31 May 2021 / 147

EU highlights

  • The Urban Agenda for the EU Partnership on Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees published its 2021-2022 action plan. Read more here.
  • Migrant participation has been increasingly hailed as a prerequisite to meaningful policymaking and implementation in the field of integration, and EWSI's latest analysis explores some of the most active migrant-led structures in the 27 EU countries. Read it here.

  • Six projects funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme published the 'Joint migration policy whitepaper: Towards ICT-enabled integration of migrants', a strategic input for shaping future EU migration policy. Find out more here.
  • Integration stressors can serve to compound migrants' existing trauma. Accordingly, at the request of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM), the European Parliament commissioned a study on the trauma experienced by refugee women and LGBTQI+ persons before and after their arrival in a EU host country. Read it here.

Upcoming Events

SPRING launch conference: Promoting evidence-based communities of practice on migrant integration

18/06/2021 15:00
(Online: Zoom)
The new SPRING (Sustainable Practices of Integration) project focuses on the integration of recently-arrived migrants in Europe, aiming to develop various tools and resources to support the innovation, effectiveness and sustainability of the work of integration stakeholders at…
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Countering misinformation: Resettlement and integration programme adaptation and resilience during COVID-19

08/06/2021 15:00
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is hosting a series of webinars in partnership with the US Mission to the European Union, looking at best practices and experiences from the U.S. and Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, focus is being placed on countering of the spread of…
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Conférence de clôture: Improving equality data collection in Belgium (IEDCB)

18/06/2021 08:00
Le projet « Improving equality data collection in Belgium » (IEDCB) mené par Unia et la Cellule Égalité des chances du SPF Justice , a pour objectif de renforcer et promouvoir la collecte et l’utilisation des données relatives à…
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Latest News

Deutschland: Integrationsbeauftragte will die Vertretung von Migranteninteressen in Zeiten von Corona verbessern

Die Diskussionen über Benachteiligungen von Minderheiten während der Corona-Pandemie beschäftigen die Politik nachhaltig. Die Integrationsbeauftragte des Bundes, Annette Widmann-Mauz, sieht wachsende Benachteiligungen von Menschen mit Migrationshintergrund im Gesundheitswesen, in dem sprachliche Hürden eine große Rolle spielen. Sie sieht den Einsatz von Sprachmittlern in Krankenhäusern daher als ein wichtiges Mittel an, um alle Risikogruppen adäquat ansprechen und informieren zu können.

Im Interview mit der F.A.Z. erklärte sie: „Es wäre gut, wenn das fest in unserem Gesundheitssystem verankert würde, denn das Problem der Sprachbarriere stellt sich ja unabhängig vom Pandemieverlauf in allen möglichen Bereichen der Gesundheitsversorgung.“

Diese Sprachmittler sollen laut Widmann-Maus zudem auch in Arztpraxen und in der Stadtteilarbeit eingesetzt werden, um aufzuklären und letztlich die Verbreitung des Virus zu vermeiden.

Die Integrationsbeauftragte betonte, dass Informationen zur Corona-Impfkampagne bereits in 23 Sprachen verfügbar seien, um alle Bürger in Deutschland - unabhängig von Herkunft und Sprachkenntnissen – zu erreichen.

Laut Vizekanzler Olaf Scholz soll auch die in Deutschland festgelegte Impfreihenfolge vor Benachteiligungen von Menschen mit Migrationshintergrund und anderen schützen, indem nicht Netzwerke und gute Beziehungen bei der Terminvergabe helfen, sondern alleinig die nach bestimmten Kriterien festgelegte Priorisierung über eine Impfung entscheidet.

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Greece: Significant cuts to refugee funding

For the period 2020 - 2027 Greece will be funded by the EU to the amount of one billion euros, for the implementation of migrant and refugee support programmes. This is significantly less than the previous amount granted (3.5 billion euros), which the EU has said is due to reduced refugee flows to the country.

The Greek Ministry of Immigration and Asylum, which has clearly stated its objection to the reduction of funding, has published official data on the situation in the reception/hosting centres in the Greek islands and the mainland, and on the number of people who have been declared refugees in the country, stating that the sheer numbers of such people are indicative of an emergency situation and related needs. A special team of the European Commission - including the EU Commissioner, Ms. Ilva Johanson - will therefore visit Greece alongside the Minister of Immigration and Asylum, Mr. Mitarakis, in order to examine in person the situation on the ground.

