arabic, Kurdish, and Dari.

The society`s specialists say that in ICI there are 11 interpreters, who can interpret in Arabic, Pashto, Dari, Farsi, Turkish, Kurdish, Urdu, Tigrinya, Hindi, Chinese, and French.

The long-term coordination system to support immigrants at the national level has existed in Latvia within the Information Centre for Immigrants project already since 18 May 2016. ICI operates as a one-stop agency, providing the information and support to the third-country citizens, giving professional support to service providers in all the local governments of Latvia, co-ordinates the research and availability of the services for various groups of immigrants.

The project is implemented by the society "Shelter "Safe House"" within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. The project is co-financed by the European Union. The budget of the project is EUR 939,944.15 of which EUR 704,995.61 is co-financed by the European Union and EUR 234,998.54 — by the state budget. ~43% of the project financing is allocated for providing interpreting services. Grant Agreement No.PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

*A third-country national is any person who is not a citizen of the member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, phone: 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com

 

                 

Information Centre for Immigrants is open in Riga and four Latvian regions

08.06.2016. With the purpose to ensure a sustainable coordination system to support immigrants at the national level, the Information Centre for Immigrants (ICI) is open in Riga and four centres of the Latvian regions - Daugavpils, Jelgava, Cēsis and Liepāja, the operation of which is ensured by the society "Shelter "Safe House"" within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Foundation project.

The representatives of the organization informs that ICI will operate as a one stop agency providing information and support to the third-country citizens*, including translation services to/from such rare languages in Latvia as Arabic, Kurdish, Farsi, Dari, Tigrinya, Uzbek, Pashto, etc. to the clients, service providers and people of Latvia.

The ICI office in Riga will operate as the main coordination centre in Latvia dealing with the particular situations of the clients, as well as providing support to the regional ICIs regarding service provision, ensuring professional support to the service providers in all local governments of Latvia, coordinating the identification of services and availability for various immigrant groups.

In order to use free of charge consultations (regarding employment, education, social and legal assistance, and other issues), as well as translation services, ICI invites the third-country citizens to use services provided by the professional consultants by phone, e-mail and in person:

ICI Riga office:

info lines: +371 25565098, + 371 28612120

e-mail: konsultacijas@patverums-dm.lv

Skype: PatverumsDM

address: society "Shelter "Safe House"", Lacplesa Street 75 – 9/10, Riga

additional information: +371 67898343

ICI regional focal point "Latgale” in Daugavpils:

info line: +371 25723222

e-mail: ici.daugavpils@gmail.com

address: Kr.Valdemara Street 13, Daugavpils

ICI regional focal point "Zemgale” in Jelgava:

info line: +371 25719588

e-mail: ici.jelgava@gmail.com

address: Liela Street 15-2, Jelgava

ICI regional focal point "Vidzeme” in Cēsis:

info line: +371 25719266

e-mail: ici.cesis@gmail.com

address: Riga Street 23, Cēsis

ICI regional focal point "Kurzeme” in Liepāja:

info line: +371 25719118

e-mail: ici.liepaja@gmail.com

address: Klaipedas Street 96A, Liepāja

It is planned to enlarge availability of information for the immigrants who have received the right to reside in Latvia through the ICI Riga office and regional focal points by ensuring a consultant, psychological assistance, an info line, translation services. Within the framework of the project, cross-cultural communication training will be organized for the specialists of various fields, a volunteer network will be developed and coordinated, experience exchange activities will be organized, website www.integration.lv will be developed, and information for society will be provided on a regular basis. The project Information Centre for Immigrants will last from 18 May 2016 to 31 December 2017.

The project is implemented by the society "Shelter "Safe House"" within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. The project is co-financed by the European Union. The budget of the project is EUR 939,944.15 of which EUR 704,995.61 is co-financed by the European Union and EUR 234,998.54 — by the state budget. ~43% of the project financing is allocated for providing interpreting services. Grant Agreement No.PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

*A third-country national is any person who is not a citizen of the member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, phone: 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com


                 

Agreement on the implementation of the project "Information Centre for Immigrants" has been entered into

26.05.2016. On 18 May 2016, the Ministry of Culture and the Society “Shelter “Safe House”” entered into an agreement envisaging the establishment and provision of the Information Centre for Immigrants by the Society from 18 May 2016 to 31 December 2017. The main target group of the project is the third-country citizens*, including refugees, persons with an alternative status and asylum seekers, who legally reside within the territory of Latvia.

It has been planned that the Information Centre for Immigrants will be available in Riga and the four regions of Latvia, and it will operate as a one stop agency by providing information and support to the clients, service providers and people of Latvia, including interpreting services for the rarer languages in Latvia such as Arabic, Kurdish, Farsi, Dari, Tigrinya, Uzbek, Pashto, etc. The agreement envisages that ~43% of the project financing is allocated for providing interpreting services.

Within the framework of the project, training in the communication among various cultures will be organized for the training specialists, a volunteer network will be developed and coordinated, experience exchange activities will be organized, and information for the society will be provided on a regular basis.

The project is implemented by the society "Shelter "Safe House"" within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. The project is co-financed by the European Union. The budget of the project is EUR 939,944.15 of which EUR 704,995.61 is co-financed by the European Union and EUR 234,998.54 — by the state budget. Grant Agreement No.PMIF/12/2016/1/1.

*A third-country national is any person who is not a citizen of the member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, phone: 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com


Seminar in Dagda | Patvērums Drošā Māja
Seminar in Dagda
Information Day in Liepāja August 6 | Patvērums Drošā Māja
Information Day in Liepāja, August 6
Volunter meeting 12.07. | Patvērums Drošā Māja
Volunter meeting, 12.07.
Coversation Festival Lampa | Patvērums Drošā Māja
Coversation Festival Lampa
World Refugee Day 20 June | Patvērums Drošā Māja
World Refugee Day, 20 June