Between 22 – 25 July the ERIS project conducted an intensive study visit to the Czech Republic and Austria. In the course of the visit representatives from the Federal Migration Service and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation had the opportunity to meet their Czech and Austrian counterparts from state migration offices, local authorities and NGOs responsible for the practical implementation of targeted integration programmes.
An extensive exchange of information on national integration policies of the partner states have already been taking place in terms of the previous project activities. Thus, the study visit was the next step to complete the conceptual and theoretical knowledge with know-how on practical and operational aspects of the integration policies.
In Prague the meetings took place with the Ministry of Interior, Prague Integration Centres and the NGO “Slovo 21”. In the city of Brno, the regional Centre of the South-Bohemian Region was visited and the delegation met with representatives of regional administration, the city administration, the Brno Integration Centre and three NGOs responsible for the implementation of integration projects – “Caritas Brno”, “Army of Salvation” and “SOZE”. The programme in Vienna included meetings with the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Interior, the Austrian Integration Fund and the Vienna Integration Centre. Meetings with NGOs implementing programmes targeted at migrant youths –namely “Zusammen Österreich”, “Teach for Austria”, “Caritas Austria” (programme “Learncafes”) and “HIPPY Austria”- took place as well.
The programme of the visit provided the unique opportunity to see “integration in practice” at all levels down to the very operational one. At the same time, the participants had the opportunity to compare the approaches between the visited countries and -in case of the Czech Republic- also within the country (capital of Prague versus city of Brno).
In the course of the project implementation all partners have gathered large amounts of information on integration policies and dispose of a solid basis for the elaboration of the written project outcomes in which the main findings and conclusions will be reflected. The two main project documents, the ERIS “Best Practices Guide on Integration Policies” and the “Joint Manual on Principles, Procedures and Standards on Integration Policies” will become available to all Prague Process states, especially those interested in the highly up-to-date issue of foreigners’ integration.