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 Newcomers

Information Centre For Newcomers Open Afternoons Will Take Place in All Regions of Latvia

Ievietots: 19.11.2019

   

“This time the common theme of Open Afternoons of the Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN) is networking and inter-cultural relations, so that visitors can make mutual acquaintance, enjoy the inter-cultural environment and participate in various activities and games that promote inter-cultural relations, and receive useful information from our customer consultants and cooperation partners”, tells Gunta Viksne (Gunta Vīksne), Head of the Information Centre for Newcomers. Events will take place in all regions of Latvia from 19 November to 4 December - in Ventspils, Cesis, Daugavpils, Jelgava and Riga.

Students and newcomers, who are third country nationals, along with representatives of various societies representing national minorities are especially welcome.

Open Days calendar:

Ventspils

Venue: Saules Street 19, Ventspils (on the premises of Investment and Development Agency of Latvia)

Time: 19 November, from 15:00 to 18:00

Topics: Employment of Foreigners in Latvia, Legislative Amendments. During the event an ICN customer consultant will provide legal consultations.

Organisations participating in the event: the Information Centre for Newcomers, the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, Ventspils Branch of the State Employment Agency, Ventspils Business Incubator of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia, Ventspils Business Support Centre, LIVIN Ventspils Residence.

For additional information: 25719118, ici.liepaja@integration.lv

Cesis

Venue: Rigas Street 17, Cesis (Italian Restaurant “Bekko”)

Time: 22 November, from 16:00 to 19:00

Topics: Using the living library we will tell the inhabitants of Cesis, how many representatives of various cultures live side by side in the small Latvian town of Cesis. Several experience stories explaining the reasons their authors chose Latvia as their domicile will be presented in the course of the evening. We will enjoy flavours of various countries too.

For additional information: 25719266, ici.cesis@integration.lv

Daugavpils

Venue: Mihoelsa Street 7 - 1a, Daugavpils

Time: 26 November, from 16:00 to 19:00

Topics: Services and cooperation possibilities offered by the Information Centre for Newcomers in Daugavpils and the Society “ERFOLG”; inter-cultural games; a musical performance “The Common in the Culture of Different Nations”. During the event an ICN customer consultant will provide free consultations.

For additional information: 25723222, ici.daugavpils@integration.lv

Jelgava

Venue: Skolotaju Street 8, Room 24, Jelgava (Society Integration Commission building)

Time: 28 November, from 17:00 to 20:00

Topics: Making mutual acquaintance in an inter-cultural environment; fairy tales, poetry, songs of different nations; inclusion of Latvian language in everyday life and strengthening of the belonging to the Latvian nation; culture and life of Jews in Latvia. During the event an ICN customer consultant will provide free consultations.

For additional information: 25719588, ici.jelgava@integration.lv

Riga

Venue: Lāčplēša Street 75 – 1B, Riga

Time: 4 December, from 16:00 to 20:00

Topics: The synergy between people of different nationalities and their cultures intertwined in a dance, the sound of tabla, drawings and inter-cultural cooperation games. During the event an ICN customer consultant will provide free consultations.

For additional information: 29180450, ici.riga@integration.lv

Welcome!

ICN began its work as a one-stop-agency on 18 May 2016. ICN Riga office operates as a coordinating centre in Latvia. It provides assistance in dealing with problems of a particular customer and supports the ICN focal points/branches in the regions (in Cesis, Jelgava, Liepaja and Daugavpils) with regard to provision of services, ensures professional support to service providers in all municipalities in Latvia, coordinates awareness and availability of services to various groups of immigrants.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01. 

Information prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Multimedia Communications Specialist, phone 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@integration.lv

A seminar on successful practices of integration programmes in different countries will be held

Ievietots: 11.10.2019

   

In order to exchange experience with institutions and organisations working in the area of integration, as well as to ensure effective cooperation between institutions, on October 24 the Information Centre for Newcomers organises a seminar “Successful practices of integration programmes in different countries”. 

During the seminar its participants will be provided with the possibility to learn about the experiences obtained by field experts in Latvia and the Baltics.

Venue: Lāčplēša Street 75 – 1B, Riga

Time: October 24, from 10:30 to 14:30

Application for the seminar: until 22 October 2019. The number of participants of the seminar is limited.    

Application form for participants<<

Topics of the seminar:

Diversity of integration programmes, latest trends (experience)

Experience of the Riga Municipality when implementing integration programmes: success and challenges

Lecturers of the seminar:

Gunta Vīksne, head of the Information Centre for Newcomers

Karolis Žibas, expert of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UHNCR)

Irina Vasiļjeva, manager of Public Integration Projects of the Projects and Social Integration Division of the Department of Education, Culture and Sport of Riga City Council

Additional information on the seminar: tel. 67898343, 29180450 e-mail: info@integration.lv

After the event, it is possible to get a certificate about participation in the seminar.

ICN began its work as a one-stop-agency on 18 May 2016. ICN Riga office operates as a coordinating centre in Latvia. It provides assistance in dealing with problems of a particular customer and supports the ICN focal points/branches in the regions (in Cesis, Jelgava, Liepaja and Daugavpils) with regard to provision of services, ensures professional support to service providers in all municipalities in Latvia, coordinates awareness and availability of services to various groups of immigrants.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

The Information Centre for Newcomers welcomes foreigners to use the free services available to them

Ievietots: 25.09.2019

   

“Migration matters, including receiving and extension of residence permits, employment and business opportunities in Latvia, health care, education and family reunification matters are the most popular topics of consultations among the foreigners, who contact our specialists for consultations,” Gunta Vīksne, the Head of the Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN) informs.

“In almost nine months of this year we have provided information and support to 642 foreign nationals* from 49 countries outside the European Union. Overall, this year we have provided 844 consultations, of which 814 in person, on different legal, education and employment matters.”

She indicates that until now nationals of India, China, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Belarus required most support. “People, who received the first consultation, often contact us for assistance again.”

In order to ensure high quality communication with ICN customers, this year the centre has 26 translators and language specialists with knowledge of 14 languages: Arabic, Kurdish, Dari, Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Turkish, Hindi, Tigrinya, Georgian, Sorani, Mongolian and Uzbek.

ICN invites to get free consultations by phone, e-mail or in person – applying for a visit in advance (this can be done on the website: www.integration.lv):

ICN Riga office:

Information lines: +371 25565098, + 371 28612120

E-mail: konsultacijas@integration.lv

Skype: PatverumsDM

Address: Lacplesa Street 75 – 1B, Riga

Additional information: +371 67898343

ICN regional focal point “Latgale” in Daugavpils:

Information line: +371 25723222

E-mail: ici.daugavpils@integration.lv

ICN regional focal point “Zemgale” in Jelgava:

Information line: +371 25719588

E-mail: ici.jelgava@integration.lv

ICN regional focal point “Vidzeme” in Cēsis:

Information line: +371 25719266

E-mail: ici.cesis@integration.lv

ICN regional focal point “Kurzeme” in Liepāja:

Information line: +371 25719118

E-mail: ici.liepaja@integration.lv

ICN began its work as a one-stop-agency on 18 May 2016. ICN Riga office operates as a coordinating centre in Latvia. It provides assistance in dealing with problems of a particular customer and supports the ICN focal points/branches in the regions (in Cesis, Jelgava, Liepaja and Daugavpils) with regard to provision of services, ensures professional support to service providers in all municipalities in Latvia, coordinates awareness and availability of services to various groups of immigrants.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

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

Information prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Multimedia Communications Specialist, phone 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@integration.lv

 

Invitation to the meeting of the Intersectoral Dialogue Platform on 29 August

Ievietots: 26.08.2019

   

In order to plan further work of the Intersectoral Dialogue Platform, a monthly meeting will take place on 29 August at 15.00 in the premises of the Information Centre for Newcomers (Lāčplēša Street 75 - 1B). The Head of the Platform Sigita Zankovska-Odina (Sigita Zankovska Odiņa) informs, that it is scheduled on the agenda of the meeting to discuss topicalities of organizations involved in the Platform, issues that would be important to raise in the future will be identified, and also the Platform members will consider together, whether any joint action or involvement is necessary at the moment (for example, in a project or policy development implemented by any organization).

