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Implementation of the 2016-2017 Integration Action Plan


In June 2016, the European Commission presented an Action Plan on the Integration of Third Country Nationals which sets out 50 actions to support Member States and other actors in their effort to foster migrant integration. In addition to five key thematic areas, further proposals aim at enhancing coordination, the use of funding and monitoring.

This page presents the progress in the implementation of the Action Plan. Outputs are listed alongside the Action Plan point that they fulfil and categorised by thematic area.



Pre-departure/pre-arrival measures

Acting before a migrant or refugee has arrived in a Member State can significantly accelerate and improve integration. For the newcomer, having a base level of understanding of the new home, its language, culture and people before departure can ensure realistic expectations and rapid integration. For receiving communities, pre-arrival measures can contribute to overcome prejudices and foster a welcoming attitude. No Action plan point has so far been implemented.


Education

Education and training are among the most powerful tools for integration. Language knowledge, the acquisition of basic skills and an understanding of the laws, culture and values of the receiving society is the foundation for further learning and the gateway to employment and social inclusion. Equipping educators with the necessary skills to prevent educational segregation and to harness education as a fundamental tool for the integration of families and children from third countries is also a pillar of social inclusion. Since June 2016 the EU has implemented the following actions:

Policies
Action Plan Point:

Promote the upskilling of low-skilled and low-qualified persons in the context of the New Skills Agenda for Europe

Output: Council Recommendation on Upskilling

On 19 December 2016, the Council adopted the recommendation "Upskilling Pathways: New Opportunities for Adults" (formerly the Skills Guarantee).

Action Plan Point:

Improve transparency and understanding of qualifications acquired in third-countries, through the revision of the European Qualifications Framework

Output: EQF Revision

The Commission put forward a proposal for the revision of the European Qualifications Framework (with an accompanying roadmap) to enable a better understanding of qualifications and to make better use of all available skills in the European labour market. The revision was adopted by the Council on 22 May 2017.

Resource
Action Plan Point:

Provide Erasmus+ online language assessment and learning

Output: Online Language learning

Since the summer 2016, licenses have been made available on the Online Language Service (OLS) portal allowing National agencies and Third County Nationals to access online language assessment and learning. A dedicated OLS site for refugees has also been created.

Action Plan Point:

Develop a "Skills Profile Tool for Third Country Nationals" under the New Skills Agenda for Europe to support timely identification of skills and qualifications

Output: Skills Profile Tool

The final Skills Profile Tool for Third Country Nationals was launched on 13 November 2017, after a 5 month test period. The tool will support early profiling of the skills and qualifications of asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants.

Action Plan Point:

Provide support to teachers and school staff on how to promote inclusive education and address specific needs of migrant learners through online courses and professional development activities

Output: Exchange of practices between teachers

The School Education Gateway created a webpage in July 2016 to facilitate the exchange of good practice between teachers to support integration of newcomers in schools.

Output: Toolkit for Schools

The European Toolkit for Schools was launched in 22 EU languages. The toolkit promotes inclusiveness and integration of migrant children and families in the mainstream education.

Output: Courses for Teachers

Free online courses were created and made available on the School Education Gateway for teachers. The courses cover Cultural diversity in the classroom, awareness-raising about the situation of newly arrived migrants and the integration of newcomer students.

Output: Platform for Teachers

An e-twinning platform allows for mutual support and the exchange of good practices in relation to integration and inclusion amongst a growing community of teachers.

Action Plan Point:

Improve the recognition of academic qualifications of third country nationals

Output: Toolkit for Qualifications Recognition

The Erasmus+/ENIC-NARIC project for a Toolkit for Recognition for Refugees will run from June 2016 to March 2018. The Toolkit will allow for better recognition of higher education of refugees. 

Output: Manual on Qualifications Recognition

Publication of a mini EAR (European Area of Recognition) manual with a specific focus on the recognition of qualifications held by refugees.

