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Support needed for local integration measures in Slovakia

Support needed for local integration measures in Slovakia

25/03/2019

Slovakia has seen remarkably fast growth in the number of economic migrants. To address this increase, the government has adopted a series of measures and strategies for economic integration. Steps have also been taken to promote local integration measures, but local integration still lags.

So far, only seven municipalities have prepared local integration strategies, and municipalities are not the only ones needing help—other important local institutions also require support in this area. Local integration is therefore one of the top priorities in migrant integration in Slovakia.

Local integration is at the centre of the Strategy on Labour Mobility of Foreigners, and the national Integration Policy delegates responsibilities to municipalities and local and regional self-governments—for example, to prepare local integration plans. Some municipalities have started to feel pressure to work on migration-related issues. For instance, the municipality of Nitra, which has seen rapid growth in the number of economic migrants, is opening the first integration centre run by a municipality.

But research by the Centre for Research of Ethnicity and Culture (CVEK) shows that the implementation of local integration measures is behind. Activity in this regard has been limited and is usually initiated by NGOs. Research in Bratislava, Trnava, Banská Bystrica and Košice shows that municipalities are not prepared to implement effective integration measures. Municipalities lack understanding of the diversity of their migrant populations. They also lack the capacity to implement measures and require intensive support to develop local integration plans and measures, at least initially. 

Between December 2017 and December 2018, the total number of foreigners in the country grew from 104,451 to 121,264 (+16%), with the vast majority of the growth coming from an increase in the number of third-country nationals. This growth was mainly due to economic needs, and third-country nationals have increasingly been hired by Slovakian employers to fill these needs.

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Lancement d’un appel à projets pour encourager l’hébergement citoyen en France

Lancement d’un appel à projets pour encourager l’hébergement citoyen en France

19/03/2019

Le ministre de la Ville et du Logement français, a annoncé, le 18 mars 2019, le lancement d’un nouvel appel à projets de « cohabitions solidaires » pour l’année 2019. Il vise à encourager, via un soutien financier, l’hébergement de 500 réfugiés chez les particuliers ainsi que les colocations entre réfugiés et personnes issues de la société civile.

Inscrit dans « la continuité de l’expérimentation de l’hébergement citoyen », ce dispositif initié en 2017 est mis en œuvre par des associations partenaires chargées d’identifier « des personnes réfugiées, des familles accueillantes ou des colocataires » et d’assurer un « suivi et une médiation en cas de besoin, ainsi qu’un accompagnement global des réfugiés, pendant une durée allant de 3 à 12 mois », a précisé le ministre dans un communiqué.

Les réfugiés bénéficiaires de ce programme en 2017 et 2018 ont ainsi « majoritairement enclenché un parcours socio-professionnel ascendant » à l’issue de cette période d’accueil. De plus, « ils ont accédé à des solutions de logement adapté, ont largement progressé dans leur maîtrise de la langue française et la connaissance de la culture française, autant d’éléments essentiels pour une intégration réussie », a indiqué Julien Denormandie.

L’hébergement citoyen est « un vrai tremplin pour les réfugiés, une vraie politique publique d’intégration par l’hébergement solidaire », a-t-il estimé, lors du lancement de l’opération dans les locaux de l’association Singa France, à Paris, qui accompagne des réfugiés à travers l’hébergement citoyen.

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European Summit of Refugees & Migrants – Share your ideas and experiences!

European Summit of Refugees & Migrants – Share your ideas and experiences!

18/03/2019

Are you actively involved in improving the lives of refugees and migrants? Are you doing advocacy work on refugees and migration policies in Europe? If so, the organisers of the European Summit of Refugees and Migrants want to hear from you!

The European Summit will take place on the 4th and 5th of May 2019 in Brussels. The event will be an occasion for migrant and refugee advocates to meet and discuss current challenges and opportunities with other advocates and to coordinate efforts in their work.

Advocates interested in participating in the summit should fill out the organisers’ survey by 7 April 2019. The survey responses will be used to put together the summit’s agenda and themes and to start building alliances and shared advocacy messages to influence EU policies. Advocates who are migrants or refugees are especially encouraged to contribute. Financial assistance might be available to attend the event.

This survey and the European Summit are initiatives of the Global Refugee-Led Network and the G-100 initiative led by refugees and migrants across European countries.

