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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- To support the administrative regularity of migrants through social integration and improvements to their employability;
- Emergency support for the educational development of students from families of migrant origin;
- Reception of migrants, refugees or returnees;
- 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 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
The Czech Ministry of Interior announced a call for applications targeted at providing regional adaptation and integration courses to migrants.
Integration courses are to be mandatory for migrants seeking long term or permanent residence in the Czech Republic from 1 January 2021.
Providers of integration courses are sought in following regions:
- Ústí nad Labem region (with total allocation of CZK 4 milion/EUR 152 000)
- South Moravian region (with total allocation of CZK 5 milion/EUR 190 000)
- Hradec Králové region (with total allocation of CZK 3 milion/EUR 114 000)
- Prague (with total allocation of CZK 18 milion/EUR 683 630)
The deadline for applications is 14 December 2020. See all the additional details about the call here.
Denmark: How has COVID-19 affected migrants?
When coronavirus began to spread in the spring of 2020, Denmark was one of the first countries to introduce radical national measures at very short notice. By 13 March, most of the country had been shut down, including schools, educational institutions and daycare centres for children. Bars and hotels were closed; restaurants could only sell take-away food. Most people were urged to work from home, and public transport services were reduced. All this seemed effective, and Denmark has never been seriously affected by the virus. Even during the current second wave of transmission, the numbers of dead and infected are under control, and the country has not been shut down as it was during spring.
Impact on migrants and ethnic minorities
Nine months after the pandemic entered the country, it is clear that migrants and ethnic minorities have been more affected by it than the average population. This was documented in the annual 'Integrationstræf' of 1 October. According to professor Marie Nørredam from Copenhagen University, these are the main causal factors of the difference:
- Ethnic minorities are more likely to be employed in sectors where there is a high risk of virus contraction, e.g. health, transport services and hospitality;
- People in minority communities are more likely to live in smaller homes, particularly in flats rather than houses, and more often with their extended families;
- Such individuals in Denmark have been shown to suffer more often from chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart problems and obesity.
Migrant and refugee children have also been more affected than Danish children during the months when schools and daycare centres where shut down. All schools offered online teaching, but that requires a stable internet connection, decent IT-knowledge and equipment, and parents must know how to engage in Danish on the communication portal, Aula. Not always able to meet these requirements and with smaller social networks, many migrant children faced a difficult time.
According to Jan Rose Skaksen from Rockwool Foundation, an disproportionate number of people with a minority background are working in sectors severely affected by the pandemic such as transport, hotels, restaurants and retail. Furthermore, any economic crisis usually leads to companies firing those employees with the lowest level of training or education, and the last ones to be employed. On average, migrants are less educated and have fewer years of employment than ethnic Danes. This means that migrants have more often lost their job or income due to COVID-19 than native citizens.
Access to information
Denmark has a population of 325 000 adults with a non-European background, and on top of that a large population of people from other European countries. A considerable number of these people are not fluent enough in the Danish language to understand detailed written information documents or a news programme in Danish. An obvious problem during the initial shutdown and introduction of new restrictions, therefore, was the lack of translation.
Daily press conferences with the prime minister and health authorities were broadcasted live on national television with live deaf interpretation, but without subtitles or live translation into other languages. The official state website with information on new COVID-19 rules was only available in Danish, as was the popular information on the websites of national TV stations. The official COVID-19 web page has now introduced a link to translated texts, but it has come too late for many.
During the first weeks of the pandemic, NGO Mino Danmark and a hospital clinic for minority health took it upon themselves to translate the most important information into the most common migrant languages. After one month, the NGO Danish Refugee Council found private fund money to launch a website with relevant, translated information and a hotline service in 25 languages, but this is no longer working.
The Ministry of Integration launched a campaign at the end of March, focusing on delivering information to residents with minority backgrounds in social housing projects. It produced translations of official information and guidelines in 9 languages, and distributed printed versions in relevant areas. In October, the Danish Health Institute also produced videos in Somali, Urdu, Farsi, Arabic and Tigrigna detailing how to use face mask correctly.
Some of the municipalities hosting a large number of citizens with minority backgrounds have been more affected than other areas during the second wave. As a consequence the Brøndby municipality has produced videos in Turkish and Urdu, and one aimed specifically at young people.
Consequences for legal status
Some countries have extended or made access to legal status easier during the pandemic, but Denmark has indirectly made it harder.
Dublin transfers of asylum seekers were suspended between March and July 2020, and even now in November very few transfers are being carried out. A historically low number of asylum seekers have arrived in Denmark as the borders have de facto been closed. Asylum interviews have been carried out via video or postponed.
Language schools were closed for months, access to counselling very limited and job training programmes cancelled. Family reunification was in effect put on hold, as it was not possible to travel from most countries into Denmark.
Permanent residence permits and citizenship depend on passing language tests and holding a full-time job for over three years, including at the time of application. The pandemic has made it harder for many people to meet this criteria, as Harun Demirtas argues in this article. A member of parliament asked if it could be ensured that applications from these people would not be turned down because of the COVID-19 situation, but their request was denied by the Ministry of Integration.