Mutual Learning
Action Plan Point:

Support peer learning events for national and regional authorities

Output: Peer Learning on Reception

A Peer Learning Activity (PLA) was held in Stockholm from 5 to 7 April 2016 on the Reception of Newly Arrived Immigrants and assessment of previous schooling. Read the report

Output: Peer Learning: UAM

A PLA was held in Dresden from 31 May to 2 June 2016 on the topic of Language assessment and integration of unaccompanied minors through education. Read the report

Action Plan Point:

Improve the recognition of academic qualifications of third country nationals

Output: Peer Learning on Recognition of Qualifications

Peer learning activity with national recognition offices (ENICs and NARICs) on 10 May 2017 on the recognition of academic qualifications held by asylum seekers and refugees.

Funding
Action Plan Point:

Create European Policy Networks for researchers, practitioners, local/regional decision makers to share good practices

Output: Policy Network

A call for proposals for a Framework Partnership Agreement with a European policy network in the field of education of children and young people with a migrant background was published in December 2016.

Action Plan Point:

Fund transnational projects and partnerships to support inclusive education, training and youth under Erasmus+

Output: Erasmus+ Social Inclusion

6 projects for youth were selected and funded under the call Social inclusion through Education, Training and Youth in May 2016.


Labour market integration and access to vocational training

Employment is a core part of the integration process. Facilitating integration into the labour market, through employment or vocational training, is a mutually beneficial endeavour for migrants and host countries. For migrants, finding a job is fundamental to become part of the host country's economic and social life. Their labour market integration can also help to meet the growing needs for specific skills in the EU and to enhance the sustainability of Member States welfare systems. The Action Plan's recommended actions seek to facilitate integration by targeting specific issues and groups.

Policies
Action Plan Point:

Improve outreach activities towards young vulnerable NEETs

Output: Youth Guarantee

Publication of an EC Communication and accompanying Staff Working Document (SWD Part 1 and Part 2) on the implementation of the Youth Guarantee (YG) and the operation of the Youth Employment Initiative in October 2016. It examines measures taken by Member States to improve outreach activities towards vulnerable NEETs (Not in Education, Employment, or Training), including those with a migrant background, within their national YG schemes.

Action Plan Point:
Output: Europass

The Commission put forward a proposal for the revision of the Europass Decision to modernise and simplify EU tools and services for skills and qualifications. Europass seeks to enable mobility and easier understanding of skills and qualifications. The new Europass will include online tools as well as information for migrants and third country nationals.

Resource
Action Plan Point:

Promote sharing of promising practices on labour market integration through existing networks and programmes

Output: PES Network

Key considerations of the Public Employment Services (PES) on the labour market integration of refugees were endorsed by the Network’s board in June 2016. Read the report

Output: EMCO opinion

The Employment Committee adopted an opinion on labour-market integration of refugees including policy orientations which was endorsed by the June 2017 Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) Council.

Output: Integration in Rural Areas

Publication in August 2016 of an European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) Projects Brochure on migrant and refugee integration.

Action Plan Point:

Develop an online repository of promising practices on the labour market integration of asylum seekers and refugees

Output: Promising Practices Repository

Online repository of promising practices on labour market integration and social inclusion of asylum seekers and refugees launched in June 2016, as a source for national policy makers. The webpage is a living tool updated as and when new information is provided by Member States.

Action Plan Point:

Identify best practices to promote and support migrant entrepreneurship and fund pilot projects for their dissemination

Output: Migrant Entrepreneurship Guidebook

Publication of a guidebook in August 2016 on the evaluation and analysis of good practices in promoting and supporting migrant entrepreneurship.

Action Plan Point:

Continue to analyse integration outcomes of third country nationals in the framework of the European Semester

Output: European Semester 2017

In February 2017, the Commission published country reports in the frame of the European Semester, with a focus on the education, labour market and social situation of persons with a migrant background in around 10 Member States.
In May 2017, the Commission proposed country specific recommendation on education and labour market situation of people with a migrant background.

Action Plan Point:

Match refugees and asylum seekers with a scientific background with suitable positions in universities and research institutions in the EU

Output: Science4Refugee

The Science4Refugee initiative and accompanying portal allows refugees and asylum seekers with a scientific background to connect with receptive scientific institutions.

