Regional Development

Territorial Approach to Migrant Integration




Migration is not only a matter of how many people are migrating, but how well they integrate into their host communities. Effective integration is not an economic process alone and has numerous social, educational, spatial, and other facets. These are closely linked – success to integrate in one dimension is likely to have multiple positive repercussions. For example, effective integration of immigrant children in the education system, will in turn better their labour market prospects and that of their parent.



Integration systems need to be efficient right now. As a result of Russia’s war against Ukraine, many OECD territories’ capacity to welcome and integrate refugees is put to the test once again. Since February 2022, Europe is facing the largest number of people fleeing war since World War II. On January 31, 2023, over 4.8 million Ukrainian refugees had registered for some form of temporary residence.

With the right integration policies in place, migrants and refugees will not only be better off, but will also contribute to host territories in multiple ways, not least of all, economically, especially as rapid population ageing and demographic decline increase demand for migrants to plug gaps in the workforce. Many OECD rural shrinking local authorities are seeking to attract and retain new residents, who yet will only stay if offered a good quality of life.

At the same time, the costs of inaction are very high. Lack of integration can in particular lead to social exclusion, increased poverty, lower productivity and growth, extra pressure on public services, low social cohesion, and lower life satisfaction for newcomers then unable to achieve their full potential.

So, how can we achieve the integration of migrants and refugees? This is what the OECD is supporting regions to respond to. Given the multiple policy sectors integration depends on (education, health, employment, housing, etc.), concerted efforts are required to make integration a success. We therefore consider regions and cities’ institutional context to formulate recommendations on integration-related policies.

Integration policies must consider characteristics of places they target. First because within countries, the number of migrants and refugees will differ widely from a region to another. Second, how migrants integrate depends on their own characteristics (age, gender, level of diploma, etc.) and those of their host city and region (housing availability, employment rate, etc.). They type of perception of immigration and integration locals also vary from one place to the other and must be considered. 

Local authorities play a vital role in this integration, and many are much in need of support. In particular in crisis times, it is often left to local services to manage the integration process, with the support of local non-governmental organisations (local civil society groups, employers, etc.) that must be considered in policy mixes. 


What can the OECD offer?

We offer policy analysis and advice on policies that support the integration of refugees and migrants. We support the implementation of policies at the local level through a focus on institutional frameworks.



 Upcoming event



Joint OECD-CEB Conference on the Local Integration of Refugees - 27th of February

Hybrid session in the OECD Château and online

Facing yet another refugee crisis, Europe’s capacities to welcome and integrate refugees is put to the test once again. In providing refugees the support they need and integrating them into local communities, sub-national authorities are playing a crucial role.








  • A Checklist for public action to migrant integration at the local level that any city or region can use to work across levels of government and with other local actors in their efforts to promote more effective integration of migrants
  • A methodology to evaluate how different tools mobilised by countries and regions help bridge coordination gaps between levels of governments and local actors and foster the implementation of integration policies    
  • Institutional mappings to help 10 countries identify coordination challenges among levels of governments


  • Of how different-sized cities (9 large ones - Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Glasgow, Gothenburg, Paris, Rome and Vienna - and Altena, a small city in Germany) have shaped migrant and refugee integration policies at the local level;    
  • Of how 6 coordination tools work in OECD countries, regions and cities.



Events and other areas of work

  • Organised webinars to share experiences and good practices.



Past events

Joining forces: a multi-stakeholder dialogue on initiatives fostering local refugee integration – October 11, 2022

Hybrid session during the European Week of Cities and Regions

Now more than ever it is essential to reflect on how to help people fleeing Ukraine, cities and regions welcoming the refugees, and on how this crisis can generally lead to longer term improvement of EU reception and integration systems.

latest blogs

All together now? migrant integration at the local level


Differences in Perception Illustrate the Need for Place-based Integration Policies




  • OECD, European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and Eurochambres - Joint Survey: Action by Sub-national Governments and Chambers of Commerce to address Ukrainian refugees' needs - July – September 2022
  • OECD and European Committee of the Regions (CoR) - Joint Survey: Explore subnational governments’ perspective - June and September 2021



If you have questions about the OECD work on integration or if you are interested in becoming a partner region and/or country, and benefiting from our approach, please feel free to contact us.