On December 7, 2023, a meeting of Latvian stakeholders representing various organizations was held to learn examples of good practices in Croatia and identify the needs in relation to the integration of Ukrainian refugees and migrants in Latvia.

The University of Latvia updated participants on project progress and activities, while the associated partner from Saulkrasti Municipality shared observations from the exchange of experiences and examples of good practices in Šibenik, Croatia. The focus in Šibenik was on additional support for migrants and refugees, including housing, social, educational, and medical assistance.
During the second part of the event, a discussion on the challenges and needs related to the integration of Ukrainian refugees and others took place, involving representatives from Saulkrasti Municipality Council, the Society Integration Foundation, the Ministry of Welfare, the association "Gribu palīdzēt bēgļiem," the State Education Content Center, municipalities and others. The discussion led to a several key points: 

  • Integration of Ukrainian children into the Latvian education system is an important focus now. Many Ukrainian children and young people are studying remotely in Ukrainian schools, while simultaneously attending one of the Latvian schools, thus overburdening themselves. Referring to the examples of project partners countries and also Estonia, it was pointed that regulations resolving and monitoring such a situation should be put in place.
  • Ukrainian children would benefit from having someone in schools who could provide support not only in educational and translation matters but also in practical issues, similar to the example of the "international assistant" of the Coniew School Complex in Poland that was also presented at the meeting.
  • Attention is needed for the integration of Ukrainian citizens into the labour market, as they predominantly work in low-skilled jobs. Some existing barriers are a lack of sufficient Latvian language, limited job opportunities in regions, and other everyday life challenges. The State Employment Agency (SEA) data (as of December 2023) indicate that 7,000 out of the 23,375 registered Ukrainians are unemployed. Support tools such as free Latvian language courses, a one-time grant for starting work, housing support, and individual consultations have been important measures to support Ukrainians so far. However, additional instruments for the long-term integration of Ukrainians citizens is a direction for further support and policy instruments.

Contact persons:
Denize Ponomarjova, UL Project Manager, E-mail: denize.ponomarjova@lu.lv, Phone: (+371) 28241115
Dāvis Vītols, UL Project Expert, E-mail: davis.vitols@lu.lv, tel. (+371) 26652750

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