The Tyrolean Compass for Integration
In Austria, the execution of asylum procedures can last for quite a while. This time in basic care, though, is essential for future success on the job market. The Tyrolean Compass for Integration is one of such measures, which provide a solid foundation for future employment of refugees and asylum seekers.
When people in search for protection apply for asylum in Austria, they receive basic care („Grundversorgung“) while their application is being processed. During this time, shelter, consulting and the necessary financial aid is provided, but asylum seekers are prohibited from entering the job market. Still, this time in basic care has to be used to lay a foundation for an autonomous life when individuals receive the legal status of refugees.
Giving refugees, i.e. future citizens, a chance to find employment and build a future in Austria is one major goal of Tiroler Soziale Dienste GmbH (TSD), the company responsible for providing basic care for asylum seekers. We strongly believe that even though these people are not allowed to enter the regular job market during their asylum procedure, they need to be given the chance to take first steps towards autonomy during this time. With the aim at giving asylum seekers a tool to build their own future, we introduced the Tyrolean Integration Compass (TIK).
How does TIK work in practice?
After a first personal consulting session, the TIK is filled with initial information on each individual. Basis for this first data is a competence analysis, which TSD TIK-consultants conduct with asylum seekers. During these sessions we determine
- professional experience
- level of education
- competences and interests.
These general factors give us a first overview of how to best guide individuals through the integration process. While in basic care, asylum seekers now have the opportunity to take initiative and partake in several activities to further their own integration process such as
- take German lessons
- take various exams in advanced education
- engage in voluntary work
These efforts are being reflected and discussed in regular consultations and added to the TIK-content of each compass holder.
TIK as a résumé
One of the major benefits: The thus collected information in the compass serve as a résumé. A TIK proving that individual asylum seekers have shown interest and effort during their time in basic care will help them in future tasks such as job interviews. The following indicators are part of each compass:
- personal data
- language competences
- education and work experience
- voluntary work
- additional skills
- membership in various organizations
- attendance of additional integration projects
First steps: Over 500 asylum seekers equipped with a TIK
Ever since its pilot phase in March 2017, the Tyrolean Compass for Integration is being distributed among asylum seekers in the region. Out of the around 4.500 people currently in basic care, 500 have already received their TIKs, which are now being filled with information essential to each individual’s future in Austria. Especially young asylum seekers are eager to take this chance: 70% of current TIK-holders are below the age of 35.
We are happy that since the introduction of TIK, we have come across plenty of stories of success. Sayed, an 18-year-old asylum seeker living in Lienz, for instance, took initiative after his first consultation and visited a job fair. Using his many references as shown in his TIK, he managed to lock down future employment at a local hotel.
For autonomy after basic care
But what happens when asylum seekers are given the legal status of refugees? In the future, TIK will become a reference that will be accepted as proof of individual’s efforts even outside of the integration process, such as in job service offices or job interviews.
We are proud to see the Tyrolean Compass for Integration evolve into a useful tool. It makes it possible for us to measure our success in the fields of asylum, migration and integration, but most importantly, it provides each and every person seeking refuge in Tyrol with a chance to take first steps towards an autonomous life.