2 CONTENTS EMPLOYAID.DK... 3 DATACOLLECTION... 4 USER JOURNEY... 5 LEARNINGS FROM THE FIELD... 6 REFLECTION ON ACTIONS... 9 SOLUTION CHANGING THE MINDSET BLUEPRINT USER SCENARIO BENEFITS
3 EMPLOYAID.DK WHY IS THERE A NEED FOR CHANGE? WHAT IS NEEDED TO MAKE IT BETTER? HOW WILL WE MEET THIS NEED? When applying for family reunification the applicant must participate in The Three-year Integration Program in order to receive a permanent residence permit. The Three-year Integration Program is by law required to be individually tailored. However, it has become standard procedure not to do so. The program is not aimed at well educated, proactive individuals. As a consequence, there is a risk that the program can be an obstacle rather than a helping hand in the integration process of already able applicants who are capable of finding employment on their own. Within the Danish integration system, there are different demands to take into consideration. One of these is that documentation from both the applicants and the social worker has to be present. In the current situation, this demand is being met with an Integration Contract which includes goals about education and employment. While the title is misleading and rhetorically negative, the focus of the contract is first of all employment rather than integration. Integration does not necessarily equal jobs, and so expectation asymmetry may occur. There is an urgent need of a system that matches the proactive applicant as well as the law requirements of individuality and flexibility. This need is present for both the applicants and the social workers, in order to make the best use of their resources. The applicant should have the ability to take empowerment over his or her process, and this should be rewarded. There is also a need of changing the wording within the Three-year Integration Program in order to make it more clear what the applicant can expect. This especially relevant in the case of the Integration Contract. EmployAid.dk is a website that serves as a toolbox for creating a desired future in Denmark. Foreigners who consider moving to Denmark on the basis of family reunification, achieve important knowledge about the whole process; from consideration, applying and moving to being a part of The Three-year Integration Program and finding a job. EmployAid.dk not only provides guidance but it also motivates proactivity and gives empowerment to the foreigner. EmployAid.dk reinvents the Integration Contract in a dynamic way, beneficial for both the municipality and the foreigner. 3
4 DATA COLLECTION Our empirical material consists of desk research and four interviews. Based on the desk research we have gained insight into how to find available and necessary information in the application process. The four informants represent different key stakeholders in the family reunification process. It has been necessary to involve multiple views in order to obtain a realistic picture of the process. The strength of these qualitative interviews is to give an insight into the informant s experiences and view of a given case. Juana, 30 Nationality: Mexico Education: PR and Communication Occupation: Communications Manager History: Moved to Denmark in Before that, she lived in Australia for 3 years. Abri, 26 Nationality: South Africa Education: Law Occupation: Has a temporary job in a kindergarden History: Moved to Denmark in 2010, finishes language school this summer Peter, 31 Nationality: Danish Occupation: Architect History: Married to Juana Social Worker Occupation: Employment consultant at The Three-year Integration Program Respondents are anonymized with the use of fictional names 4
5 USER JOURNEY USER JOURNEY This model vizualises a user journey as it can occur in the current integration program. The model is divided in 3 stages: Before, during and after the integration program...? 4? The model represents a user who does not succeed in getting a job. It provides an overview of the most influential touch points in the process LANGUAGE TEST OPTIONAL COURSES LANGUAGE SCHOOL JOB CENTER PASS LANGUAGE TEST ATTEND LANGUAGE SCHOOL CONTINUE JOB SEARCH IN G DUR A F T E R START INTEGRATION PROGRAM CONSIDER TO MOVE TO DK B E F O R E RECEIVE APPROVAL RESEARCH WAIT TRAVEL TO DK APPLY FOR F.R. NUMEROUS WEBSITES NUMEROUS CALLS DIFFERENT SYSTEMS APPLICATION: FORM AND DEMANDS???!? INTEGRATION CONTRACT MEETING: SOCIAL WORKER LETTER WITH APPROVAL? 1. STAGES 2. USER ACTIONS 3. TOUCH POINTS 4. USER EMOTIONS 5
6 Blueprint Before integration program (Consideration and infosearch) Before Integration program (Action) During Integration program After Integration program Physical evidence Search engine EmployAid EmployAid EmployAid Letter: Approval + invitation to first meeting. EmployAid Strategy EmployAid (keep an overview and get help during the process) Diploma EmployAid Strategy User actions Consider to move to DK Try to find info about moving to DK Read about the process: What to expect: How to apply. Apply for tourist visum. Start researching schools and job possibilities. Tourist visum approved: Go to DK: Apply for family reunification: Wait. Look for jobs, visit possible language schools, find place to live, find network. Receive information that application is approved. First meeting with jobcenter. Attend language school and courses. Search for job and build a network. Pass language test. Find job/ keep job. User goals Find out if you can build a good life in Denmark: What is required and what are your possibilities. Go to DK and stay there. Use the waiting time