Undoubtedly, the official data that have been released show the importance of decent funding. In Leros there are 385 displaced people, for example, of whom 180 are now registered asylum seekers. In Kos there are 115 people, plus 200 in the island's pre-detention centre. In Samos, there are 3 180 people, of whom only 500 have been officially recognised as refugees but a considerable number characterised as 'vulnerable'. In Lesvos, following the destruction of the Moria camp, there are an estimated 6 000 people living in the Mavrovouni facility. 2 000 of these people have been officially recognised as 'refugees' and are set to be moved to the mainland.

There are plans underway to construct three KYT Centres (Reception and Identification Centres) in every 'hotspot' Greek island, at a cost of about 120 million euros. The biggest of these, located in Samos with capacity to hold approximately 3 000 individuals, is almost ready to start accommodating those people. 

These figures show clearly that migration flows to Greece may have reduced, but that the need of the displaced people now living in the country for access to an integration process with specialised programmes has actually increased. For this reason, EU funding should not be cut but altered to reflect the circumstances and to better achieve its purpose.

Find related statistics and further information on this issue here.

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E-learning courses on migrant and refugee entrepreneurship

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) will be running free e-learning courses on migrant and refugee entrepreneurship throughout 2021.

The six-week course, designed in collaboration with with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), is shaped around the 2018 Policy Guide on Entrepreneurship for Migrants and Refugees, published by the three agencies.

The aim of the course is to strengthen the competences required by policymakers and practitioners in overcoming the challenges in economic and social inclusion for migrants and refugees, while understanding the benefits of promoting entrepreneurship to this end.

The full concept note for the e-course can be accessed here.

By the end of the course, it is expected that participants will be able to:

  • describe different benefits of promoting entrepreneurship for migrants and refugees and its impact on sustainable development;
  • identify the challenges faced by migrant and refugee entrepreneurs;
  • recognise policy objectives and policy options;
  • identify ways to support entrepreneurship among migrants and refugees in both developed and developing countries;
  • relate case studies and good practices from policies, programmes and initiatives in both developed and developing countries.

The next upcoming course in Arabic will begin on 28 May, in French on 28 June, in Spanish on 19 July and in English on 23 August. Prior registration is required.

Find a full list of dates and further information in French, Spanish, Arabic and English online here.

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Slovakia: The impact of COVID-19 restrictions on migrants

Slovakia, as well as several other countries, has recently been experiencing a rapid increase in the size of its migrant population. During the last five years this growth has accelerated, growing from approximately 90 000 persons in 2016 to more than 150 000 persons in 2020. By the end of 2020, foreigners with diverse types of residence permits held an almost 3% share of the country's total population.

In this most recent year, measures adopted during the global COVID-19 pandemic have successfully curbed the spread of the virus in Slovakia, but at the same have affected the economy and employment rates, as well as the situation for the country's migrants, negatively. The pandemic affected everyone, but the effect on migrant communities has been particularly hard. The temporary halting of international travel, the self-isolation, the curfew, the lack of comprehensible information in migrants' native languages and limited support for migrant communities all served to deepen the vulnerability of migrants living in Slovakia.


Over the last year the government adopted a number of measures to alleviate the negative effects of COVID-19 and quarantine on foreigners, for instance by extending the legal residence period allowed, so that third-country nationals with a temporary, permanent or tolerated residence permit which would have expired during the pandemic were automatically entitled to stay in the country for two months after the end of emergency measures.

Similarly, foreign nationals without a residence permit in Slovakia (those who entered the country legally with a visa or within a visa-free regime) were authorised to stay in the country until one month after the end of the pandemic measures. Additionally, a third-country national residing outside the territory of the Slovak Republic was able to renew their temporary residence permit or to apply for permanent residence for an unlimited period of time at the embassy. Another measure, targeting migrant entrepreneurs, temporarily removed the requirement to meet a minimum income/profit threshold in 2021 for those whose residence permits were linked with their business activity.

