Activity Updates

New IOM project to focus on supporting integration for EU migrants before departure

Migrant integration policy approaches across the EU have increasingly recognized the role of the countries of origin in fostering successful integration of newly arriving 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 context, IOM’s newly launched project “HEADSTART: Fostering Integration before Departure” aims to consolidate the lessons learnt from existing pre-departure integration support practices, as well as to explore pathways to a stronger link between pre-departure and post-arrival immigrant integration services. The project, which will last for 18 months, will combine review and analysis of existing practices in pre-departure integration support, with the development of new practical tools and intensive network and partnership building among the policymakers and practitioners in the countries of origin, but also with their counterparts in the countries of destination. A handbook for Migrant Resource Centres as a specific vehicle of pre-departure information and training provision, will be developed and will include recommendations on the standard operating procedures, design, institutional set-up, training, competences, data collection and evaluation.

”Migration experience is a big life change”, says IOM Budapest Chief of Mission Magdalena Majkowska-Tomkin. “The importance of preparation for this change cannot be underestimated. Up-to-date information, understanding of the labor market, host society culture and available support structures in the country of destination before departure can hugely contribute to successful migration outcomes.”

IOM has several decades of experience in the worldwide provision of various types of pre-departure information and training to labour and family migrants, but also to refugees within the resettlement context. In particular, in the latter category a wealth of knowledge exists on the good practices of delivery of pre-departure integration support, but also on the impact of such assistance in countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States. On average, IOM provides pre-departure orientation to over 40,000 migrants annually, in over 50 countries.

The project is undertaken in partnership with the World Association of Public Employment Services (WAPES) and authorities in charge of integration issues in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Slovakia, and co-financed by the European Union Integration Fund, as well as Ministries of Interior of Italy and Austria.

For more information, please contact Mrs. Magdalena Majkowska-Tomkin at IOM Budapest,




The network of Migrant Service Centres provides information, advice and referral services to migrants and potential migrants in Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR1244. Click on image to visit the website.


The multilingual Volret website, which is accessible in eight languages – Albanian, Chinese, English, Hungarian, Persian and Russian – provides information on voluntary return and reintegration options for migrants who wish to return to their home countries from Hungary. Click on image to visit the website.





The At Home in Hungary website provides information on admission procedures and daily life in Hungary and, in addition to basic cultural information, covers the broad topics of immigration, working, studying and living. Moreover, this website has been designed to be a useful resource also for public administrators, private service providers, researchers, social workers and other experts as they work with, and support the integration of, third country nationals in Hungary. Click on image to visit the website.