Saturday, 18 November 2017

No bidder for Czech contract for integration services found

ČTK |
28 December 2016

Prague, Dec 27 (CTK) - No bidder has expressed interest in a 520-million-crown contract for providing integration services for foreigners in the Czech Republic, according to CTK sources close to the Interior Ministry.

The Caritas Czech Republic (Charita CR) charity organisation has helped the state integrate foreigners this year, but its contract expires at the end of the week. This is why the Interior Ministry wants to secure the integration of foreigners itself.

The government is likely to deal with the contract soon.

This year, the new State Integration Programme (SIP) in aid of refugees was launched, including their teaching of Czech, courses to get them acquainted with Czech culture and democracy and help with housing.

The integration has two basic phases.

The first is the stay in integration asylum facilities with an intensive teaching of Czech and the preparation for future life in the Czech Republic.

The other phase is the integration in municipalities secured by the general integration services provider, which is Caritas Czech Republic this year.

The government approved a tender for a contract worth 173.5 million crowns a year for the following three years at the end of August. The sum depends on the applicants for international protection whose number the Interior Ministry estimates at 2000 a year in the next three years.

However, neither Caritas Czech Republic nor any other organisation sought the contract for a general provider of integration services until mid-December.

According to Caritas Czech Republic, one of the main problems is that the contract is not sufficiently funded. The organisation has complained that it had to partially pay the programme from its own sources to keep the quality of services.

The integration of some 500 people and not 2000, which the ministry plans, can be covered by the money earmarked for one year, the organisation says.

This is why the ministry must find an alternative solution for next year.

The Interior Ministry has proposed to the government that the Refugee Facilities Administration (SUZ), operating under the ministry, become the general provider of integration services, and it wants to take further possibilities, including a new tender, into consideration during 2017.

The SUZ has sufficient capacities as well as experience with the integration of foreigners, the ministry says.

The SUZ will get 46.5 million crowns for new tasks in 2017 and another 127 million from the asylum, migration and integration fund depending on the particular number of foreigners relocated to the Czech Republic.

The Interior Ministry has praised the programme's results so far. It has proved successful, it writes in its report for the government.

Caritas Czech Republic along with subcontractors of integration services, such as non-profit organisations, has provided integration services for 313 people in the form of individual integration plans, the ministry writes.

As of the end of October, 1273 foreigners sought asylum in the Czech Republic this year, which is 28 more than the year before. The most frequent asylum seekers are Ukrainians who make up about one-third of all applicants.

In 2010-2013, the annual number of asylum seekers was under 1000, while in the previous years it was even several thousand annually. The record number of more than 18,000 applicants sought asylum in the Czech Republic in 2001.

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