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ORS Annual Report 2021

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<strong>ORS</strong><br />

ANNUAL REPORT<br />

<strong>2021</strong><br />

Neutral, flexible, mindful.<br />

1


<strong>ORS</strong> believes in the importance of equal opportunity. We use gender-neutral language<br />

in this <strong>Annual</strong> <strong>Report</strong> to refer equally to female, male and non-binary individuals.<br />

2


CONTENTS<br />

Editorial: Acting on opportunities<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Group facts & figures<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Switzerland – acting on opportunities in times of crisis<br />

Senad Delic – from driving a lorry to steering an asylum centre<br />

Leeann Grace – from refugee to language teacher<br />

Julian Gerber – working for better opportunities in the job market<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Germany – growth despite COVID-19<br />

Wahid Karimi – from talented linguist to head of support<br />

Christian Hess – from asylum support to technology manager<br />

Natalia Borovik – from Eastern Siberia to Sigmaringen<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Italy – walking a tightrope between expectation and reality<br />

Cinzia Sollai – second chances can be better<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Austria – milestones in <strong>2021</strong><br />

Sigrid Bauly – life experience as an opportunity for a career change<br />

Education and training<br />

HR figures<br />

<strong>Annual</strong> results <strong>2021</strong><br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Advisory Board – interview with Thomas Bäumer<br />

Group management and management values<br />

Our values<br />

Glossary<br />

Our locations<br />

Imprint<br />

4<br />

6<br />

8<br />

12<br />

14<br />

16<br />

18<br />

22<br />

24<br />

26<br />

28<br />

32<br />

34<br />

36<br />

38<br />

40<br />

42<br />

46<br />

48<br />

50<br />

52<br />

54<br />

55<br />

3


EDITORIAL<br />

‘The commitment of<br />

our staff<br />

is our backbone in<br />

turbulent times.<br />

Crises bring to light<br />

hitherto undiscovered<br />

talents.’<br />

Dear Readers,<br />

Every day brings each of us the opportunity to develop and grow, whether in a professional<br />

context or when we’re making those big decisions in life. It is up to us to spot and act<br />

on these opportunities. In recent years I have repeatedly seen our colleagues roll up their<br />

sleeves and help to tackle crises. Situations such as these offer opportunities to evolve and,<br />

for example, take on a leadership role. The portraits in this <strong>Annual</strong> <strong>Report</strong> illustrate the<br />

exciting prospects that can unfold when we believe in ourselves and act on the opportunities<br />

on offer.<br />

One crisis ends, another begins<br />

Dealing with COVID-19 has become routine but has demanded a lot of us. During COV-<br />

ID-19, being able to maintain the seamless services agreed upon with our partners was not<br />

a matter of course. Handling the criticism we faced from some parts of the media and from<br />

4


idealogical organisations taught us not to allow ourselves to be deterred. Our work found<br />

itself under scrutiny several times and that has served to make us stronger. We also had the<br />

backing of our partners, who saw that they could rely on our loyalty and professionalism<br />

throughout.<br />

Our hope of a ‘calmer’ post-COVID-19 phase was quashed by the outbreak of war in<br />

Ukraine a few months ago. We felt the immediate impact of the crisis and, not for the first<br />

time, I feel immensely proud of all of our teams, who have again stepped up to the challenge<br />

with dauntless pragmatism.<br />

Greater efficiency through digitalisation<br />

The world of work is evolving, and we are not unaffected by the changes. During COVID-19,<br />

we digitalised many of our processes in, for example, HR, finance and training. Many of our<br />

courses are now available online, and our staff at headquarters and in our offices can now<br />

work out of office or from home thanks to the newly introduced flexible working model.<br />

This and a raft of other measures have led to a notable increase in efficiency, as the figures<br />

reflect – our operating profit has improved in comparison with the previous year, contributing<br />

to a further stabilisation of the <strong>ORS</strong> Group. In the meantime, our focus is fixed on<br />

what matters most – doing our utmost to serve our partners and support the people who<br />

live in the accommodation we manage.<br />

Experience as opportunity<br />

The story of <strong>ORS</strong> is a success story. This year we look back on 30 years of <strong>ORS</strong>. Founded<br />

in Switzerland in 1992, we are now among Europe’s leading organisations for state-outsourced<br />

services in the migration sector. Not wishing to rest on our laurels, we are determined<br />

to remain a reliable partner for the public sector, offering quality and expertise. It is<br />

a tremendous opportunity, both for them and for us. I hope you enjoy reading our <strong>Annual</strong><br />

<strong>Report</strong>.<br />

Kind regards,<br />

Jürg Rötheli<br />

5


FACTS & FIGURES<br />

As at 31/12/<strong>2021</strong><br />

6


Operations in 4 countries<br />

2 national representations<br />

1 EU Liaison Office<br />

7 countries<br />

CH Zurich<br />

DE Freiburg<br />

AT Vienna<br />

IT Rome<br />

ES Madrid<br />

GR Athens<br />

BE Brussels<br />

Number of employees<br />

CH 900+<br />

1’400+<br />

DE 450+<br />

IT 100+<br />

AT 5+<br />

+ 14%<br />

80+<br />

Support facilities<br />

mandates<br />

CH 60+<br />

DE 10+<br />

IT 3<br />

AT 2<br />

Bed capacity<br />

14’000+<br />

CH<br />

8’000+<br />

DE 5’500+<br />

IT 700+<br />

AT 100+<br />

+ 28%<br />

7


MILESTONES<br />

<strong>2021</strong><br />

01/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Implementation of the 5-stage integration<br />

model for the restructuring of asylum<br />

and refugee support in the canton of<br />

Bern (NaBe) and opening of the federal<br />

asylum centre for disruptive asylum<br />

seekers in Les Verrières (NE)<br />

06/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Opening of<br />

Uferweg Burgdorf (BE)<br />

collective accommodation<br />

02/<strong>2021</strong><br />

<strong>ORS</strong> becomes member<br />

of ‘Myni Gmeind’<br />

association<br />

04/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Conflict managers,<br />

aka ‘floor walkers’, appointed<br />

to expand support teams in<br />

federal asylum centres<br />

JANUARY<br />

FEBRUARY<br />

MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE<br />

8


08/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Switzerland<br />

Confirmation of mandate for the municipality of Dübendorf (ZH)<br />

09/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Additional contract in mandate for Aargau<br />

for special and exceptional circumstances<br />

10/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Launch of ‘Assisted Cooking’ at<br />

Basel BAZ and Kappelen BAZ (BE).<br />

Relocation from Adliswil repatriation<br />

centre (ZH) to transit centre in<br />

Sonnenbühl Ober-Embrach (ZH)<br />

11/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Recognition of medical<br />

support as a SPITEX service<br />

provider in the canton of<br />

Fribourg<br />

12/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Digital data<br />

logging successfully<br />

integrated into<br />

support for asylum<br />

seekers at the federal<br />

asylum centres in<br />

NAVISION IT system<br />

JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER<br />

9


MILESTONES<br />

<strong>2021</strong><br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Switzerland – acting on opportunities in<br />

