The Portuguese High Commission for Migration (ACM) has launched Project Mobile CNAIM to bring administrative services closer to migrants in locations without an office of CNAIM (National Support Centre for Migrant Integration). CNAIM operates three main offices—in Lisbon, Porto and Faro—and a network of Local Support Centres where migrants in Portugal can seek assistance. However, the large size of some municipalities, challenges in public transportation and long working hours can make access to these facilities difficult for many people.
Through Project Mobile CNAIM, a specialised team assists migrants in cooperation with local partners. The team addresses issues like the regularisation of stay in Portugal, family reunification, access to Portuguese citizenship, health and education, among others. It is also possible to schedule an appointment at one of the CNAIM offices through the mobile project. The team operates in 15 different languages, with the possibility of communicating in 56 additional languages through CNAIM’s telephone translation service.
The project is complementary to ACM’s work in partnership with municipalities and local authorities to identify gaps of information within migrant communities and to respond to these needs where the communities are located. Mobile CNAIM is part of the Simplex initiative for administrative and legislative simplification. Launched in 2006, Simplex aims to make administrative procedures easier for citizens and businesses.
Italy is the EU Member State with the highest number of immigrants acquiring citizenship. In 2017, Italy granted citizenship to about 146,600 people, which accounted for 18% of the total number of citizenships granted by all EU Member States, according to Eurostat figures.
There has also been a significant upward trend in the number of new citizens, peaking in 2016 with nearly 201,600 naturalisations, which was over 20% of total naturalisations in the EU that year. Although naturalisations in 2017 declined from the previous two years, there were still more naturalisations than in 2014.
Naturalisations in Italy 2006-2017 (in thousands)
What drives the growth in number of new citizens?
As Eduardo Barberis, researcher at the University of Urbino, explains, the high number of citizenship acquisitions in recent years is related to the 2002 ‘Bossi-Fini’ law, which provided for regularisations of legal status in many cases. From 2002 to 2004, approximately 700,000 people regularised their status.
In Italy, migrants may apply for citizenship only after 10 years of residence. Thus, those who regularised their status following the passage of the Bossi-Fini law were able to ask for citizenship beginning in 2012.
In addition, there are often two or three years of complex bureaucratic procedures involved in applying for and receiving citizenship, which means that the individuals who regularised their status with the Bossi-Fini law likely needed 12-13 years to acquire citizenship, which would happen around 2014 to 2016 if they regularised their status within a year or two after passage of the law.
On top of the Bossi-Fini regularisations, Italy started becoming a destination country for immigrants in the 1990s, so the number of immigrants was increasing. Similarly, these immigrants could start applying for citizenship 10 years following their arrival. Thus, acquisitions of citizenship were already increasing between 2000-2010.
Citizenship for migrant children
In 2017, 49% of citizenship acquisitions were by people under age 30. Despite this figure, it can still be difficult for children of foreign parents to acquire Italian citizenship, even if they were born and raised in Italy. Foreign citizens who were born in and have resided in Italy without interruption until the age of 18 can acquire Italian citizenship if they apply before turning 19. This procedure can be complex, and thus the previous government attempted to reform the citizenship law, trying unsuccessfully to ease the requirements for children born or educated in Italy.
On 26 March 2019, the European Parliament adopted for the first time a resolution on the Fundamental Rights of People of African Descent. The Parliament calls on Member States and EU institutions to recognise that people of African descent are subjected to racism, discrimination and xenophobia, and that they are entitled to protection from this unequal treatment, both as individuals and as a group. The resolution further calls for positive measures so that people of African descent in Europe can fully and equally enjoy their rights.
According to the resolution, EU institutions and Member States should make greater efforts to fight ethnic discrimination and hate crimes and develop evidence-based legal and policy responses to these phenomena. Member States should also develop national anti-racism strategies that address the inequities that people of African descent face in areas such as education, housing, health, employment, policing, social services, the justice system and political participation and representation.
The resolution acknowledges previous research from the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), which shows that people of African descent in Europe face high levels of racially motivated harassment and violence. A strikingly high number of people of African descent also report facing discrimination in the labour market and in finding housing. See the FRA report.
The European Parliament’s decision follows the EU’s first People of African Descent Week, which the Parliament hosted in May 2018. This event raised awareness of the 15 million people of African descent living in Europe and the difficulties and violence they face.
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.
In the Netherlands, many third-country nationals (TCNs) are required to take the inburgeringsexamen, a series of six exams over Dutch language and civic integration subjects, in order to obtain a long-term residence permit or citizenship. But starting soon, some people may be able to get an exemption from one of the exams.
Last year, the government announced its intent to introduce an exemption from the labour market orientation exam (ONA) for those who are employed. While the rules have not yet been finalised, the exemption is expected to cover salaried workers who worked at least 48 hours per month for 6 months during the 12 months prior to the exemption request. Despite the rules still being subject to change, it is already possible to apply for an exemption.
