HEADSTART: Fostering Integration before Departure

From January 2014 to June 2015, the project “HEADSTART: Fostering Integration before Departure” was implemented by IOM Missions in Czechia, Italy, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia and Austria under the lead of IOM Budapest. The IOM Country Office for Austria cooperated with the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and the Austrian Integration Fund.

Migrant integration policy approaches across the European Union (EU) are increasingly recognizing the role that countries of origin can play in fostering the successful integration of newly arrived migrants. The European Agenda for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals (2011) highlights the importance of initial provision of integration support measures to migrants well before their departure, for example, by sharing information on admission regulations, migrants’ rights and responsibilities, as well as by offering language tuition or vocational training to foster labour market insertion and societal contacts upon arrival. In this regard, a clear need has emerged to consolidate the lessons learnt from existing practices by various actors, as well as to explore path-ways to a stronger link between pre-departure and post-arrival immigrant integration services.

Key Facts:
The following activities were conducted:

  • Review and assessment of global approaches and practices in pre-departure integration support with the focus on the EU and its neighboring countries and establishing links with the post-arrival integration services.
  • Knowledge sharing and network building among practitioners from countries of origin and destination during a 1.5-day workshop and a half-day marketplace event, supported by an ongoing virtual exchange on a dedicated webpage.
  • A handbook for Migrant Resource Centres as a specific vehicle by which to channel pre-departure information and training provision with recommendations on the standard operating procedures, design, institutional set-up, training, competences, data collection and evaluation.
  • Closing EU-wide policy conference.



The project is co-financed by the European Union, Ministries of Interior of Austria and Italy and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers in the Netherlands.