Adaptation and Integration of Asylum Seekers: Practical Steps for Expanding and Improving Integration Activities in the Centres of the State Agency for Refugees

The integration of refugees is a dynamic and complex two-way process that requires efforts from all parties involved, both from the state authorities and public institutions that are involved in the protection and integration of refugees and the willingness of refugees to adapt to the host society, The integration process is complex and lengthy, with different but related legal, economic, social and cultural components. Each is critical to the ability of refugees to integrate successfully as equal members of the host culture. The integration of refugees brings the potential for social and economic development.  Building a sustainable refugee integration system requires developing the capacity of the institutions and organisations involved in the process, as well as strengthening the partnership between them.

On 30 November, the Bulgarian Council on Refugees and Migrants (BCRM), in partnership with the State Agency for Refugees under the Council of Ministers (SAR) and the UNHCR, organised an expert session focusing on practical steps to expand and improve integration activities in SAR centres.

SAR Chairperson Mariana Tosheva presented the challenges and needs of the agency and formulated the upcoming priorities. Participants in the forum discussed access to education, employment and Bulgarian language training for asylum seekers accommodated in the Registration and Reception Centres. Keynote presentations on the topics were made by Yanita Manolova, Deputy Chairperson of SAR, Stanislav Georgiev, representative of the Regional Department of Education, Tonka Karaivanova, representative of the Employment Agency and Zahari Stoilkov, SAR. During the discussions, steps and ways to overcome the shared challenges were proposed and discussed. The importance and necessity of better inter-agency cooperation and expanding partnership with NGOs were underlined.

The Forum is part of the efforts of the Bulgarian Council on Refugees and Migrants to develop the capacity and strengthen the cooperation of stakeholders for the integration of refugees, linked to opportunities for social and economic development at the national and local levels.  The event is part of the BCRM project “Advocacy for Refugee Integration in Bulgaria”, funded by UNHCR.