The project in brief
The Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA)
June 2016 – Present
The Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) uses a screening and matching system to facilitate aligning asylum seekers’ skills and education with regional labour markets. Cooperation with municipalities ensures that asylum seekers receive local support in finding a job or education and start the integration as soon as possible.
The project aims to carefully match a permit holder with the regional labour market, giving them the best chance of integration and participation. COA aims to accommodate a permit holder in a refugee reception center (AZC) close to the selected region.
Financial support from the ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW), qualified personnel, online e-learning, official interpreters, digital computer systems for registration and communication.
Main activities of the Good Practice
By gathering information (screening), COA recommends the most suitable regional labour market (matching) and aims to accommodate a permit holder in a refugee reception center (AZC) close to the selected region.
Apart from the screening project, the municipality assists in finding a job or education as soon as the permit holder has been matched to the municipality. This means that the permit holder can start the integration process as soon as possible. This is called Participation from day 1.
- Ministry of SZW (Social Affairs and Employment)
- Ministry of OCW (Education, Culture and Science)
- Ministry of Justice and Security
- VNG (Municipalities)
- IND (Integration and Naturalization Service)
How challenges were overcome
Mandatory obligation for municipalities to accommodate a certain number of permit holders makes it difficult to connect every permit holder to the preferred municipality. By carefully screening and matching the profile, refugees are much better prepared for the regional labour market. The process also helps municipalities better identify specific needs and tailor assistance to the refugees.
The screening and matching process takes place directly after receiving the permit, which creates problematic time constraints. This will hopefully be addressed by a new working method: Early Screening before Residence Permit.
Results of the Good Practice
- When asylum seekers are granted a residence permit, the Netherlands’ Central Organisation for Reception of Refugees (COA) immediately assesses their specific education and individual skills to improve their chances in the labour market (screening).
- This information is used to provide a tailor-made match in the local labour market. In practice, residence permit holders are matched to local and regional jobs. In this way, they can start their resettlement in the Netherlands, allowing them a greater chance to find work, education or support from a personal network (matching).
- The COA informs the municipality about the asylum seeker’s background within one week of them receiving a residence permit. This strengthens their participation in the local labour market and consequently their integration into Dutch society.
This year COA implemented a new working method: Early Screening before Residence Permit. This working method started as a pilot, and is scheduled to become a permanent procedure as of 2020 onward. COA and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) are in the process of further developing its implementation.