New European Commission
The President-Elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has proposed the members of the team that will lead the Commission over the next five years. Migration and integration are set to play a prominent role.
Cities are key to integration
The integration of migrants and refugees in European cities is a priority of the EU’s Urban Agenda. A new progress report shows what the Urban Agenda’s Partnership on Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees has been working on.
UN agencies urge action on education for refugee and migrant children
UNHCR, UNICEF and the International Organization for Migration have called on European countries to increase support and resources in their school systems so that all refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant children have access to quality education. In an advocacy brief, the three UN agencies show the challenges that migrant children and adolescents face in accessing education in Europe. These challenges include:
The agencies urge European countries to enhance the links between schools and key public services. Access to early childhood education and promoting the integration of young people into upper secondary education and training programmes are also critical to ensure access to quality education.
Italy's New Government: a changed approach towards migration and integration?
At the end of August 2019, a new Italian government was born. Former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte received a green light to form a new government, this time based on the unlikely alliance of the centre-left Democratic Party and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement. The new government appears so far to confirm expectations that it would soften Italy’s approach to migration. Luciana Lamorgese, a career civil servant specialised in migration policy, has been appointed interior minister to replace Matteo Salvini, the leader of the Northern League party who espoused an anti-immigration agenda.
In addition, during its first cabinet meeting, the new government contested a law of the northern Friuli Venezia Giulia region as being discriminatory. The government noted in a statement that the law includes several rules that exceed regional competences. For example, funds initially allocated for the integration of third-country nationals have been transferred by the law to fund repatriation instead. Repatriation, however, is not a regional competence.
The new government also identified as discriminatory a measure to restrict job incentives only to people who have been residents for at least five years, but the Italian Constitution prevents regions from obstructing the free movement of people and the right to work in throughout the country.
The request to start an investigation into the law was already filed in July 2019 under the previous government, but the new government’s decision to follow up on the matter immediately after coming into office has been interpreted as a message signifying change.
Housing crisis in Ireland prevents refugees from moving out of direct provision
According to the Irish Department of Justice and Equality, 842 refugees are unable to move out of direct provision centres due to the housing shortage in Ireland. And the situation has been getting worse, as the number of refugees stuck in the direct provision system has doubled since 2017.
Direct provision was established in 2000 to meet the basic needs of asylum seekers waiting for approval of their refugee status applications. Despite recent reforms regarding weekly allowances and the right to work, the system has repeatedly faced criticism due to its negative impact on integration and mental well-being of residents. Transitioning out of direct provision has been one of the key issues.
A person who is granted refugee status is required to leave the direct provision system within two to three weeks. But in reality, the time may be extended up to a year (or longer in some cases). The low housing stock in Ireland has created intense competition for accommodations, and discrimination against non-Irish nationals in the rental market leaves many at risk of homelessness. The Peter McVerry Trust, a charity for the homeless, has recently implemented a scheme to find housing for people stuck in direct provision.
Deutschkurse bei Analphabeten weniger erfolgreich
Neuen Zahlen des Bundesamtes für Migration und Flüchtlinge (BAMF) zufolge schließt der Großteil der Geflüchteten, die seit 2015 nach Deutschland gekommen sind, die Integrationskurse erfolgreich ab. 93 Prozent der Kursbesucher, die bei Ankunft bereits lesen und schreiben konnten, erreichten das Niveau A2 und können demnach einfache Sätze und Begriffe beherrschen. Anders stellt sich die Situation allerdings bei Geflüchteten dar, die als Analphabeten in die Bundesrepublik gekommen sind: Hier die Zahl erfolgreicher Kursabsolventen deutlich gesunken.
2019 hatten noch 54 Prozent von ihnen das Deutschniveau A2 oder das anspruchsvollere Niveau B1 erreicht. In der Gruppe der Schnelllerner, die es ohne jegliche Kenntnisse im Lesen und Schreiben auf das höhere Niveau B1 schaffen, sank die Erfolgsquote von 23 Prozent im Jahr 2017 auf nur 14 Prozent in diesem Jahr.
Insgesamt haben zwischen 2015 und 2018 rund eine Million Menschen einen Integrationskurs besucht. Die Ergebnisse der noch vorläufigen Evaluation des Bundesamtes zeigten auch, dass Integrationskurse seltener besucht werden, wenn Menschen ein geringes Bildungsniveau mitbringen. Auch Mütter kleiner Kinder mit wenig Kontakt zu Deutschen sind weniger häufig anzutreffen. Traumatisierung oder Trennung von Angehörigen sind weitere hemmende Faktoren für eine Kursteilnahme.
