Norway, a model for Romania on migrant integration

PRESS RELEASE, 30 September 2014

Norwegian authorities have policies and programs to integrate migrants that could serve as a model for Romania and other European countries. This is the most important conclusion of the first study visit to Norway paid by four specialists from ICAR Foundation within the project “ICAR – Resources and Services Center for Migrants”, funded by EEA Grants 2009-2014 through the NGO Fund in Romania.

ICAR Foundation is implementing this project together with its partner RVTS West of Bergen, a regional resource centre for traumatic stress and suicide prevention (Resource Centre of Violence Traumatic Stress and Suicide Prevention Region West, Helse Bergen HF within, Haukeland University Hospital).

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The visit aimed at informing the professionals of ICAR Foundation on how the Norwegian system is built and operates regarding migrants, giving the opportunity for ICAR specialists to understand the mechanisms of a functional and efficient collaboration of a resource centre and of service providers with the authorities responsible for migration. Having this information, ICAR specialists could contribute to the establishment of a similar centre in Romania, adapted to the specific conditions of the country.

To understand the operating mechanisms of such a center, ICAR team visited several institutions, medical centers and government departments in Bergen and Stavanger: Bergen Qualification Centre for Immigrants, Bergen Municipal Psychiatry Services, Bergen Municipal Health Service for Recently Arrived Immigrants, Stavanger University Hospital – Transcultural Outpatient Clinic, Health Service for Paperless Migrants. During the five day visit, specialists of RVTS and ICAR took part in meetings, discussions and debates on topics such as migration as a recent phenomenon in Norway – compared to other European countries – and the perception of migrants among society, public agenda on migration and present migration policy vs long-term development strategies, services for migrants, cultural approaches, integration of refugees etc.

“Financing of services for migrants of all categories is very generous in Norway. It is an impressive effort of both the central and local authorities to offer attractive conditions for integration of migrants among the refugees. There are also services provided by NGOs, but the proportion is much lower in comparison with the situation in Romania”, said Dr. Camelia Doru, project coordinator, on her return from Norway.

Rutle Espen Johansson, the director of RVTS West, stressed the importance of the ICAR team visit to improve the situation of migrants in Romania:

“During visits to different units in Bergen and Stavanger, we tried to provide to ICAR team relevant information regarding the system of reception and integration of migrants in Norway. Obviously, there are great differences on many levels in our systems, and it became evident that the responsibility taken by the state and local authorities play the central role in Norway, whereas this as of now is much more left to NGOs in Romania.  For both parties, this first visit of a 2-year project cooperation, will lead to having a wider perspective of the challenges work in this field give both on a personal as well as on an organizational level.”

An efficient integration of migrants in Romania could influence social harmony, public health and general welfare:

“Studies on the economic impact of migration on the host country, in this case – Norway, show that gross domestic product increase, despite the fact that per capita income registered a slight decline. Government policies that take into account the future development of Norwegian society will depend, among other factors, on the ability to integrate foreigners. Increased life expectancy of the local population and birth rate which doesn’t balance the need for labour put migration on the agenda of Norwegian decision makers. Creating attractive conditions for migrants and educating people to accept migrants’ temporary or permanent presence is a priority issue on the agenda of this country”, said Dr. Camelia Doru.

Tatiana Dabija

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