Mutual Learning
Action Plan Point:

Promote sharing of promising practices on labour market integration through existing networks and programmes

Output: Labour Market Integration Asylum Seekers & Refugees

A Mutual Learning Programme (MLP) thematic event on measures to support the integration of asylum seekers and refugees was held in Brussels on 22 June 2016. The results of this conference were shared at the annual MLP dissemination conference on the value of mutual learning for policy making in Brussels on 9 December 2016.

Output: Week of Regions & Cities

A workshop was held by the European Commission on challenges and opportunities for labour market integration of Third Country Nationals at DG REGIO’s Week of Regions and Cities on 12 October 2016.

Action Plan Point:

Promote sharing of promising practices on integration into Vocational Education and Training (VET) and peer learning through European Alliance for Apprenticeships

Output: VET Working Group

An Education & Training 2020 working group on teachers and trainers in work-based learning will work on integration of migrants in Vocational Education and Training.

Output: Apprenticeships

A meeting of the European Alliance of Apprenticeships (EAfA) on 15 September 2016 included a workshop on migration titled 'Integration of migrants and refugees through work-based learning and apprenticeships'.

Funding
Action Plan Point:

Fund projects promoting fast track insertion into labour market and vocational training of refugees and of women through EaSI & AMIF

Output: EaSI call

call for proposals was published in December 2016 under the Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) programme to support the fast-track labour market integration of asylum seekers, refugees and their family members.

The evaluation of proposals is currently ongoing.

Action Plan Point:

Provide funding to strengthen capacity of municipalities and local authorities on reception and integration practices for refugees

Output: Training Local Authorities

The Preparatory Action 'Supporting active inclusion of disadvantaged migrants in Europe through development and testing of local centres for social and economic integration' is being implemented through a direct grant to the IOM. 

Action Plan Point:

Identify best practices to promote and support migrant entrepreneurship and fund pilot projects for their dissemination

Output: Young Migrants Entrepreneurship

A GROW 2016 call for proposals on Entrepreneurial capacity building for young migrants focusing on training and mentoring was opened in September 2016.

Output: COSME

A COSME call for proposals for Migrant Entrepreneurship support schemes aiming to support networking and collaborations between organisations working in the field was launched in September 2016.

Action Plan Point:

Social Innovation Competition to award innovations in products, technologies, services and models that can support integration

Output: Social Innovation Competition

On 27 October 2016, three projects – The Machine to be Another, CUCULA and Project Virtuous Triangle – supporting the integration of refugees and migrants were awarded. Read more


Access to basic services

Access to services is an important condition for Third Country Nationals to start a life and integrate into a new society. Affordable housing and access to healthcare are the two priorities addressed in the Action Plan.

Policies
Action Plan Point:

Promote peer learning among Member States on how to address housing challenges

Output: Urban Agenda Partnership

The Urban Agenda Partnership on the inclusion of migrants and refugees selected housing as one of its four priority themes in August 2016 and held a conference on housing & reception for refugees on 10 & 11 November 2016.

Resource
Action Plan Point:

Support best practices in care provision for vulnerable third country nationals and refugees under the Health Programme.

Output: Personal Health Record

A Direct Grant Agreement was signed with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for a 'Personal Health Record'

Funding
Action Plan Point:

Promote the use of EU funds for reception, education, housing, health and social infrastructures for third country nationals

Output: Urban Innovation Actions

2 calls for proposals have been launched under the Urban Innovation Actions so far. Both accepted projects focusing on the integration of migrants and refugees. Four projects on integration were selected under the first call and are being implemented in Antwerp, Utrecht, Bologna, and Vienna. The 2nd call closed on 14 April 2017.

Action Plan Point:

Strengthen cooperation with the European Investment Bank, to provide funding for temporary accommodation and health facilities for newly arrived third country nationals and social housing.