The aim of the Intersectoral Dialogue Platform is to promote practical cooperation and discussions among institutions and organizations that operate in the field of newcomers integration in Latvia. Since January 2018 a total of 51 participant has been involved in the Dialogue platform, including 26 non-governmental organisations and societies, 12 national and 9 local government authorities, along with 4 private organisations.

“The Intersectoral Dialogue Platform is a place not only for discussing topical issues in the field of newcomers integration, but also for coordination of joint action to change something and promote positive changes,” emphasizes the Head of the Platform Sigita Zankovska-Odina. “Therefore, we are always focused on cooperation, open for ideas and new members of the Platform!” If you also wish to get involved in the Intersectoral Dialogue Platform – you are welcome to contact us by sending a message to: ici.riga@integration.lv

S. Zankovska-Odina indicates, that over the course of one and a half years the Platform members have raised such topics as public attitude to newcomers and the role and influence of media in the formation of such attitude, employment and support system of newcomers in Latvia, and also have gained an insight into the movement “Dažādībā ir spēks!” (“In Diversity Lies Our Strength!”) and the meaning of Ramadan in Muslims` life. The Platform`s member organizations also had a chance to become acquainted with the work of ICI regional contact points and activities planned by other NGOs in the field of integration of newcomers. To emphasise the main challenges and problem issues in the field of newcomers integration, the Platform`s member organizations have prepared a joint letter to the Saeima.  

ICN began its work as a one-stop-agency on 18 May 2016. ICN Riga office operates as a coordinating centre in Latvia. It provides assistance in dealing with problems of a particular customer and supports the ICN focal points/branches in the regions (in Cesis, Jelgava, Liepaja and Daugavpils) with regard to provision of services, ensures professional support to service providers in all municipalities in Latvia, coordinates awareness and availability of services to various groups of immigrants. The centre has provided support to 3832 foreigners from 92 countries during the time of its existence, and provided 5585 consultations in total.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

Information prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Multimedia Communications Specialist, phone 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@integration.lv

Information Centre For Newcomers Has Provided Over 600 Free Consultations to Foreigners During the Half-Year

Ievietots: 30.07.2019

   

The one-stop agency – Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN) – has provided information and support to 402 foreign citizens*, who arrived from 41 country outside the European Union, including 67 persons under international protection – 41 asylum seeker, 12 persons with the status of a fugitive and 14 persons, who received the status of a person under subsidiary protection, from 2 January to 30 June of this year in the territory of Latvia. Support was also provided to specialists from different areas, who work with this target group.

Most often support was provided to newcomers from Russia, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Syria, China and Uzbekistan.

“The most common subjects of consultation are employment, business opportunities in Latvia, family reunification and migration issues, including receiving and renewal of residence permits, similar to the last year. Often customers are looking for advice in matters related to acquiring education too,” remarks the Head of ICN Gunta Viksne (Gunta Vīksne), who emphasises that all ICN services are provided to its customers free of charge. Free psychologist’s services are also offered at the centre and this year five customers have made use of them – 22 sessions have been conducted in total.

ICN Interpreter Coordinator Sandra Spudina (Sandra Spudiņa) informs that since January of the last year in order to ensure high quality communication with customers ICN collaborates with 29 interpreters and language specialists with knowledge of 16 languages: Arabic, Kurdish, Dari, Farsi, Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Turkish, Hindi, Urdu, Tigrinya, Sorani, Georgian, Bengali, Tamil and Chakma. “During the first six months of this year interpretation services were provided 366 times. Interpretation services were also provided to specialists working with foreigners, in addition to ensuring communication with the centre`s advisers, who consult customers. She mentions that for the purposes of communication with customers interpretation services were most frequently provided to medical staff in hospitals, polyclinics, to the State Employment Agency, banks, Riga Social Service, employers, the Latvian Centre for Human Rights, the organisation “Gribu palīdzēt bēgļiem” (I Want to Help Refugees), as well as to social workers and social mentors of the Latvian Red Cross.

This year considerable assistance in organising ICN activities has been provided by 22 volunteers from six countries. During the six months volunteers have organised 12 non-formal education and voluntary initiative activities, for example, White Tablecloth Celebration, International Mother Language Day, in cooperation with various higher education institutions workshops of ideas were organised with the participation of foreign students. All in all 211 persons from 20 countries — Latvia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, USA, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Syria, Russia, Chile, Israel, Belarus, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Azerbaijan, China, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Iran, Germany and Italy — have participated in events organised by volunteers.

Regular meetings of the Inter-Sectoral Dialogue platform are organised to ensure coordination of collaboration between institutions in the matters of integration. Organisations from the private sector are also involved in addition to national, local government authorities and non-governmental organisations. Its head Sigita Zankovska-Odina (Sigita Zankovska-Odiņa) informs that since January 2018 a total of 51 participant has been involved in the Dialogue platform, including 26 non-governmental organisations and societies, 12 national and 9 local government authorities, along with 4 private organisations.

“The fact that we are constantly joined by new participants proves that the Inter-Sectoral Dialogue platform is important and needed – during the first six months of this year we have been joined by 14 organisations. She indicates that five meetings have been held this year bringing to the forefront such subjects as “Public Attitude Towards Newcomers” and “The Role and Impact of Mass Media on It”. “We analysed jointly the results of the survey “The Opinion of the Latvian Public about Ethnic Relations in Latvia” and also gained an insight in the movement “Dažādībā ir spēks!” (In Diversity Lies Our Strength!) and the meaning of Ramadan in Muslims` lives”. During meetings of the platform`s member organisations we have also ensured a possibility to learn about the work of ICN regional contact points and activities planned by other NGOs in the field of integration of newcomers. To emphasise the main challenges and problems in the field of newcomer integration we have jointly prepared and submitted a joint letter to Saeima”.

ICN began its work as a one-stop-agency on 18 May 2016. ICN Riga office operates as a coordinating centre in Latvia. It provides assistance in dealing with problems of a particular customer and supports the ICN focal points/branches in the regions (in Cesis, Jelgava, Liepaja and Daugavpils) with regard to provision of services, ensures professional support to service providers in all municipalities in Latvia, coordinates awareness and availability of services to various groups of immigrants.

The centre has provided support to 3832 foreigners from 92 countries during the time of its existence, and provided 5585 consultations in total.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

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

Information prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Multimedia Communications Specialist, phone 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@integration.lv

 

The Information Centre for Newcomers invites you to celebrate the Summer Solstice together!

Ievietots: 18.06.2019

   

To acquaint the foreigners residing in Latvia with the culture of our country and Latvian traditions, the Information Centre for Newcomers organises celebration of the Summer Solstice on 20 June of this year, starting from 18:30 – 21:00, at Lāčplēša Street 75 – 1B, in Riga.

During the event, we will introduce participants to the Summer Solstice traditions, will have plays and dances together with guests, will sing songs and learn to make Latvian national bookmarks at creative workshops, and will also enjoy Latvian treats!

Also, we will discuss the current topics and generate future cooperation opportunities together with representatives of member organizations of the Cross-Sectoral Dialogue Platform.   

Come and celebrate together with us! :)

ICN began its work as a one-stop-agency on 18 May 2016. ICN Riga office operates as a coordinating centre in Latvia. It provides assistance in dealing with problems of a particular customer and supports the ICN focal points/branches in the regions (in Cesis, Jelgava, Liepaja and Daugavpils) with regard to provision of services, ensures professional support to service providers in all municipalities in Latvia, coordinates awareness and availability of services to various groups of immigrants.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

Information Centre for Newcomers organises the Open Door Days in all regions of Latvia

Ievietots: 09.05.2019

   

In order to acquaint wider public with the operation and services provided by the Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN), as well as promote the integration resources available for the foreigners ICN together with the cooperation partners – various state, municipal institutions and non-governmental organisations – organises Open Door Days in Rēzekne, Jelgava, Liepāja, Riga and Cēsis from May 16 until June 5.