Availability of information

The lack of information in languages other than Slovak, as well as the general failure to provide additional support for those without the citizenship or nationality of the majority, adds to the list of major disadvantages for migrants since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 in Slovakia. Although the country's official web portal dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic offers some translated materials, the portal updates in these lagged well behind the rapidly changing pandemic situation, so the limited material that was translated was usually out of date.


The vaccination campaign which began in Slovakia in late 2020 was also criticised for not representing migrants, or minority groups, as well as for failing to translate campaign materials (including the website). Non-governmental and international organisations therefore played a substantial role in keeping migrant communities informed of the situation, helping them to understand and follow the very specific rules, limitations and curfew, and their rights and obligations within the pandemic context.

Migrant communities also experienced unequal access to vaccinations. Certain foreigners' access to the vaccination was denied because of their type of health insurance, for example. Foreigners with health insurance from providers other than the state-run or two pre-defined private insurers, were denied access. This issue was eventually solved by a new legislative amendment that enabled access to vaccination for all foreigners (e.g. including those with subsidiary protection, tolerated residence and other types of residences).

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Czech Republic: Vietnamese-Czech blogger nominated for Magnesia Litera award

Young Vietnamese-Czech blogger Do Thu Trang has been nominated - for the third time - for the prestigious Magnesia Litera blog of the year award.

Trang's blog, Asijatka, is one of the rare bridges between the Czech and Vietnamese communities: the latter are still largely closed to most Czechs for cultural and linguistic reasons. Her writing ranges from serious topics such as xenophobia to small observations of everyday life. For example, while 'culture wars' in the U.S. and Europe are fought over casting African Americans in so-called 'white' roles, Trang nonchalantly asks when an Asian will play a villain in Avengers.

Magnesia Litera is an annual book award that has been held in the Czech Republic since 2002. The prize covers all literary genres and is awarded by independent association Litera.

The winners will be chosen by readers' votes, and votes can be cast online here. The voting deadline is 1 June, 2021.

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Denmark: Elderly people with refugee background face increasing poverty

The number of elderly people with a refugee or migrant background is rising across Europe, posing new challenges in health and care sectors. In Denmark, elders with a refugee background comprise an especially vulnerable group, often living in poverty and alone. This vulnerability can be exacerbated by social marginalisation and health problems, and the poverty is expected to worsen due to new Danish rules around accessing public pensions.

A new article in a magazine issued by the Danish Gerontological Society compares available data on elderly people aged 65-74 living in Denmark: those with ethnic minority backgrounds against those with a native Danish background. 

In total, five percent of the 70-year olds and ten percent of the 60-year olds living in Denmark were born outside Denmark. This is a situation Denmark does not have much experience with, as the first large groups of migrants from countries outside Europe arrived in the late 1960s, and so these form the first group of retired people with a foreign background. Many people in these elderly groups have never learnt the Danish language and are isolated from Danish society, unlike those who arrived more recently - often at a younger age - and for whom integration efforts have been more successful.

The study found that almost all Danish men were working at the age of 55, whereas only half of the two migrant groups examined were providing for themselves at this age. The difference was even more significant among women. Further, only 1% of Danish men were found to have an income below the poverty line, while 17% of the men in the refugee group did. Poverty was also found to be much more common for women with a minority background than for their male counterparts, affecting 26% of Turkish women but only 10% of Turkish men. By contrast, there is no difference between elderly Danish men and women when it comes to the rate of poverty.

A full retirement pension generally keeps people above the poverty limit, but people with refugee and migrant backgrounds often do not meet the criteria of 40 years spent in the Danish labour market and so only receive a percentage of the full pension. Refugees and migrants also tend to be employed in low-income jobs and are rarely able to build up private pensions. Until January 2021, refugees were exempt from the criteria of 40 years of work in Denmark, in recognition of the circumstances often forcing them to leave their country at an adult age, but this has recently been changed.

The study concludes that elderly people from minority and refugee backgrounds are facing several serious disadvantages in comparison with elderly Danish natives, especially refugees and especially women. It is likely that this gap will increase further in the near future, once new legislation has had time to made an impact.

The full study provides further data and comparison on the length of stay, employment, poverty, family patterns and accommodation of elderly people in Denmark. Read more here.

