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Governance of migrant integration in Luxembourg

Luxembourg has been a country of immigration for more than 50 years. Located in the heart of Europe, it attracts both EU citizens and nationals from third countries who contribute to the country's population growth, as well as play a central role in its labour market and economy in general.

Statistics

Foreign population in LuxembourgOn 1 January 2017, 41 200 Third Country Nationals (TCNs) were legally residing in Luxembourg.

They represented 7% of the total population, according to the National Statistics Office

27 950 of them had valid temporary resident permits and 13 250 were permanent residents. Their top 3 countries of origin are Montenegro, China and Cape Verde.

 

In 2017, out of the 14063 permits issued, nearly 4 273 were for family reasons, around 4 330 for work and around 1 513 for international protection.

In addition to the foreign population, it is estimated that more than half of Luxembourgish nationals has migrant background, 10% of which has a TCN background. 3 315 of them were naturalised in 2016 and an additional 3 825 non-residents acquired citizenship in 2016 by proof of ancestry.

Integration Strategy

To integrate or foster the social inclusion of these populations with migrant background, Luxembourg set up its first and only National Action Plan on Integration and against Discrimination in 2010 for a period of 5 years. The Action Plan targeted foreigners legally residing in Luxembourg and aimed to mobilise all the stakeholders directly or indirectly involved in their integration process by:

  • mainstreaming integration in all national policy areas
  • encouraging local and national authorities to work with the civil society
  • evaluating the results and progress of mainstreaming efforts on the basis of predefined benchmarks

In 2012, the Luxembourg Reception and Integration Agency (OLAI), in partnership with the Ministry of Interior and the Union of Towns and Municipalities of Luxembourg (SYVICOL), commissioned a study on the modalities of implementation of the Action Plan. This analysis allowed for the development of a local integration strategy which was followed in 2016 with a practical guide to help municipalities in the process of setting up their integration plans.

In September 2017, a new multiannual National Action Plan on Integration was approved by the government and is currently being developed around two main axes:

  1. the reception and follow-up of applicants for international protection (AIP)
  2. the integration of foreign nationals    

Integration Programme

The integration contract (Contrat d’accueil et d’intégration - CAI) is a non-mandatory programme offered to all foreign citizens legally residing in Luxembourg with prospects of permanent stay. The signature of the contract is a symbolic act by which the signatory candidate and the State testify of their reciprocal commitment to integration. In order to be awarded a certificate, candidates must complete an orientation day, language classes, and a civic integration course. The contract comes with certain advantages. Signatories benefit from reduced rates for language classes for example. The contract is also considered as ‘proof of integration’ in the process of acquiring long-term residence or citizenship.

  •  þ Language course
  •  þ civic education
  •  ý vocational training

In September 2017, the Integration Agency launched the Guided Integration Path or Parcours d’intégration accompagné (PIA); a project that aims to start the integration process of applicants for international protection upon arrival. This integration programme currently consists an initiation to Luxembourgish, a brief presentation on how the education system works in Luxembourg, as well as 8 hours of information sessions that focus on their daily life in Luxembourg, rights and duties, etc. A second phase, launched in January 2018, is currently available and consists namely of 120 hours of French or literacy courses.

Evaluation

Article 7 of the Law of 16 December 2008 relative to the reception and integration of foreigners established that the Minister in charge should deliver a report on the situation of migration, integration and anti-discrimination to the Parliament every five years. The achievement of the National Action Plan on Integration and against Discrimination objectives was therefore evaluated in a report elaborated by the Integration Agency in 2014. 

On the basis of EU Zaragoza indicators, the Centre for intercultural and social research (CEFIS), as part of a convention with the Ministry of Family and Integration, published a report on the conclusions of the ministerial conference on the EU Zaragoza.

