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Methodology - What measures are in place to ensure the long-term integration of migrants and refugees in Europe?


The members of the Editorial Team researched and responded to a series of questions designed to assess the availability of long-term integration measures and policies in the 27 EU Member States and the United Kingdom. Their responses were reviewed and possibly revised to ensure consistency so that a comparison can be made across different countries. The Editorial Team responded to the questions based on the situation at the end of December 2019. Policies or measures that were not yet implemented are not included in this analysis.

The questions were designed so that respondents had to decide between yes/no with respect to the existence or availability of policies or measures. For certain questions regarding measures (e.g., training, courses, counselling services, etc.), respondents could also opt to respond that the measure was available but not widespread and/or systematic.

The Editorial Team tried to select the answer choices that most closely fit the situation in their respective countries, but the reality does not always fit neatly into distinct categories. Moreover, the questions mainly gauge whether policies or measures exist; they do not ask if the implementation of these measures or policies is ideal, so a positive response does not mean that improvements are not necessary.

It is possible that services are offered but poorly publicised and therefore not included in this analysis. However, if services cannot be found by national experts on migrant integration, it seems unlikely that most migrants and refugees would be able to find or use them, therefore justifying the exclusion of these services from this study.

Notes on specific countries

Belgium has integration strategies at the regional and language community levels that are applicable to most of the territory of the country and is therefore counted as having integration strategies for the Mainstreaming section. However, at the end of December 2019, there was no strategy covering the Brussels region, though the policies of the Flemish and Francophone communities are also applicable in Brussels. For strategy implementation, because many policy areas are the sole or primary responsibility of regions/communities, the implementing authorities are regional/community bodies that are analogous to ministries and therefore counted as such in this analysis.

Cyprus was in the process of drafting its integration strategy in consultation with various integration stakeholders at the end of 2019. While migrants and refugees have access to mainstream employment services, depending on the type of residency permit, TCNs have limited access to the labour market.

In the Netherlands, TCNs and BIPs are usually required to pass a series of integration exams within a fixed timeframe. The exams cover language as well as knowledge of society and the labour market. However, the language and cultural courses that people generally need to pass the exams are paid by the migrants themselves. Refugees and asylum seekers can receive loans from the government up to a total amount of 10,000 EUR to cover the cost, and TCNs can receive loans based on their income. While BIPs might not need to repay the loans, waiver of payment is subject to obtaining the integration diploma in time (which has historically been unlikely) or receiving dispensations or exemptions. Thus, language courses in the Netherlands are not considered in this analysis to be free or highly subsidised.

At the end of 2019, Romania was in the process of adopting its immigration strategy for 2019-2022. Romania nonetheless has an Integration Law and related governmental decision that outline an overall approach towards various migrant groups, including unaccompanied minors, and that law is counted as its strategy for this analysis.

The UK does not have an integration strategy covering the entire territory, as local governments and Devolved Administrations are encouraged to determine their own priorities. The Integrated Communities Action Plan covers England, and while it makes provisions for migrants and refugees and emphasises language learning, it is not strictly for or about migrant populations, but rather about social cohesion overall. Scotland and Wales have their own integration strategies with respect to refugees and asylum seekers.

When it comes to anti-discrimination laws and enforcement, the Equality and Human Rights Commission is the equality body covering England, Wales and Scotland and among its powers is that of engaging in judicial/administrative proceedings on behalf of a complainant. Northern Ireland’s equality body (Equality Commission for Northern Ireland) cannot engage in such proceedings, though it can arrange for other legal representation.

Read the analysis.


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