ZAGREB, Nov 30 (Hina) – A concluding conference regarding a project for support to integrating aliens from third countries requiring international protection was held in Zagreb on Friday and attracted representatives from state and local government, public services, NGOs and the academic community who underscored that the greatest problem with migrant integration in Croatia is learning the language and finding a job.
Last year, Croatia approved international protection or asylum for 213 foreigners, and in the first nine months of this year, it has already approved an additional 232, Interior Ministry State Secretary, Žarko Katić said.
Most of those persons who have been granted international protection are Syrians who have arrived in Croatian from Turkey as part of the resettlement programme.
Based on the resettlement programme and a government decision in 2015, 152 people were resettled in Croatia and last year the government adopted another decision leading to the resettlement of an additional 100 people who are expected to arrive, Katić said.
He explained that the Interior Ministry was responsible for the approval of international protection and that upon the approval of protection, other institutions need to be included in integrating these people as they have to be accommodated somewhere, children have to attend school and they all have the right to health care and social welfare in line with Croatian laws.
Various agencies are expected to be engaged providing care for these people while the Office for Human Rights and National Minorities coordinates all the activities to ensure their better integration.
The 15 month-long project providing support to integrate foreigners was conducted with the aim of raising awareness in public and among experts and it was financed within the framework of the national asylum, migration and integration fund.
Assistant director of the Office for human rights, Danijela Gaube explained that as a member of the EU, Croatia was given a quota for receiving 1,583 people who are to be resettled from Italy, Greece and Turkey.
Experience has shown that citizens’ attitude to accepting foreigners is divided and that is something that needs to be worked on, she said.
Since 2006, 716 people have been given international protection and Croatia has accepted 180 people through resettlement and relocation from Italy, Greece and Turkey. They were approved for international protection even prior to arriving in Croatia after which Croatia is obliged to secure them with accommodation.
Gaube explained that the greatest challenge facing these people is to learn the language and to find a job, however, Zadar has had positive experiences and all the male refugees, resettled to that Adriatic city, have been employed.
Chief of staff in Zadar Mayor’s office, Neven Klarin, said that Zadar has had the most experience with refugees as it was the first town they were relocated to.
Currently, there are seven refugee families with a total of 27 members that are relocated to Zadar.
For more on Croatia’s migrant and refugee policies, click here.