Calendar of the Open Door Days:

Rēzekne

Time: May 16, 14:00 - 17:00
Venue: Atbrīvošanas aleja 115 (Rēzekne Academy of Technologies), Rēzekne

Topics of the Open Door Day: Possibilities to learn Latvian; Library resources;Game "Tell Your Story"

For additional information:  25723222, ici.daugavpils@integration.lv

Jelgava

Time: May 22, 11:00 - 14:00
Venue: Skolotāju Street 8 (Society Integration Commission), Jelgava

Topics of the Open Door Day: Language and advanced technologies; Search for culture in diversity; Find in libr@ry 

For additional information: 25719588, ici.jelgava@integration.lv

Liepāja

Time: May 23, 15:00 - 18:00
Venue: Klaipēdas Street 96A, Liepāja

Topics of the Open Door Day: From 15:00 until 16:30 will take place the Inter-sectoral Dialogue Platform on the following topic:
National minority organisations as a resource for integration of newcomers. From 16:30 until 18:00 anyone will be able to find more information on the following topics: Language learning resources for self-study; Liepāja calendar; Free access computers and other resources; NGO and volunteer work: options for involvement

For additional information: 25719118, ici.liepaja@integration.lv

Riga

Time: May 27, 14:00 - 17:00
Venue: Lāčplēša Street 75 - 1B, Riga

Topics of the Open Door Day: Latvian language learning materials; Latvian language courses: topicalities; How to pass the Latvian language exam successfully?

For additional information: 29180450, ici.riga@integration.lv

Cēsis

Time: June 5, 13:00 – 16:00

Venue: Raunas Street 1 (Cēsis library, 3rd floor), Cēsis

Topics of the Open Door Day: Services and cooperation possibilities offered by the Information Centre for Newcomers in Cēsis; Latvian language learning resources for self-study; Resources available at the library; Stories from experience – integration and language learning by the third country citizen in Latvia; Cultural differences Latvia – China; Cross-cultural communication activities

For additional information: 25719266, ici.cesis@integration.lv

Welcome!

ICN began its work as a one-stop-agency on 18 May 2016. ICN Riga office operates as a coordinating centre in Latvia. It provides assistance in dealing with problems of a particular customer and supports the ICN focal points/branches in the regions (in Cesis, Jelgava, Liepaja and Daugavpils) with regard to provision of services, ensures professional support to service providers in all municipalities in Latvia, coordinates awareness and availability of services to various groups of immigrants.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

Information prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Multimedia Communications Specialist, phone 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@integration.lv


You are welcome to apply for a seminar on marriages and their link to migration

Ievietots: 10.04.2019

   

In order to exchange experience with institutions and organisations working in the area of integration, as well as to ensure effective cooperation between institutions, on April 24 the Information Centre for Newcomers organises a seminar “Marriages of convenience as a form of human trafficking in the region of the Baltic Sea States: trend, practices and their link to migration”. 

During the seminar its participants will be provided with the possibility to learn about the experiences obtained by field experts in Latvia and the Baltics.

Venue: Lāčplēša Street 75 – 1B, Riga

Time: April 24, from 10:00 to 16:00

Application for the seminar: until 15 April 2019. The number of participants of the seminar is limited.    

Application form for participants<<

Attention, please! You can attend the seminar remotely – it will be broadcast online on YouTube<<

Topics of the seminar:

Phenomenon of human trafficking in the region of the Baltic Sea States: interinstitutional cooperation

Marriages with foreign nationals: daily practices

Marriages of convenience as a form of human trafficking: their phenomenon in Latvia and in the world

Marriages with third country nationals: regulations and trends

Lecturers of the seminar:

Vineta Polatside, Senior Expert of the Council of Baltic Sea States in Human Trafficking

Solvita Saukuma – Laimere, Director of the Civil Registry Department of the Ministry of Justice

Gita Miruškina, lawyer/expert of the Society “Shelter “Safe House””

Rita Tetere, Deputy Head of the Migration Department of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs

Additional information on the seminar: tel. 67898343, 29180450 e-mail: gunta.viksne@gmail.com

After the event, it is possible to get a certificate about participation in the seminar.

ICN began its work as a one-stop-agency on 18 May 2016. ICN Riga office operates as a coordinating centre in Latvia. It provides assistance in dealing with problems of a particular customer and supports the ICN focal points/branches in the regions (in Cesis, Jelgava, Liepaja and Daugavpils) with regard to provision of services, ensures professional support to service providers in all municipalities in Latvia, coordinates awareness and availability of services to various groups of immigrants.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

Information prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Multimedia Communications Specialist, phone 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@integration.lv

The Information Centre for Newcomers has held the cultural evening of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Ievietots: 29.03.2019

   

On March 26, the Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN) invited interested persons to the cultural evening of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, where guests from Latvia, Russia, Syria worked together, jointly learning the dialect, cultural traditions and also myths about the country, which we idealise as a “little paradise” for the beauty of its nature. 

“This culture we know so poorly seems very exotic to us. We are glad that Harley, who has been living in Latvia for two years only, showed this all to us in person,” shares her impressions the volunteer and work coordinator Ramona Liepiņa. She tells that Harley Barney William has been a volunteer of the Information Centre for Newcomers for several months.

When asked about his motivation to organise such an event and work as a volunteer, Harley emphasises: “Until now, the Latvian population has been supportive and forthcoming, so I want to get involved myself, help and do good things, as I live in Latvia!” 

At the cultural evening, joy intertwined with the Limbo dance, games, work songs and cultural meals of Saint Vincent: brown sugar glazed chicken, brown rise cooked in coconut milk, spiced fruit and glazed nuts – not what we are used to, but very delicious! The evening closed with a joint picture at the flag of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines made by Harley’s wife, who is Latvian.  

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are a group of 32 islands occupying just 389 km2, of which 344 km2 are occupied by Saint Vincent and the remaining 44 km2 are Grenadines islands. This area is populated by less than 110,000 people, the island is washed by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. This exotic place was filmed in the well-known movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”. The life on the island is idyll, where you can enjoy rainforests, sky blue water, white beaches, beautiful sunsets, gorgeous Caribbean festivals, reggae and different rums, of course. Every year, Saint Vincent holds an impressive Vincy Mas carnival, which they start to celebrate in May and end at the end of July. The beauty of nature and colourful culture are also reflected in the flag, which symbolises the sun, the sea and green leaves.

ICN began its work as a one-stop-agency on 18 May 2016. ICN Riga office operates as a coordinating centre in Latvia. It provides assistance in dealing with problems of a particular customer and supports the ICN focal points/branches in the regions (in Cesis, Jelgava, Liepaja and Daugavpils) with regard to provision of services, ensures professional support to service providers in all municipalities in Latvia, coordinates awareness and availability of services to various groups of immigrants.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

Information prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Multimedia Communications Specialist, phone 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@integration.lv

 
 
 

To Hear Each Other

Ievietots: 27.02.2019

   

The International Mother Language Day is observed worldwide on 21 February. For that reason in the evening of 20 February people of seven nationalities gathered to celebrate this day informally at the Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN) on Lacplesa Street 75 – 1B. They discovered that all of them together know 10 different languages! The purpose of the International Mother Language Day is to promote awareness of the role and place of the mother language in preserving linguistic diversity worldwide, to facilitate use of the mother language and increase awareness that the mother language is the foundation for the development of a strong and multi-faceted personality.

 „It is no secret that a person can tell others about him or herself most emotionally in his or her mother tongue! However, there is always the question — will others understand them?” shares her thoughts volunteer coordinator Ramona Liepina (Ramona Liepiņa). „Participants of the event were very surprised that they were presented with an opportunity to express themselves in their mother language, because we are used to employing a common language, mostly English, for cooperation purposes. We understood each other from similar sounding words, smiles, friendly handshakes and by listening carefully to each other! The most popular word/phrase of the evening we put the greatest emphasis on was "Thank you!". The participants could discover, how to say it in 51 languages during the evening by means of various interactive games!”

