The increase in migration movements of newcomers especially into the EU and the inefficiency of immigration policies call for a re-assessment of integration policies, learning from the past and transforming policies made for and about refugees and migrants into policies made together with newcomers.
Hence the idea for an Advisory Board that is comprised of migrants and refugees and that provides advice for multiple parties such as cities and the European Commission was born.
What will the Advisory Board do?
The first year of the advisory board (October 2017 - October 2018) will serve as a pilot year. After that, the board will be scaled up and made available to more relevant stakeholders. For the first year, the main tasks of the European Migrant Advisory Board will be:
- Provide advice on the actions of the Partnership;
- Provide advice for the cities that are members of the Partnership;
- Participate to ad hoc consultations of the European Commission, in particular of DG Home & Migration.
- Participate in designing the pilot year of the Advisory Board.
To ensure that the Advisory Board has maximum impact, it will ideally be involved in the initial stages of policy-making, advising on concepts. Reception, work, education and housing of newcomers are some of the priorities the Advisory Board is expected to work on, along with consulting for an effective integration process.
What should the Advisory Board look like?
A project team, on behalf of the Partnership on the Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees, is going to set up a diverse Advisory Board. The aim is to provide a practical perspective and reality check on the policies on immigration and integration in cities. Diversity and experience in the field of immigration and integration are the ideal characteristics of an advisory board candidate, and having an exposure to their communities is preferable. More information about the requirements for membership will be published at a later stage.
About the Project Team
The European Migrant Advisory Board will be one of the actions implemented by the Partnership on the Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees. A project team that consists of five people working for the City of Amsterdam with relevant background knowledge on integration has been put into place. A brief introduction to the project team:
- Nahom Berhane is 24 years old and from Eritrea, he studied Geology and is experienced in the fields of teaching, translating and project management.
- Refaat Mahassen is 32 years old and from Syria, holder of a bachelor degree in business administration majored in finance and banking and he has more than 7 years of international HR experience.
- Said Al Sakkal is 29 years old and from Syria, he studied literature and culture and he has experience in the fields of teaching and accounting.
- Nathalia Pereira Vredeveld is trainee at the City of Amsterdam and advisor to the mayor on European affairs.
- Sabina Kekic coordinates the Partnership of Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees and has a refugee background herself.
This is a shortened version of an article was written by Nahom Berhane, Refaat Mahassen and Said Al Sakkal.
UPDATE - 22 May 2017: The Partnership has compiled all relevant information that is available at this stage in a one-pager on the Advisory Board, which can be found in the Library section.