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New project in Portugal to train refugees for work in tourism

New project in Portugal to train refugees for work in tourism

19/02/2019

The first edition of the Refutur training course has officially launched, aiming to prepare refugees and migrants in Portugal for work in the tourism sector. This job training action is a partnership between the High Commission for Migration, Tourism of Portugal and the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

According to the Secretary of State for Tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho, the goal is to deliver professional training that enables refugees to work in hotels and restaurants. The classes also include Portuguese language training. The first training group of 47 refugees, who span 16 different nationalities, will be divided based on two areas of focus—one group concentrating on accommodations and the other on catering. They will participate in a total of 200 hours of training followed by a one-month internship.

The tourism sector in Portugal is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in Portugal, accounting for 13.7% of the GDP and 9.4% of total employment in 2017. Moreover, operators in the field have been asking for more skilled and trained workers in order to improve the quality of the services provided.

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Deutscher Bundesrat fordert Nachbesserungen am geplanten Einwanderungsgesetz

Deutscher Bundesrat fordert Nachbesserungen am geplanten Einwanderungsgesetz

15/02/2019

Die Bundesregierung hatte sich letztes Jahr - nach 30 Jahren der Diskussion - auf ein Einwanderungsgesetz für Fachkräfte geeinigt, das dieses Jahr verabschiedet und im Jahr 2020 in Kraft treten soll. Der Grund hierfür ist, dass die deutsche Wirtschaft nach Fachkräften wie IT-Spezialisten sucht, um allein in diesem Bereich zehntausende offene Stellen zu füllen.

Angesichts dieser Dringlichkeit hat der Bundesrat in einer neuen Stellungnahme umfangreiche Korrekturen am Entwurf der Bundesregierung für ein Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz angemahnt. Dieser müsse einhergehen etwa mit "gezielten Anwerbestrategien von Unternehmen für Fachkräfte im Ausland" sowie deutlich verbesserten "Kapazitäten des Spracherwerbs im In- und Ausland".

"Die Voraussetzungen für die Einreise zur Ausbildungsplatzsuche sind zu hoch und nicht praxisgerecht", kritisiert der Bundesrat. So müssten bereits "ausreichende deutsche Sprachkenntnisse" mit Niveau B1 des EU-Referenzrahmens bei entsprechend Interessierten als sachgerecht gelten. Optionen, ausländische Berufsabschlüsse anzuerkennen oder sich entsprechend nachzuqualifizieren, sollten ausgeweitet werden und dürften "nicht als Eintrittsbarriere für den deutschen Arbeitsmarkt fungieren".

Migranten, die sich noch in einem Asylverfahren befinden, sollen es ebenfalls leichter haben. Voraussetzung ist, dass sie über entsprechende Qualifikation verfügen, um einen Aufenthaltstitel für eine Erwerbstätigkeit zu bekommen. Zudem müssen sie ein Arbeitsplatzangebot vorlegen oder sich bereits in einem Arbeitsverhältnis befinden.

Laut dem Bundesrat sollen sie dann beschränkt bis 1. Januar 2021 die Möglichkeit erhalten, eine Aufenthaltserlaubnis zu beantragen, was auch ohne ein Visumverfahren möglich sein soll. Der Personenkreis, dem der Wechsel in die Erwerbsmigration ermöglicht werden soll, lebe bereits in Deutschland und erfülle die Voraussetzungen, begründet der Bundesrat seinen Vorstoß.

Ferner müsse die Aufenthaltserlaubnis zur Arbeitsplatzsuche für Fachkräfte von sechs auf bis zu zwölf Monate verlängert werden, so der Bundesrat. Eine Vorrangprüfung durch die Bundesagentur für Arbeit, ob nicht auch ein Deutscher oder EU-Bürger für eine Stelle in Frage kommt, scheint den Bundesländern ausnahmslos "entbehrlich" zu sein. Im Fokus soll vielmehr stehen, "eine unnötige bürokratische Hürde gerade für kleine und mittlere Unternehmen" zu vermeiden.