She also tells that the map of the world attached to the wall attracted a lot of attention throughout the evening, because everyone had an opportunity to show their birthplace, their Homeland — Latvia, America, Eritrea, the Caribbean, Germany, Afghanistan and Syria! „We also sang, which has already become a tradition at our events! This time we sang in Latvian, Arabic, German, Pashto, English, teaching others to sing various sounds through laughter and joyfully!” In her recollection of the event R.Liepina mentions one participant of the event in particular – a young man from the Caribbean, who took part in an ICN event for the first time and was really excited about a possibility for representatives of so many diverse cultures to find a common ground by means of cooperation in informal environment using informal methods. „He opened up and taught all of us a national game of the Caribbean, which made all of us very happy. Everyone sang the rhythmic "sha-la-la-la-la" and picked up the fiery rhythm! What more is needed, apart from good mood, friendship and common understanding?” sums up R.Liepina.

The International Mother Language Day is observed worldwide based on the UNESCO Resolution on Preserving and Protecting Linguistic Diversity adopted during the 30th session of the General Conference in 1999. Through the observance of the International Mother Language Day UNESCO emphasises the importance of languages in preserving the diversity of cultural expression and promotes use of the mother language, protects it as a foundation for the development of a strong and multi-faceted personality. Various campaigns and activities are organised worldwide on this day – public discussions on issues related to the mother language, on the value of language skills, about the significance of a developed language, respect toward one`s own and other languages. The International Mother Language Day is observed in Latvia since 2005.

ICN began its work as a one-stop-agency on 18 May 2016. ICN Riga office operates as a coordinating centre in Latvia. It provides assistance in dealing with problems of a particular customer and supports the ICN focal points/branches in the regions (in Cesis, Jelgava, Liepaja and Daugavpils) with regard to provision of services, ensures professional support to service providers in all municipalities in Latvia, coordinates awareness and availability of services to various groups of immigrants.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

Information prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Multimedia Communications Specialist, phone 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@integration.lv

An Open Doors Day on the Subject of Employment and Entrepreneurship Will Take Place at the Information Centre for Newcomers in Riga

Ievietots: 23.01.2019

   

The Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN) organises an Open Doors Day in Riga on 30 January of this year to inform entrepreneurs about employment of foreigners and to provide information to foreign citizens about employment opportunities and opportunities of starting-up a business in Latvia. Employers, entrepreneurs, employees, representatives of public authorities and other interested persons are invited to participate.

Location of the event: Lacplesa Street 75 – 1 B, Riga

Time: 11.00 - 15.00

From 11:00 to 13:00 an open discussion about challenges of employing foreigners in Latvia will take place and experts of the Information Centre for Newcomers will provide information about support offered by the centre to foreign nationals as entrepreneurs and employees.

In the course of the event every interested person will have an opportunity to meet with representatives of the management of the Information Centre for Newcomers, its customer advisers, ask their questions and receive advice free of charge.

Further information: 29180450, ici.riga@integration.lv

Contacts with mass media: 29145314, rasa.salina@integration.lv

Everyone is welcome!

The Information Centre for Newcomers operates as a one-stop agency in Riga and at four regional centres in Latvia – in Daugavpils, Jelgava, Cesis and Liepaja –, providing wide-ranging support free of charge to foreign citizens and service providers from various industries, as well as specialists working with this target group, including entrepreneurs. Since the beginning of ICN activities on 18 May 2016 the centre has provided advice to more than 3 thousand newcomers, who have arrived from countries outside the European Union, for example, India, Ukraine, Russia, China, Pakistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Belarus, the USA, Kazakhstan, Georgia. More information at www.integration.lv

NGO “Shelter “Safe House”” ensures and develops activities of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

Volunteers from the Information Centre for Newcomers have worked almost thousand hours

Ievietots: 14.12.2018

       

Over eleven months of 2018, volunteers of the Information Centre for Newcomers (ICI) have devoted 888 hours to their volunteer work. Among all the volunteer job hours, almost 347 have been worked by foreigners. Since the beginning of the year, foreigners from 15 various countries, both from and outside the European Union have been involved in the volunteer work. Aladdin from Syria who has contributed 60 hours of his time to the volunteer job was the most active from volunteering foreigners. Other volunteering foreigners have represented such countries as Tajikistan, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Australia, India, Georgia, Mexica, Egypt, Russia, China, Turkey, Iraq, America and Congo as well as Spain and Italy. According to the ICI volunteer coordinator Ramona Liepiņa, volunteering foreigners have always worked alongside with Latvian volunteers. “This year, Madara, Ilze and Jana were the most active volunteers with eighty hours contributed to volunteer work by each of them. Volunteers have realised a range of informal educational activities together, promoting integration, and offered their ideas and initiatives.” 

She reassures that the work in such an international volunteer team is a great opportunity for volunteers themselves to gain and improve their skills, by both performing routine work and developing their intercultural communication skills. “Volunteers learn from each other, continuously generating new ideas that include elements from Latvian and other cultures and greatly complement each other. We hope that the work contributed by volunteers will grow, making Latvia a wonderful place for us to live, work and rest together!”

Realising one of informal educational activities organised by volunteers, the International Volunteer Day was celebrated on December 5, and the workshop “Star in the East” that has already become traditional was conducted. Partnerships "Patvērums "Drošā māja””, Creative Youth Association "TREPES” and "Labdarības lapa” as well as ICI volunteers have cooperated during these activities. 25 gift boxes have been prepared together to travel to children from refugee camps in Jordan and Georgia as well as India.

ICN began its work as a one-stop-agency on 18 May 2016. ICN Riga office operates as a coordinating centre in Latvia. It provides assistance in dealing with problems of third country nationals and supports the ICN focal points/branches in the regions (in Cesis, Jelgava, Liepaja and Daugavpils) with regard to provision of services, ensures professional support to service providers in all municipalities in Latvia, coordinates awareness and availability of services to various groups of immigrants.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

Information prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Multimedia Communications Specialist, phone 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@integration.lv

This year the Information Centre for Newcomers provided assistance to more than 700 third country nationals

Ievietots: 09.11.2018

       

By this October the one-stop-agency Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN) operating all over Latvia, has provided information and support to 701 foreign nationals* from 49 countries outside the European Union. Support was also provided to 33 specialists from different areas, who are working with this target group. Overall, this year 1171 consultations were provided, of which 1005 in person, on different legal, education and employment matters.

The head of ICN Gunta Vīksne indicates that the most popular topics of consultations are migration matters, including reception and extension of residence permits, employment and business opportunities in Latvia. Customers frequently want consultations about health care, education and family reunification matters. “This year most support has been provided to citizens of India, China, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan, Syria. A big share of consultations have been provided to citizens of Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Belarus. People, who received the first consultation, often contact us for assistance again.” G.Vīksne notes that most consultations are provided in the capital. “The explanation for this fact is that most of immigrants are staying in Riga, including students, who use the services provided by our centre”.

Psychologist’s services are also available in the centre and this year have been used by 11 customers – 48 consultations have been provided in total.

G.Vīksne emphasises that all the ICN services are available to customers free of charge.

In order to ensure high quality communication with ICN customers, ICN has 24 translators and language specialists with knowledge of 11 languages: Arabic, Kurdish, Dari, Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Turkish, Hindi, Tigrinya, Georgian, Sorani. In nine months the interpreting service has been provided 1302 times to 218 foreign nationals. Interpreter services were also provided to the specialists working with foreigners. For the purposes of communication with customers the interpreter service was most frequently provided to medical staff in hospitals, polyclinics, to the State Employment Agency, the Latvian Centre for Human Rights, banks, as well as social workers and social mentors.

