Evaluation MIA

The well-invested asylum time

Evaluation of Project ”MIA”

Davor Zovko

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The aim of this study was to evaluate the MIA project, highlighting the project results and emphasizing effects and new methods that the project achieved. MIA-project was a collaborative project between the Migration Board, the Integration Board, Public Employment Service and the European Refugee Fund, which took place in Västmanland county between May 1, 2004 and April 30, 2005. The project prepared Asylum-seekers for the Swedish labor market by: identifying their skills, providing information about the labor market and organizing trainee oportunities for them. When asylum-seekers received a residence permit, the Project proposed placement in the municipalities which could provide the best posibilities for employment.

The method of evaluation is qualitative and the phenomenological case study was carried out through interviews. Four of the project managers and eight asylum-seekers were interviewed. Addi­tional interviews with four asylum-seekers, working and practicing in the open labour market, have been made. In addition, information about the project was gathered even through an interview with the Project Coordinator as well as through the study of project documentation.

The results of the evaluation show the following. Both administrators and asylum seekers feel that the waiting time for residence permit is too long. Everyday Activities, such as work, trainee, daily activities organized by Migration Board and Swedish education, are perceived as beneficial, activating and good for asylum seekers’ health. None of the (interviewed) asylum seekers want to go to their home country often due to ongoing war. All respondents in the evaluation feels that language is the most important prerequisite for good and rapid integration into Swedish society. Job and possibility to be involved in the Swedish labor market already during waiting time, are other important factors for effective integration. Three of the interviewed individuals have chosen residence municipality in line with the project’s proposals and five individuals have chosen residence place against project’s proposals. Various factors affect asylum seekers’ willingness to accept project’s proposals for the residence communities. These factors are: proximity to fellow citizens, long length of stay in asylum municipality, the absence of any concrete job offers in the discussions about settlement, too short time for reflection, and municipalities’ limited opportunities to receive new immigrants.

Conclusion is that the MIA-project has developed best practices that promote efficient implement-tation of several important documents (agreements), good collaboration between authorities, good contribution for individuals, and more efficient integration process. The MIA project is therefore recommended as a model in future work with refugees.

Other conclusions are as follows. Immigrants seek out their relatives and compatriots in order to facilitate their own integration. Unskilled migrants are the more difficult problem than high-skilled immigrants who do not work in their professions. Therefore, uneducated immigrants need more help from society, than the educated and experienced immigrants. Asylum seekers who are assisted by the MIA-method are well prepared for the Swedish labor market. Therefore, it is cheaper and easier to use these people as labor than to import new and totally unprepared labour.

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