times of crisis<br />

COVID-19 meant that our teams in<br />

the facilities, most of which provide<br />

collective accommodation, regularly<br />

had to deal with the consequences<br />

of quarantine and isolation measures.<br />

Despite considerable additional<br />

expense, we succeeded in keeping the<br />

centres running normally at all times.<br />

We benefited here from excellent collaboration<br />

with our partners at the<br />

federal, cantonal and municipal level.<br />

Federal<br />

The introduction of floor walkers in<br />

the federal asylum centres played a<br />

key role in preventing violence. This<br />

conflict prevention measure has since<br />

been successfully rolled out throughout<br />

Switzerland. <strong>ORS</strong> was also tasked<br />

with managing support at the special<br />

centre for disruptive asylum seekers<br />

in Les Verrières (NE). Getting the<br />

asylum seekers involved in preparing<br />

meals proved to be a meaningful<br />

activity. ‘Assisted Cooking’ was therefore<br />

introduced at Basel BAZ and in<br />

Kappelen (BE).<br />

Cantonal mandates<br />

We continued our flawless support<br />

work in the transit and repatriation<br />

centres in Solothurn, Bern and Zurich.<br />

Hostility from refugee support networks<br />

and politically motivated activists<br />

did not prevent us from focusing<br />

on delivering professional and impartial<br />

support. An investigation by the<br />

national Committee for the Prevention<br />

of Torture, carried out on behalf<br />

of the canton of Bern, found that our<br />

employees’ work was recognised and<br />

appreciated. We acted upon suggestions<br />

for improving the repatriation<br />

centres in the canton of Bern, in particular<br />

with regard to the infrastructure,<br />

and took measures to optimise<br />

living conditions for the people in our<br />

care.<br />

In the cantonal mandate in Zurich,<br />

the focus was on relocating the residents<br />

and fixtures from the ramshackle<br />

temporary repatriation centre<br />

in Adliswil to Ober-Embrach. <strong>ORS</strong><br />

used to run the Sonnenbühl centre<br />

years ago, so the change of scene felt a<br />

little like a homecoming.<br />

10


Switzerland<br />

Demographic trends mean that support<br />

and care for the sick and the<br />

elderly in refugee structures is growing<br />

in importance. Last year we developed<br />

a special support and care concept<br />

for this group and implemented<br />

it in coordination with the canton of<br />

Fribourg. As we are now recognised<br />

by SPITEX, our medical care services<br />

are now eligible for coverage by<br />

health insurance.<br />

Integration<br />

Integrating refugees in the municipal<br />

mandates and in the cantonal mandate<br />

of Emmental-Oberaargau (BE)<br />

represents a major task. In the canton<br />

of Bern, our 5-stage integration model<br />

accompanies those in our care as they<br />

make their way towards independent<br />

living. Alongside language courses<br />

and access to qualifications we help<br />

those who are fit to work to find a job<br />

and ensure that they are able to move<br />

into their own accommodation.<br />

We are also pleased to have been<br />

able to win new mandates and confirm<br />

existing ones in German-speaking<br />

Switzerland. We are particularly<br />

delighted to continue our mandate<br />

in the municipality of Dübendorf, the<br />

location of the central point of contact<br />

for all local and integration mandates<br />

in the Zurich and Aargau region.<br />

Safety and cleanliness<br />

Clean accommodation and compliance<br />

with safety standards are key<br />

prerequisites for pleasant living conditions<br />

in the asylum accommodation<br />

facilities. In order to maintain safety<br />

and order, <strong>ORS</strong> took on a full-time<br />

‘Head of Safety and Cleanliness’ in<br />

<strong>2021</strong> to check that we are maintaining<br />

our high standards and initiate<br />

improvements.<br />

11


‘If you are open to<br />

change, you will<br />

have opportunities<br />

to change yourself.<br />

All you have to do is<br />

act on those opportunities.’<br />

Senad Delic<br />

Senad Delic was born in Bosnia in 1988 and grew up in Switzerland. He<br />

gave up his work as a lorry driver in order to make the temporary stay<br />

in the Gampelen BE repatriation centre as pleasant as possible for the<br />

occupants.<br />

12


From driving a lorry to steering an<br />

asylum centre<br />

Sitting at the wheel of a 40-tonne<br />

truck and transporting goods from<br />

A to B was Senad Delic’s day-today<br />

routine for many years. But he<br />

became increasingly disenchanted<br />

with life on the road, never knowing<br />

whether he would get home in time<br />

to spend the evening with his family.<br />

‘Senad, you’re the perfect person for<br />

<strong>ORS</strong>. You should join us,’ his neighbour,<br />

who was already at <strong>ORS</strong>, urged<br />

him, awakening his interest in working<br />

with asylum seekers.<br />

But let’s start at the beginning: shortly<br />

after his birth in Bosnia, his family<br />

settled in Switzerland. After finishing<br />

school, he trained as a painter and<br />

decorator. That practical training and<br />

his experience as a lorry driver made<br />

him the ideal candidate for a maintenance<br />

role at the Gampelen (BE) repatriation<br />

centre.<br />

‘I set to work where I’m<br />

needed and help where<br />

there is hardship.’<br />

His insight into human nature helped<br />

him acclimatise quickly to dealing<br />

with the people living there, who had<br />

been turned down for asylum. His<br />

readiness to help and his mindful<br />

conduct earned him recognition. He<br />

soon became deputy team leader and<br />

was later asked whether he would be<br />

prepared to take on overall responsibility<br />

for the accommodation centre.<br />

‘I enjoy working with people and love<br />

it when things work out. The experience<br />

of interacting with people is<br />

priceless,’ states Senad, adding that<br />

he treats everyone equally, whatever<br />

their asylum status. Even in challenging<br />

situations, he retains his calm demeanour.<br />

Last year he was the victim<br />

of a knife attack, which luckily left<br />

him with only minor injuries. Despite<br />

this, he doesn’t feel fear carrying out<br />

his job.<br />

‘You never stop learning. That’s why<br />

I’m so grateful to <strong>ORS</strong> for giving<br />

me the chance to further myself in<br />

leadership.’ He wants to pass on his<br />

experience – both of support work<br />

and as a human being. Since things<br />

are going well for him, he would like<br />

his success to benefit others. He has<br />

therefore set himself the task of helping<br />

at least one poverty-struck family<br />

a month – whether in Switzerland or<br />

in his native Bosnia. ‘When you see<br />

the smiles on the faces of the people<br />

who’ve been helped, that’s worth<br />

more than gold. What you get is usually<br />

more than you give.’<br />

The residents of the centre are also<br />

to benefit from Senad’s experience.<br />

The trained decorator is planning<br />

to buy some paint and work with<br />

the people living there to freshen up<br />

the corridors and common rooms.<br />

It’s a chance to vary the day-today<br />

routine and an opportunity to<br />

brighten up the living environment.<br />

13


‘People who<br />

are understood<br />

and can<br />

communicate<br />

adequately have<br />

a better chance<br />

of integrating.’<br />

Leeann Grace Isegere<br />

Leeann ‘Tata’ Grace was born in Africa in 1993. To this day she is still<br />

eternally grateful to her grandmother Tata, who had not been allowed to go<br />

to school as a child but insisted that her own children and grandchildren<br />

should not miss out on an education. Leeann is currently in the final stages<br />

of a master’s degree in linguistics. For the past year she has been working<br />

with refugees in the canton of Fribourg as an <strong>ORS</strong> language teacher.<br />

14


Education is the greatest opportunity:<br />

from refugee to language<br />

teacher<br />

In many African countries attending<br />

school involves paying school fees,<br />

so parents tend to have high expectations<br />

of their children. Leeann has<br />

mixed memories of her school days<br />

in Africa. She wanted to become a<br />

bouncer when she finished school,<br />

so that she could protect people and<br />

their homes. Her mother’s response<br />

when she told her was not positive –<br />

in fact, she was given a beating. After<br />

all, in her parents’ minds, they weren’t<br />

paying all that money for an education<br />

just to see her end up in such<br />

a lowly job.<br />

Today Leeann laughs at her naive,<br />

childish notion. Nevertheless, that<br />

passion to protect people has not left<br />

her.<br />

Leeann fled to Switzerland as a result<br />

of political unrest. She spent the<br />

first few months in a federal asylum<br />

centre in the French-speaking part of<br />

Switzerland. Later she was assigned<br />

to the canton of Fribourg and officially<br />

recognised as a refugee. ‘It was the<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> staff who made me feel safe and<br />

showed a human touch in this unfamiliar<br />

world.’ She took a language<br />

course to learn French. To her ears,<br />

‘Bonjour’ was just an undefined series<br />

of sounds rather than a greeting. But<br />

she gradually acclimatised to the new<br />

language and the new structures and<br />

began to feel at home. Having arrived<br />

in Switzerland as a refugee, she went<br />

on to study psychology and languages<br />

after she had finished school. She was<br />

supported by <strong>ORS</strong> throughout her integration.<br />

‘I am grateful to have<br />

had so many opportunities<br />

in my new home’<br />

After her studies, the dream job<br />

Leeann had spoken of as a child became<br />

a reality. She applied to be a<br />

attendant and mediator at <strong>ORS</strong> and<br />

began work at the very place that had<br />

represented a turning point in her life<br />

many years earlier: the federal asylum<br />

centre. ‘The refugees I tutor seem to<br />

mirror of my own past and present. I<br />

can empathise with them, although<br />

I’m well aware that not all of their<br />

wishes for a better life are going to<br />

be fulfilled.’ She is now involved in<br />

integration, teaching French to unaccompanied<br />

minors and adults at a<br />

language school run by <strong>ORS</strong>. She has<br />

found her calling here: ‘People who<br />

are understood and can communicate<br />

adequately have a better chance of<br />

integrating.’ When she looks around<br />

the classroom today and meets the<br />

gazes of the students in front of her,<br />

she likes to think back on a time<br />

when she was sitting in their place<br />

and learning to seize the opportunity<br />

of a new life.<br />

15


‘If you are willing to<br />

integrate, the right<br />

opportunities will<br />

usually<br />

come along.’<br />

Julian Gerber<br />

Julian Gerber (34) trained in business and, before joining <strong>ORS</strong>, worked in<br />

customer advice and marketing. He has also worked in administration at<br />

a refugee accommodation centre. ‘It is important that everyone takes responsibility<br />

