Today the European Commission and OECD are publishing a report that identifies the main challenges to the integration of migrants and sets out concrete policy recommendations in response.
Gathering best practice examples from large European cities including Amsterdam, Athens, Berlin, Paris and Rome, the report highlights 12 key points for local, regional and national policy-makers and practitioners to consider as they develop and implement local integration programmes. Recommendations focus on policy sectors such as health, labour, housing and education, and range from better matching migrant skills with the needs of local labour markets to creating shared spaces for communities to meet and bond.
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "After the spike in refugee arrivals in Europe in the years 2015 and 2016 and our successful efforts to decrease new irregular arrivals, the time has come to shift our collective attention towards effectively integrating those who have received protection into our societies. It is in everyone's interest that those who have a right to remain are supported to integrate. This will benefit both societal cohesion and economic competitiveness."
Commissioner for Regional policy Corina Crețu commented: "Migration is largely a local and urban reality. This report is a real checklist for public action; it is meant to help local authorities smooth the path to successful migrant integration, with the support of cohesion policy funds. I expect cohesion policy to play an even greater role in this regard in the future."
OECD Deputy Secretary-General Mari Kiviniemi said: “Efforts to integrate migrants need to begin as soon as they arrive and continue over time. Local leaders know where the best opportunities are for newcomers, and they know how migrants can contribute, from filling gaps in the job market to creating a more diversified culture that benefits all residents. National governments need to work with local leaders from day one to ensure successful migrant integration.”
The report analyses the situation of migrants in OECD countries; where they settled, the effectiveness of their paths to integration and what challenges they faced, in accessing local labour markets, for example. It also proposes solutions that tackle fragmentation in national integration policies and that foster more coordination at all, national, regional and local levels. The report highlights the need for enhanced monitoring efforts and concludes that this is best achieved by engaging NGOs, business partners and migrants themselves via participatory assessments and surveys. Finally, the report describes how to better access financial resources, such as EU funds, for the development of integration programmes.