Running an Effective Migrant Resource Centre: A Handbook for Practitioners

In recent years, Migrant Resource Centres (MRCs) and similar facilities have been established in both origin and host countries by Governments, NGOs and international organizations such as IOM. MRCs set up in countries of origin aim to inform, orient and train migrants in preparation for employment and stay abroad and reintegration upon returning home.

In destination countries, corresponding Centres have been established to inform migrants – in a language they understand – on their stay, their employment and integration rights and responsibilities, and their potential return and reintegration. Many Centres cater to the needs of both foreign nationals and own nationals on their territory.

The array of services provided by MRCs varies significantly. Some Centres provide only information services, while others provide a whole range of specialised services such as individualised job counselling and matching, skills development, and facilitation of remittance transfers, to name but a few.

To date, there has been little comprehensive advice on how to manage a Migrant Resource Centre as a specific type of information service, and the corresponding issues of institutional set-up, terms of reference, quality of service, monitoring and long-term sustainability. This Handbook seeks to provide guidance for those considering setting up an MRC on issues of institutional structure, service design and delivery and the resources required. For those already operating such a service, the Handbook delivers a useful reference source on issues of monitoring and evaluation, quality control, communication and outreach strategy and establishing  links with organizations in destination countries. It is recognised that the procedures will need to be adapted for local conditions.

The Handbook specifically focuses on Migrant Resource Centres providing assistance to migrants in countries of origin at a pre-departure stage.  The ultimate goal is to ensure that migrants accessing MRC services are provided with accurate information and services that will contribute effectively to making their migration experience successful in terms of integration in the host country, and in case of return.

This publication has been produced within the framework of the project HEADSTART: Fostering Integration Before Departure managed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in partnership with the World Association of Public Employment Services (WAPES) and authorities responsible for integration issues in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Slovakia; and it has been co-financed by the European Union Integration Fund, Ministries of Interior of Italy and Austria and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers in the Netherlands (COA).