and looks beyond their own picket fence so that we can create<br />

new opportunities.’<br />

16


Working for better opportunities<br />

in the job market<br />

Julian Gerber sees his role as opening<br />

doors for recognised or provisional<br />

refugees who are looking to establish<br />

a new existence in Switzerland without<br />

having to rely on benefits. He has<br />

worked in recruitment in the canton<br />

of Bern since 2020. He regularly asks<br />

businesses in the Emmental-Oberaargau<br />

region what their staffing needs<br />

are and compares their job specifications<br />

with the qualifications held<br />

by recognised refugees who are supported<br />

by <strong>ORS</strong>. Work placement, apprenticeship,<br />

training, temporary or<br />

permanent job: what is important<br />

to Julian is that the mutual expectations<br />

of employer and prospective<br />

employee match as closely as possible,<br />

although he is well aware that the<br />

relationship between the two parties<br />

needs to prove itself in practice rather<br />

than on paper.<br />

In recruitment Julian works closely<br />

with a team of job coaches who mentor<br />

the candidates and optimise their<br />

prospects on the job market by recommending<br />

additional qualifications.<br />

Good language skills offer a firm<br />

foundation.<br />

The focus is always on the individual<br />

and their personal needs and abilities.<br />

Julian finds it disappointing when<br />

everything seems to be on track on the<br />

recruitment side, then it all suddenly<br />

falls through. At moments like this,<br />

it’s important to take a deep breath,<br />

analyse what happened and not lose<br />

faith in new opportunities. Optimism<br />

is central to his day-to-day work.<br />

One encounter in particular last year<br />

has stayed with him: a man who had<br />

been placed by <strong>ORS</strong> with a road-building<br />

firm came to the <strong>ORS</strong> desk in full<br />

construction worker gear, including<br />

helmet, and complained that he had<br />

‘The most important<br />

thing is the will to try<br />

something new. Everyone<br />

deserves a chance<br />

and needs to be supported.’<br />

already been waiting five minutes. He<br />

made it clear that he didn’t have time<br />

to wait. The asphalt was ready a few<br />

streets away and the roller would be<br />

arriving any moment. For him every<br />

minute counted. ‘We can’t waste time<br />

when it comes to acting on opportunities.’<br />

He believes it is vital to integrate asylum<br />

seekers and refugees. Opinions<br />

and ideas on the matter may vary, but<br />

you will always find an extensive willingness<br />

to help. Julian is passionate<br />

about persuading businesses of the<br />

benefits of offering career prospects<br />

to people who have been officially<br />

recognised as refugees or admitted to<br />

Switzerland with temporary protection.<br />

The success stories show that he<br />

is right.<br />

17


MILESTONES<br />

<strong>2021</strong><br />

03/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Düren ZUE<br />

Accommodation & day-to-day support,<br />

catering and healthcare<br />

Sigmaringen LEA –<br />

facility management<br />

Technical operation, maintenance and<br />

upkeep of all operational systems<br />

on the premises<br />

04/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Expansion into<br />

Rhineland-Palatinate:<br />

Hermeskeil AfA &<br />

Kusel AfA<br />

Accommodation, day-to-day<br />

support and social counselling<br />

JANUARY<br />

FEBRUARY<br />

MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE<br />

18


Germany<br />

10/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Return to Berlin:<br />

opening of Bäkestraße GU<br />

Accommodation, day-to-day support<br />

and social counselling<br />

11/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Closure of<br />

Eggenstein EA<br />

Accommodation and<br />

day-to-day support<br />

JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER<br />

19


MILESTONES<br />

<strong>2021</strong><br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Germany in year two of COVID-19<br />

Spring <strong>2021</strong> – growth spurt<br />

Additional contracts in North<br />

Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate<br />

at the end of 2020/beginning<br />

of <strong>2021</strong> brought turbulent times for<br />

us. Our HR team was faced with the<br />

challenge of recruiting and inducting<br />

150 new <strong>ORS</strong> colleagues within a<br />

matter of weeks. This only succeeded<br />

thanks to the dynamic support of<br />

our colleagues from the facilities and<br />

the <strong>ORS</strong> Group. Internal support and<br />

team spirit in a time of crisis proved<br />

themselves yet again, making us<br />

proud of what we have achieved and<br />

optimistic about what is still to come.<br />

New accommodation <strong>2021</strong><br />

We were delighted to launch our<br />

third accommodation centre in North<br />

Rhine-Westphalia – Düren ZUE in the<br />

administrative district of Cologne,<br />

which opened on 1 March. At the<br />

same time we took charge of facility<br />

management at the Sigmaringen regional<br />

reception centre, taking on responsibility<br />

for technical operations,<br />

maintenance and the upkeep of all<br />

operational systems on the premises.<br />

On 1 April we expanded into Rhineland-Palatinate,<br />

taking on support responsibilities<br />

in two accommodation<br />

centres: these additional contracts<br />

for the reception facilities for asylum<br />

seekers (AfA) in Kusel and Hermeskeil<br />

mark an important milestone for us.<br />

Our new partner, the Trier State Inspectorate,<br />

expressed great interest<br />

in our concepts, and dialogue quickly<br />

developed. Following an intensive<br />

set-up phase, we are also experiencing<br />

challenges here, however – the rural<br />

setting is making it difficult to find<br />

local specialists to fill vacancies. We<br />

launched an extensive internal initiative<br />

to expand recruitment. Among<br />

other things, this saw us create a larger<br />

recruitment team, widen our search<br />

to cover the whole European area and<br />

enter into partnership with a recruitment<br />

agency.<br />

Autumn was dominated by our return<br />

to Berlin. Having had to hand over<br />

our accommodation in Colditzstraße<br />

to our successor in December 2020,<br />

we were delighted at the return to the<br />

‘Bäkestraße’ hostel, where we were<br />

able to welcome back a large per-<br />

20


Germany<br />

centage of our former team. Despite<br />

extensive efforts to retain the Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen<br />

reception centre<br />

near Karlsruhe, our bid lost out to that<br />

of another operator at the end of November.<br />

Forging ahead with digitalisation<br />

At the beginning of <strong>2021</strong> we took a<br />

further step towards digitalisation<br />

in HR: our colleagues can now record<br />

and manage their hours and<br />

check our shift planner via a mobile<br />

phone app. We have digitalised<br />

parts of our induction programme<br />

and made video clips highlighting<br />

our support processes to make induction<br />

easier for new colleagues.<br />

Prospects for 2022<br />

2022 got off to an eventful start, with<br />

the number of employees working<br />

for <strong>ORS</strong> Germany passing the 500<br />

mark for the first time. On 1 January<br />

we took over the support services at<br />

Bonn EAE and also expanded our remit<br />

in Rhineland-Palatinate from 1<br />

February, taking on responsibility for<br />

providing healthcare for individuals<br />

who are due to be repatriated from the<br />

detention facility (GfA) in Ingelheim.<br />

Using digital media: alongside regular training, our<br />

new colleagues can now access 10 new video clips<br />

introducing them to day-to-day support work.<br />

21


‘With patience and<br />

experience, you can<br />

master challenging<br />

tasks. I am proud of<br />

my team. We acted on<br />

opportunities.’<br />

Wahid Karimi<br />

Wahid Karimi was born in Afghanistan in 1988 and grew up in Austria.<br />

He has been providing professional support for asylum seekers with <strong>ORS</strong><br />

for 12 years. In <strong>2021</strong> he was promoted to head of support at the Sankt<br />

