What kind of tasks could refugees and asylum-seekers do?
The volunteering tasks undertaken by the refugee/asylum-seeker should be agreed between the individual and the hosting organisation. This should not include tasks that through their nature, duration or frequency would not normally be done by a volunteer. Many EU-level NGOs may not be in the habit of engaging volunteers – as opposed to interns or trainees – so you may not immediately be able to imagine how they could support your work. Here are a few suggestions of the kinds of activities the refugees/asylum-seekers could help you with. The European Volunteer Centre is also available to provide advice and support on this, and we can put you in touch.
- Supporting you with media work: e.g. writing blog posts, taking photos, acting as interviewees for media outputs, providing testimonies, meeting your members/partners.
- Supporting your research and policy work, acting as interviewees, or supporting outreach to other refugees/asylum-seekers for research work and acting as interpreters.
- Supporting your campaign activities, e.g. helping you to reach out to other refugees and their communities in Brussels and Belgium.
- Supporting event organisation and provide logistical support at events.
- Providing a fresh ‘out of the Brussels bubble’ perspective on your work, e.g. bringing in new ideas to help design projects or activities.
What is expected of my organisation?
- To host a refugee/asylum-seeker as a volunteer for two weeks (10 days). This is a short period to allow more volunteers to take part in the initiative. The placement does not need to take place over consecutive days, and there is always flexibility to spread it over a longer period, providing legal constraints are respected. We can advise your organisation on this.
- To provide the refugee with a small fixed allowance for costs of 25 EUR per day.
- To establish an agreement with the volunteer. This should specify, inter alia, information on the tasks and responsibilities of the volunteer and the hosting organisation, the hours involved, insurance coverage, the amount of the allowance. NB: This is not a contract. We can provide an example of this and Het Punt or the European Volunteer Centre can support your organisation with this.
- To provide insurance coverage for the refugee for accidents at work. Many organisations will have existing insurance coverage for volunteers, and refugees and asylum-seekers could be covered as normal under these policies. If not, Tandem can provide insurance.
- To nominate a contact point or similar who will lead on supervising and supporting the volunteer during their time at your organisation.
- To provide the guidance and support to ensure the volunteer can get their tasks done.
- To provide the volunteer with a certificate noting the number of hours/days that they volunteered and any training received.
- To learn, cooperate and enjoy 🙂
Is it legal?
Yes! Refugees, individuals in receipt of subsidiary protection, and asylum-seekers who have not received a final, negative decision on their application, are legally allowed to volunteer. This is distinct from employment so any restrictions or requirements regarding social security, taxes etc do not apply to volunteers.
Will hosting a Tandem volunteer mean a lot of administrative work for my organisation?
Refugees and asylum-seekers do not need special authorisation to volunteer, aside from informing Fedasil (the Federal Agency for the reception of asylum seekers) in advance of their volunteering placement if they are living in a reception centre and receiving material subsistence.
Volunteers are allowed to receive a small fixed allowance for their costs. The volunteer and the hosting organisation should sign an agreement outlining clearly the tasks and hours involved, the allowance provided for reimbursement of costs, and other rights/obligations. Volunteering CANNOT be done for commercial businesses or private individuals.The Tandem team have worked together with Het Punt, the Flemish Agency for Volunteering in Brussels to ensure all legal and admin issues are fully clarified. We can take care of all necessary paperwork to Fedasil, CPAS, ...