Insgesamt sollen nach langen politischen Debatten zwei Gesetze entstehen, eines zur Erwerbsmigration und eines zum Asylrecht. Am Ende ist die Trennung vor allem symbolischer Natur, da beide Gesetze auf Änderungen am Aufenthaltsrecht abzielen.

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Zahl deutscher Polizisten mit Migrationshintergrund steigt

Zahl deutscher Polizisten mit Migrationshintergrund steigt

14/02/2019

In mehreren Bundesländern hat der Anteil von Polizisten mit Migrationshintergrund zugenommen, wie eine Recherche des Mediendienstes Integration zeigt. Dennoch bleiben Menschen aus Einwandererfamilien bei den Neueinstellungen meist unterrepräsentiert. 

Menschen mit Migrationshintergrund werden auf dem deutschen Arbeitsmarkt noch immer stark benachteiligt, wie zahlreiche Studien immer wieder belegen. Die Diskriminierung findet dabei nicht nur in der freien Wirtschaft statt, sondern auch im Öffentlichen Dienst. In fast allen Bundesländern spricht die Polizei inzwischen gezielt Menschen mit Migrationshintergrund an.

Neue Zahlen, die dem Mediendienst Integration vorliegen, belegen, dass die Polizei tatsächlich diverser geworden ist. In Berlin zeigt sich der Trend besonders deutlich: Hier besaßen dem Mediendienst zufolge 35 Prozent der 2017 neu eingestellten Polizisten einen Migrationshintergrund, obwohl ihr Anteil an der Landesbevölkerung lediglich 29 Prozent beträgt. Im Jahr 2011 kamen nur 15 Prozent der neu eingestellten Polizisten aus Einwandererfamilien.

In Nordrhein-Westfalen stieg der Anteil der Migranten bei den Einstellungen in den vergangenen Jahren hingegen nur leicht: Von zehn Prozent im Jahr 2011 auf 13 Prozent im Jahr 2017. Der Bevölkerungsanteil der Personen mit Migrationshintergrund liegt in dem Bundesland bei 28 Prozent.

Der Leiter der Forschungsstelle Kultur und Sicherheit an der Akademie der Polizei Hamburg, Rafael Behr, betont, dass die Polizei bei der Anwerbung von Migranten recht erfolgreich sei, beim Konzept Diversity jedoch Nachholbedarf habe. In Deutschland herrsche im Unterschied zu anderen westeuropäischen Ländern eine „starke Polizeikultur“, die gleiche Eignungsvoraussetzungen für alle Bewerber vorschreibe. Laut Behr wirkt sich diese die Einheitlichkeit zwar positiv auf die Organisation aus, führt aber zu Verzögerungen beim Diversity-Konzept.

Auch mit Blick auf die Aufdeckung rechtsextremer Kreise bei der hessischen Polizei gibt es immer mehr Stimmen, die einen Wandel der Organisation fordern. „Ich erkenne keinen strukturellen Rassismus in der Polizei“, so Behr. Aber es gebe heimliche, abgeschottete rechtsextreme Milieus.

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New online exhibition of refugee and migrant artwork from Malta

New online exhibition of refugee and migrant artwork from Malta

14/02/2019

In 2018, the People for Change Foundation was partner in an international project titled ComeIN (Community: Interactive and Creative Approaches to Discover Different Cultures). The project, funded by the European Commission’s Creative Europe, Culture Sub-Programme, is an audio-visual project that has been implemented in five European countries including Malta.

The aim of the project was to introduce creative and artistic integration activities and strategies for refugees and migrants, empowering participants to use art and photography to present their experience of integration. In Malta, the People for Change Foundation ran a series of workshops for migrants and refugees, with a local artist and photographer and in collaboration with Migrant Women Association Malta and African Media Association Malta. During the workshops, participants used a number of techniques, including painting, sketching, collage and photography, to share their messages.