ICN invites to get free consultations by phone, e-mail or in person – applying for a visit in advance (this can be done on the website: www.integration.lv):

ICN Riga office:

Information lines: +371 25565098, + 371 28612120

E-mail: konsultacijas@integration.lv

Skype: PatverumsDM

Address: Lacplesa Street 75 – 1B, Riga

Additional information: +371 67898343

ICN regional focal point “Latgale” in Daugavpils:

Information line: +371 25723222

E-mail: ici.daugavpils@integration.lv

ICN regional focal point “Zemgale” in Jelgava:

Information line: +371 25719588

E-mail: ici.jelgava@integration.lv

ICN regional focal point “Vidzeme” in Cēsis:

Information line: +371 25719266

E-mail: ici.cesis@integration.lv

ICN regional focal point “Kurzeme” in Liepāja:

Information line: +371 25719118

E-mail: ici.liepaja@integration.lv

ICN began its work as a one-stop-agency on 18 May 2016. ICN Riga office operates as a coordinating centre in Latvia. It provides assistance in dealing with problems of a particular customer and supports the ICN focal points/branches in the regions (in Cesis, Jelgava, Liepaja and Daugavpils) with regard to provision of services, ensures professional support to service providers in all municipalities in Latvia, coordinates awareness and availability of services to various groups of immigrants.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

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

Information prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Multimedia Communications Specialist, phone 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@integration.lv


Information Centre for Newcomers in Liepāja welcomes you to the Open Day!

Ievietots: 02.10.2018

   

To inform about the activities and services provided by the Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN) in Liepāja, ICN is organizing Open Day on the October 9 from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM, at Klaipēdas Street 96A, Liepāja.

During the event, attendees will have the opportunity to meet representatives of the ICI management,  in an informal atmosphere, ask questions, receive free advice and answers to various social and legal issues regarding life in Latvia.

The Programm:

15:00 - 16:00 Seminar for the specialists about the latest trends and developments in regards to migration issues in Latvia.
16:00 - 17:00 Discussion "Multicultural key to an open society in Latvia" where there will be 3rd country families participating for whom there are children going to schools in Liepaja. At the same time there will be creative activities organized for children by the volunteers.
17.00 - 18.00 Concert with participation of pupils from A. Puškina 2nd high school.
 
Additional information: 25719118ici.liepaja@integration.lv

Contacts for media: 29145314, rasa.salina@integration.lv

You are welcome!

More information on www.integration.lv

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO “Shelter “Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

Information Centre for Newcomers invites you to the Open Day on 11 of October in Cēsis!

Ievietots: 02.10.2018

   

To inform about the activities and services provided by the Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN) in Cēsis, ICN is organizing Open Day on the 11 of October from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM, at Pļavas street 3A, Cēsis.

During the event, attendees will have the opportunity to meet representatives of the ICI management,  in an informal atmosphere, ask questions, receive free advice and answers to various social and legal issues regarding life in Latvia.

It`s planned that during the ICI Open Day, from 1:00 PM till 3.00 PM, in 5 Pļavas street, Cēsis, is going to happen the Inter-Sectoral Dialogue platform meeting about the topics: Offered services and cooperation opportunities by Information Centre for Newcomers in Cēsis; Global migration trends and developments in the field of immigrant integration; Newcomer employment - UNHCR action plan when employing refugees.
 
Additional information: 25719266ici.cesis@integration.lv

Contacts for media: 29145314, rasa.salina@integration.lv

You are welcome!

More information on www.integration.lv

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO “Shelter “Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

Information Centre for Newcomers invites you to the Open Day on 25th of September in Daugavpils!

Ievietots: 18.09.2018

   

To inform about the activities and services provided by the Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN) in Daugavpils, ICN is organizing Open Day on the 25th of September from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM, at Parādes Street 11, Daugavpils.

During the event, attendees will have the opportunity to meet representatives of the ICI management,  in an informal atmosphere, ask questions, receive free advice and answers to various social and legal issues regarding life in Latvia.

It is planned that the meeting of the Inter-Sectoral Dialogue platform will be held on the topic “Integration opportunities for newcomers in Daugavpils” during the Open Day from 1:00 PM till 3:00 PM Mihoelsa Street 7 – 1a, Daugavpils, in the organisations “ERFOLG” premises. The platform brings together representatives of national, local government authorities and non-governmental organizations, active in the field of integration. 

Additional information: 25723222, ici.daugavpils@integration.lv

Contacts for media: 29145314, rasa.salina@integration.lv

You are welcome!

More information on www.integration.lv

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO “Shelter “Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

During the Open Day Event in Jelgava Consultations on Education and Employment were Provided in Six Languages

Ievietots: 03.09.2018

   

On 27 August of this year conversations in Kurdish, Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Russian and English could be heard at 22 Cukura Street – foreigners from different parts of the world visited the Open Day event of the Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN) to learn more about ICN activities, obtain free advice on legal, education and employment matters.

„At Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN) newcomers as well as specialists working with the target group obtain support on various matters. Some require the advice of an expert lawyer to resolve employment matters and everyday life problems, some are interested in education opportunities, but there are also those, who are looking for like-minded people,” tells ICN spokesperson Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), who also indicates that all in all the Open Day event, which lasted several hours, was attended by approximately 50 interested persons. Some of them are already known to employees and have received support from ICN, which has resulted in a close contact, some, however, are foreigners looking for support for the first time.

Irfan from India tells that he arrived in Jelgava a year ago to study information technologies, but during his studies became aware of business opportunities in the city and opened his diner „Pakistānas kebabs” (Pakistani Kebab). He indicates that the head of ICN provides considerable support to foreigners in several matters. „Now, after having spent an entire year in Latvia, I understand that a number of processes could have been made faster and easier. The greatest challenge for me was the language barrier and confusion with regard to a couple of legal issues,” says he and adds that the head of ICN Gunita Berza (Gunita Bērza) assisted him in resolving both of these problems efficiently. „With support from ICN I began learning Latvian, brought my family to Jelgava and now my little daughter has began attending a kindergarten in the city,” expands Irfan, explaining that now he feels that he has established himself in the city and plans his future in Latvia. „I see potential for living and earning money here. My country is overpopulated and corruption prevails everywhere,” admits the Indian.

Ainura married a man from Jelgava and came here from Kazakhstan. She tells that ICN helped her to find like-minded people. „Immediately upon my arrival here I felt very insecure and spent a lot of time alone. Then I learned about the centre, went for a consultation and everything changed rapidly – I began learning Latvian, participated in various cultural events, learned to know new people,” she tells. Ainura adds that she has just founded her own society and is thinking about ways to further tourism and expand the horizons of inhabitants of Jelgava. „I have noticed that Latvians are interested in the culture of the East. I would gladly introduce them to it here in Jelgava – we have a great number of traditional festivals, which would look rather colourful here,” she tells, adding that she also considers the possibility to bring Jelgava to the attention of people in her homeland as a tourism destination in the future.

Vu Duc Tho from Vietnam is a new arrival among the customers of ICN and has come for advice. He came to Latvia with his family a couple of months ago as an investor and board member in a IT enterprise. „Presently the greatest problem for me here in Latvia is the language barrier. I was able to schedule language training with the help of a Vietnamese interpreter today. I hope it will make my everyday life much easier,” he tells and adds that he also exploited the opportunity to ask some specific business related questions to the lawyer through the interpreter.

Information Centre for Newcomers operates in the entire territory of Latvia and provides wide-ranging support free of charge to foreign citizens and service providers from various industries, as well as specialists working with this target group. Since the beginning of the year 23 interpreters and language experts work at the centre and help to ensure quality communication with ICN customers. The interpreters and language experts work with the following 11 languages: Arabic, Kurdish, Dari, Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Turkish, Hindi, Tigrinya, Sorani and Georgian. 

ICN regional focal point for Zemgale is located in Jelgava, at 7 Peldu Street. An appointment with the head of ICN G.Berza can be scheduled by phone 25719588 or completing the application form on the home page www.integration.lv

Open Day was organised by working together with Zemgale NGO Centre.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

Information published with the permission of the editorial office of newspaper "Jelgavas vēstnesis". Information prepared by Anastasija Miteniece (Anastasija Miteniece) from "Jelgavas vēstnesis" and Rasa Salina, multimedia communications specialist, phone 29145314.

Information Centre for Newcomers invites you to the Open Day on 27th of August in Jelgava!

Ievietots: 21.08.2018

   

To inform about the activities and services provided by the Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN) in Jelgava, ICN is organizing Open Day on the 27th of August from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, at Cukura Street 22 - 101, Jelgava.

During the event, attendees will have the opportunity to meet representatives of the ICI management, customer consultants in an informal atmosphere, ask questions, receive free advice, as well as engage in various creative activities organised by volunteers.

