Assistant services at the Department of
Resident Permits in Prague (Inoffizielle Übersetzung)
Dateien im Anhang
|City / Region|
Since March 2011, a group of cultural mediators from InBáze Berkat have been providing assistant services to immigrants at the Department of Resident Permits in Prague on the basis of the agreement with the Department for the Asylum and Migration Policy of the Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic (DAMP).
The assistance services include interpreting, filling in forms and basic consultation for migrants speaking Arabic, English, Russian, Belarusian, Vietnamese and Mongolian.
The goal of the service is to help immigrants to break down language and institutional barriers at DRP, as well as the DAMP officers when dealing with immigrants.
In 2011 the agenda of long-term residence was transferred to the Ministry of the Interior. The transfer of the complex agenda has put a particular burden on DAMP, whose employee are often overloaded by work and do not have sufficient knowledge of the processes and languages. Despite the focus on informing, there is an absence of comprehensive and available information for migrants. The procedures and interpretations of immigration laws by the administrative authority differ. The procedural limits are massively non-respected and immigrants have to wait in long queues. The opacity and complexity of the immigration agenda and not knowing the local language has lead many immigrants to rely on the assistance of intermediary agents who often abused their vulnerable situation.
Therefore, the main goal of the project was to introduce an innovative and more effective model of assistance for migrants. The aim is to increase awareness among immigrants about immigration procedure, simplify communication with authorities, prevent exploitation of immigrants by intermediary agents and offer them further services such as consulting, language courses and community programs.
|Wie funktioniert das?||
The project is directed at immigrants from third countries. The team of cultural mediators provide basic assistance in interpreting and filling in the forms DIRECTLY at the DRP. In complicated cases the organization offers legal or residency consultation and can offer direct communication with the DAMP. Nevertheless, consultations should not substitute the services of DAMP.
In the initial phase of the project, mediators were working directly in the open space together with the officers of DAMP. After one year, they moved into their own office. Nevertheless, the cooperation with DRP has been very good.
The propagation of the project among immigrants is secured by flyers, through other NGOs working with migrants and personal contacts. In the course of the project the number of clients to hear about the service grew extensively.
The presence of mediators trained in the immigration agenda directly at DRP enabled an immediate advice service to be provided to immigrants, secured interpreting when dealing with officers and at the same time immigrants were offered resident and legal consultation when needed.
In average five people approach one mediator in an hour with request for information, often with very complicated cases which have to be solved with the director of DRP.
Approximately 9 000 clients have used the assistant services so far (autumn 2012). Currently, we register around 350 clients who repeatedly use our services and bring their relatives and family members. The majority of clients are labour immigrants who often work ten or more hours a day and have no chance to get information about NGO services or to visit an NGO.
The direct contact with both migrants and employees of the DAMP also offers an occasion to point out some problematic aspects of the proceedings to the DAMP.
The project is effective because it offers services to a good number of immigrants directly at the institution which is crucial for their life in the Czech Republic. The interest from clients is enormous – in particular for Mongolian, Vietnamese, Arabic and English speaking clients, where an interpreter is a necessity.
Assistance with filling in the forms is generally welcome. However, our personnel should not fill in forms for clients. The asset of the project should be the preparation of the client for an effective processing on the desk. This way of assistance should gradually lead to emancipation.
The quality of consulting has its limits because clients do not always bring their documentation and mediators do not have access to the official databases. Another shortcoming is the length of the working hours considering the number of interested persons and the waiting time spent in queues.
The awareness rising of clients strengthens their independence. Nevertheless, to stand against intermediary agents is very risky; the intermediary agents constantly monitor our activities and often misinform the clients.
The assistance service at DRP continues in further projects and the Ministry of the Interior has expressed interest to develop the cooperation. As of 2013 the organization Inbáze Berkat will also carry out a project directed toward the education of socio-cultural mediators.
The project is aimed at the immigrants from third countries residing in Prague and the Central Bohemian Region, which host the highest number of immigrants in the Czech Republic. By autumn 2012 the service was used by approximately 9,000 immigrants and there is further interest in the service. Because the service is offered directly at the administrative authority, it reaches the groups of immigrants who normally have difficulties accessing this type of service.
Thanks to assistance in interpreting and filling in forms, the project is also beneficial for the officers at DAMP when processing requests for residence permits and dealing with immigrants.
und benötigte Ressourcen
The funding was provided by the European Integration Fund (Solidarity program), and the grants from the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Social Affairs of the Czech Republic.
In 2012 the realization team consisted of five cultural mediators (Belorussia, Vietnam, Mongolia, Syria), one advisor in residence permit matters/lawyer and one advisor in social services.
|Kontaktperson||Eva Dohnalová Email schicken)|
|Funktion||Head of social services|