Output: EIB Funding

As of early January 2017, seven loans have been approved by the EIB Board, for a total of EUR 1.36bn, enabling the implementation of projects supporting accommodation and housing for more than 370,000 refugees and asylum seekers. Finance contracts amounting to EUR 720M had already been signed, representing over half of the approved loan.

Action Plan Point:

Support best practices in care provision for vulnerable third country nationals and refugees under the Health Programme.

Output: Health Programme Funding

Three projects were funded under the Health Programme: 'Strengthen Community Based Care to minimize health inequalities and improve the integration of vulnerable migrants and refugees into local communities' and 'Operational Refugee and Migrant Maternal Approach' and 'Direct Grant Agreement with the World Health Organization'.

Output: Training Health Professionals

Tenders published for the provision of training to first-line health professionals and law enforcement agents.


Active participation and social inclusion

Integration should also be about playing an active role in one's local, regional and national community, and about developing and sustaining real people-to-people contacts. Volunteering, sport and cultural activities can be particularly effective at fostering exchanges between migrants and the host community. Furthermore, policy outcome should look to fight discrimination and promote a positive approach on diversity, ensuring equal rights and freedom for all.

Policies
Action Plan Point:

Develop handbooks and toolboxes for practitioners on cultural awareness and expression; intercultural dialogue; active participation and youth work

Output: Intercultural Dialogue

One year mandate under the Work Plan for Culture was approved in November 2016 to improve intercultural dialogue in the context of the migratory and refugee crisis.

Action Plan Point:

Address xenophobia by raising awareness and promoting best practices on countering xenophobic acts and speech

Output: High Level Group Intolerance

On 14 June 2016, the EU High Level Group - EU HLG - on combatting racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance was launched in Brussels.

Resource
Action Plan Point:

Develop handbooks and toolboxes for practitioners on cultural awareness and expression; intercultural dialogue; active participation and youth work

Output: Handbook on Cultural Awareness

The Handbook on Cultural Awareness and Expression drafted by members of the national expert group was published as part of the European Agenda for Culture. Read more

Output: Sport

In September 2016, a study mapping of good practices relating to social inclusion of migrants through sport was released

Action Plan Point:

Address xenophobia by raising awareness and promoting best practices on countering xenophobic acts and speech

Output: Hate Speech Online

The Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online was adopted on 31 May 2016. Progress will be reported to the EU HLG.

Action Plan Point:

Create a one-stop-shop webpage to provide information on the relevant EU funding supporting tolerance and combatting discrimination

Output: One-Stop-Shop Funding on Tolerance

A dedicated website was launched on 14 June 2016 to provide information on relevant EU funding for projects that promote tolerance and combat racism, xenophobia and discrimination.

Action Plan Point:

Fund projects to disseminate and replicate good practices promoting social inclusion at grass-root level, under Erasmus+

Output: Erasmus+ Funding

Six projects aimed at disseminating and replicating good practices at grass-root level were selected and funded through a call for proposals under Social inclusion through Education, Training and Youth.

Mutual Learning
Action Plan Point:

Launch projects to promote Intercultural dialogue and European values through culture, films and arts

Output: Voices of Culture

As a structured dialogue between the European Commission and the cultural sector, Voices of Culture promotes exchanges on intercultural dialogues through culture in shared public spaces and the arts. It is part of by the Creative Europe programme.

Funding
Action Plan Point:

Fund projects promoting third country nationals’ participation in political, social and cultural life under AMIF

Output: AMIF Active Participation

An AMIF call promoting active participation of migrants in political, social and cultural life was opened in December 2016.

Action Plan Point:

Fund a network of towns, town-twinning and civil society projects on civic participation, under the Europe for Citizens Programme

Output: Europe for Citizens

Call for projects by the Europe for Citizens programme aimed at combatting stigmatisation of immigrants and building counter narratives to foster intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding, as a priority. Results

Action Plan Point:

Promote projects that deal with the integration of refugees under the European Voluntary Service

Output: European Voluntary Service

235 projects funded by Erasmus+ programme that involve European Voluntary Service - EVS - activities have addressed the concerns of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.