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Integration Practices Recently Uploaded

MINT - Mentoring for Integration (of third country national children affected by migration)

Recognising 1) that newly arrived third country national (TCN) children and youth are especially vulnerable to social exclusion, 2) the need for the European Union and its Member States (MSs) to implement effective integration measures, and 3) the challenges faced by Central European MSs to…
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WATIZAT, un guide pour favoriser l’accès à l’information des personnes exilées

WATIZAT milite pour un accès effectif des personnes exilées à l’information . L’association édite et distribue un guide intitulé « Guide d’information pour les personnes exilées », ayant pour vocation à centraliser…
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INTERSOS: COVID-19 prevention in informal settlements

In Italy, INTERSOS is involved in information prevention and medical assistance in contexts of social exclusion, particularly in informal settlements. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, it has been implementing extraordinary interventions in primary and early prevention of COVID-19, notably in…
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Latest Funding Information

Portugal: Funding call: supporting unaccompanied minors

The High Commission for Migration in Portugal is now accepting funding applications for initiatives promoting the integration of children and young people from third countries who are eligible for international protection in Portugal (under the relocation programme for unaccompanied foreign minors - MENA).

This funding opportunity is made available through the EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). The total amount available is € 2 000 000.

Eligible projects will focus on:

a) the specialised technical monitoring of assessment for and construction of life projects, as well as the promotion of social integration and the transition to full autonomy, for unaccompanied foreign minors;

b) specialised follow-up actions and promotion of the integration and autonomy of unaccompanied foreign minors.

Funding requirements

Approved projects may benefit from a maximum co-financing rate of 75%. The duration of the projects should not exceed 24 months. Applications cannot present a total eligible investment of less than € 100 000, and the funded projects must begin no later than 15 September, 2021.

The deadline for submission of applications has been extended to 15 June 2021.

Find further information about requirements and applications online.

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Portugal: Funding call: studies on TCN integration

Portugal's High Commission for Migration is now accepting funding applications for studies on migration and the integration of third country nationals in Portugal. This funding opportunity has been made available through the EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). The total amount available is € 500 000.

Considering the necessity of deepening current knowledge on the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on migrants, eligible studies should answer one of a list of priority research topics that highlight specific impacts of the pandemic, and should be demonstrably relevant for public policies and policy makers.

The priority research topics are the following:

  1. Health conditions (including psychological health), access to and use of health services by migrants.
  2. Employment situation, impact on work, entrepreneurship, labour exploitation and living conditions of migrants.
  3. Impact of digitisation (of services) on migrants.
  4. Impact on migratory dynamics and globalisation.
  5. Impact on education, linguistic diversity and teaching the Portuguese language to migrant children and young people.
  6. Impact on migrant women and girls.
  7. New migratory profiles (e.g. international students, pensioners, teleworkers).
  8. Reception and integration of applicants and beneficiaries of international protection.
  9. Images, stereotypes and perceptions around migration.
  10. Associations and political participation.

Further requirements

Approved projects may benefit from a maximum co-financing rate of 75%. The duration of the projects should not exceed 24 months. The funding amount requested should range between € 20 000.00 and € 100 000.00 per study.

The deadline for submission of applications has been extended to 15 June 2021.

For additional information on requirements and applications, please visit the relevant website.

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Portugal: Funding call: promoting a proactive policy of attracting third country nationals

Portugal's High Commission for Migration is now accepting funding applications for projects promoting a proactive policy of attracting third country nationals (TCNs). This funding opportunity is made available through the EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). The total amount available is € 350 000. Applications cannot present a total eligible investment of less than € 50 000.00.