effectively. Get customized help and advice. Build a good life and a network in DK. Finish the integrationprogram. Be selfproviding. User emotions Blissfully unaware of the process and demands. Informed and realistic about the process and demands.!! Focused and realistic: Knows what to do and where to get help.?! Content. Empowered. Focused and realistic: Knows what to do and where to get help if needed. Visible service provider actions Host first meeting. Provide customized help. Meetings, calls, s if user needs further support. Invisible service provider actions Process application. Approve application. Create case in system. Send invitation to first meeting. Close the case and send to normal jobcenter. Provider goals Make sure that the applicant matches the legal requirements for family reunification. That user gets a job as quickly as possible.
7 LEARNINGS FROM THE FIELD DIVERSITY OF EXPERIENCE When looking at the Danish integration system, the process from when a person goes from being a foreigner to an immigrant, happens at the time the person has applied for a visa. This is the first time the person is registered in the system. For the person applying, this process begins earlier on. The first step in becoming a Danish citizen is the considerations about moving to Denmark. These considerations turn out in different ways. For instance, Abri did not seek any information about Denmark before she traveled to Denmark and applied for a visa, whereas Juana started seeking information about the PR and communication industry in Denmark before moving here because she wanted to find a job in her field of education. With help from Peter, she sent her job application to several Danish companies where she ended up getting a job interview with one of them. It felt as if we had to wait to do all this until the first meeting with the job center This took place in Australia where the director of the Danish company was on vacation and wanted to meet Juana. Just these two examples, illustrates the diversity of different immigrants approach to being a part of the Danish society. Some first get their visa, then meet with the job center to get information on where to start. Others have a differenti approach: I got my job before I got my visa (Juana). Therefore, it is difficult to generalize the immigration experience. A system processing these people must be able to manage this diversity - also the ones wanting to be proactive: It felt as if we had to wait to do all this until the first meeting with the job center (Juana). LACK OF UPFRONT INFORMATION When couples start the application procedure, they face the first challenges. It is unclear how the procedure is progressing and the applicants often have no idea where to begin. They experience difficulties when looking for information due to a confusing and unstructured system. There is no clear description in the documents how to fill out the paperwork correctly, which results in the applicants having to read the papers several times. Despite their efforts they are often unsure if the application is filled out correctly when sending them, leaving the applicants with a feeling of uncertainty. The informants experience of the application process is characterized by confusion and frustration. Both parties face challenges already in phase one. Applicants who want to come to Denmark and have a future, expect that the necessary information is readily available, but instead they encounter several unforeseen barriers. They are not aware of the substantial challenge they are about to face when applying for a Danish citizenship. The informant s frustration about the poor availability of information on the Internet is evident. There are several different sites all filled with diverse information that confuse the applicants. They play with your mind (Abri). Web sites such as Borger.dk and NyiDanmark.dk can be difficult to make sense of. Much of the information is on danish and the websites can be difficult to navigate on. This results in the applicants never receiving a clear answer. They play with your mind The further lack of contact information leaves the applicant feeling despondent. There is no help (Juana). High access barriers quickly affect their view on the system in a negative manner which they bring with them further into the process. WAITING TIME When the application paper is sent, applicants face another challenge. Due to a long processing time, both Juana and Abri experienced a long waiting time that affected them psychologically. Both women felt trapped in their apartment and frustrated because they by law were not allowed to work or start language school before the application papers were approved. They experienced challenges in proportion to coping in society and had difficulties understanding what happened around them. I couldn t communicate with anyone. Everything is in Danish. (Juana). Their limited opportunities amplify their frustration. They did not know the status of their application and felt isolated due to the langu- 6