Action Plan Point:

Fund projects on preventing and combating racism and xenophobia, initiatives to create better understanding between communities and projects and EU NGOs combatting discrimination

Output: Rights Equality Citizenship

Evaluation is ongoing for the 2016 Rights Equality and Citizenship - REC call for capacity building of national authorities and civil society. Projects proposals aimed to create better understanding between communities and prevent and combat racism and xenophobia through interreligious and intercultural activities, awareness raising activities, campaigns and grassroots projects.

Action Plan Point:

Fund transnational cultural and audio-visual projects to support refugee integration, under Creative Europe

Output: Creative Europe 2016

A specific Creative Europe call for proposals to support refugee integration projects was launched in April 2016. Successful projects

Output: Creative Europe 2017

The 2017 Creative Europe call for proposals to support European cooperation projects was launched in November 2016. Relevant projects concerning refugee integration were also eligible.

Action Plan Point:

Launch projects to promote social inclusion through youth and sport under Erasmus+

Output: Youth/Sport Erasmus+ Call

11 projects were selected and funded under call for proposals aimed at promoting Health-Enhancing Physical Activity for refugees. Projects will be implemented in 2017.


Tools for coordination, funding and monitoring

An important part of the Action Plan focuses on strengthened cooperation among integration actors, as well as on the use of integration indicators and EU funds for integration.

Policies
Action Plan Point:

Enhance coordination and strategic alignment of all relevant EU funding instruments to increase the impact of the overall EU support

Output: European Regional Development Fund

The European Commission made proposals under the Common Provisions regulation to make migration and asylum horizontal priorities under the European structural and investment funds, to add a dedicated Investment Priority in the European Regional Development Fund Regulation to support the reception and social and economic integration of migrants and refugees, and to include new indicators on housing and other infrastructure developments, where migrants may benefit.

Resource
Action Plan Point:

Further develop evidence on integration at EU level, including through monitoring integration outcomes at local level

Output: EC-OECD Study

A joint EC-OECD analytical paper on labour market integration of refugees was published

Additional publications may be found here.

Output: ESDE Report

The 2016 Employment and Social Developments in Europe review included a chapter on labour market and social integration of refugees.

Output: Country Studies Labour Market Integration

Publication of several country studies and a synthesis study on labour market integration of asylum seekers and refugees conducted by the European Employment Policy Observatory.

Output: EMN study

Publication of an EMN study on the Integration of beneficiaries of international/humanitarian protection into the labour market: policies and good practices

Mutual Learning
Action Plan Point:

Strengthen the Network of the National Contact Points on Integration and transform it into a "European Integration Network" promoting mutual learning

Output: European Integration Network

The European Integration Network was launched on 11-12 October 2016. Several study visits between Members State representatives are taking place in 2017.

Action Plan Point:

Promote cooperation between different levels of governance, including the regional and local level, through the EU Urban Agenda Partnership

Output: Urban Agenda Partnership

The Partnership on the integration of migrants and refugees launched in March 2016 is developing actions in the field of housing, reception, education and employment. The Action Plan will be open for public consultation during the summer 2017.

Action Plan Point:

Reinforce cooperation through dedicated exchanges and visits with responsible national authorities across the relevant EU Funds

Output: Rural Development Funding

Presentations relating to migration were made to the 34th Rural Development Committee on 20 July 2016 to provide guidance and good practice examples such as the 'ESIF Coordination: Migration in Finland' made by the Managing Authority of the Finish Rural Development Programme.

Output: Rural Development Conference

The European Conference on Rural Development Cork 2.0 took place from 5 to 6 September 2016 and covered the future agriculture and rural development policy adopted the Cork Declaration, which includes reference to rural potential in the integration of migrants.

Action Plan Point:

Strengthen the involvement of all relevant actors, in the context of the partnership principle and shared responsibility

Output: ESF Cooperation Network

Four meetings of the European Social Fund Transnational Thematic Network on Migrants were held in Brussels in 2016. Relevant documentation