The Office for Human Rights and Rights of National Minorities of the Government of the Republic of Croatia is the beneficiary of the project “Supporting the Integration of Third-Country Nationals in Need of International Protection” which has been funded within the National Programme of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the EU (AMIF) with fund amounting to 373,404.54 EUR. The main goal of the project is to make the existing integration system more efficient and adaptable to the real needs of its beneficiaries, by raising the awareness of experts and the general public about the challenges in Croatia, by strengthening the capacities of stakeholders involved in these processes and strengthening of coordinated activities.
This project brought together professors of the Psychology Department at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (University of Zagreb) and researchers from the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies and Institute for Social Research in Zagreb In order to conduct research during 2018 aimed at determining the attitudes of Croatian citizens and their preparedness to accept third-country nationals in need of international protection and to detect the capacities, needs and challenges of integration on a local level.
The general purpose of the project is to support units of local (cities, towns and municipalities) and regional (counties) self-government in identifying the needs and challenges of integrating third-country nationals in need of international protection. To achieve the purpose of this research, both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies have been used. As a result, it was conducted as mixed-method research, that is, as two correlated studies. The quantitative segment of the research pertains to its first goal, which was to identify the attitudes of Croatian citizens and their readiness for the acceptance and integration of third-country nationals granted international protection in the Republic of Croatia. It was employed as a survey conducted on 1272 adult Croatian citizens. The sample is representative for local self-government units, and probabilistic sampling ensured that its structure corresponds the sociodemographic characteristics of the population.
The qualitative segment refers to the second research goal, to identify the needs of local and regional self-government units (LSGUs and RGSUs) in the process of integrating third-country nationals granted international protection in the Republic of Croatia as well as the challenges they encounter or will encounter when it comes to the integration of persons granted asylum into Croatian society. Qualitative research was conducted by the semi-structured interviews and focus groups with 253 participants (representatives of county and municipal public bodies in the selected regional and local self-government units, and of professional institutions providing support for persons granted asylum such as representatives of social welfare centres, school principals, NGO representatives etc.) and 26 asylum beneficiaries from different countries. For the purpose of sampling, a list of 30 self-government units has been drawn up, based on the criteria of regional representativeness, size of the municipality, experience with integration of persons granted asylum, and available state-owned housing units. The selected self-government units include 9 counties and 21 towns, distributed over four regions defined for the purpose of this research – Eastern, Central and North-Western, Littoral and Istrian, and Dalmatian regions – and the City of Zagreb.
The third research goal, to prepare checklists for assessment of needs and challenges of integration for local and regional self-government units and for persons granted international protection, has been achieved by synthesising the findings reached under the previous two goals and by preparing two checklists. One is intended for heads and staff of LSGUs and RGSUs so that they can assess the existing needs, resources and capacities of their communities in terms of planning and implementation of integration activities. The other is designed for persons granted asylum and serves for the self-assessment of their needs and the extent to which they are met. Accordingly, the starting point for tool selection and elaboration is the multidimensional concept of integration of aliens into the host society, which is focused on the processes and dimensions of integration of persons under international protection (either with full asylum or subsidiary protection status) into Croatian society as a whole, but also into individual local communities in Croatian regions covered by this research.
The research results have been presented at numerous national and international conferences and are available in the publication Challenges of Integrating Refugees into Croatian Society: Attitudes of Citizens and the Readiness of Local Communities.
Research team members:
Prof Dr Dean Ajduković, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb (leading researcher)
Prof Dr Dinka Čorkalo Biruški, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Sosial Sciences, University of Zagreb (leading researcher of quantitative section)
Dr Margareta Gregurović, Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, Zagreb
Dr Jelena Matić Bojić, Institute for Social Research in Zagreb
Assist. Prof Dr Drago Župarić-Iljić, Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies / Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb (leading researcher of qualitative section)
National Programme of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF)
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