Additional information: 25719588, ici.jelgava@integration.lv

Contacts for media: 29145314, rasa.salina@integration.lv

You are welcome!

The Information Centre for Newcomers operates as a one-stop agency in Riga and four regional centres of Latvia – in Daugavpils, Jelgava, Cēsis and Liepāja –, providing wide-ranging support services free of charge to foreign citizens and service providers and specialists of various industries who work with this target group.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

Information Centre for Newcomers welcomes you to the Open Day!

Ievietots: 13.08.2018

   

To inform the general public about the activities and services provided by the Information Centre for Newcomers (ICI), ICI is organizing Open Day on the 17th of August from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, at Lāčplēša Street 75-1B, Riga.

During the event, attendees will have the opportunity to meet representatives of the ICI management, customer consultants in an informal atmosphere, ask questions, receive free advice, as well as engage in various creative activities organised by volunteers from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

It is planned that a meeting of the Inter-Sectoral Dialogue platform will be held on the topic “Public Attitude Towards Immigrants” during the Open Day from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. The platform brings together representatives of national, local government authorities and non-governmental organizations active in the field of integration.

Additional information: 67898343, ici.riga@integration.lv

Contacts for media: 29145314, rasa.salina@integration.lv

The Information Centre for Newcomers operates as a one-stop agency in Riga and four regional centres of Latvia – in Daugavpils, Jelgava, Cēsis and Liepāja –, providing wide-ranging support services free of charge to foreign citizens and service providers and specialists of various industries who work with this target group.
Since the establishment of ICI on 18 May 2016, the Centre has consulted more than 3,000 immigrants from countries outside the European Union such as India, Ukraine, Russia, China, Pakistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt, Belarus, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Eritrea, USA, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Iran, and Bangladesh. ICI currently has 23 interpreters and language specialists of 11 languages: Arabic, Kurdish, Dari, Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Turkish, Hindi, Tigrinya, Sorani, Georgian. More information on www.integration.lv

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

This year the Information Centre for Newcomers has already provided 832 free consultations on legal, education and employment matters

Ievietots: 12.07.2018

   

From January 2 to June 30 the Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN) has provided all over Latvia information and support to 495 foreign citizens, who arrived from 30 countries outside the European Union, and 27 specialists working with this target group.

Most frequently, customers have chosen to receive consultations in person – in 735 cases, 67 consultations were provided by phone, 30 – electronically. The opportunity of repeated consultations was often used. Most consultations were provided in Riga – 292. Consultations of an ICN psychologist were used 35 times during the six months.

TOP 5 of consultation topics: residence permits, employment and business opportunities in Latvia, health care, education and family reunification matters.

In total, free consultations were provided to people from 30 countries. TOP 20 of countries: India (76), Ukraine (59), Russia (55), China (50), Pakistan (47), Turkey (17), Azerbaijan (17), Uzbekistan (17), Afghanistan (15), Syria (15), Egypt (14), Belarus (13), Sri-Lanka (10), Iraq (10), Eritrea (8), United States (7), Kazakhstan (7), Georgia (6), Iran (5), Bangladesh (4).

In order to ensure high quality communication with ICN customers, since the beginning of the year the centre has been having 23 translators / 11 language specialists: Arabic, Kurdish, Dari, Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Turkish, Hindi, Tigrinya, Sorani, Georgian. In six months the interpreting service has been provided 838 times to 165 foreign nationals. Interpreter services were also provided to the specialists working with foreigners. For the purposes of communication with customers the interpreter service was most frequently provided to medical staff in hospitals, polyclinics, to the State Employment Agency, banks, as well as social workers and social mentors.

An Intersectoral Dialogue Platform has been in development since the beginning of this year for coordinated interinstitutional cooperation in integration matters involving not only state, municipal, non-governmental organisations, but also the private sector. Six meetings of the Intersectoral Dialogue Platform have been organised by the end of June on the following topics: role and activity of NGOs in the Intersectoral Dialogue Platform; strategy and activity planning of the Intersectoral Dialogue Platform; Employment of newcomers and experience of businessmen in employment of immigrants; strategy of the Intersectoral Dialogue Platform; organisation of courses of Latvian for third country nationals – experience of organisations and topical matters; information prepared by the Community Policy Centre PROVIDUS on matters of integration of third country nationals; how to promote the inclusion of newcomers in the Latvian community and socioeconomic environment – experience and proposals for further cooperation. 

34 volunteers from nine countries (Latvia, Mexico, United States, India, Uzbekistan, Syria, Spain, China and Kyrgyzstan) have made significant contributions to the organisation of ICN activities. During the six months volunteers have organised 10 non-formal education and volunteer initiative activities, for example, the White Table-Cloth Festival, the World Refugee Day, cultural evenings and events of different nationalities. 383 participants from 27 countries participated in the volunteer activities – Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Azerbaijan, Russia, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Georgia, Syria, Australia, Sudan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Tajikistan, Mexico, Morocco, Iran, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Nepal, China, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Algeria. 

ICN began its work as a one-stop-agency on 18 May 2016. Until the end of 2017 ICN customer advisers provided information and support to more than 2,5 thousands of foreign nationals, who have arrived from 81 country outside the European Union, and to specialists working with this target group. ICN Riga office operates as a coordinating centre in Latvia. It provides assistance in dealing with problems of a particular customer and supports the ICN focal points/branches in the regions (in Cesis, Jelgava, Liepaja and Daugavpils) with regard to provision of services, ensures professional support to service providers in all municipalities in Latvia, coordinates awareness and availability of services to various groups of immigrants.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

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

Information with the consent of edruva.lv editorial office was republished by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Multimedia Communications Specialist, phone 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@integration.lv

An Evening of Chinese Culture of Another Kind

Ievietots: 17.06.2018

   

On 14 June representatives of seven different cultures gathered at the Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN) to learn about the unknown culture of Hong Kong people. Students told about their homeland – the dialect of Chinese language spoken in Hong Kong, its currency, flag, art, lifestyle and cuisine – with great enthusiasm. Each participant of the event was invited to enjoy and learn about it!

Hong Kong is one of the largest and richest cities in China and the number of its inhabitants exceeds seven million people. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People`s Republic of China is an autonomous territory of China, which consists of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula and over 260 other offshore islands. In 1997 sovereignty of the peninsula and archipelago transferred back to China. According to the China`s policy of "one country, two systems" Beijing has granted extensive autonomy to Hong Kong: the government controls defence matters and foreign affairs, the regional government is responsible for the internal legislation, policing, taxes and finances, as well as the immigration policy. 

This summer three students from Hong Kong are visiting with the society "AIESEC Latvija" and learning to know Latvia by taking an active part in voluntary work alongside ICN volunteers. "We would like to tell you about our homeland, Hong Kong, not about China. We are Chinese, but we speak a different dialect and have different cultural traditions. We meet new friends in Latvia, who greet us with `Oh, you are from China. Great!` – but we respond with a polite smile and tell them that we are from Hong Kong! That makes people confused," shares his impressions Mauricy Wong.

The volunteer coordinator Ramona Liepina (Ramona Liepiņa) tells that organisation of such an event presented a new challenge for ICN volunteers too. "We prepared soup from sweet potatoes with ginger, a dessert and very strong tea with whole milk. Volunteers made a flag of Hong Kong, prepared the premises for the event and listened to music popular among the youth in Hong Kong."

She tells that on this evening the young people from Hong Kong told about the special administrative region of China – its culture, dialect, cuisine, architecture, traditions – and helped guests of the event to learn to eat with chopsticks, because their food culture is different too. "Participants of the event asked many questions about the variation of traditions between the region and China, about language differences and employment opportunities in the enormous city."

Latvians, Chinese people from Hong Kong, Indians, Syrians, Turks, Tajiks, Kyrgyzs, all of whom participated in the event, had an opportunity to taste the prepared treats of Hong Kong cuisine and spend the evening in friendly and exploratory conversations.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

Information prepared by Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Multimedia Communications Specialist, phone 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@integration.lv

Support Point in Vidzeme

Ievietots: 11.05.2018

   

The author of the interview: Liga Salnite (Līga Salnite). The author of the photos: Marta Martinsone-Kasa (Marta Martinsone-Kaša)

A helping hand to newcomers. For almost two years Baiba Zalcmane (Baiba Zalcmane) has been the person in Vidzeme, Cesis any foreigner, who has come to Latvia, can turn to in a difficult situation.

The Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN) focal point “Vidzeme” in Cesis has moved to new premises. It was created two years ago as a universal support point for third country nationals in Vidzeme.

200 third country nationals, who have come to Vidzeme, have requested assistance and visited the focal point in Cesis since it was established. The centre`s representative in the matters of communication Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa) emphasized that the average number of visitors has remained constant. The head of the focal point “Vidzeme” Baiba Zalcmane, who has met every immigrant in person, tells that life stories of newcomers, who arrive in Vidzeme, differ greatly. “Some people come to Latvia because of their business plans, some arrive due to new family relations, foreigners studying in Latvia and participants of experience sharing programmes or even retired couples, who have decided to live out the rest of their lives in a peaceful and quiet environment, come to us,” tells the head of ICN focal point “Vidzeme” to illustrate the fact that there are customers from different age groups, with different mentality and very diverse needs.

Most often questions about purchasing real estate in Latvia, conditions for obtaining a residence permit, employment opportunities after graduating in Latvia and about health care in Latvia were answered at Vidzeme focal point. The head of ICN “Vidzeme” confirms that most of the difficult situations were related to the last issue. There are still difficulties with arranging urgent visits to a family practitioner or a specialist doctor, who would not doubt his or her expertise in accepting patients of a more exotic origin, in acute cases in the region, even if an interpreter is provided. However, all difficulties have been resolved, including a birth with the help of a Chinese interpreter and interpreter coordinator. Preparations for the event became one of the most memorable experiences of 2016 for the whole team.

Those, who have long-term plans, are most interested in integration activities and attending language courses, but Baiba also works on promotion of sharing of cultural experiences. Last year after hearing questions about “branches on the head, beer and songs” for the nth time she decided to organise Jāņi celebration in Cesis Castle Park for foreigners. They were very glad about the opportunity – immigrants from China even took over and organised an event for Latvians, during which they presented their culture and traditions.

“There can be a number of difficulties, like the ones I mentioned before related to health care or even fraud, when a foreigner was sold a non-functioning enterprise, however, dissatisfaction or complaints about life here are rare. There are situations, which we help to resolve,” shares her experience B.Zalcmane.

For a little more than a half-year ICN was located in a building on Rigas Street in the Old Town, but it has just moved to the office complex on Plavas Street. B.Zalcmane notes that they had to move to new premises because of the environmental accessibility requirements – this building has an elevator, which is mandatory in case persons with reduced mobility require a consultation.

“To our regret the word “immigrant” has acquired a negative taint in Latvian society. People do not analyse critically information in mass media and make their conclusions based on it,” shares her thoughts the experienced employee and admits that prejudice against any stranger with a bit more exotic appearance, who has come to Latvia, is not rare. B.Zalcmane mentioned a Chinese girl, a pupil of the secondary school, who surprised her pleasantly. The girl called on the phone to schedule a meeting and the head of ICN did not immediately believe, what she was told, because they talked in clear Latvian, and her accent could barely be discerned. The girl had attended school in Latvia for approximately two years and was looking for an opportunity to acquire her first work experience. The head of ICN focal point remembers the last summer as a very positive and fruitful collaboration experience, while the girl assisted with direct translation during all events and assignments for the duration of almost three months.

All services at ICN focal points are provided in three languages – Latvian, Russian and English. Interpreters or speakers of rare languages are involved, as necessary.

In summer 2016 such information and free assistance focal points for newcomers were established in Riga and in all four regions of Latvia co-financed by the European Union (EU). The aim was to create a one-stop agency to provide wide-ranging support to foreign nationals and advice to service providers from various industries, as well as specialists working with this target group. Thus a foreigner, who is not a citizen of the EU, European Economic Area countries or the Swiss Confederation, is entitled to receive support in resolving practical matters, including interpreter`s services and legal consultations, and to receive support for smoother integration in Latvia. Advice is provided regardless of the fact, if the person has moved to Latvia recently or lives here longer, and even in cases they have arrived for only a short period of time, explains Baiba Zalcmane. Newcomers can find information about it also on the website www.integration.lv.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

A link to the source of the article http://edruva.lv/atbalsta-punkts-vidzeme/

Information with the consent of edruva.lv editorial office was republished by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Multimedia Communications Specialist, phone 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@integration.lv

The Information Centre for Newcomers has Provided Support to Third Country Nationals from 35 Countries This Year

Ievietots: 27.04.2018

  

From January to March of this year the Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN) has provided assistance to 270 third country nationals from 35 countries. Free consultations were provided to persons from India, Ukraine, Russia, Pakistan, Syria, China and Uzbekistan for the most part.

Customer advisers have provided a total of 340 face-to-face consultations on various legal issues, education, employment and other matters related to life in Latvia. Most often foreign nationals have asked questions about migration issues, including residence permits, education and family reunification.

Five customers used services of the centre`s psychologist, 17 counselling sessions have been conducted.

Since the beginning of the year 20 interpreters/language experts with knowledge of such languages as Arabic, Kurdish, Dari, Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Turkish, Hindi and Tigrinya work at the centre and help to ensure quality communication with ICN customers. During these three months translation/interpretation services were provided 404 times to 88 persons, who are third country nationals. Translation/interpretation services were also provided to specialists, who work with foreigners. Until now translation/interpretation 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.

At the beginning of the year the Cross-Sectoral Dialogue Platform was created with involvement of public, local authorities, private and non-governmental organisations. This year three meetings of the Cross-Sectoral Dialogue Platform have taken place on the following subjects: The Role and Participation of NGO in the Cross-Sectoral Dialogue Platform; The Strategy of the Cross-Sectoral Dialogue Platform and Planning of Its Activities; Employment of Newcomers and Entrepreneurs` Experience in Employing Immigrants. In meetings that take place once a month representatives from the Ministry of Welfare and the Ministry of Culture, Riga City Council, Jelgava City Council, the State Employment Agency, NGOs – societies “Innovation Support Centre” (“Inovāciju atbalsta centrs”), “Sadarbības platforma”, “Trepes”, Salvation Army, “Balkan`s Flower”, PINS.LV, Providus, “Cultural and Education Centre “Miras””, EANP-Latvia, Civic Alliance – Latvia, Education Development Centre, RSU China Studies Centre along with the entrepreneur Ieva Raubisko (Ieva Raubiško) (Hummus Team) have taken part up to this moment.

In events aimed at promotion and coordination of voluntary work, for example, on the cooperation day with schoolchildren about work in a multicultural environment and in creative workshops on spring school holidays participated 76 persons, including 36 third country nationals from ten countries this year. Presently Latvians, Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians, Georgians, Mexicans, Uzbeks, Italians, Indians, Syrians and Iraqis work together on the ICN team of volunteers.

ICN began its work as a one-stop-agency on 18 May 2016. Until the end of 2017 ICN customer advisers provided information and support to more than 2,5 thousands of foreign nationals, who have arrived from 81 country outside the European Union, and to specialists working with this target group. ICN Riga office operates as a coordinating centre in Latvia. It provides assistance in dealing with problems of a particular customer and supports the ICN focal points/branches in the regions (in Cesis, Jelgava, Liepaja and Daugavpils) with regard to provision of services, ensures professional support to service providers in all municipalities in Latvia, coordinates awareness and availability of services to various groups of immigrants.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

Information prepared by Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Multimedia Communications Specialist, phone 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@integration.lv

 

More than Two Hundred Hours of Volunteering in the Language of Friendship

Ievietots: 27.03.2018

   

Day by day, volunteers who work at the Information Centre for Newcomers attend secondary schools, study at higher education institutions, hurry to write bachelor`s theses, work in various professional fields, actively collaborate in multiple organizations and participate in public activities in Latvia. However, besides all the above, volunteers also succeed to sacrifice their skills, talents, knowledge and share joy! In March this year, 226 hours have been devoted to volunteering - more than seven hours of volunteering every day, including holidays!

