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Ready to Help? Improving Resilience of Integration Systems for Refugees and other Vulnerable Migrants

The refugee population in OECD countries tripled between 2013 and 2017, going from 2 million to 5.9 million. This recent OECD report therefore addresses how to be better prepared and improve international cooperation on refugee crises, as well as how to promote the integration and reintegration of refugees and other vulnerable migrants.

The report features contributions from different OECD Directorates in 22 thematic chapters. It also identifies areas of improvement for OECD countries, with an emphasis on better cooperation and sharing of information and best practices, at both the international level and domestically among integration stakeholders. Key findings of the report include:

Coordination of response

It is important to involve local, sub-national, and national governments in the integration process. The sustainability of integration measures depends on collaboration between different integration actors, as well as public support. Many countries still need better statistical infrastructure to gather essential information on migrants and their integration outcomes.

Employment

Labour market access is critical to speeding up the integration process, and pathways to the labour market should be legal, transparent, simple, and rapid. Employers can play a key role in facilitating integration; they should not be left out of the policy response to migration and integration. Countries should prevent exploitation of newcomers on the labour market by enforcing equal treatment with nationals in the areas of working conditions, wages, and redress for violations.

Education

Refugee children have more complex needs when it comes to school integration. They may need more time to adjust, have faced long periods without schooling, and have vulnerabilities due to traumatic experiences in their home countries or on their journeys. Vocational education should be adapted to refugees and vulnerable migrants.

Health

Health systems need to adapt to the increase in refugee patients, who may have complex physical and mental health needs. Healthcare providers should improve coordination among each other to increase efficiency in delivering services. Better triage should be implemented to ensure that patients go to the appropriate places for care.

Housing

Due to declining access to low-cost housing and shortage of housing supply, especially in urban areas, finding reception and long-term accommodations for refugees has been a challenge. While policies of dispersal are intended to prevent segregation and relieve burdens on local services, such policies can also keep refugees away from areas with plentiful job opportunities and impact the availability of support services due to a lack of critical mass of beneficiaries.

Refugee women and unaccompanied minors

Unaccompanied minors need rapid provision of guardians and school enrolment. Refugee women tend to have poor employment outcomes, although the benefits of language proficiency and education are high for this group and their children. More flexible opportunities for language training, taking into account childcare needs, can increase participation among refugee women.

Preparation

Countries should develop response plans to prepare for large inflows of people seeking protection. The response plan should include a framework for working with the media and providing the public with clear information about the response strategy, implementation, and results.

Read the report

Source: OECD