Successful projects will be expected to focus on:

  • measures to attract TCNs that respond to the needs of the labour market and, with their talent, skills and entrepreneurial action, contribute to the creation of job opportunities, social innovation and research and development;
  • information and communication activities in migrants' countries of origin, including 1) through digital media, 2) promoting regular migration, 3) providing information on job opportunities, entrepreneurship, study, research and sport in Portugal, and 4) promoting the prevention and combating of irregular migration and its harmful consequences, in terms of violence, exploitation and trafficking of human beings;
  • Creation or improvement of information systems and channels in the country of origin with a view to facilitating future reception and integration of migrants and combating the various forms of exploitation and violence experienced by TCNs in Portuguese society;
  • Creation of local networks that involve local authorities, business associations, NGOs, universities, and schools in carrying out the actions outlined in the previous paragraphs;
  • Creation of multilingual digital tools that disseminate job opportunities, in doing so promoting the mobility of workers according to needs identified in key sectors of the economy;
  • Support for measures that facilitate family reunification processes, including monitoring and counselling for migrants or beneficiaries of international protection; information regarding family reunification processes; awareness-raising activities and information on family reunification; information for family members to better reconnect, including orientation sessions before arriving in Portugal and cultural orientation activities, such as in the fields of gender equality, protection of children and positive parenting measures.

Further requirements

Approved projects may benefit from a maximum co-financing rate of 75%. The duration of the projects should not exceed 36 months. Candidate projects under this notice must begin no later than 15 September 2021.

The deadline for submission of applications has been extended to 15 June 2021.

Find further information on requirements and applications here.

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Czech Republic: Open call for proposals for contemporary arts projects focusing on social challenges

The Czech Republic's Ministry of Finance, in co-operation with the Ministry of Culture, the Arts Council Norway and the Icelandic Centre for Research, announced a second open call for project funding proposals.

Funding will be granted from the EEA Grants 2014-2021, to high quality contemporary arts activities that constitute the core of cultural and creative industries and creative economy, and are deemed to contribute to intelligent, sustainable and inclusive growth. The total allocation of the call is CZK 79 500 000 (EUR 3 000 000).

Specifically, in order to promote an inclusive and sustainable society, and to address related problems and their causes, the programme will support:

  • projects which address current social challenges through art and community activities;
  • regional projects arising from relevant local needs;
  • projects integrating disadvantaged groups (for example Roma and other social, ethnic and cultural minorities such as migrants and refugees).

As far as minority groups are concerned, specific emphasis will be placed on support for inclusive cultural events (e.g. those including minorities as well as the majority society), intercultural dialogue and partner cooperation between stakeholders.

Additionally, diverse activities within individual fields (performing arts; visual art; literature), and interdisciplinary approaches and activities will be specifically emphasised. Interdisciplinary projects may involve any of the above-mentioned disciplines as well as audio-visual elements (film; videogames), although the programme will not support audio-visual art as a stand-alone activity.

The programme will mainly support activities aiming for originality, with special emphasis on development and involvement of the audience (with a developed communication strategy based on knowledge of target group needs), as well as on capacity building of artists and cultural operators in cultural entrepreneurship, artistic and technical skills.

The deadline for submission of project proposals is 31 August 2021, 12:00pm.

Make submissions and find further information on the call itself here.

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Latest Documents

Mental health and psychological support for resettled refugees

The publication is meant to help practitioners and host communities understand and address the mental health and psycho-social needs of refugees throughout the resettlement cycle, including in terms of post-arrival integration . The report explores the separate stages of the resettlement…
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Institutional racism in the Netherlands

An analysis carried out by Knowledge Platform Integration & Society (KIS), an institute that conducts social research on behalf of governments and organisations, shows that there is institutional racism in two 'domains' in the Netherlands: the housing and labour markets. The analysis…
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National strategy on migration of the Republic of Bulgaria 2021-2025

The National Strategy on Migration of the Republic of Bulgaria 2021-2025 has been adopted as the new national strategic document in the field of migration management. The term "integration" has not been included in the title as it was in the previous National Strategy on Migration, Asylum and…
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France: Migrants en situation de vulnérabilité et santé

Santé publique France publie un dossier consacré à la santé chez les migrants en situation de vulnérabilité , dont les personnes réfugiées . Ceci inclue les déterminants de la santé, l’environnement, la situation…
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Umbrella Inform - The impact of COVID-19 in the migration area in EU and OECD countries

The European Migration Network (EMN) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published a new 'umbrella inform' detailing the impact of COVID-19 in the migration area. The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX)…
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A guide - children and the global compacts on refugees and migration

The guide analyses the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees and fleshes out the measures foreseen in them for the protection of children. The guide's purpose is to help (non-)governmental organisations and individuals working on the protection…
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