The People for Change Foundation has now launched an online exhibition showcasing the artwork and photographs created by the participants of the workshops, including narratives of how their artwork represents their story of integration. See the online exhibition

Spanish government launches Forum for the Social Integration of Immigrants

Spanish government launches Forum for the Social Integration of Immigrants

14/02/2019

The first meeting of Spain’s Forum for the Social Integration of Immigrants took place on 14 February 2019 in Madrid. The Forum is a consultative body to the government whose main objective is to promote the participation and integration of immigrants in Spanish society.

Cristina Blanco, a sociologist with extensive academic and research experience in the field of migration, has been appointed President of the Forum. Secretary of State for Migration, Consuelo Rumí, chaired the meeting and highlighted the significance of the Forum, noting that it will advise the government in designing public policies that strengthen social cohesion.

The Forum’s first meeting comes during a time of uncertainty in Spanish politics as Vox, a far-right political party that takes a hard line on immigration, recently won 12 seats in Andalusia’s provincial elections. During the meeting, Rumí stated that the role of the Forum, its new president and the government’s next Strategic Plan for Citizenship and Integration serve as ‘part of the antidote against the populist and nationalist discourses that some want install in our country’. She expressed optimism that the Forum ‘will contribute to promoting tolerance and coexistence in Spain’.

Additionally, Rumí further reinforced integration as one of the priorities of the government, citing the elaboration of the Strategic Plan of Integration Citizenship, announced by President Sánchez in Marrakech during the summit for the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The objective of this Strategic Plan, according to Rumí, is to serve as a useful instrument in promoting the integration of immigrants and asylum seekers in Spain.

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A new Italian universal basic income, not so universal after all

A new Italian universal basic income, not so universal after all

13/02/2019

The Italian government has adopted a new universal basic income for the poor and jobseekers. The measure addresses people with a household income below €9,360 per year who sign a form declaring themselves immediately available for work. But for migrants in Italy, only those with ten years of legal residence in Italy will be eligible for the new benefit.

Initially, the measure was only intended for Italian citizens, as the Deputy Premier and Labour and Industry Minister Luigi Di Maio declared at beginning of January. This was later changed so that migrants with ten years of legal residence in Italy would also be eligible. However, the residence requirement will likely be complex to implement and present some difficulties for eligible migrants in exercising their rights. For example, they may have difficulty in certifying the number of years of residence. In addition, it is worth mentioning that ten years of residence is the period required for naturalisation.

Since its announcement, the policy has received criticism, including that concerning the number and categories of beneficiaries. The new measure has replaced the previous inclusion measure, the REI (Reddito di Inclusione), and there are worries that not all of the REI recipients would be covered under the new measure. According to the INPS (National Social Insurance Agency), 8% of REI’s beneficiaries will not be eligible, and immigrants are among the groups that will be most disadvantaged by the new policy.

According to an analysis published in the independent newspaper La Voce, the Parliamentary Budget Office estimates that the ten-year residence restriction will lead to a reduction in the number of foreign beneficiaries in the North of Italy that is five times higher than in the South. According to research, 92,000 migrants would have received the benefit if there was no such requirement.

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Council of Europe concerned by consequences of Italian government actions

Council of Europe concerned by consequences of Italian government actions

12/02/2019

The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, has expressed deep concern over the consequences that the so-called Salvini Security Decree may have on the reception of asylum seekers and beneficiaries of protection in Italy. In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, the Commissioner requested the Italian government to clarify the measures it intends to take to ensure the continuity of essential services for asylum seekers and beneficiaries of protection.

In particular, the Commissioner highlighted the haste with which asylum seekers were transferred from the CARA reception centre at Castelnuovo di Porto (Rome) at the end of January 2019. While noting that ‘minimising the use of CARAs could be a positive step’, given their large size, the Commissioner underlined that the human rights of all residents should be safeguarded and that ‘the abrupt transfer of residents would undermine the significant efforts already invested in their integration’. In the same letter, the Commissioner commended local efforts for integration and rehabilitation.