Besides the considerable time needed to prepare for the exams—the six subjects are Dutch language (one exam for each of speaking, reading, writing and listening), knowledge of Dutch society and knowledge of the Dutch labour market—there are other reasons that individuals cite for seeking exemptions from the exams. For example, some people question the fairness of who is required to take the exams; citizens of EU and European Economic Area countries, as well as Switzerland and Turkey, do not need to take the exams, while almost all other TCNs must.
Another reason often mentioned are the costs. Currently, the total cost for the six exams is 290 euros, and this does not include the cost of any language or orientation courses that one might need in order to pass the exams—these costs can be much higher. In addition, those required to take the civic integration exams are also required to take part in the mandatory participation statement, which costs another 150 euros for most people.
According to preliminary data published by the Czech Statistical Office, the population of the Czech Republic increased by 39,745 over the past year, bringing the total population to almost 10.65 million. While both migration and natural change contributed to the growth, most of the increase came from migration.
Net migration in 2018 was 38,629 persons—the highest in the last 10 years. A record number of 58,148 people registered their move to the Czech Republic from abroad, which is 12,191 more registrations than in 2017.
Ukrainians accounted for the largest part of the increase in net migration. Net migration of Ukrainians was approximately 13,200 in 2018. They were followed mainly by migrants from other EU countries, especially Slovaks, Romanians and Bulgarians.
Le journal le Monde a publié récemment deux articles qui vont à l’encontre des idées reçues au sujet de l’immigration—un sujet que la droite et l’extrême droite s’efforcent d’installer au cœur de la campagne européenne. Mais est-ce qu’il y a vraiment un flux migratoire « incontrôlé » ? Et pour les migrants récemment arrivés, à quoi ont-ils droit en France ?
Les flux migratoires
Le premier article montre comment les flux migratoires et le nombre de demandes d’asile ont largement évolué depuis la « crise » de 2015, avec des effets différents en France et dans les autres pays d’Europe. Par rapport à ses voisins, la France se situe en dessous de la moyenne pour l’accueil des étrangers. En revanche, les demandes d’asile augmentent en France, mais baissent dans l’ensemble de l’Europe.
Dans son rapport d’activités 2018, paru en avril 2019, l’Office français de protection des réfugiés et apatrides (OFPRA) pointe la continuité de la hausse de la demande d’asile globale observée depuis 2015. Durant l’année 2018, 46 700 personnes se sont vu reconnaître, au titre du droit d’asile, le statut de réfugié ou la protection subsidiaire. Les principales nationalités donnant lieu à l’octroi du statut de réfugié ou d’une protection subsidiaire sont l’Afghanistan (20 % de l’ensemble des protections), la Syrie (13,9 %) et le Soudan (11,2 %). La part des femmes protégées par l’Ofpra cette année est de 27,9 %.
Les droits aux prestations sociales
Dans un autre article, le Monde examine la question des prestations sociales versées aux immigrés. Ce thème fait également depuis longtemps partie des sujets de polémique privilégiés du débat politique français. Pour y voir plus clair, le journal a dressé le tableau des principales aides auxquelles peuvent prétendre les migrants en France.
Cette analyse montre que les étrangers réguliers peuvent bénéficier des protections sociales similaires aux Français dans les domaines des minimas sociaux, de la santé, du logement, des allocations familiales et des tarifs de transport.
Les demandeurs d’asile bénéficient de certains soutiens sociaux pendant la durée du traitement de leurs dossiers (entre cinq et neuf mois en moyen), mais les régimes diffèrent des régimes pour les Français et les étrangers réguliers. Par exemple, les demandeurs d’asile n’ont pas accès aux aides au logement typiques (APL, ALF et ALS), et ils ne peuvent pas demander un logement social. La population clandestine n’a pas accès aux minimas sociaux ou aux allocations familiales. Dans le domaine de la santé, ils ne reçoivent qu’une protection maladie de base.
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.
On 18 and 19 March 2019, the members of the European Integration Network (EIN) met for their sixth meeting, which was held in Brussels. This meeting of the network focused on the themes of better coordination in migration, measuring integration outcomes and shaping evidence-based integration policies. Representatives from 23 EU Member States, as well as a delegation of Canada, were in attendance.
Mr Matthias Oel, Director for Migration, Mobility and Innovation at the European Commission’s Directorate-General of Migration and Home Affairs, opened the meeting, followed by introductory remarks from Mr David Manicom, Assistant Deputy Minister for the Settlement and Integration Sector at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Through presentations and workshops, EIN members learned about good practices and discussed topics such as practical lessons for effective policy coordination and EU indicators of integration and monitoring. A special armchair discussion with Mr Manicom explored the Canadian approach to monitoring integration policies and programmes.
The European Integration Network brings together representatives of public authorities from all EU countries, Iceland and Norway. Its primary goal is to promote cooperation among EU Member States and to foster dialogue with European, national, local and regional authorities, as well as civil society organisations. Find out more about the EU’s networks for migrant integration.
Sixth meeting of the European Integration Network
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.