8 LEARNINGS FROM THE FIELD age barrier and the situation of being in a foreign country. Looking back Abri talks about what she would have done differently: Do your homework and research before coming to another country. Don t just be in love - I ve learned my lesson. She was not prepared for the challenges in the system and the difficulties she met regarding the job search. If I could go back I would google how I could engage my own education and how to find a job that I would have liked to know about the job opportunities (Abri). She emphasises that it is her responsibility to find a job and not the jobcenters, but she was not prepared of the difficulties she met in proportion to her education and the general job search. Do your homework and research before coming to another country. Don t just be in love - I ve learned my lesson Referring to the frustrations with the long waiting time the applicants are left with a feeling of powerlessness. The only choice I had was just to be patient (Juana). THE TERM INTEGRATION CAUSES EXPECTATION BREAKDOWNS Being well integrated is very different from stakeholder to stakeholder: For the government being well integrated equals having a job - any job. However, the success criteria within The Three Year Integration Program is for the applicant to end up with a job within the three years; once they are employed, the municipality is not following up on how the applicant is doing. Language and society courses are also mandatory, but according to the social worker at The Three Year Integration Program, employment is in focus. Now we are called employment consultants, our titles change from one time to another. Now it is all about employment. It has been this way for some time now (social worker). Now it is all about employment. It has been this way for some time now For the applicants being well integrated is having a job, that suits one s education. Abri said: I would have prefered to get a job in my own field. I can t get the job that I want - I have to get the job that I can to be able to pay my bills (Abri). For the applicants integration is also a lot of other things; knowing your way around, having friends, to feel in charge of one s own life instead of being clientized. The connotations attached to the word integration is therefore very divers and personal. Because of that, it is inevitable to avoid expectation breakdowns. AN UNRELIABLE SYSTEM The applicants feels as if they have to check up on the system, because there is nowhere they can see where they are in the process themselves. You ll get a name on someone, but it is most likely not that person, who will look on your case anyway. And if you need to get in contact with them, you need to call them. You can t sent an , and you can t contact them directly - you have to wait in line (Juana). In general the system and thus, the Integration Contract is being perceived as rigid and undynamic. It is almost impossible to affect the process by being proactive before coming to Denmark - the process is the same whether you have done your research or not. We called them to tell, that I had found a job, but they said it didn t matter. When it comes to family reunification it makes no difference what so ever if you have a job or not. We thought it would help me, because we could show that I didn t want to take advantage of the system (Juana). Juana even experienced that she had to take time off from her work in order to show up to a meeting, she didn t even need. It didn t say in the contract that I already had found a job, it only said so in her system. She apologized for me having to get in to the Jobcenter, when it wasn t necessary, but she had to (Juana). We thought it would help me, because we could show that I didn t want to take advantage of the system This shows, that the system is not optimal for the social worker either. On the other hand, Abri would have liked to get more help in order to land a better job - but she only got one meeting. 7
9 LEARNINGS FROM THE FIELD The applicants feel as if the political decisions on the integration subject are being made without considering how they must be implemented: Honestly parts of the system feels as if some politicians just have reached a compromise about a law, without providing any guides on how it should be implemented (Peter). Normally I trust the system, but one must not trust the system on this field. It is an unreliable system, it feels as if you have to check up the process the entire time. (Peter) Their trust towards the system is dependent on each individual persion s experience and proces. THE INTEGRATION CONTRACT At the first meeting at the job center within The Three-year Integration Program, the employment counselor prepares an Integration Contract. The Ministry of Integration has implemented this by law. The social worker and the immigrant are together obligated to determine the content of the integration contract, including the immigrant s employment or educational goals. When making those contracts, it is more or less the same we write. In this way it is not tailored to the individual This contact should also contain information about how to ensure that the goals of the contract are met. Both parties must sign the contract. The municipality must regularly follow up on the contract and the contract must be adjusted as needed. The contract is valid until the immigrants get a permanent residence permit.it is the municipality s duty to secure that the immigrant complies with the integration contract. However, when we talked with the social worker, she told us that When making those contracts, it is more or less the same we write. In this way it is not tailored to the individual. Since the social worker does not focuses on tailoring the contract, it is not as dynamic as required by law. You sign the contract before meeting with the job center. So the meeting is just about confirming the signature Our informants have had the same experience: You sign the contract before meeting with the job center. So the meeting is just about confirming the signature (Juana). Instead