Legislation

þ Foreigners Law

The Law of 8 March 2017 amending the Law of 28 August 2008 on free movement and immigration eases the employment conditions for certain groups of migrants (highly qualified workers, investors, students and entrepreneurs from outside the EU). In addition, TCNs who hold a residence permit valid for at least one year can now immediately be accompanied by family members (one year waiting time removed). Students who have completed their university studies in Luxembourg may also immediately apply for a work-related residence permit.

þ Asylum Law

The transposition of the EU asylum package brought two national laws on 18 December 2015: one on procedures and another on reception, both amending the Law of 5 May 2006. The amendment came with several revisions. Legal assistance shall for example be free of charge during the whole asylum procedure. The new Asylum Law also substantially enhances safeguards for vulnerable groups and unaccompanied minors by introducing special procedural guarantees. Such guarantees include a needs assessment, an adequate specialised support, a medical examination and the prioritisation of the examination of applications from vulnerable persons.

þ Integration Law

The Law of 16 December 2008 on the reception and integration of foreigners established the Luxembourg Reception and Integration Agency (OLAI) which main role is to implement national strategies on integration and anti-discrimination and develop related action plans. The Law also established a voluntary integration contract (between the state and the newcomer) of maximum 2 years and regulates its functioning.

þ Nationality Law

The Law of 8 mars 2017 repealing the law of 23 October 2008 facilitates access to naturalisation for foreigners living in the country. Foreigners can now apply for naturalisation after 5 years of residence instead of 7, which ultimately accelerates their access to political participation. Another key component of the reform is the introduction of 'jus soli' enabling people born in Luxembourg to non-native parents to obtain citizenship as of the age of 12.

þ Anti-discrimination

The law of 28 and 29 November 2006 amending the laws of 16 April 1979 and 24 December 1985 transposes EU directives on equal treatment and notably introduces the notion of discrimination on the grounds of race and ethnic origin. It also regulates the fight against labour market discrimination.

Public authorities

The Luxembourg Reception and Integration Agency (OLAI) is a public agency under the auspices of the Ministry of Family, Integration and Grand Region. It is in charge of implementing the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg’s reception and integration policies. OLAI shares this responsibility with an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Integration whose mission is to coordinate measures implemented by the different ministerial departments, in line with the National Action Plan on Integration and against Discrimination. 

The integration law of 16 December 2008 provides for the mandatory creation of a Consultative Committee for Integration in each commune. The Committees are starting to develop strategies to improve contacts with their target groups and offer subsidies and facilities to promote intercultural activities organised by migrant associations.

Civil society

The National Council for Foreigners, created in 1976, analyses issues related to foreigners and their integration. It submits annual reports to the Government and suggests measures for improvement. The Council acts either on its own initiative or at the Government's request.

Its members are representatives of migrant or refugee groups, employers' organisations, the main trade unions and of the Union of Towns and Municipalities of Luxembourg (SYVICOL). Articles 17-19 of Luxembourg’s Integration Law of 16 December 2008 provided for an increase of the number of foreigners' representatives from 15 to 22 to include 7 representatives of third countries. All 34 members are elected by registered associations.

Funding

Non-profit organisations and local authorities can apply for financing through several funds. EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) is the most important one in terms of budget. Coordinated by the Luxembourg Reception and Integration Agency (OLAI) and the Immigration Directorate, the national allocation for Luxembourg under AMIF is € 5 090 79. 34% of this amount is allocated to asylum and 11% to integration. National integration priorities for the fund reflect the include the consolidation of integration policy, consolidation of the public opinion of the host society, language learning, integration of migrants into mainstream education and labour market. Luxembourgish AMIF Programme.

OLAI cooperates closely with the Luxembourgish communes by partly financing projects that favour the integration of foreigners. Furthermore, OLAI signs agreements or conventions to work with certain organisations or bodies and covers part of the staff. These conventions are ASTI, CEFIS, the Red Cross, CLAE and Caritas. 

In addition, national and private funds are made available for service providers and other stakeholders to carry out projects aiming for a better integration of the migrant population

Public Funding Private funding