SOFIA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION was founded as non-profit organization with the decision 348
of the Sofia Municipal Council to work for the sustainable development of the capital.

Sofia hosted European cities focusing on migrant labour integration

In the midst of the unprecedented wave of Ukrainian citizens forced to leave their homes and being welcomed in European cities, representatives of EUROCITIES network and the cities Antwerp, Belgium, Tampere, Finland, Madrid, Spain, Brest, France, Karditsa, Greece, and Migration work came to Sofia to exchange experiences in how they integrate migrants in their labour markets and how to best support the Ukrainian newcomers. The visit was held in the framework of CONNECTION project: CONNEcting Cities Towards Integration action, is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

Sofia Development Association had organized a rich programme of meetings and visits to the premises of stakeholders and service providers in Sofia, among whom Sofia Invest Agency, the Refugee Migration Service of the Bulgarian Red Cross, Caritas, the situational reception center at the central railway station. A special focus of the exchange was the activity of Sofia Bureau for Information and Services for third country nationals that was opened in September 2021.

The representatives of the European cities met with Bulgarian employers that hire migrants, to discuss their experiences, challenges and recommendations how to make the process smoother.

Of particular interest were the meetings and exchange with the representatives of Sofia Municipality – with Malina Edreva, chairperson of the Committee on Education, Culture and Diversity at Sofia Municipal Council, with directors of directorates, coordinators of municipal grant-making programmes, municipal enterprises and joint initiatives with the businesses, the NGO sector and the international organizations.

Cities face similar challenges like better coordination between all stakeholders, more flexibility and problem-solving focus, need of timely funding, more support from the national level, appropriate recognition, and support to volunteers, to mention a few. Cities share the belief that the Ukrainian crisis is also an opportunity for cities to reflect on their policies and experiences and trigger positive sustainable changes for the benefit of all.

        

      

      

      

     

 

CONNECTION project: CONNEcting Cities Towards Integration action, is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

 

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