Migration has a countless number of faces. IOM encourages understanding and respecting one another, despite prejudices on looks, origin or religion.  

Migrant integration is a complex long-term process encompassing the majority aspect in life of society. In a broader perspective, the migrant integration is a process during which immigrants become a functional part of the society, while retaining their ethnic identity. In order to ensure a smooth and successful mutual agreement process between immigrants and locals, IOM implements a number of various activities worldwide.

With a view toward empowering migrants and enhancing their prospects for effective integration, IOM:

  • disseminates information in home and host countries on the rights and obligations of migrants,
  • offers pre-departure/cultural orientation courses to facilitate their adjustment to life in a new country,
  • provides advice and counseling related to services available to migrants in the host country,
  • carries out vocational training to enhance their skills,
  • organizes conferences to exchange information on integration policies,
  • improves the migrant’s image through the media,
  • organizes awareness raising and legal training for lawyers on discrimination practices,
  • provides integration projects for returning ethnic groups, and improves health conditions of migrants.

For a long time Lithuania has been a homogeneous country, especially in terms of race and religion; however, today the country faces a constantly increasing flow of third country nationals who come here to live and work. According to the Migration Department under the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania, almost 40 000 foreigners reside in Lithuania today. Most of them face not only language barriers but also cultural differences. Additionally, most of the civil and public service providers, who should be addressing these processes, do not possess the necessary intercultural competence, knowledge or experience. For this reason, special integration programmes for legal immigrants and trainings for civil servants who are working with immigrants becomes vitally important.

IOM activities on migrant integration in Lithuania started in 2000, when the first integration projects for Russian-speaking residents from former Soviet republics were implemented. Since 2008, IOM Vilnius office carries out purposefully oriented trainings, aimed at building intercultural competence among specialists of different fields, for instance: police officers, social workers, child right protection specialists.  

In 2014-2015 IOM Vilnius implemented a project - “Assistance to Children and their Families: Building Specialists’ Intercultural Competence II”, which was a continuation of the intercultural competence building project in 2012-2013. The aim of the project was to not only help specialists to acquaint themselves with some of the most foreign cultures (e.g. China, India and Islam), but also to learn to understand and accept the otherness.