Economic migrants coming to work in Nitra will be able to visit a brand new Integration and Community Centre. It will also be open to the locals, “with the aim of solving problems with foreigners”, according to the project proposal approved by the city councillors.
The centre will be run by the Nitra Community Foundation (NKN), which authored the project together with the city authority. The expected costs for its operation should amount to more than €95,000. It will be financed from several sources, with the city council promising to allocate €24,000, the regional MY Nitrianske Noviny weekly reported.
It is not clear for now where exactly the centre will reside.
Nitra will become the very first regional capital to offer comprehensive integration services, said Ľubica Lachká of NKN.
“The city and its community cannot be indifferent to the arrival of foreigners and at the same time, their arrival cannot be met with ignorance and refusal,” she said, as quoted by MY Nitrianske Noviny. “It’s possible that in the future foreigners will have families in the city and will become citizens who not only work, but spend their free time here.”
Not only providing information
The main objectives of the centre is to improve the distribution of information to economic migrants, creating conditions for social inclusion and integration. It should also help remove barriers between local inhabitants and migrants coming from the EU and non-EU countries.
Moreover, employers are expected to use the centre’s services, for a certain fee, MY Nitrianske Noviny wrote.
The centre will have two employees and a basic network of external collaborators who will secure the language education of foreigners. An external company will provide consulting and training services. In special cases, there would also be personal assistance when communicating with respective authorities.
“The centre will operate as a first contact site, where foreigners will find all the information necessary for their initial orientation in the city in their mother tongue,” reads the proposal.
Language education should be merged with inter-cultural learning. It will also be used to identify foreigners and create some kind of a database.
Moreover, the proposal counts on creating an informal platform of collaborating organisations, which would include the Foreigners’ Police, the city of Nitra, the local labour office, employers and non-governmental organisations. They should exchange information and solve problems, MY Nitrianske Noviny wrote.
Thousands of foreigners come to Nitra
About 10,000 foreigners come to Nitra every year, according to Lachká. This does not only include people working in the local industrial park, but also doctors, teachers, caretakers and bus drivers. They often work in jobs that are not of interest to the locals.
The number of university students from abroad who want to stay here has also increased, Lachká said.
“We have too many economic migrants,” said Nitra Mayor Marek Hattas, as quoted by MY Nitrianske Noviny. “This situation has been neglected over a long period and we need to solve it.”
Hattas has welcomed the project, though he is aware of the fact that the city is partially substituting for the role of the state. This opinion is shared by most city councillors, according to the regional weekly.