of being a contract drawn up jointly, the contract has become a standardized formal paper. On this basis, the contract is not an ongoing guidance neither for the applicant nor the social worker. EMOTIONAL CONSEQUENCES The many obstacles applicants face throughout the application process and during the job search affects the personal user experience. Applicants are faced with a sense of powerlessness that influences their drive and desire to remain in the country. Yesterday, when I was frustrated, I just yeld I wanna go home! Why am I doing this? (Abrii). Their emotionally state of mind affects their approach to the Yesterday, when I was frustrated, I just yeld I wanna go home! Why am I doing this? public system because negative experiences give rise to a change of attitude. Therefore, the emotional aspect during family reunification plays a major role. Every emotional experience have consequences for their surroundings and their future. Family relationship are at stake because the applicant s frustrations is projected onto the spouse. When I get frustrated, he gets frustrated (Abri). In the long term it can cause profound actions for families of reunification if the challenges of coming to Denmark becomes too overwhelming. Abri stresses this by saying: Maybe I just pack my backs and go (Abri). Maybe I just pack my bags and go 8
10 REFLECTION ON ACTIONS THE ACTUAL INTEGRATION PROCESS BEGINS EARLIER Many decisions when deciding to apply for reunification in Denmark starts before leaving the home country. Therefore the need to clarify necessary information about the requirement is highly in demand. INFLEXIBLE SYSTEM The applicants are faced with substantial challenges when coming to Denmark due to a very static systems. But the Danish government has not prepared the applicants for this task before the applicants are making the decision to leave their home country and arriving in Denmark. When dealing with people the One size fits all -solution is detached from reality. Every applicants have different needs and a system as impersonal as the Integration Program does not accommodate individual requirement. LACK OF INFORMATION Information given by the Danish government on the Internet is inscrutable which complicates the application process and leaves the applicants confused. EMOTIONAL CONSEQUENCES Applicants emotionally state of mind affects their approach to the public system and their emotional experience have consequences for their surroundings, family relationship and their future. The emotional aspect during reunification therefore plays a significant and crucial role. THE WORD USE IS NEGATIVE Words as Contract is very judicial and has threatening feel to it; if you make mistakes, you are violating the contract and by that you are in big trouble. In other words, the word use is not inclusive, more precisely the opposite. There is a need for rethinking the word use in order to optimize the applicant s experience and by that his or her integration process. MAIN FOCUS IN THE THREE-YEAR INTE- GRATION PROGRAM IS EMPLOYMENT Even though Danish language and society courses is a part of the Three Year Integration Program, the biggest focus is on employment. There is a need for this to be brung forward to avoid expectation breakdowns. THE CHALLENGE When optimizing a service in the public sector, we must not only look at the immigrant s needs. We also have to look at the political constraints that frame the service. The Three-year Integration Program is influenced by different political interest on several levels. Integration in general is a sensitive and controversial topic in politics and as stated earlier, the word and the meaning behind is unequivocal. Our challenge is to design a solution that: Provides an overview of the pro cess and thereby prepares the applicant of what to expect Has a word use that is precise, honest and inclusive Is adaptable to the Danish inte gration legislation 9
11 THE SOLUTION EmployAid.dk is a beneficial tool for applicants of reunification that helps them plan their future when coming to Denmark. EmployAid.dk is a web page where applicant can create a personal profile page when deciding to apply for reunification in Denmark. It also contains EmployAid Strategy, a new digital solution that replaces the old Integration Contract in accordance with legal requirements. EMPLOYAID.DK CONTAINS OF TWO LEVELS First level is a personal site with an integrated clickable timeline that provides overview of important knowledge that is necessary to be made aware of when applying for reunification. The timeline consists of steps from the beginning in the process when the decision to apply is taken to the end when leaving the three year integration program. Every step in the clickable timeline are divided into categories that emphasises the different steps the applicant have to go through during the process. The first steps on the timeline are useful guidance the applicant can follow, while still being in his or hers home country, preparing them for the further process. The first guidance include information about education, work and residence in Denmark because knowledge of these issues can have contributory influence on the applicants choice when considering moving to Denmark. This contributes to more considered choices for the applicants. Additional guidance on the timeline are Application process containing a detailed guide how to fill out documents and what to expect while waiting in the processing time. Additional to that an important point on the timeline is Preparation