Augustin ZUE.<br />

22


‘It is a privilege to be able to act<br />

on opportunities’<br />

As a young boy, Wahid dreamed of<br />

becoming a ship’s captain and sailing<br />

around the world. His travel dreams<br />

were soon to become a reality – although<br />

not quite in the way he had<br />

planned. At the end of the 90s he and<br />

his family fled Afghanistan. Life in<br />

war-torn Hindu Kush had become<br />

too precarious. Wahid found refuge<br />

in Austria, quickly learned German<br />

and completed secondary school.<br />

When his family or other people of<br />

Afghan origin had to attend official<br />

appointments, he acted as an interpreter,<br />

becoming a cultural mediator<br />

and linguistic go-between. He saw<br />

his migration background as an opportunity.<br />

Even though he was often<br />

met with incomprehension and xenophobia<br />

as an adolescent, he sticks<br />

to his motto: ‘There are idiots everywhere<br />

you go. Don’t let them get to<br />

you. Don’t be afraid and keep doing<br />

what you’re doing.’<br />

Wahid is a talented linguist and not<br />

only speaks German, English, Russian<br />

and Farsi but four other languages<br />

as well. He ended up basing his<br />

career around languages. He set up a<br />

business offering interpreting services<br />

which eventually employed up to<br />

16 staff. During his military service in<br />

2015, he witnessed the refugee crisis<br />

up close on the border with Slovenia.<br />

It was then that Wahid decided he<br />

wanted to work with refugees. He still<br />

remembers the interview with <strong>ORS</strong><br />

in a little room around four metres<br />

square: ‘There was a smell of sweat<br />

and dust in the air. Whether that was<br />

down to my nerves or the specific<br />

location isn’t clear. There were refugees<br />

everywhere, waiting for help. So<br />

many people arrived that some had to<br />

spend several nights sleeping in the<br />

open. And then hearing the stories<br />

of all the traumatised asylum seekers<br />

who’d been tortured in Syrian prisons.<br />

It was very tough for me and my<br />

team.’<br />

These extraordinary experiences<br />

left their stamp on Wahid. After five<br />

years in refugee support in the Alpine<br />

republic, he took the opportunity to<br />

apply to <strong>ORS</strong> in Germany. ‘When an<br />

organisation grows and they offer you<br />

to chance to develop in both professional<br />

and personal terms, you have<br />

to take it.’ His ability to understand<br />

people, his empathy for those who<br />

have fled their homes and his management<br />

experience have helped him<br />

to work his way up from deputy head<br />

of support to head of support at the<br />

Sankt Augustin ZUE, where he now<br />

manages a workforce of 60.<br />

‘Discover your<br />

employees’ strengths.’<br />

‘Discover your employees’ strengths’<br />

is his leadership motto. Today, like<br />

the ship’s captain of his childhood<br />

dreams, he stands at the helm, using<br />

the opportunities that arise to make<br />

sure everything stays on course.<br />

23


‘If you are willing<br />

to think<br />

outside the<br />

box, different<br />

opportunities<br />

will soon come<br />

along.’<br />

Christian Hess<br />

Originally from Rhineland-Palatinate, Christian Hess (37) now lives near<br />

Freiburg im Breisgau. A trained IT specialist, he has been responsible for<br />

sorting out all the hardware and software problems in the <strong>ORS</strong> network<br />

for the past five years. He also works in quality management.<br />

24


From asylum support to technology<br />

manager<br />

Whenever there are problems with<br />

computers at <strong>ORS</strong>, all roads lead to<br />

the IT department. It is only when<br />

things don’t work that we notice how<br />

indispensable the men and women in<br />

the background are. One of them is<br />

Christian Hess. For the past five years<br />

he has been the first port of call for<br />

computer, printer, server and mobile<br />

problems.<br />

Chris changed course mid-career and<br />

turned his passion for bits, rams, etc.<br />

into his day job. ‘I am happy that <strong>ORS</strong><br />

saw my potential and encouraged<br />

me. They offered me the chance to<br />

develop in a different direction.’ His<br />

first contact with <strong>ORS</strong> was as a volunteer<br />

during the 2015 refugee crisis.<br />

Witnessing the needs of the myriad<br />

people seeking protection, he felt<br />

compelled to take on a full-time role.<br />

Shortly after joining us, he was appointed<br />

facility manager at a refugee<br />

accommodation centre in the Black<br />

Forest. His know-how was called for<br />

when it came to setting up and installing<br />

computers, and when he was offered<br />

the opportunity to become fulltime<br />

head of infrastructure and take<br />

over the maintenance of all PC workstations,<br />

he saw that he had invested<br />

his talent in the right organisation.<br />

‘You can’t expect everyone working<br />

at the accommodation centres to<br />

be tech-savvy. Their strengths lie in<br />

supporting people,’ explains Chris,<br />

highlighting the difference between<br />

his old and current jobs, adding: ‘You<br />

need to explain things simply and<br />

concisely.’ He sees the different needs<br />

and expectations that partners, staff<br />

and residents have of IT specialists as<br />

an opportunity. Pragmatism is called<br />

for in order to come up with good<br />

solutions.<br />

During COVID-19, Chris’ skills were<br />

particularly in demand. He had to ensure<br />

that all staff working from home<br />

were hooked up to the network and<br />

could access documents and programs.<br />

He also had to expand the wifi<br />

‘I provide technical<br />

support so that our<br />

support work functions.’<br />

capacity in new and existing centres<br />

to ensure in particular that residents<br />

in quarantine or isolating were not<br />

completely cut off from the outside<br />

world. ‘Crises are opportunities. It<br />

taught me a lot about technology and<br />

people.’ Chris feels there is potential<br />

to improve project management to<br />

make <strong>ORS</strong> administration even more<br />

efficient in future without having<br />

to restrict the quality of support for<br />

those seeking protection.<br />

Barely are the words out of his mouth<br />

when he turns back to the screen. A<br />

new email has come in, asking him – as<br />

so often – to help sort out an IT issue.<br />

25


‘Act on<br />

opportunities<br />

when they are<br />

offered to<br />

you.’<br />

Natalia Borovik<br />

Natalia Borovik was born in Russia in 1984 and has been living in Germany<br />

for nine years. A trained industrial engineer, she has been a support<br />

worker for <strong>ORS</strong> since 2016 and is based at the regional reception centre<br />

in Sigmaringen. Her empathy for the refugees goes hand-in-hand with her<br />

impressive leadership skills, a combination that led to her appointment as<br />

deputy head of support on 1 May <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

26


From Eastern Siberia to<br />

Sigmaringen<br />

‘Act on opportunities when they are<br />

offered to you’ – a motto that perfectly<br />

describes Natalia Borovik’s journey<br />

through life. She was born and grew<br />

up in a region of Siberia known for<br />

its coal mining. She moved to St Petersburg<br />

to study and later carved out<br />

a career there as an industrial engineer<br />

and business economist, working<br />

for a state-owned enterprise. Love<br />

led her to Germany. ‘I had to learn a<br />

new mindset in a new country and<br />

was open to everything.’ The huge demand<br />

for staff in the refugee support<br />

sector spurred her to apply for a post<br />

at the Sigmaringen regional reception<br />

centre (LEA). At the outset, she found<br />

dealing with people from different<br />

cultures a challenge. On the one hand<br />

she wanted to help people who were<br />

seeking protection. On the other<br />

hand, she needed to set boundaries.<br />

‘I found it difficult at the start. Especially<br />

when people were disrespectful<br />

to me,’ she acknowledges. Regular<br />

discussions with colleagues about<br />

their experiences and the training<br />

offered by <strong>ORS</strong> on subjects such as<br />

‘Closeness and Distance’ or ‘Dealing<br />

with Violence’ helped her to feel more<br />

confident.<br />

Today Natalia cannot imagine a better<br />

job. She enjoys helping out wherever<br />

she is needed and is always happy<br />

when residents she encounters in<br />

the rambling LEA premises greet her<br />

with a cheery smile.<br />

On 1 May <strong>2021</strong> Natalia was promoted<br />

to deputy head of operations. She<br />

is solely responsible for the social<br />

sphere. The coronavirus pandemic<br />

proved challenging Natalia and her<br />

support team. The creation of isolation<br />

and quarantine areas on the<br />

rambling premises of a former army<br />

‘Every opportunity is a<br />

chance to develop.’<br />

barracks meant she virtually ended<br />

up managing two separate facilities.<br />

Looking back, she is happy that collaboration<br />

with our partner, the Regional<br />

Authority of Tübingen, worked<br />

well. ‘We grew together as a support<br />

team and consolidated our partnership<br />

with the authority.’ She hopes<br />

that, post-pandemic, it will be possible<br />

to offer activities and events for<br />

the residents of the LEA again.<br />

As a result of the conflict in Ukraine,<br />

Natalia feels she is subject to particular<br />

scrutiny as a Russian citizen. She is<br />

shocked at the human suffering and is<br />

wishing for a peaceful resolution for<br />

everyone involved. ‘Everyone deserves<br />

a chance. I am here to help, wherever<br />

people come from.’<br />

27


MILESTONES<br />

<strong>2021</strong><br />

01/<strong>2021</strong> MONASTIR<br />

More than 80 refugees manage to reach Sardinia by boat, despite stormy weather.<br />