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Integrationsbeauftragte der Bundesregierung fordert Integrationskurse für Asylbewerber

Integrationsbeauftragte der Bundesregierung fordert Integrationskurse für Asylbewerber

14/03/2019

Die Integrationsbeauftragte der Bundesregierung, Annette Widmann-Mauz (CDU) fordert in einem Brief an Innenminister Horst Seehofer (CSU) und Arbeitsminister Hubertus Heil (SPD), dass auch Flüchtlinge ohne regulären Schutzstatus einen Anspruch auf Sprach- und Integrationskurse bekommen.

Widmann-Mauz dringt auf größere Integrationsanstrengungen für Asylbewerber mit schlechter Bleibeperspektive. Es zeige sich, dass viele Schutzsuchende und auch bereits abgelehnte Asylbewerber mit Duldung „länger oder sogar auf Dauer in unserem Land bleiben“. Deswegen erachte sie es als notwendig, den Zugang zu Sprachfördermaßnahmen und Ausbildungsförderung weiter zu öffnen.

Der Hintergrund ist, dass in Deutschland Asylbewerber seit dem Jahr 2015 bereits während des Verfahrens Integrationskurse erhalten. Diese Kurse können sie allerdings nur wahrnehmen, wenn sie aus Staaten mit guter Bleibeperspektive stammen – also wenn mindestens die Hälfte der Asylbewerber aus diesem Staat zuletzt anerkannt wurde. Aktuell betrifft dies Personen aus Syrien, Irak, Iran, Eritrea und Somalia.

Mit Blick auf die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung, die innere Sicherheit und das friedliche Zusammenleben dürfe die Bedeutung von Integrationsmaßnahmen nicht unterschätzt werden, warb Widmann-Mauz bei den Parlamentariern für ihren Vorschlag. Sie verwies auf eine Studie des Instituts für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung, die besagt, dass durch Investitionen in Sprachkurse und Bildung für die 2015 zugewanderten Flüchtlinge bis zum Jahr 2030 bundesweit ein Betrag von elf Milliarden Euro erwirtschaftet werden könne, und zwar durch steigende Beschäftigung, höhere Steuerzahlungen und Abgaben und niedrigere Transferleistungen.

Mit Blick auf die Fachkräftedebatte setzt sich Widmann-Mauz zudem dafür ein, dass der Zugang zu berufsausbildungsvorbereitenden Förderangeboten bei der Aufnahme einer Berufsausbildung gestaltet wird. Sie verweist darauf, dass derzeit vor allem Menschen mit unklarer Bleibeperspektive, die eine Ausbildung absolvieren oder sich im Studium befinden, nach 15 Monaten Aufenthalt in eine Gesetzeslücke fallen.

Filiz Polat, integrationspolitische Sprecherin der Grünen, befürwortet den Vorstoß: „Welche herausragende Bedeutung der frühe und effektive Zugang zu Deutschkursen hat, haben Fehler in der Vergangenheit gezeigt. Die Auswahl von Menschen anhand vermeintlicher Bleibeperspektiven hat tausenden Geflüchteten, darunter vielen Afghaninnen und Afghanen, während ihres jahrelangen Asylverfahrens die Möglichkeit geraubt, schnell Deutsch zu erlernen“, so Polat. Kommunen und Länder seien oftmals eingesprungen und hätten eigene Kurse etabliert.

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Study shows Poles are relatively accepting of foreign accents

Study shows Poles are relatively accepting of foreign accents

13/03/2019

Poles perceived immigrants speaking Polish with a ‘foreign’ accent much more positively than nationals of Germany, the United States and the UK perceived people speaking with foreign accents. This is according to the preliminary results of experiments conducted by Dr Karolina Hansen from the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Warsaw. According to Hansen, the results are quite surprising as Poles are rather prejudiced against strangers.

Mexicans in the United States, Turks in Germany and the Chinese in the UK who did not speak with ‘standard’ accents were viewed more negatively by natives in those countries than Poles viewed immigrants speaking Polish with foreign accents. The relatively positive attitudes of Poles held true regardless of the type of accent or ethnic origin of the speaker.

The results might be attributed to the fact that Polish is a difficult language requiring a lot of effort to learn, and it is not widely used in the world. Thus, Poles may be more appreciative when foreigners have any knowledge of Polish, as speaking Polish means that the person ‘is motivated and committed and seriously treats his/her stay in Poland, not only as a stopover on his/her way to France or Germany’, explains Dr Hansen. In other countries, natives might be more demanding and expect immigrants to speak more like natives.