"This month, we have implemented several initiatives, cooperated with other organizations, participated in various assistance activities, as well as promoted volunteering and the Information Centre for Newcomers," Ramona Liepiņa, Volunteering Coordinator says.

In March, volunteers had an opportunity to take part in various assistance activities, for example, helping to creatively entertain Syrian family children while parents took an exam in the Latvian language. "For volunteers, this was a great experience since the children do not attend a kindergarten and their communication language is only Arabic or the language of friendship, in which the communication with Latvian volunteers Marek and Simona was carried out."

She says that mutually interesting cooperation has been established with the UWC Movement, which helps high school students to start their studies in international colleges. One of the conditions to select their students is volunteering in an intercultural environment. "Thanks to this cooperation, we are able not only to introduce volunteering but also to give young people from all regions of Latvia an opportunity to cooperate, for example, with asylum seekers. On March 3, we organized a joint event at the Mucenieki Multifunctional Centre, where half a dozen participants from 16 different cultures participated and learned the Latvian tradition of celebrations in creative workshops."

In their free time, children like to participate in creative activities, and this is why a volunteer initiative was widely visited on March 17 in Mucenieki. Children and young people representing seven different cultures spent the Spring Holiday, visiting developing workshops and friendly, creative events. Together with volunteers, they decoupaged, painted, danced, played board and co-op games. One word in Latvian, the other in Russian, the third and fourth - in English, German. Laughter and friendship are above all.

"A very successful cooperation with several organizations also emerged at Novrūz International Spring Festival on March 24, where volunteers participated and promoted the Information Centre for Newcomers, inviting to use the free advice and services offered," R.Liepiņa emphasizes. At the festival, everyone had the opportunity to get acquainted with various cultures, dances and music, enriching themselves and expanding the circle of friends. 

The volunteers are planning to conclude March events with the study of Easter traditions. People of different cultures will be dancing together with eggs, playing games and going to a spring-covered coffee table, because being together is one of the cornerstones of integration.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Saliņa, Multimedia Communication Specialist, tel. 29145314, email: rasa.salina@integration.lv

Volunteers of the Information Centre for Newcomers Invite to Join!

Ievietots: 23.02.2018

“Volunteering is an interesting adventure, a lifestyle for people who like to cooperate with peers and make the world better. It might sound too “loud”, but it is actually so — volunteers love the world and wish to participate in its processes,” – Ramona Liepiņa, Volunteering Coordinator at the Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN), tells.

Since the establishment of ICN, more than 130 volunteers have participated in the creation of various activities and the provision of support over two years, organising a total of 48 team-building events, including culture evenings of different nations, which have become popular in Latvia.

Currently, our team of volunteers is highly multi-national. It unites Latvians, Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Georgians, Mexicans, Uzbeks, Italians, Indians, Syrians, and Iraqis,the coordinator highlights. 

Being asked to characterise people who work as volunteers at ICN, she mentions that foreign students and people who have chosen Latvia for their studies, work or personal life get involved most often. Many Latvians participate as volunteers as well. Most often their motivation is an opportunity to show Latvia and our country to citizens of other countries.

Of course, foreign volunteers have their own goals and motivation. For example, Alladin from Syria has decided to link his further life with Latvia. He sees participation in volunteer work as an opportunity for more successful integration. Communication helps him to improve his Latvian, which he studies in his everyday life. Lini from India will be studying in Latvia for two years and wishes to spend her free time together with Latvian volunteers to understand our culture and get involved herself in assistance activities. She believes that volunteering gives an opportunity to meet new friends and experience new events, as well as to get valuable experience,R.Liepiņa shares. 

If you want to become a volunteer and get involved in ICP activities too, apply by writing to ramona.liepina@integration.lv! Volunteers plan their activities once a month. The goal of their meetings is to plan activities, volunteer initiatives and participation in cooperation activities for the next month.

The following activities are planned in March:

3.03. Cooperation day with Latvian pupils on volunteer work in the cross-cultural environment, where we will learn the nuances of volunteering, with different cultures cooperating, in an informal atmosphere and pupils will have an opportunity to conduct workshops on Latvian families with different cultural, linguistic and religious affiliation.

15.03. We invite to hear the story of success about the commencement of business in Latvia in an Indian kebab house by also participating in practical workshops and the preparation of kebabs.

17.03. Volunteers students from various cultures will organise Spring Holiday activities for the children of asylum seekers, playing board games, familiarising them with Latvian cartoons and working in creative workshops.

20.03. We will meet at a planning meeting to ensure April is also rich in interesting events for us!

30.03. Evening of Mexican culture. A volunteer student from Mexico together with like-minded people will familiarise those present with Mexican traditions.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Saliņa, Multimedia Communication Specialist, tel. 29145314, email: rasa.salina@integration.lv

NGO “Shelter “Safe House”” Continues to Develop the Information Centre for Newcomers

Ievietots: 24.01.2018

   

With the aim to develop sustainable coordination systems for support of third country citizen* involvement, NGO “Shelter “Safe House”” team will continue to provide services of the Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN) from 2 January of this year until 30 June 2020. 

ICN will continue to operate as a one one-stop agency in Riga and at the four regional centres in Latvia – in Daugavpils, Jelgava, Cesis and Liepaja –, providing wide-ranging support face-to-face, through telephone information line or electronically free of charge to foreign citizens and service providers from various industries, as well as specialists working with this target group.

ICN Riga office will operate as a coordinating centre in Latvia. It will assist in dealing with problems of a specific customer and support the ICN focal points/branches in the regions with regard to provision of services, ensure professional support to service providers in all municipalities in Latvia, coordinate awareness and availability of services to various groups of immigrants.

All ICN services will be available in three languages – in Latvian, Russian and English. If a necessity will arise during consultations, interpreters/translators or speakers of such rare languages as Dari, Farsi, Pashto, Urdu, Arabic, French, Tajik, Kurdish, Punjabi, Chinese, Turkish, Uzbek, Hindi, Spanish, Tamil, Bengali, Vietnamese, Armenian etc. will be invited to assist. The organisation informs that psychological counselling will also be provided by ICN free of charge.

ICN Riga office:

Information lines: +371 25565098, + 371 28612120

E-mail: konsultacijas@integration.lv

Skype: PatverumsDM

Address: Lacplesa Street 75 – 9/10, Riga.

Additional information: +371 67898343

ICN regional focal point “Latgale” in Daugavpils:

Information line: +371 25723222

E-mail: ici.daugavpils@integration.lv

ICN regional focal point “Zemgale” in Jelgava:

Information line: +371 25719588

E-mail: ici.jelgava@integration.lv

ICN regional focal point “Vidzeme” in Cēsis:

Information line: +371 25719266

E-mail: ici.cesis@integration.lv

ICN regional focal point “Kurzeme” in Liepāja:

Information line: +371 25719118

E-mail: ici.liepaja@integration.lv

It is planned to widen the access to information for the newcomers, who have received the right to reside in Latvia, through the ICN Riga office and regional focal points by ensuring a consultant, psychological assistance, a telephone information line, translation services. To promote inclusion of the target group into the local society, informal education opportunities will be provided along with the possibility of volunteering and becoming a part of NGO. A cross-sectoral dialogue platform will be created to coordinate cooperation between various authorities, with involvement of public, local bodies, private and non-governmental organisations. The immediate target group of the project will also be given an opportunity to participate. Specialists will be offered opportunities to attend international events, seminars. ICN specialists will continue their work on the development of the information resource on integration in Latvia www.integration.lv too.

Information Centre for Newcomers is co-financed by the European Union. The total budget amounts to EUR 751 520, 75 % of which is financing from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund for the period of 2014 -2020 and 25 % – co-financing from the state budget. EUR 300 000 of the total financing are budgeted to pay for the services of interpreters and translators. NGO “Shelter “Safe House”” ensures and develops the activities of the centre from 2 January 2018 until 30 June 2020. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

*A third-country national is a 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), Multimedia Communications Specialist, phone 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@integration.lv