Text: APC Photo: APC
Tutin, August 30, 2019 – As part of the integration support provided by the Asylum Protection Center (APC/CZA), our team of lawyers and social workers assist asylum seekers and refugees in the employment process, as part of the ‘Support to asylum seekers and persons granted protection in entering the labor market ” in Serbia, funded by the Swiss Confederation, State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).
With our legal and social integration assistance, four refugees in Tutin were granted a work permit recently, exempted from administrative fees, they were prepared for the process of finding an employer and started working in the local community where they currently reside.
Our organization is working intensively with the National Employment Service in Tutin, a city where there is a great need for people who are willing to work due to the development but also due to the departure of a large number of young people.
The social worker and pedagogue of our integration team helped a group of our clients, who were the first to get the right to work, to register with the National Employment Service in Tutin. As soon as we registered them, the NES Advisor immediately listed several jobs that match our clients’ experience and qualifications. One of the offers for our clients was a shoe factory in Tutin.
Salema has been in Serbia for a year and a half, and she has left Iran because of a regime that did not grant women basic human rights. With the help of an APC/CZA lawyer, she obtained a work permit, which was exempted from administrative fees, and she was immediately taken to visit the factory. With the presence of a social worker and an APC/CZA translator, the manager provided details of working conditions at the shoe factory. Salema was satisfied with the conditions, she accepted the job and soon she started working.
Despite the job being physically exhausting, Salema is very happy to have the opportunity to work and make money, which is giving her a sense of security and the ability to plan her future, which now depends on her, not just the situation in which she found herself because she was a refugee. In addition, the factory is located near the camp, which is another convenience that Salema appreciates.
Working at a shoe factory is a great opportunity for Salema to socialize with her coworkers, who are mostly women from Serbia. She feels more freedom and she began to speak Serbian more and better than before. Thanks to that, she manages to make conversations with her coworkers. She learns about life in a local community and she is creating relationships that can facilitate her process of integration into an environment in which she hopes to stay and start a new life. She dreams about buying a house in Tutin one day and living in an environment where he feels more and more accepted.
The APC/CZA Social Integration Team provides asylum seekers and refugees with support through counseling and training in order to better understand the context and job market in Serbia, learn about professional behavior at work and work habits, how to understand the legal context of work, but also how to recognize and report cases of exploitation or abuse.
With the help of our lawyers, we make sure that the rights of our clients as workers are respected, which gives refugees a sense of security knowing that our legal and other assistance is always available to them.
Our years of experience in working with refugees show that inclusion in the labour market is crucial for a sense of belonging, for establishing new social bonds and for the self-confidence of the refugees themselves, but also that employment is both key and starting point in sustainable integration process.