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Survey shows Latvian attitudes are still closed to people of other ethnicities and origins

Survey shows Latvian attitudes are still closed to people of other ethnicities and origins

12/03/2019

A recent survey in the framework of the ‘Openness is a Value’ campaign shows that only 20% of people in Latvia have no prejudice towards people with a different ethnicity or origin. More than half of the respondents wished to distance themselves from Syrians, Afghans and people from Africa. This result is likely linked to the recently increased attention to asylum seekers and refugees arriving in Europe.

When asked for suggestions about what public authorities could do to improve the integration of people of other nationalities in Latvia, 43% of respondents believed that educational activities are needed for groups that are less integrated into Latvian society. 42% believed that tolerance, mutual respect and politeness should be encouraged. Meanwhile, 11% of respondents expressed the view that no activity is needed in this area.

The survey was carried out by SKDS, a marketing and public opinion research centre. Read more about the survey results

Apply to participate in the Urban Academy on Integration in Antwerp!

Apply to participate in the Urban Academy on Integration in Antwerp!

12/03/2019

The second edition of the Urban Academy on the Integration of Migrants and Refugees will take place in Antwerp, Belgium on 21 and 22 May 2019. The Academy is a training programme for practitioners and policy makers working on migrant integration at the local, regional and national levels, providing an opportunity to create networks of peers working on similar issues across Europe.

This year’s Academy will feature two thematic strands—integration into the labour market and housing for migrant inclusion. There will be a mix of experts’ inputs as well as peer exchanges on individual policy-dilemmas and professional challenges, with plenty of space to discuss and explore innovative solutions for the challenges that participants face in their city, region or country in the field of integration.

How to participate

Participants should be working at a strategic or policy level for a local or regional authority in migrants’ integration into the labour market and/or housing for migrant inclusion. Prospective participants must complete the Application Form, which must be submitted by email to HOME-EIN@ec.europa.eu no later than 1 April 2019. Successful applicants will be contacted in early April 2019.

The Application Form asks applicants to present a case study from their city or region for which they would like to receive peer feedback during the Academy. This can be a policy-dilemma, a new policy or project that they will start in their city or region and/or a specific challenge they are facing. The case study should fall under one of the two thematic strands of the Academy. However, applicants who have pressing issues that do not fall under one of the thematic strands should let the organisers know, as the organisers may be able to accommodate other needs.

All costs of travel, accommodation and meals will be covered for the selected participants. The working language of the event will be English. No interpretation will be provided. Further questions may be directed by email to HOME-EIN@ec.europa.eu

About the Urban Academy on Integration

The Academy launched in 2018 under the framework of the Urban Agenda Partnership on the Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees. The Urban Agenda Partnership brings together cities, EU Member States and the European Commission to jointly develop and implement actions to foster the integration of migrants and refugees.

Read more about the Partnership’s work on integration

Two foreign citizens honoured for acts of heroism in Italy

Two foreign citizens honoured for acts of heroism in Italy

11/03/2019

On 5 March 2019, during a ceremony at the Quirinale Palace, the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, honoured 33 people for acts of heroism. Among the award recipients were two foreign citizens, Roxana Roman and Mustapha El Aoudi.

Mustapha El Aoudi is a street hawker from Morocco who has lived in Italy since 1990. In December 2018, he defended Nuccia Calindro, a doctor, who was violently attacked by a masked man with a screwdriver while she was leaving a hospital in the city of Crotone. The attacker blamed her for the death of his mother. Thanks to El Aoudi’s intervention, the attacker was taken to the police.

Café owner Roxana Roman is Romanian citizen who stood up to violence from two members of a mafia clan. Her café is located in an area with heavy mafia presence. Because they were not served first at the café, two members of the Di Silvio mafia clan attacked Roman’s husband and a disable person and then caused significant damage to the café. Despite being threatened, Roman decided to report to the authorities and refused to withdraw her complaint, leading to the arrest of the attackers.

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Bundesagentur eröffnet Kontaktstellen zur Jobvermittlung für Frauen mit Migrationshintergrund

Bundesagentur eröffnet Kontaktstellen zur Jobvermittlung für Frauen mit Migrationshintergrund

11/03/2019

Für die Unterstützung von Müttern mit Migrationsgeschichte bei der Jobsuche unterzeichneten laut Bundesfamilienministerium Ministerin Franziska Giffey (SPD) und der Vorsitzende der Bundesagentur für Arbeit, Detlef Scheele, eine Kooperationsvereinbarung. Die Kooperation leitet gleichzeitig eine neue Förderphase des durch den Europäischen Sozialfonds (ESF) und das Bundesfamilienministerium geförderte Bundesprogramm "Stark im Beruf" ein, die bis Ende Juni 2022 läuft.

