Raising awareness among undocumented migrants
Informing migrants without a residence permit about their rights and options in terms of asylum and return is the overall goal of the Reach Out project. The project, led by Fedasil and facilitated by the European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN), closed this week its first chapter with a two-day webinar.
Exchange between European cities
Reaching out to migrants and informing them is not an easy task, especially if they are on the street. Thanks to the Eurocities network, the cities of Amsterdam, Utrecht, Newcastle, Milan, Antwerp and Ghent came together to exchange practices. They discussed the issues of counselling and return for people who live outside official reception facilities and who have not applied for international protection. The goal was ultimately to develop a comprehensive approach to counselling undocumented migrants, which can be useful for other European cities facing similar issues.
The first day of the webinar was dedicated to this exchange of good practices. Michael Kegels, Director General of Fedasil, took part in the debate: “With this conference, we want to close the first chapter of the reach out project and move on to the second phase. A greater collaboration, more exchange of good practices and more people on the field is what we are aiming for.”
French-Belgian outreach team
Another concrete realization of Reach Out consisted in deploying a multinational outreach team to approach undocumented migrants and raise their awareness about the existing legal options: asylum application, reception facilities, Dublin procedure and voluntary return.
Raising the awareness of migrants who intend to reach the United Kingdom is a good illustration of this approach. To this end, a team is currently operating in Brussels, Calais and Grande-Synthe (Dunkirk), composed of outreachers from Fedasil and OFII (Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration).
The Belgian Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Sammy Mahdi opened the webinar with this topic: “To intensify the fight against irregular stay, it is important to inform migrants correctly. And this cannot be done by simply giving a flyer, but by having people on the field.”
The Reach Out project benefits from European funding (AMIF funds).
- Reach Out webinar: topics and discussion
- ERRIN website