The Minimum Standard in Integration (SMI) is a response to the strategic goal of OMGGS (Obszar Metropolitalny Gdańsk Gdynia Sopot) and Pomerania, which aims to help immigrants settle and create conditions for managing migration at the local level. Voted in June 2020 and implemented since, this metropolitan policy indicating priorities fundamental for systemic integration is an initiative that stems from the need of public sector’s engagement in integration processes and strengthening migrants’ equal rights and access to services.
Migrants have often been “sent away” from public offices and told to come back with a translator. Migrants are often misinformed about the services they are entitled to and frequently experience direct or indirect forms of discrimination. The minimum standard in integration stresses the need for inclusion and public responsibility to boost public servants’ competences in delivering services to migrants. The standard’s tasks include:
- Strategy for schools (50 schools with the largest number of migrant students will soon undergo a whole-school competence raising programme);
- Polish language courses to be accessible throughout the entire region;
- Crisis support and community reach out/ trust building in public social care centres;
- City halls as centres or information and support;
- Job advice and job offers accessible in public job offices.
Let us emphasize that many activities included in the SMI project are already implemented. This standard will contribute to these already existing activities by building a bridge between the two for long-term and measurable development. The standard follows a mainstreaming approach – involving migrants in Pomeranian life in a way that implicates all the inhabitants of the province. The standard is implemented in four steps:
- STEP 1
- Polish language courses for adults,
- Preparation of schools,
- Information for immigrants,
- Poviat teams for migration.
- STEP 2
- Professional counselling for job placement
- Integration through culture.
- Support for emergencies
- Boosting public servant competences
- Social communication / conflict prevention
- STEP 3
- Employment of an educational Committee to welcome migrant students in schools
- Public service overview and barriers that block immigrants from accessing the services
- Development of competences + Pedagogical and Psychological Clinics
- STEP 4
- Breaking barriers to using public services (mainstreaming)
- Qualification database
- Analysis and support for access to health services
Furthermore, a campaign is running to inform immigrants that these services are available for them, that they are trustful and free of charge. The project will be implemented in all regional municipalities of the country.