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Spain: Naturalisation procedure adapted to allow for COVID-19 restrictions

Spain: Naturalisation procedure adapted to allow for COVID-19 restrictions

01/12/2020

The Government of Spain has amended the country's procedure for naturalisation by residence, approved by Royal Decree on 6 November.

The objective of the change is to allow for COVID-19 restrictions. It is now possible to carry out certain steps remotely, so that processes can continue as smoothly as possible.

Currently, those hoping to obtain Spanish nationality must pass two tests: Spanish as a foreign language (DELE) and constitutional and socio-cultural knowledge of Spain (CCSE). These tests are designed and administered by the Cervantes Institute.

The new amendment expressly provides for the remote administration of DELE and CCSE tests, subject to conditions determined by the Cervantes Institute. This will simplify the process and enable many residents to complete the naturalisation procedure.

Find out more.

Portugal: Funding call for migrant associations

Portugal: Funding call for migrant associations

01/12/2020

Portugal's High Commission for Migration is now accepting funding applications for projects being run by migrant associations in 2021. Only those associations legally recognised by the High Commission for Migration are eligible.

The call comprises three thematic strands: hosting and accommodation, enhancement of diversity and recognition of merit. The funding, 250 000 EUR in total, has been made available through the Programme Supporting Immigrants’ Associations (PAAI).

Successful projects will focus on such issues as:

  • Hosting and accommodation of migrants (e.g. general support; referral; information publication and dissemination);
  • Promotion of diversity (e.g. awareness-raising sessions; intercultural events);
  • Existing initiatives of recognised merit (e.g. radio or television programmes; campaigns for the prevention and elimination of female genital mutilation; actions promoting gender equality or women's empowerment).

Requirements

Accepted projects will receive co-financing at rates of up to 95%. They must be ready to run throughout 2021 and cannot have a budget of more than 10 000 EUR.

Applications should be submitted electronically here. The submission deadline is 4 January 2021. For further information please visit the website.

Watch now: Sex, gender and equity in health: focus on migrant women

Watch now: Sex, gender and equity in health: focus on migrant women

26/11/2020

The third webinar of this year's edition of the Canada-EU Migration Platform on the Integration of Migrant Women focused on sex, gender and equity in health.

This third session was organised on 20 November 2020. It brought together 70 participants from across the EU and Canada representing governments, EU institutions, migrant women, civil society organisations, and academia.

In the first part of the event, moderated by Daniel Redondo, Senior Expert at the IOM, panelists examined the health challenges often faced by migrant women. The specific health needs of women, gender-based violence and health issues aggravated by social isolation or abuse were also discussed. Panelists shared best policy practices to address gaps in services provided to migrant women, both at the community and institutional levels. The recording of the panel is available below.

In the second part of the event, the participants broke into four groups to discuss a range of topics on the health and delivery of healthcare services to migrant women. One of the most important threads was the access to services for the mental health needs of migrant women. Other topics included the most effective approaches to address gender-based violence such as domestic and intimate partner violence as well as issues such as female genital mutilation (FGM), forced and underage marriage, sexual assault, cyber-violence, and elder abuse. Participants also reflected on the promotion of sex and gender equity in health supports, including for members of the LGBTIQ/LGBTQ2 community*. The discussions provided an opportunity to identify issues, explore policies and practical approaches to the integration of migrant women.

*The EU and Canada use two different acronyms to refer to the LGBTIQ/LGBTQ2 communities. Also enshrined by the first-ever, recently-adopted EU Strategy on the topic, the EU refers to 'lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, non-binary, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ)', while the Canadian Government refers to 'Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2)' to recognise two-spirit within Canada, and LGBTI internationally.

Watch now: Supporting the successful labour market integration of migrant women

Watch now: Supporting the successful labour market integration of migrant women

26/11/2020

The second webinar of this year's edition of the Canada-EU Migration Platform on the Integration of Migrant Women focused on labour integration for migrant women.

Organised on 13 November 2020, this event brought together 80 participants from across the EU and Canada who discussed the labour market integration of migrant women. Participants represented governments, EU institutions, migrant women, civil society organisations, and academia.