Im Rahmen von "Stark im Beruf" werden bis 2022 deutschlandweit 90 Kontaktstellen geschaffen, die Frauen mit Migrationshintergrund bei der Suche nach einer Erwerbstätigkeit begleiten und auch zu Ausbildungsgängen, Sprachförderangeboten, Kinderbetreuung sowie Vereinbarkeit von Familie und Beruf beraten.

Nach Ministeriumsangaben haben rund 31 Prozent der Mütter in Deutschland einen Migrationshintergrund, fast jede zweite von ihnen ist nicht erwerbstätig. Viele würden sofort in den Beruf einsteigen, wenn sie die Möglichkeit dazu hätten.

Die Bundesagentur für Arbeit zielt mit den neuen Maßnahmen vor allem auf geflüchtete Frauen ab: „Wir müssen die Frauen erreichen, sonst verlieren wir im Integrationsprozess die Familien“, sagte Vorstandsmitglied Valerie Holsboer im Interview der „Nürnberger Nachrichten“. „Das Thema liegt mir am Herzen, weil in den Geflüchteten-Haushalten oft viele Kinder aufwachsen. Wenn die nicht mitbekommen, dass gearbeitet wird, und ihre Mutter nicht als selbstbewusst und finanziell unabhängig erleben, dann wird was schiefgehen.“

Einen Grund für die geringe Erwerbsbeteiligung von weiblichen Flüchtlingen sieht Holsboer in der Kultur, bei der Erwerbstätigkeit von Frauen nicht üblich ist. Zum anderen gebe es aber auch Regionen in Deutschland, in denen geflüchtete Frauen mit Ressentiments rechnen müssten, wenn sie sich in der Gesellschaft bewegen. „Da bleiben sie erst recht zuhause“, sagte Holsboer. „Wir müssen deshalb über Anreize gehen, die Frauen aufsuchen und ihnen die Möglichkeiten, die es gibt, aufzeigen – zum Beispiel die Teilzeitausbildung.“

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Italian parliamentary investigation on exploitation of migrant workers in agriculture

Italian parliamentary investigation on exploitation of migrant workers in agriculture

08/03/2019

On 19 December 2018, Italy’s Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Labour and Agriculture began an investigation of the so-called ‘caporalato’ phenomenon, a form of illegal intermediation and exploitation of migrant workers in the agricultural sector, constituting up to one fourth of the total agricultural workforce. This system exploits migrant workers, violates minimum wage requirements and imposes inhumane working conditions.

Two parliamentary hearings have already taken place. During the first hearing in January 2019, representatives of agricultural enterprises expressed their concerns over Law No. 199 of 2016, which imposes criminal penalties for intermediation and exploitation of irregular labour. The representatives stated that the law risked being overly broad.

During the second hearing in February, trade union representatives asked for new forms of protection for victims who report and denounce exploitation, as well as new resources for site inspections, stabilisation of the rural employment market and new funding for the experimental protocol ‘Cura, legalità e uscita dal ghetto’ (Care, Legality and Move out of the Ghetto), which supported actions against illegal intermediation and labour exploitation.

The main objectives of the parliamentary investigation are:

  • Analysing the caporalato phenomenon
  • Identifying new legal and administrative measures to counter the phenomenon
  • Assessing the enforcement of Law No. 199 of 2016 and its implementing rules
  • Realising site inspections in rural areas where the caporalato system is prevalent

In addition to the parliamentary investigation, an inter-institutional working group has been created inside the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy involving representatives of government ministries, regions and autonomous provinces, the National Labour Inspectorate, the National Social Security Institution, the National Association of Italian Municipalities, the Carabinieri and the Guardia di Finanza.

Characteristics of the Italian agricultural sector help to explain the development of the caporalato system: high demand for short-term, flexible labour; extensive labour outsourcing, contract operations and leased land and equipment; workplaces that are geographically isolated or present extremely harsh conditions (e.g., greenhouses); inability of producer organisations to effectively represent local producers’ interests; presence of criminal organisations and lack of official recruitment services.

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