The <strong>ORS</strong> team provide the newly arrived refugees with essentials, accommodate<br />

them in the centre and ensure they receive support and medical treatment.<br />

All new arrivals must take a COVID-19 test and isolate for fourteen days as a<br />

precaution.<br />

02/<strong>2021</strong> MONASTIR<br />

Violent skirmishes involving the use of dangerous objects (knives,<br />

iron bars and stones) result in 15 residents of the centre being<br />

injured, two of them seriously. The <strong>ORS</strong> team mediates between<br />

the residents and the police. Thanks to the support of <strong>ORS</strong> staff,<br />

further escalation is avoided.<br />

03/<strong>2021</strong> MONASTIR<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> is appointed an official member of the Committee<br />

on Order and Security of the province of<br />

Cagliari. The police headquarters (questura) praises<br />

the valuable and outstanding work achieved by<br />

the centre’s management team.<br />

JANUARY<br />

FEBRUARY<br />

MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE<br />

28


10/<strong>2021</strong><br />

MACOMER<br />

The prefect and the local police commissioner<br />

of Nuoro and the mayor of Macomer visit the<br />

centre. Collaboration between the authorities,<br />

police and <strong>ORS</strong> is very much appreciated.<br />

07/<strong>2021</strong><br />

MONASTIR<br />

The United Nations High Commissioner<br />

for Refugees (UNHCR) visits the Monastir<br />

repatriation centre CAS.<br />

MACOMER<br />

A UNHCR delegation visits Macomer CPR<br />

and is impressed by the professional management<br />

of the centre.<br />

11/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Italy<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Italia is awarded three<br />

new contracts for reception<br />

and support in the Milan<br />

reception centre, the Bologna<br />

reception centre and the<br />

Rome repatriation centre<br />

with a combined capacity of<br />

over 500 places. The Milan<br />

reception centre opens on 1<br />

November and the centre in<br />

Rome at the start of 2022.<br />

08/<strong>2021</strong><br />

MONASTIR<br />

Launch of the first large-scale COV-<br />

ID-19 vaccination campaign for the<br />

residents, accompanied by awareness<br />

training and psychological support.<br />

MACOMER<br />

Wildfires break out all over Sardinia.<br />

Flames threaten the centre in<br />

Macomer. The fire service is able to<br />

prevent the evacuation of the centre<br />

at the last minute.<br />

Monastir CAS<br />

JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER<br />

29


MILESTONES<br />

<strong>2021</strong><br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Italy – walking a tightrope between<br />

expectation and reality<br />

Operations in Italy were primarily<br />

restricted to Sardinia in <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

We are responsible for managing<br />

the repatriation centre in Macomer<br />

in the province of Nuoro. Legislation<br />

severely restricts freedom of<br />

movement for the people accommodated<br />

in the repatriation centre.<br />

Dealing with tension<br />

For these refugees the situation inside<br />

the centre is intensified by a<br />

sense of despair and hopelessness.<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> employees have to carry out constant<br />

and continuous mediation and<br />

de-escalation work and ensure that<br />

all refugees are treated with respect<br />

on a day-to-day basis.<br />

Owing to the complexity of the different<br />

interest groups living and<br />

working there – police, military, authorities,<br />

administration and refugees<br />

– there is often serious tension<br />

at the centre. Feedback from politicians,<br />

government officials and institutions,<br />

however, indicates that the<br />

professional management of the centre<br />

is highly appreciated.<br />

Arrival of refugees by boat<br />

Our second centre is situated in the<br />

south of the island. The Monastir reception<br />

centre takes in people who<br />

arrive in Sardinia by sea seeking protection.<br />

Most of these refugees arrive<br />

in small boots and dinghies, often<br />

after having been adrift on the open<br />

water, and are picked up by the coastguard.<br />

Implementing regulations that<br />

are in place to curb the spread of the<br />

coronavirus pandemic involves a significant<br />

amount of extra work for the<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> staff. Every refugee who reaches<br />

land is welcomed, whatever the time<br />

of day or night, provided with essentials,<br />

food and accommodation, given<br />

a medical examination and tested for<br />

COVID-19 They then have to spend<br />

up to 14 days in the quarantine ward.<br />

For those who are looking to reach<br />

family members or onward destinations,<br />

the feeling of being locked up<br />

can prove particularly frustrating and<br />

inevitably leads to a high risk of unrest<br />

and conflicts inside the centre.<br />

Violence and riots involving injuries<br />

and threats to <strong>ORS</strong> employees are a<br />

frequent occurrence.<br />

30


Italy<br />

One of the many support tasks is to<br />

mediate, channel, understand and organise.<br />

Walking a tightrope between<br />

closeness and distance, the <strong>ORS</strong> involvement<br />

is appreciated, as manifested<br />

by our official appointment to<br />

the Committee for Order and Security<br />

in the province of Cagliari.<br />

New mandates<br />

In Italy the need for support services<br />

in the refugee sector is constantly<br />

growing. <strong>ORS</strong> Italy responded to invitations<br />

to tender in several regions<br />

in <strong>2021</strong>. Most of these tendering processes<br />

for reception accommodation,<br />

however, specify that the organisation<br />

making the bid must also provide<br />

the bricks-and-mortar facility. In<br />

many respects this represents a major<br />

obstacle to our growth. Nevertheless,<br />

we succeeded at the end of the year<br />

in winning bids to manage centres<br />

in Milan, Turin, Bologna and Rome.<br />

This means we will be expanding our<br />

activities in Italy in 2022 and continuing<br />

our growth despite the challenging<br />

conditions.<br />

Centro Fantoli Milano<br />

31


‘I love the cultural<br />

diversity and enjoy<br />

working with<br />

people.’<br />

Cinzia Sollai<br />

Born in 1973, Cinzia Sollai studied languages and literature at the University<br />

of Cagliari until a twist of fate forced her to abandon her degree<br />

course. As a single mother, she initially worked in sales. In 2018 she applied<br />

to become a support worker for <strong>ORS</strong> at the Monastir CAS reception<br />

centre. Today she is deputy head of the centre and is grateful for the opportunities<br />

that refugee support work offers her.<br />

32


Second chances can be better<br />

When you live on Sardinia, your life is<br />

inevitably connected with the sea. It<br />

is little wonder, then, that as a small<br />

girl, Cinzia Sollai dreamed of becoming<br />

an admiral in the Italian navy and<br />

sailing the world’s seas. That girlhood<br />

dream of a career in the military<br />

never became a reality<br />

In <strong>2021</strong> just under 68’000 refugees<br />

came across the sea to Italy – some<br />

of them landing on the island of Sardinia.<br />

At the Centro di Accoglienza<br />

Straordinaria CAS in Monastir, a central<br />

reception centre near Cagliari,<br />

the <strong>ORS</strong> support team is responsible<br />

for initial care for refugees arriving<br />

by boat and other asylum seekers.<br />

Cinzia too is involved in ensuring the<br />

well-being of refugees at Monastir<br />

CAS. ‘Unfortunately we also have to<br />

deal with violent people who don’t<br />

appreciate what we’re trying to do.<br />

That’s when we rely on support from<br />

the police. But luckily there’s also a<br />

lot of gratitude from people who we<br />

help,’ she explains. Cinzia sees her<br />

role as building a bridge between<br />

the interests of the refugees and the<br />

requirements of the authorities. ‘I<br />

love the cultural diversity and enjoy<br />

working with people. They deserve a<br />

chance.’ Nevertheless, she is keen to<br />

stress that she remains neutral and<br />

keeps a professional distance from<br />

the people she supports.<br />

She has been working for <strong>ORS</strong> for<br />

three years. Initially she was afraid<br />

of not living up to expectations. But<br />

those worries soon vanished. ‘My line<br />

manager was an exceptional woman<br />

who did so much to help me develop<br />

personally and professionally. She<br />

always believed in me, showed more<br />

and more trust in me and delegated<br />

responsibility.’ She sees <strong>ORS</strong> as a<br />

reputable service provider with wellhoned<br />

processes and tremendous<br />

team spirit, an organisation that is<br />

constantly confronted with changing<br />

situations with the arrival and departure<br />

of refugees.<br />

‘Stand still and you miss out,’ is her<br />

motto in life, and she adds:<br />

Cinzia has accumulated a great deal<br />

of experience in providing support<br />

for people in need of protection. Last<br />

year she was appointed deputy head<br />

‘When you’re faced<br />

with difficulties, it’s<br />

important not to stand<br />

still. You need to look<br />

for solutions. That’s<br />

when new opportunities<br />

come along –<br />

whether personal or<br />

professional.’<br />

of Monastir CAS and sees this as a<br />

vindication of her belief that, when it<br />

comes to careers, second chances can<br />

sometimes be better.<br />

33


MILESTONES<br />

<strong>2021</strong><br />

For <strong>ORS</strong> Austria, the first year after the<br />

discontinuation of our support activities<br />

in the federal mandate largely involved<br />

realigning our services. While we previously<br />

managed large arrival and distribution<br />

centres with collective accommodation<br />

for the Federal Ministry of<br />

the Interior, our support work is now on<br />

a smaller scale. With our team of nine,<br />

we are focusing on providing assisted<br />

living services on behalf of the federal<br />

states. These are mandates that we have<br />

been fulfilling for several years now.<br />

Our mobile social teams were at work<br />

in the states of Carinthia and Styria all<br />

year round, finding accommodation for<br />

recognised refugees. In the second half<br />

of the year we expanded these activities<br />

to Lower Austria. At a low level we are<br />

experiencing a constantly growing need<br />

for accommodation for refugees.<br />

After nine intensive and highly successful<br />

years as managing director in Austria<br />

with responsibility for new markets,<br />

Wilhelm Brunner has decided to make a<br />

fresh start and Maurizio Reppucci and<br />

Martin Nyfeler are to take over as joint<br />

managing directors. Work in the refugee<br />

sector has always been subject to<br />

high volatility. Following the slump in<br />

Austria in the first half of the year we<br />

were pleased to see an upward trend<br />

return by the year’s end.<br />

Vienna Migration Conference<br />

In October <strong>ORS</strong> had a presence at the<br />

Vienna Migration Conference. The<br />

international conference, attended by<br />

high-profile members of government<br />

and of various authorities, allowed us<br />

to present our support services in the<br />

refugee sector to a wide audience. We<br />

are fortunate enough to have an existing<br />

partnership with the ICMPD, International<br />

Centre for Migration Policy<br />

Development, whose director Michael<br />

Spindelegger is also a member of the<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Advisory Board.<br />