Anpassungen der Lehrmethoden oder bei der Auswahl und Schulung der Lehrkräfte müssten auch mit Blick auf die neuen Daten laut BAMF nicht vorgenommen werden. Für viele Lehrkräfte seien Integrationskurse ein "Knochenjob", die meisten seien hoch motiviert. Auf Wunsch des Bundesinnenministeriums sei die Kontrolle der Kurse "drastisch verschärft" worden. Im Übrigen seien die sprachlichen Zielvorgaben für Integrationskurse in Deutschland viel höher als etwa in Frankreich.
Kritik erntet die Bundesregierung z.B. von der Integrationspolitischen Sprecherin der Linksfraktion im Bundestag, Gökay Akbulut, die das Integrationskurs-Angebot als verbesserungswürdig ansieht. Der Zugang zu Sprachkursen müsse für alle unabhängig vom Aufenthaltsstatus möglichst früh ermöglicht werden. Die Trennung von Familienangehörigen belaste Betroffene so stark, dass dies den Spracherwerb für manche fast unmöglich mache.
Auch die Grünen aüßerten sich kritisch: „Bundesinnenminister Seehofer sollte sich den Zwischenbericht genau durchlesen und endlich Integration ganz oben auf die Agenda setzen. Statt die Mittel für die Integrationskurse für 2020 um über 20 Millionen Euro zu kürzen, sollte die Mittel deutlich erhöht werden, für eine bessere Bezahlung der Lehrkräfte, für kleinere Klassen, für mehr Kursstunden, für bessere Strukturen“, erklärt Filiz Polat, integrationspolitische Sprecherin ihrer Fraktion im Bundestag.
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Bredsand's Bridge Builders – Successfully improving school results among Somali children
Bredsand’s Bridge Builders is a project created by two young people of Somali descent who wanted to build a bridge between one of the most marginalised communities in the Swedish municipality of Sundsvall—Somalis—and Swedish society. The primary focus of the project is to make…
Computers for All – Digital Inclusion in Luxembourg
Through the Computers for All project, Digital Inclusion (DI) collects used computers and smartphones from individuals, institutions and businesses. With the help of volunteers, DI then repairs and readies these devices for reuse. Most of the volunteers are refugees or unemployed individuals.…
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Latest Funding Information
European Commission makes €21.5 million available through Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund
The European Commission is now accepting applications for funding through the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) to support the integration of third-country nationals. A total of €21.5 million will be available through the various calls for proposals. For this funding round, AMIF will support integration efforts in the context of private sponsorship schemes, involvement of local communities in social orientation and the social and economic integration of migrant women, among other areas related to migration and integration.
Fostering the integration of persons in need of protection through private sponsorship schemes
The Commission will provide funding through this call to support the integration of persons in need of protection who come to the EU through private sponsorship schemes. These measures will enhance capacity-building and support the design and implementation of pilot schemes on private sponsorship. Find out more
Social orientation of newly arrived third-country nationals through involvement of local communities
Activities supported under this call will involve and support local communities with the aim of facilitating the early integration steps of newly arrived migrants and fostering exchange between migrants and the receiving society, thus contributing to mutual understanding and the building of a more cohesive community. Find out more
Social and economic integration of migrant women
This funding call will promote migrant women’s interaction, feeling at ease and participation in social and political life and/or support their sustainable labour market integration. Find out more
Support to victims of trafficking in human beings
Projects funded through this call may, among other objectives, facilitate the integration of third-country national victims of trafficking into the host society and provide assistance and support to victims of trafficking, taking into account their specific needs. Find out more
Protection of children in migration
This call will fund projects to exchange good practices and/or provide necessary training to implement and support alternative care systems for migrant children, as well as effective alternatives to detention. Find out more
In addition, the Commission will support projects to train experts in the area of asylum and immigration and to raise awareness of the risks of irregular migration in selected third countries and Europe.
More information is available on the EU’s funding portal. The deadline to apply is 30 January 2020 at 17:00 Brussels time for all funding calls.
EU Horizon 2020 programme – Calls for proposals will open in November 2019
The 2018-2020 Work Programme of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme makes migration a priority. During the course of the Work Programme, the EU will allocate €200 million to support investigations on the drivers of migration, migration management and the integration of migrants in host societies.
For budget year 2020, calls for proposals will open in November 2019. A total of €29 million will be allocated to address various dimensions of migrant integration. Other funding will be available to address related topics like migration management and social change.