ZAGREB, Oct 24 (Croatia Sun News) – A HRK 1.4 million project for the social inclusion and strengthening of asylees’ competitiveness on Croatia’s labour market will try to prepare asylum seekers for work in order to integrate them into the society to which they wish to contribute also through work, it was said on Wednesday.
“The aim of the project is to provide support, educate and integrate persons who have refugee status in Croatia and put them on the labour market, which has a qualified workforce shortage,” said Tvrtko Barun, head of the Jesuit Refugee Service for Southeast Europe.
Employment is one of the three most important steps towards integration
Employment is one of the three most important steps towards integration, he said. “Together with learning the language and accommodation, employment enables long term integration. Persons who work can earn their own money and thereby live other dimensions, such as culture and sports, while at the same time repaying society.”
Integration is a two-way process as it is in society’s interest that asylees become full members and it is in their interest that they contribute to society by working, Barun said, adding that they would be trained according to shortage occupations.
Employers urged to join project
He called on employers seeking workers to join the project.
The law on international protection says that asylum seekers need not have a work permit although they are given the right to work, education and general integration aid, Patricija Kezele of the Croatian Employment Service said, adding that there are 159 such persons in Croatia.
Asylees often encounter problems in the recognition of their previous qualifications, and language and cultural differences are also big obstacles, she said. “Although a large number of aslyees who have entered Croatia have only elementary school education, 15% have university education.”
Employer Pavo Corluka said five asylees were hired by his nursing home and that another nine were trained for work. He said his priority was to hire and include asylees and that training at work was the best solution.
The project is being implemented by the Jesuit Refugee Service and the Public Open University Zagreb. It is financed from the European Social Fund.