01/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Move to new <strong>ORS</strong> office in Graz<br />

JANUARY<br />

FEBRUARY<br />

MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE<br />

34


07/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Austria<br />

Change of managing director: Maurizio Reppucci and<br />

Martin Nyfeler take over joint leadership<br />

08/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Further accommodation unit added. Expansion<br />

of approved places and homes in St Veit an der<br />

Glan (Carinthia)<br />

10/<strong>2021</strong><br />

New contract for assisted living mandate<br />

in Lower Austria<br />

11/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Increased quarantine<br />

arrangements for refugees<br />

in Carinthia and Styria<br />

require increased support<br />

spending<br />

12/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Increase in support<br />

capacities in Söchau<br />

(Styria). At the end<br />

of the year approved<br />

accommodation in all<br />

federal states was at<br />

full capacity.<br />

JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER<br />

35


‘Everyone deserves<br />

a chance.’<br />

Sigrid Bauly<br />

Born in 1958, Sigrid Bauly first studied law and, as the daughter of a<br />

lawyer, was convinced that law and justice went hand-in-hand. Everyday<br />

life, however, showed her a different reality. She decided to train as a mediator<br />

and counsellor but found that her age was a barrier when it came<br />

to opportunities on the job market. Seven years ago she began her support<br />

career at <strong>ORS</strong> and discovered that she wasn’t ready for the scrapheap yet.<br />

36


Life experience as an opportunity<br />

for a career change<br />

No one should be consigned to the<br />

scrapheap at the age of 56. Yet Sigrid<br />

Bauly had to fight long and hard<br />

to show that her life and career experience<br />

could provide added value<br />

for businesses. A qualified marriage<br />

guidance, family and life counsellor,<br />

she tried in vain several times to move<br />

to a new career. Age always proved an<br />

obstacle for the mother of three – until<br />

she came to <strong>ORS</strong>. In 2015 she saw<br />

a job advert looking for support staff<br />

for refugees. She was interviewed and<br />

was appointed immediately. Initially<br />

she worked at a provisional camp in<br />

Carinthia that housed asylum seekers<br />

from Syria and Afghanistan. ‘Never<br />

have any prejudices about foreign<br />

cultures. No one leaves their family<br />

and home without a very pressing<br />

reason. Everyone deserves a chance”<br />

Sigrid, who had been born in Carinthia,<br />

later moved from the provisional<br />

camp to a regular distribution centre<br />

for asylum seekers and two years ago<br />

she took on a new role as a social<br />

counsellor in mobile refugee support.<br />

‘At first I was helping to make the early<br />

days in Austria easier for new arrivals.<br />

Now I’m helping the ones who’ve<br />

stayed to find their feet in their new<br />

home.’ She drives from home to home<br />

in Carinthia and Styria and is the<br />

first point of contact for asylum seekers<br />

who have been transferred from<br />

federal support to the regions and<br />

are awaiting a definitive decision on<br />

their case. She pays out the daily subsistence<br />

allowance, distributes food<br />

and hygiene products, organises appointments<br />

with doctors, schools and<br />

local authorities and always makes<br />

sure to take time to talk and answer<br />

questions. Her work involves cooperation<br />

with local support networks,<br />

which provide valuable assistance,<br />

‘If you are integrated,<br />

you have better<br />

opportunities: professionally<br />

and socially.<br />

I see myself as<br />

an integrative<br />

opportunity provider’<br />

particularly where job opportunities<br />

and language courses are concerned.<br />

She has built a relationship of trust<br />

with the 50 or so people in her care.<br />

Today Sigrid Bauly is happy to be<br />

with <strong>ORS</strong>. She works in a small team<br />

of five social support workers. ‘We<br />

work very well together. We automatically<br />

help each other wherever<br />

there’s a need. But everyone still has<br />

the chance to work independently<br />

and responsibly in their own particular<br />

area. From my point of view, it<br />

doesn’t get better than that.’<br />

37


EDUCATION AND TRAINING<br />

The protective measures put in place<br />

by governments and authorities to<br />

curb the coronavirus pandemic had a<br />

direct impact on training opportunities<br />

for our staff. Contact restrictions<br />

and mandatory working from home<br />

resulted in the cancellation of several<br />

courses. We acted on the opportunity<br />

to move our training to an eLearning<br />

format. As a result, we were able to run<br />

99 courses – in German, French and<br />

Italian, depending on the regional language<br />

of the participants.<br />

All staff are encouraged to participate<br />

in starter courses and specialist<br />

training, ensuring that we constantly<br />

optimise the quality of our work in<br />

the field. One particular staff development<br />

focus is on leadership training.<br />

In October our Leaders’ Conference<br />

was attended by around 30 managerial<br />

staff from all of the national sections.<br />

Under the motto ‘Dare to trust’, the<br />

participants developed different forms<br />

of working and leadership designed<br />

to promote communication with one<br />

another and collaboration within the<br />

teams.<br />

Alongside internal training programmes,<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> also contributes towards<br />

the costs of external training<br />

courses our colleagues take – provided<br />

the training adds value to their role<br />

within the organisation. In <strong>2021</strong> we<br />

supported 50 training programmes.<br />

Leaders’ Conference under the motto ‘Dare to<br />

trust’, October <strong>2021</strong><br />

38


We value the experience of our employees<br />

and see the tremendous potential<br />

in their skills. In 2022 we will<br />

therefore continue to promote the personal<br />

and professional development of<br />

our colleagues. Our diverse choice of<br />

courses combines webinars and classroom<br />

training and offers all levels of<br />

management and all roles the opportunity<br />

to expand their horizons.<br />

and get to know other <strong>ORS</strong> Group employees.<br />

This new approach, instigated<br />

by our new head of human resources<br />

development, Maurizia Walzthöny,<br />

reflects the importance we attach –<br />

throughout the entire <strong>ORS</strong> Group – to<br />

ensuring quality of support, promoting<br />

leadership skills and strengthening<br />

team spirit among our employees.<br />

New schemes such as Lunch & Learn<br />

and our ‘Supervisions’ programme also<br />

offer staff the opportunity to network<br />

OUR QUALITY MANAGEMENT<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> attaches great importance to delivering high-quality professional support<br />

with people at its heart. Internal audits and regular reviews by our partners<br />

provide us with important indications of where further improvements<br />

could be made. We are also the proud holders of ISO certification, awarded by<br />

the leading Swiss organisation for certification and assessment services, SQS.<br />

39


HR AND STAFF DEVELOPMENT<br />

Acting on opportunities in staff<br />

development<br />

When a pandemic like COVID-19<br />

hits large swathes of the population,<br />

it has inevitable implications for any<br />

organisation’s HR department. The<br />

virus did not spare <strong>ORS</strong> employees.<br />

Despite a large number of positive<br />

tests, looking back, we are grateful<br />

that severe cases remained the exception<br />

and that our staff were willing to<br />

step in at short notice to ensure that<br />

our facilities remained operational at<br />

all times. Information to our staff essentially<br />

focused on the latest COV-<br />

ID-19 protection measures. Willingness<br />

to be vaccinated was very high<br />

among our colleagues. At the same<br />

time, we introduced mandatory testing<br />

during working hours for all as of<br />

yet unvaccinated staff – where not already<br />

prescribed by law.<br />

New forms of working shape our<br />

day-to-day routines<br />

We used the COVID-19 phase to establish<br />

the practice of working from<br />

home. Our experience encouraged us<br />

to switch permanently to a flexible<br />

working model post-COVID-19. We<br />

are convinced that the office of the future<br />

will be a meeting place where the<br />

focus is on communication between<br />

colleagues, while the hard grind and<br />

the solid brain work – particularly in<br />

administrative fields – will be carried<br />

out from home. As a result, we have<br />

begun converting rooms in our offices<br />

so that they can be used flexibly according<br />

to needs rather than having a<br />

fixed purpose. Despite the challenges,<br />

the sense of team spirit has grown.<br />

We are also pressing on with digitalisation<br />

in the HR area.<br />

Digitalisation<br />

From application management to<br />

payroll accounting, software tools<br />

are set to simplify our working lives.<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> is an attractive employer that is<br />

striving to meet its growing need for<br />

committed and qualified employees<br />

by offering modern working conditions<br />

and personal career planning.<br />

We provide both new and existing<br />

colleagues with a range of opportunities<br />

for personal development.<br />

Certification and audits<br />

Regular reviews of our working conditions<br />

and terms of employment by<br />

our partners and by recognised certification<br />

bodies offer us the opportunity<br />

to reflect on our processes and,<br />

where necessary, introduce further<br />

improvements. We believe in equal<br />

rights, are committed to equal pay<br />

and practise inclusive dialogue with<br />

our employees.<br />

40


Facts and figures<br />

Status 31/12/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Number of employees<br />