In the first part of the event, the panel shared their views on some key questions proposed by the moderator Thomas Liebig, Senior Migration Expert in OECD. The participants reflected on recent studies from Canada and Europe exploring the labour market outcomes of migrant women, and shared experiences and practices that support them in achieving success. They also looked at what successful labour integration can mean for a diversity of individuals. The recording of the panel is available below.

In the second part of the event, the participants joined four breakout sessions to discuss a variety of topics. They shared experiences of successful ways of recognising, valuing and building the skills of migrant women, the role of coaching and mentoring to support labour market participation, and ways in which self-employment and entrepreneurship can create labour market opportunities for migrant women. The participants also discussed how to address systemic barriers to the labour market integration of migrant women. The discussions provided an opportunity to identify issues, explore policies and practical approaches to the integration of migrant women.

Watch now: Promoting the social integration of migrant women

Watch now: Promoting the social integration of migrant women

26/11/2020

The first webinar of this year's edition of the Canada-EU Migration Platform on the Integration of Migrant Women focused on social integration.

The first in the series of online events was held on 6 November 2020. It brought together 90 participants from across the EU and Canada who discussed the social integration of migrant women. The participants represented governments, EU institutions, migrant women, civil society organisations, and academia.

In the first part of the event, the panelists were guided by the moderator Meghan Benton, Director of Research of the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), to reflect on the barriers to social integration faced by migrant women on both sides of the Atlantic. They discussed the meaning of social integration and its multifaceted reality. They also considered the adverse impact of slower social integration on the overall outcomes for migrant women.

The recording of the panel is available below:

During the seven breakout sessions the participants discussed in more depth the opportunities presented by language training as the key instrument for the social integration of migrant women; the importance of creating community connections to address the social isolation of migrant women; advance gender equality; address access to services in the context of COVID-19; and the importance of increasing the civic and political participation of migrant women. Most importantly, participants recognised the need to emphasise intersectionality in policy as the key element to address the barriers migrant women face. The discussions provided an opportunity to identify issues, explore policies and practical approaches to the integration of migrant women.

Bundesregierung beschließt 89 Maßnahmen gegen Rechtsextremismus

Bundesregierung beschließt 89 Maßnahmen gegen Rechtsextremismus

25/11/2020

Im Kampf gegen Rassismus und Rechtsextremismus setzt die Regierung mit dem Maßnahmenpaket auf Demokratieprojekte, Forschung, Änderungen im Strafrecht und Hilfe für Betroffene.

Der Kabinettsausschuss der Bundesregierung zur Bekämpfung von Rechtsextremismus und Rassismus, der nach dem rassistischen Anschlag in Hanau gegründet wurde, hat ein umfangreiches Maßnahmenpaket erarbeitet. Mit 89 Einzelprojekten und einem besonderen Schwerpunkt auf Prävention und politische Bildung sollen Rassismus und Rechtsextremismus entgegengewirkt und die vielfältige Gesellschaft befördert werden.

An dem Maßnahmenpaket haben insgesamt sieben Ministerien sowie zusätzliche Fachabteilungen mitgewirkt. Mehrere Ministerien nehmen sich mit dem Katalog konkrete Projekte vor: So wollen das Bundesinnenministerium und das Familienressort ein Institut aufbauen, das die Qualität einzelner Projekte der Extremismusprävention und der politischen Bildung überprüft und dazu beiträgt, die Wirksamkeit entsprechender Programme zu steigern. Das Justizministerium wird sich demnach um den Aufbau einer Opferschutzplattform kümmern; ein Beratungszentrum für Diskriminierungsopfer und eine Hilfehotline sollen als zentrale bundesweite Anlaufstellen dienen.

Auch das Auswärtige Amt, das Bildungsministerium, das Verteidigungsministerium, die Integrationsbeauftragte und das Arbeitsressort sind in Maßnahmen eingebunden. Projektschwerpunkte liegen hier etwa in der politischen und schulischen Bildung sowie darauf, Sicherheitsbehörden mit mehr Möglichkeiten der Überwachung auszustatten.

Für die kommenden vier Jahre will die Bundesregierung für die Maßnahmen mehr als eine Milliarde Euro zur Verfügung stellen. Falls der Haushaltsausschuss zustimmt, sollen noch weitere 150 Millionen Euro investiert werden.

