Sharing, Learning, Inspiring: We hosted an Armenian delegation for a Migration Management Exchange in Prague

Published: Jun 14, 2024 Reading time: 4 minutes
Study visit of Armenian officials and CSO reps
© Photo: PIN

Impactful social change comes from wide-ranging collaboration; thus, we were honoured to host a delegation of Armenian officials in Prague to discuss migration. The delegation comprised of high officials from the Migration and Citizenship Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Armenia, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of Armenia, the Unified Social Service, and experts from civil society. They came to Prague with two main goals: to learn about Czech migration management policies and to deepen cooperation between Armenian and Czech institutions by promoting experience exchange.

The displacement of people from Nagorno-Karabakh has left Armenia in an unprecedented migration and integration situation. Thousands of families from Nagorno-Karabakh are now finding refuge in Armenia. This unprecedented situation has pushed the need for proper migration and integration management.

The Armenian delegation learned about Czech migration and integration strategies. We organised meetings with senior officials from the Czech Ministries of the Interior and Labour and Social Affairs, as well as with the leadership and professional staff of both state and non-state social service centres.

The participants had a chance to discuss the integration of migrants and refugees, the services provided to them, and collaboration with other institutions. Key topics of discussion included the operation of integration centres, the digitisation of administrative procedures, and the challenges and opportunities within the digitisation process. Learning international practices will help to improve the services in Armenia.

"The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of Armenia has recently taken over the responsibility for the integration and reintegration services for refugees, a task previously managed by the Migration and Citizenship Service. Considering the large number of forcibly displaced persons from Nagorno-Karabakh in Armenia, we are interested in the best international practices, including those of the Czech Republic, aimed at improving services for displaced persons. We are convinced that meetings and experience exchange with our counterparts from the Czech Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior will be effective," stated Anna Zhamakochyan, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of Armenia.

Armen Ghazaryan, Head of the Migration and Citizenship Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Armenia, underlined their desire to gain experience from abroad as there have been changes in the Armenian migration system: "We aim to study and understand the experiences of Czech partners and the European Union. We are trying to identify if any gaps in policy and practice need improvement while also sharing our own experience in this field."

We have been assisting displaced families in Armenia since the conflict started and we support state institutions responsible for migration. 

"In addition to direct assistance to displaced persons and refugees in Armenia, we also support state institutions. In this context, the visit to the Czech Republic was a significant step in the efforts of PIN to strengthen Armenia's migration management system. By utilising the experiences of the Czech Republic, particularly in managing the recent influx of Ukrainian refugees, the Armenian delegation aims to localise innovative solutions and improve the overall efficiency and responsiveness of migration services", said Michal Zelba, Country Programme Coordinator of Armenia.

The visit also included discussions on labour migration programmes, the integration of returnees, legislative regulations, and communication strategies with foreigners. Representatives from both countries shared their opinions and practical experiences.

The delegation visited our office in Olomouc and gained practical knowledge about our work with refugees from Ukraine. They learned about our aid and had a chance to talk with one of the refugees in person to discuss their needs while living in a foreign country. The delegation also visited the Centre for Support of Integration of Foreigners which provided them with insights into the process of integration of refugees.

The delegation members also met with Ashot Hovakimyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Armenia to the Czech Republic, and Šimon Pánek, Executive Director of PIN.

The "Reinforcement of the Migration Management System in the Republic of Armenia - ReMMAr" project enhances the social services system for migrant and refugee groups in Armenia. The project is co-funded by the European Union through the Migration Partnership Facility (MPF) implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD). ReMMAr promotes cooperation and partnership between the governments of Armenia and the Czech Republic, as well as capacity building and funding for civil society organisations in Armenia. Together, we are strengthening social services for migrants and refugees. The project also involves public awareness campaigns, including the annual "Suitcase" journalistic contest. The main goal of the program is to support forcibly displaced persons, asylum seekers, refugees, returning migrants, and labour migrants departing from and arriving in Armenia.
Autor: People in Need

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