Number of nationalities<br />

of employees<br />

CH 910<br />

DE 497<br />

IT 76<br />

AT 9<br />

+ 14%<br />

CH<br />

DE<br />

IT<br />

AT<br />

67<br />

56<br />

10<br />

3<br />

Percentage women<br />

Women in managerial positions<br />

CH<br />

42%<br />

CH<br />

47%<br />

DE<br />

45%<br />

DE<br />

47%<br />

IT<br />

34%<br />

IT<br />

67%<br />

AT<br />

44%<br />

AT<br />

50%<br />

+ 4% + 10%<br />

Increase in comparison with previous year with<br />

reference to the <strong>ORS</strong> Group.<br />

We are aware that working in the asylum sector can be very challenging for<br />

our staff – which makes us all the more grateful to our almost 1’500-strong<br />

workforce for their hard work and the commitment they have shown to <strong>ORS</strong>.<br />

41


ANNUAL RESULTS<br />

<strong>2021</strong><br />

Review and outlook<br />

Asylum applications in Europe rose<br />

by over 30% in comparison with the<br />

previous year in <strong>2021</strong>. In spring, once<br />

most of the travel restrictions introduced<br />

to curb the spread of the coronavirus<br />

pandemic had been lifted, the<br />

monthly number of asylum applications<br />

made in Europe began to rise<br />

steadily again and in August resumed<br />

the level we were seeing in 2019.<br />

In contrast, operational work in the<br />

facilities did not become notably easier<br />

than in the previous year. Low occupancy<br />

and increased expenditure<br />

on COVID-19 protection measures in<br />

our facilities have had an impact on<br />

our overall result.<br />

Despite more difficult conditions,<br />

we succeeded again in realising the<br />

planned growth and further consolidating<br />

the profitability of the <strong>ORS</strong><br />

Group. This is all the more pleasing<br />

when we consider that some of our<br />

competitors list the same fees – and<br />

even demand deficit guarantees – yet<br />

have reported a loss. We are committed<br />

to our mission of making efficient<br />

use of the public money entrusted to<br />

us and boosting the attractiveness of<br />

our organisation.<br />

As a result of the political situation<br />

in southern Europe and particularly<br />

in Ukraine, we can assume that the<br />

number of asylum applications in Europe<br />

and the <strong>ORS</strong> markets is set to<br />

rise significantly. New opportunities<br />

are likely to arise in countries where<br />

the <strong>ORS</strong> Group is not yet active, in<br />

particular in southern Europe (Spain<br />

and Greece), but also in the existing<br />

markets.<br />

Switzerland<br />

In <strong>2021</strong>, around 15’000 asylum applications<br />

were made in Switzerland –<br />

an increase of at least 35% against the<br />

previous year. This places the rise in<br />

asylum applications in Switzerland<br />

above the European average of 30%.<br />

The increase in asylum applications<br />

led to higher overnight accommodation<br />

figures and, accordingly, to<br />

a higher turnover than the previous<br />

year.<br />

In the reporting year, support work<br />

in the federal asylum centres was the<br />

area that produced the highest turnover<br />

in Switzerland. This can be attributed<br />

to the fact that capacities in<br />

this mandate have been continuously<br />

expanded over the past two years, in<br />

part due to the coronavirus pandemic.<br />

42


Finances<br />

Germany<br />

In <strong>2021</strong> the number of initial asylum<br />

applications rose sharply against the<br />

previous year, leading to an increasing<br />

need for support places (<strong>2021</strong>:<br />

148’000; 2020: 102’000). In addition,<br />

increasing demands have been put in<br />

place by our partners since the end of<br />

the refugee crisis. During the ongoing<br />

COVID-19 crisis, the need for distancing<br />

in the facilities remained, so<br />

we had to provide more space for the<br />

people in our care. This meant that<br />

existing contracts remained at almost<br />

the same volume, despite the drop in<br />

capacity utilisation.<br />

Despite the COVID-19 crisis and<br />

the ensuing complications in the accommodation<br />

facilities, the overall<br />

business trend remained stable in<br />

<strong>2021</strong>. Turnover rose by around 41%<br />

as a result of new mandates in North<br />

Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate<br />

and Berlin and an expansion<br />

of services in the existing mandates.<br />

This went hand-in-hand with a steady<br />

expansion of personnel resources.<br />

Italy<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Italia S.r.l. was able to win further<br />

mandates over the past year. After<br />

many tendering processes were<br />

delayed by both a change of government<br />

and the ongoing pandemic situation<br />

in the previous year and at the<br />

start of <strong>2021</strong>, we were able to implement<br />

our growth strategy once more<br />

in the reporting year.<br />

Austria<br />

Asylum applications in Austria rose<br />

significantly last year and were up<br />

around 131% on the previous year.<br />

The increase in asylum applications<br />

had very limited impact on the assisted<br />

living mandates we retain in Austria<br />

(following nationalisation of the<br />

mandate with the BM.I). Towards the<br />

end of the reporting year we were able<br />

to win a new assisted living mandate<br />

in the state of Lower Austria.<br />

Sources:<br />

Asylum Statistics <strong>2021</strong> – State Secretariat for Migration SEM, Bern-Wabern, 15 February 2022 (CH);<br />

BMI Asylum Statistics <strong>2021</strong> (AT);<br />

Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) Statistics <strong>2021</strong> (DE)<br />

43


ANNUAL RESULTS<br />

Turnover per country (in thousand CHF) 2020 <strong>2021</strong><br />

Switzerland 71’884 79’702<br />

Austria 34’285 723<br />

Germany 19’898 27’471<br />

Italy 1’462 2’319<br />

Total 127’529 110’215<br />

Operating profit* 1’322 2’579<br />

* Operating profit excluding exceptional items<br />

Turnover split Switzerland (in thousand CHF) 2020 <strong>2021</strong><br />

SEM 24’148 30’903<br />

Collective accommodation 25’383 26’133<br />

Local mandates 20’108 18’095<br />

Integration 2’245 4’571<br />

Operating profit <strong>ORS</strong> Switzerland 71’884 79’402<br />

The consolidated annual statement for <strong>2021</strong> was prepared in accordance with Swiss GAAP FER guidelines<br />

and audited by Baker Tilly OBT. The auditor’s report contains no findings of discrepancies.<br />

44


Finances<br />

Germany<br />

CHF 27’471<br />

Switzerland<br />

CHF 79’702<br />

Total<br />

Austria<br />

CHF 723<br />

CHF 110’215<br />

Italy<br />

CHF 2’319<br />

45


ADVISORY BOARD<br />

Our Advisory Board is a professional body that advises <strong>ORS</strong> on current and<br />

future migration issues. It recommends approaches for implementing the<br />

strategy and developing the business. It is composed of prominent political<br />

figures, entrepreneurs and migration experts from the DACH region:<br />

Ruth Metzler-Arnold (President)<br />

Former Federal Councillor (CH),<br />

Minister of Justice and Police,<br />

President Switzerland Global Enterprise,<br />

member of several boards<br />

of directors<br />

Rita Fuhrer<br />

Former member of the cantonal<br />

government of Zurich, Department<br />

of Social Affairs and Security (CH)<br />

and former Minister of Economic<br />

Affairs (CH)<br />

Thomas Bäumer<br />

CEO of Colosseum Dental Germany,<br />

former CEO Adecco Germany<br />

and Austria, committee member of<br />

the Confederation of German Employers’<br />

Associations (BDA, DE)<br />

Erwin Jutzet<br />

Former member of the cantonal<br />

government of Fribourg, Department<br />

of Security and Justice and<br />

the National Council (Switzerland)<br />

Dr Michael Spindelegger<br />

Former Vice-Chancellor and Foreign<br />

Minister of Austria (AT), General<br />

Director of the International<br />

Centre for Migration Policy Development<br />

(ICMPD)<br />

Dr h.c. Fritz Schramma<br />

Former Lord Mayor of the City<br />

of Cologne and President of the<br />

German Association of Towns and<br />

Municipalities (DStGB)<br />

46


Interview with Thomas Bäumer<br />

Thomas Bäumer has pursued a whole range of opportunities in his professional and personal<br />

life. But the 59-year-old has always retained a close connection to his home town<br />

of Münster. Having originally trained as a plumber, he has enjoyed a diverse career that<br />

has seen him become a committee member of the Confederation of German Employers’<br />