'Wir wollen Rassismus an die Wurzel gehen und zwar in der Breite unserer Gesellschaft in allen Bereichen', sagte die Integrationsbeauftragte der Bundesregierung, Annette Widmann-Mauz (CDU).

Das Paket enthält lang diskutierte Maßnahmen, so beispielsweise auch die Forderung nach einem Demokratiefördergesetz, um eine dauerhafte Projektfinanzierung gewährleisten zu können. Auch eine Studie zum Alltagsrassismus in Zivilgesellschaft, Unternehmen und öffentlichen Institutionen ist vorgesehen ebenso wie eine Analyse zum Polizeialltag. Damit hat sich Bundesinnenminister Horst Seehofer im Streit um eine zunächst geforderte Studie über Rassismus in der Polizei schließlich durchgesetzt.

Die Reaktionen zum Maßnahmenkatalog fielen unterschiedlich aus: Lob kam u. a. vom Zentralrat der Juden. Die Bundesregierung zeige damit, "dass es ihr mit dem Kampf gegen Rechtsextremismus, Rassismus und Antisemitismus ernst ist", so Ratspräsident Josef Schuster. Auch Amadeu-Antonio-Stiftung begrüßte den Maßnahmenkatalog, da er "zentrale Forderungen" von zivilgesellschaftlichen Gruppen aufgreife.

Von den Grünen wurde der Vorstoß insgesamt begrüßt, gleichzeitig wurden aber auch Vorschläge und Kritik geäußert:  Die Grünen-Abgeordnete Ekin Deligöz etwa betonte ihre positive Haltung zum Beschluss. Gleichzeitig betonte sie die Bedeutung der Arbeit auf der Ebene von Ländern und Kommunen: "Es wird nicht reichen, wenn nur der Bund handelt. Wir müssen auch die Länder und Kommunen mit ins Boot holen!" Filiz Polat, die migrationspolitische Sprecherin der Grünen-Fraktion, forderte eine Beteiligung von Wissenschaftlern und Vertretern der sogenannten "postmigrantischen Zivilgesellschaft". Polat appellierte: "Die zu lange ungehörten Stimmen sollen endlich bei der Gestaltung der Einwanderungsgesellschaft mitwirken können."

Widmann-Mauz betonte, dass die Arbeit im Gremium noch nicht abgeschlossen sei, denn die Bekämpfung von Rassismus sei "eine Daueraufgabe, die uns noch lange beschäftigen wird", erklärte sie.

Englischsprachige Informationen…

Spain: Funding call for programmes fighting COVID-19 social exclusion and inequality

Spain: Funding call for programmes fighting COVID-19 social exclusion and inequality

25/11/2020

On 20 November Catalonia's Department of Labour, Social Affairs and Families launched a call for proposals. Eligible programmes will be those working to reduce the social exclusion and inequality-related effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There will be a total of 473 684.21 EUR available: 450 000 EUR in 2020 and 23 684 EUR in 2021. Funding awarded to any one project will represent a percentage of the project's total cost, or the cost of one of its modules.

The call identifies 12 eligible activity types, grouped into four areas:

  1. To support the administrative regularity of migrants through social integration and improvements to their employability;
  2. Emergency support for the educational development of students from families of migrant origin;
  3. Reception of migrants, refugees or returnees;
  4. Promotion of equality between men and women in the workplace.

The implementation period of projects to which grants will be awarded must fall between 14 March 2020 and 25 October 2021. Applications must be submitted online by 4 December 2020.

Learn more about this funding call here.

Access project guidelines here.

The EC reveals its new EU Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion (2021-2027)

The EC reveals its new EU Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion (2021-2027)

24/11/2020

The European Commission presented the new EU Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion (2021-2027). 

The responsibility for integration policies lies primarily with the Member States. However, the EU has established a large variety of measures to incentivise and support national, as well as regional and local, authorities and civil society in their efforts to promote integration. The current action plan proposes concrete actions, gives guidance and delineates funding for initiatives meant to bring inclusion for all.

