Social mentors – Latvia
The support of social workers and social mentors for asylum seekers and status holders in Latvia is implemented by Society Integration Foundation, the Latvian Red Cross and the Association Shelter “Safe House”. This service was introduced along with Latvia’s joining to the EU Relocation Programme and setting up an Action Plan for reception and socioeconomic inclusion of beneficiaries of international protection in 2015. Social workers and social mentors are intended as main mediators and agents in promoting socioeconomic inclusion of beneficiaries of international protection. This service is available while the person awaits for the decision regarding their asylum request, as well as 12 months after receiving the status of international protection and is provided at the region or city of residence (currently – in Riga and Jelgava). The number of social workers and social mentors employed depends on the number of beneficiaries of international protection and the complexity of their needs, thus there are no waiting lines and the service is available as needed. However, this service is not mandatory – if an asylum seeker or a person who has already received the status of international protection does not find it necessary, they are not obliged to set up an individual socio-economic inclusion plan.