FOSTERING THE INTEGRATION OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES AT THE SUBNATIONAL LEVEL
WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
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 into one dimension is likely to have multiple positive repercussions. For example, effective integration of immigrant children into the education system, will in turn better their labour market prospects and that of their parents.
WHAT'S THE ISSUE?
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 the characteristics of the places they target. First because within countries, the number of migrants and refugees will differ widely from one 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.). The type of perception of immigration and integration among locals also varies 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.
Joint OECD-CEB Conference on the Local Integration of Refugees - 27th of February
Facing yet another refugee crisis, Europe’s capacity to welcome and integrate refugees is put to the test once again. In providing refugees with the support they need and integrating them into local communities, sub-national authorities are playing a crucial role.
EVENTS and WEBINARS
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.
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.