The main actions include:

  • Inclusive education and training from early childhood to higher education, focusing on easier recognition of qualifications and continued language learning, with support from EU funds.
  • Improving employment opportunities and skills recognition to fully value the contribution of migrant communities, and women in particular, and ensure that they are supported to reach their full potential. The EC will work with relevant stakeholders to promote labour market integration, support entrepreneurship and make it easier for employers to recognise and assess skills.
  • Promoting access to health services, including mental healthcare, for people with a migrant background. In addition to dedicated EU funding, the action plan seeks to ensure people are informed about their rights and recognises the specific challenges faced by women, in particular during and after pregnancy. The action plan also supports Member States to exchange best practice.
  • Access to adequate and affordable housing funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), European Social Fund Plus (ESF +), Asylum and Migration Fund (AMF) and Invest EU, as well as an exchange of experience at local and regional level on fighting discrimination on the housing market and segregation.

What is new:

The document builds upon the successful 2016 action plan (see an interactive overview here), targeting the same main areas of integration.

Its scope expands to include the integration of EU citizens of migrant background, in addition to third-country nationals (TCNs).

The current plan also bring additional focus on:

  • Ensuring inclusion for all, including through targeted and tailored support.
  • Enhancing migrant participation, including through the recent formation of an Expert Group on the views of migrants with the EC.
  • Mainstreaming gender and including women.
  • Building more partnerships with various integration stakeholders.
  • Closer cooperation with regional and local authorities.
  • More emphasis on long-term integration, including through funding.

An interactive tool will be developed on EWSI to track the progress on the action plan.

Useful resources:

  • Conceiving the plan, the EC asked all stakeholders to take part in a public consultation and give their insight on integration. Read a synthetic report from the open consultation here.
  • Further consultations with specific stakeholders were carried out - find a report here.
  • Find a Factsheet about the action plan here
  • As long-term integration is a priority, see a recent EWSI analysis on the measures taken for it across the EU here
  • Learn more about the EU's work on integration here
  • As funding is crucial to achieving the actions, learn more about EU funds available to integration here.
  • Subscribe to the EWSI newsletter for news about the Action Plan, initiatives and (funding) opportunities here.
Poland: Creation of Refugee Council for NIEM in Warsaw

Poland: Creation of Refugee Council for NIEM in Warsaw

23/11/2020

On 20 October 2020 the first meeting was held of the newly established Refugee Council for the National Integration Evaluation Mechanism (NIEM) project, which measures and enhances the integration of beneficiaries of international protection.

The purpose of the appointed Council is to strengthen the influence of people with forced migration experience on discussions around integration policies in Poland. The aim of the initiative is to provide a space for consultations on documents relating to integration, to share experience concerning the situation of beneficiaries of international protection and asylum seekers and also to enhance dialogue among different stakeholders: representatives of central and local administrations, civic organisations and beneficiaries of international protection themselves. 

All participants have a long professional and personal experience as activists and community leaders, and are involved in various initiatives for intercultural dialogue and integration in such cities as Warsaw and Gdansk. They also participate in other projects across the country within national and international networks. 

During this first meeting, participants drew attention to the challenges faced by recipients of protection and asylum seekers - due to gaps or insufficient support - in such areas as education, Polish language courses, housing and psychological assistance (especially for those who have experienced detention in Poland). Relatedly, it was highlighted that there remains a lack of specialists experienced in cross-cultural work in educational and medical facilities.

The NIEM project is co-financed by the national Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund in Poland.

National Integration Evaluation Mechanism (NIEM). Measuring and improving  integration of beneficiaries of international protection | Peace Institute  – Institute for Contemporary Social and Political Studies

Find out more here.

Exploitation of foreign workers becomes more apparent in Latvia

Exploitation of foreign workers becomes more apparent in Latvia

22/11/2020

On 20 November 2020, it was revealed that exploitation of foreign workers has taken place in well-known pastry manufacturing enterprise, Adugs. 10 citizens of India were underpaid, overworked, physically abused and their passports seized. While both the administration of this company and local workers have denied the accusations, this case has shed light on issues of human trafficking and exploitation of workers in Latvia.

The State Labour Inspectorate has seen an increase in complaints from foreign workers in the past three years, the most common types of mistreatment being the withholding of salaries and overworking. Employers also threaten foreign workers with the annulment of their work visa if they complain to the administration or the State Labour Inspectorate.

In the last four years most migrant workers in Latvia have come from Georgia, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, most commonly working in the industries of construction, transport and logistics, and the ICT sector. Despite the increase in unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for foreign workers still remains high.

Read more about this issue here.