The Commissioner for Human Rights is an independent institution established in 1999 by the Council of Europe. Among other objectives, the Commissioner is tasked with fostering the effective observance of human rights and identifying possible shortcomings in the law and practice concerning human rights.

Read the letter

By Gaia Testore

Italian court recognises humanitarian protection grant, citing positive integration

Italian court recognises humanitarian protection grant, citing positive integration

07/02/2019

On 27 December 2018, the Court of Appeal of Trieste, Italy accepted the grant of a humanitarian protection permit to a Bangladeshi citizen. This judgment presents a new development in the controversial application of a residual form of protection in Italy—the humanitarian protection permit.

According to the Court, the humanitarian protection applicant’s young age, the absence of family members in the country of origin, and his positive socioeconomic integration constitute circumstances that must be considered and compared with the conditions of his country of origin. Taking into account these factors, the Court decided it was appropriate to grant him humanitarian protection.

The Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini has contested the way humanitarian protection permits have been granted, arguing that the permits have been abused. Thus, his recent Security Decree imposed stricter conditions for obtaining a humanitarian protection permit.

The judgment of the Court of Appeal of Trieste, which only concerns this specific case, does not change the overall situation, nor does it call into question the government’s decree. Nevertheless, it sets a legal precedent.

Introduced in 2003, humanitarian protection may be granted to those who are not eligible for refugee status or subsidiary protection but who cannot be repatriated because of ‘serious reasons, in particular of a humanitarian nature or resulting from Italian constitutional or international obligations’. The focus is on the vulnerability of the person rather than on the situation in the country of origin. However, it has been gradually applied in a more extensive way.

In 2017, a group of civil servants and NGO staff working in the asylum reception system (CAS and SPRAR), along with lawyers, set up a civil society network in Turin called Rete SenzaAsilo. Supported by 100 local businesses, they successfully lobbied the Prefecture of Turin and local institutions to grant humanitarian protection permits to asylum seekers who could prove a good level of socioeconomic integration. This approach started to be adopted elsewhere in Italy.

Read about the decision

The Mediterranean Migration Network releases 4th Handbook of Good Practices

The Mediterranean Migration Network releases 4th Handbook of Good Practices

07/02/2019

The Mediterranean Migration Network has published its 4th MMN Handbook of Good Practices – Examples from Cyprus and Europe. The booklet highlights a selection of good practices developed by partners and members of the Mediterranean Migration Network.

Featuring 12 distinct good practices and models, the MMN Handbook covers a wide array of themes on migration and integration, with emphasis on projects implemented in the Mediterranean Basin. The Handbook aims to support all those involved in migration, integration, and asylum by presenting successful and innovative approaches from across the EU.

The Mediterranean Migration Network is a collaborative platform developed and led by the International Research Centre CARDET in collaboration with INNOVADE LI and the support of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Republic of Cyprus. The Network has been active since 2012 in creating a platform for collaboration and synergy among organisations active in the fields of migration, integration, and diversity.

See the Handbook

Asylum and immigration in 2018 in Luxembourg

Asylum and immigration in 2018 in Luxembourg

04/02/2019

On 4 February 2019, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration presented the 2018 statistical report on asylum and immigration to the Chamber of Deputies and the media. As in the past three years, a significant number of people requested a form of international protection in Luxembourg in 2018.

The immigration directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs registered 2,205 requests in 2018 (compared to 2,318 in 2017 and 2,036 in 2016), of which 17.8% came from Eritreans, 10.3% from Syrians, 8.9% from Iraqis and 8% from Afghans. 978 people received protection status, 361 were refused and 289 were transferred to another EU Member State based on application of the Dublin III Regulation.

Concerning immigration, 13,688 third-country nationals received residence permits, of which 6,174 were first-time residence permits. The principal nationalities receiving first residence permits were Indians, Chinese, Americans and Syrians. 1,586 third-country nationals received their first residence permit as family members of citizens of EU countries, and 1,287 third-country nationals received permanent residence permits as family members of EU citizens.

See the numbers

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