where the applicants are inspired to be proactive in their planning and put the waiting time to good use by looking at language schools or building a network. And finally the timeline also shows the steps they have to go through during The Three-year Integration Program. The timeline works both as a database of useful information that is serviceable for the applicant. But it is also intended as a tool where the applicant can demonstrate how far they are in the process by writing goals, applied jobs and other practical or personal things within the different categories. It can therefore also be seen as a personal journal or checklist. The point of this tool is to give the applicant a feeling of empowerment and ownership. Visually give them an overview over which process they are about to enter, and how far they are. And how to navigate so it benefits them and their future in Denmark. THE EMPLOYAID STRATEGY The other level of the web page EmployAid.dk is a public site called EmployAid Strategy which is visible to the social worker the applicants are referred to after their application is approved. EmployAid Strategy is a level integrated in the digital solution that replaces the old Integration Contract. The technology behind the timeline then works as drag and drop between the applicants personal site and EmployAid Strategy - the site visible to the social worker. The information written in the timeline on the private site can be dragged into the public site EmployAid Strategy. The applicants then decide which information they want to share from their personal journey on the timeline since all information probably won t be relevant for the social worker to see or the applicant chooses to keep them private. It can be viewed as a customizable document that will give more flexibility to people and facilitated a more individual process. 10
12 CHANGING THE MINDSET The wording in the EmployAid solution is carefully chosen based on our reflections from the field. In compensation for Integration Contract we use the term EmployAid Strategy. Employed + Aid = EmployAid Because of the focus on employment within the laws on the Integration subject, this focus should be brought forward. By removing a word use that is imprecise and filled with negative connotations, it is possible to change the applicants expectations and hereby his or hers experience with the system. Aid = The act or result of helping; assistance The term EmployAid is a precise definition of what the applicant can expect: Help to become employed. At the same time it lies within the name that there is a willingness to help. This is more inclusive for the applicant than the threatening tone in Contract. Strategy = A method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem 11
13 USER SCENARIO Abri considers to move to DK with her danish husband. She googles move to denmark and finds EmployAid.dk. The clickable timeline helps her understand the required process. Abri decides to create a profile on EmployAid.dk. Create Profile She travels to DK to apply for familiy reunification. She uses the waiting time in DK to start searching for jobs, and keeps a private journal on EmployAid.dk When Abri receives the approval, she starts preparing for the first meeting with the social worker. She drags relevant info into the EmployAid At the first meeting, Abri is met by a well informed and well prepared social worker. Personal Site EmployAid Strategy : I applied for a job in Maersk as Coordinator of International Business Relations. Update Process Private: It is super difficult to find a job because my education is not approved in DK. What to do? Available for your job consultant: Hello Abri! I have some great suggestions for you!
14 BENEFITS EmployAid.dk is a dynamic and beneficial tool that accomates the needs for both the apllicants and the social worker. EmployAid strategy then substitutes the old static Integration Contract and facilitates better options for both applicant and the social worker during the process of family reunification. For the applicant For the social worker - The clickable timeline facilitates a proactive approach and motivates the applicant to take active choices early in the process - EmployAid strategy secure proactive and individual guidance - EmployAid.dk gives the applicant a feeling of empowerment and ownership - The infrastructure in the system makes it is easy to update the EmployAid strategy by using drag and drop -A well-designed beginning can shape the process and lead to an easier termination - By changing the wording the applicants perception of the system also affects their approach to the process - By gaining an insight into the applicant s process the social worker can prepare a more individual guidance - Public resources is used more efficiently by focusing on the applicants specific need at the first meeting. - More constructive meeting - Clear information on the Internet facilitates fewer phone calls from applicants that interrupt the social workers workday - The infrastructure in the system allows the social worker the opportunity to provide ongoing guidance to each applicant - Get well-prepared and enterprising applicants - a collaborator rather than a client ON A FINAL NOTE EmployAid.dk is a solution that manages some of the integration difficulties on a program level as highlited in this report. In spite of the benefits EmployAid.dk introduces, it is nescessary to address the issues on a policy level. Many of the findings in the field is symptoms on a system, that needs political awareness. 15