Associations. Today he is CEO of Germany’s leading network of dental practitioners.<br />

Thomas Bäumer has been a member of the <strong>ORS</strong> Advisory Board since 2020.<br />

What motivated you to join the <strong>ORS</strong> Advisory<br />

Board?<br />

<strong>ORS</strong>’s work centres around people and ensuring<br />

that they are cared for, supported<br />

and integrated with dignity. Integration is a<br />

key issue. I am able to bring my expertise as<br />

a representative of industry to a professional<br />

body that features high-profile representatives<br />

of the world of national and international<br />

politics.<br />

What is your life/leadership/work motto?<br />

Take whatever you can! What I mean by that<br />

is always make the most of any possibility<br />

and potential and, at the same time, use<br />

them wisely.<br />

As a manager, I believe that trust needs to<br />

play a key role. If you want to be successful,<br />

you need to know how to let go of the<br />

reins a little, delegate responsibility and the<br />

authority to make decisions. In short: clear<br />

leadership with invisible reins.<br />

My work motto is: Leave room for creativity.<br />

I leave 30% of my time unscheduled.<br />

Because creative thoughts and ideas need<br />

scope to unfold.<br />

What do you advise people when it comes to<br />

planning a career/acting on opportunities?<br />

You can’t wait for opportunities to be presented<br />

to you on a silver platter. In order to<br />

spot them and act on them, you need to be<br />

alert and to identify strongly with the profession<br />

and the business. At the end of the<br />

day, in your career it’s just like it is in life –<br />

you can’t plan everything. Chance, luck and<br />

the timing should not be underestimated.<br />

In many respects, <strong>2021</strong> was a special year.<br />

What were your main preoccupations at work<br />

this year?<br />

The COVID-19 crisis forced the world of<br />

work to evolve. Digitalisation has advanced<br />

rapidly and working from home, digital<br />

conferencing and online meetings are now<br />

central to our day-to-day routines. During<br />

the crisis, we acted on the available opportunities.<br />

So far the German economy has<br />

made it through the crisis in a strong position.<br />

I wasn’t expecting that.<br />

I wasn’t expecting that at the start of the<br />

pandemic.<br />

Despite the challenges, we were able to<br />

continue our growth trajectory at Colosseum<br />

Dental Germany. I hope that we will not<br />

be so preoccupied with COVID-19 in the<br />

second half of 2022. I am optimistic about<br />

the future and believe that the medical and<br />

pharmaceutical sectors will soon continue<br />

to grow rapidly, creating the ideal conditions<br />

for bringing an end to the pandemic.<br />

47


GROUP MANAGEMENT<br />

‘Professionalism and<br />

flexibility open up<br />

opportunities for trusting<br />

partnerships.’<br />

Jürg Rötheli<br />

CEO <strong>ORS</strong> Group<br />

Carolin Wälz-Fabregon<br />

Managing Director<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Germany<br />

Claude Gumy<br />

Co-director<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Switzerland<br />

‘Crises are opportunities<br />

through which we can grow,<br />

together.’<br />

Maurizio Reppucci<br />

Managing Director <strong>ORS</strong> Austria,<br />

Italy and Spain<br />

48


Daring to trust helps us make<br />

the most of opportunities<br />

Demonstrating trust, being mindful, leading by example, making reliable decisions<br />

and communicating appropriately are all leadership values that motivate<br />

employees and help them to identify with the organisation. We make the<br />

most of internal and external opportunities to act responsibly.<br />

‘Our outcome-oriented<br />

approach is based on<br />

experience and an extensive<br />

understanding of the needs<br />

involved.’<br />

Martin Nyfeler<br />

CFO <strong>ORS</strong> Group<br />

Lutz Hahn<br />

Head of Communications &<br />

Public Affairs<br />

‘Wanting to understand is<br />

the first step towards being<br />

understood. We can play<br />

our part here by ensuring we<br />

share information promptly<br />

and transparently.’<br />

49


OUR<br />

VALUES<br />

Neutral<br />

We are politically and religiously neutral. We provide competent<br />

and reliable services to support and integrate refugees.<br />

We are approachable and committed without sacrificing<br />

objectivity. We work transparently, and we proactively<br />

and critically evaluate the quality of our services.<br />

Flexible<br />

We offer a care-free package for authorities and society.<br />

Our years of international experience enables us to call on<br />

proven processes. This means that we can act in an agile<br />

and cost-effective manner. We respond quickly and efficiently<br />

to short-term changes with effective solutions for<br />

our partners and the people in our care.<br />

Mindful<br />

People are at the heart of our work and we seek to communicate<br />

eye to eye. Our goal is to broaden perspectives and create<br />

added value, both for refugees and the local population.<br />

We always set ourselves the highest goals and pursue them<br />

with decency, modesty and care.<br />

50


51


GLOSSARY<br />

Abbreviations – Switzerland<br />

NaBe – restructuring of asylum and refugee support in the canton of Bern<br />

SPITEX – organisation for outpatient help and care<br />

BAZ – federal asylum centre<br />

RKZ/RZB – repatriation centre<br />

KU – collective accommodation<br />

MNA/UMA – unaccompanied minor asylum seeker<br />

SEM – State Secretariat for Migration<br />

Cantons<br />

AG – canton of Aargau<br />

BE – canton of Bern<br />

BL – canton of Basel-Landschaft<br />

FR – canton of Fribourg<br />

SO – canton of Solothurn<br />

TG – canton of Thurgau<br />

ZH – canton of Zurich<br />

Abbreviations – Germany<br />

BU – support centre<br />

LEA – regional reception facility<br />

ZUE – central refugee facility<br />

EA – reception facility<br />

AfA – reception facilities for asylum seekers<br />

GU – hostel<br />

German states<br />

BW – Baden-Württemberg<br />

NRW – North Rhine-Westphalia<br />

RP – Rhineland-Palatinate<br />

52


Abbreviations – Austria<br />

BM.I – Federal Ministry of the Interior<br />

BBU – Federal Agency for Reception and Support Services<br />

ICMPD – International Centre for Migration Policy Development<br />

Abbreviations – Italy<br />

UNHCR – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees<br />

CAS – reception centre<br />

CPR – repatriation centre<br />

53


OUR<br />

LOCATIONS<br />

As at 31/12/<strong>2021</strong><br />

Headquarters<br />

Office<br />

Accommodation<br />

Germany<br />

Belgium<br />

EU Liaison Office Brussels<br />

Austria<br />

Switzerland<br />

Italy<br />

Spain<br />

Greece<br />

54


Contacts<br />

Switzerland<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Group AG<br />

Röschibachstrasse 22<br />

8037 Zurich, Switzerland<br />

Tel. +41 (0)44 386 67 67<br />

info@ors.ch<br />

www.ors-group.org<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Service AG<br />

Röschibachstrasse 22<br />

8037 Zurich, Switzerland<br />

Tel. +41 (0)44 386 67 67<br />

info@ors.ch<br />

www.ors-schweiz.ch<br />

Germany<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Deutschland GmbH<br />

Güterhallenstrasse 4<br />

79106 Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany<br />

Tel. +49 (0)761 769 931 20<br />

info@orsdeutschland.de<br />

www.ors-deutschland.de<br />

Austria<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Service GmbH<br />

Mooslackengasse 17<br />

1190 Vienna, Austria<br />

Tel. +43 1 25301 62362<br />

info@orsservice.at<br />

www.ors-austria.at<br />

Italy<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Italia S. r. l.<br />

Piazza Annibaliano 18<br />

00198 Rome, Italy<br />

info@ors-italia.com<br />

www.ors-italia.it<br />

Spain<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> España<br />

Servicios Sociales S.L.<br />

Avenida Felipe II, 17<br />

1° oficina 1<br />

28009 Madrid, Spain<br />

www.ors-espana.es<br />

Greece<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Greece Monoprosopi A.E.<br />

280 Kifisias Avenue<br />

15232 Chalandri, Greece<br />

EU Liaison Office Brussels<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Group<br />

Rond Point Schuman 6, Box 5<br />

1040 Brussels, Belgium<br />

www.ors-group.org<br />

Imprint<br />

Publisher<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Group AG, Zurich<br />

June 2022<br />

© <strong>ORS</strong> Group AG, Zurich<br />

Concept and design<br />

Ellinor Amini<br />

Layout & graphics<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Deutschland GmbH<br />

Editor<br />

Lutz Hahn<br />

Head of Communications & Public Affairs<br />

<strong>ORS</strong> Group AG<br />

55


www.ors-group.org<br />

56

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