How effectively do policies support the integration of migrants into society?

Cultural, education and social policies effectively support the integration of migrants into society.
Receiving around 250,000 immigrants per year, Canada has one of the highest annual immigration-to-population ratios in the world. Cultural, education and social policies, including language training and orientation courses, support the integration of immigrants. To promote integration, Canada allows immigrants to become citizens after three years of residency, one of the shortest residency requirements in the world. The high educational attainment of immigrants – the highest in the world, in fact, with around half of immigrants having university educations – also facilitates integration.

Nevertheless, these policies do appear to have weaknesses, as seen by the relatively poor labor market performance of recent immigrants, as well as immigrants’ high rate of return to their countries of origin. A CSLS study (Greenspon, 2017) found that in 2015, very recent immigrants to Canada (those with less than five years of residence) had hourly wages that averaged just 74% of wages accruing to those born in Canada, down from 83% in 2006. The figures for university educated very recent immigrants was even worse, 66% in 2015, down from 70% in 2006. The labor market integration of immigrants is impeded by a number of factors, including difficulties faced by immigrants in having their professional credentials recognized by Canadian authorities, the concentration of immigrants in a small number of major cities (e.g., Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal) and language barriers.

Canada has seen an increase in the number of refugees and asylum-seekers over the last two years. As of January 2017, more than 40,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Canada. This policy was widely seen as a manifestation of the willingness of Canadians to be inclusive. However, the government is struggling to provide enough support to help these families integrate quickly into Canadian society. After President Donald Trump signed the January 2017 executive order on immigration, there was an increase in asylum-seekers arriving at the Manitoba and Quebec border crossings. The 2017 budget contained provisions for legal aid services for asylum-seekers and refugees entering Canada, but it will be many years before their outcomes can be measured.
Jacob Greenspon (2017) “Labour Market Performance of Immigrants in Canada, 2006-2016,” CSLS Research Report 2017-02, February (Ottawa: Centre for the Study of Living Standards).
New Zealand
Today, New Zealand is a prime destination for immigrants. Typically, New Zealand attracts between 40,000 and 50,000 new immigrants each year, and 2017 was a record year for net migration with 72,000 people moving to New Zealand on balance. The increasing numbers of immigrants who become New Zealand citizens reflects the country’s willingness to promote integration. Based on labor market and education system indicators, integration policy has been quite successful. New legislation was enacted in 2015 to ensure that migrant workers had the same employment rights as all other workers in New Zealand. These measures are reflected in the views of most immigrants who are satisfied with their situation. According to statistics collected by New Zealand’s General Social Survey, 87% feel fully integrated and perceive no significant differences in economic living standards compared with the native-born population. The government expects that the Immigration Global Management System (IGMS) and the Global Service Delivery Model (GSDM) will improve matters yet further. In April 2016, the new Global Impact Visa policy was announced. It is a collaborative public-private sector approach to attract international applicants with sought-after skills. To some degree, the overall good performance has to do with the fact that New Zealand employs a points-based selection system that helps to attract immigrants who are relatively self-sufficient financially and can be easily integrated in the labor market. Indeed, the Immigration Act 2009 clearly states for the first time that skilled immigration is preferred in New Zealand. The appeals procedure has been streamlined, and the decision to grant entry can now be based on “classified information” with regard to security matters or criminal conduct. Nevertheless, visa procedures are still complex, and dealing with immigration bureaucracy can be tricky for applicants.

More problematic are the challenges for lesser-skilled immigrants, who experience difficulties in settling in New Zealand when they are unable to bring over other family members. Sustained economic growth during the global financial crisis, together with the Christchurch rebuild following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, and Auckland’s recent house-building boom, have provided significant employment opportunities for migrant workers.

Although the government has been reluctant to increase its quota of refugees, public pressure led to a decision in 2015 to double the quota, with the government agreeing to take an additional 600 Syrian refugees on top of an annual intake of 750 refugees. Even Winston Peters, the leader of the New Zealand First party, supported an increase in refugee numbers, despite having built his party in the 1990s on an anti-immigration and anti-refugee platform. In January, March and May 2016, some Syrian refugees were accepted into New Zealand under special provisions.

Established in 2015, the People’s Party of New Zealand focuses on Indian and other Asian communities’ rights. The party participated in the recent general election, but won only 0.1% of the votes and no seats.
Attitudes toward Immigrants and Immigrant Experiences: (accessed October 13, 2014).
Immigration Act 2009 (Wellington: Government of New Zealand, 2009).
The New New Zealanders: Why migrants make good Kiwis. New Zealand Initiative. Reports & Media. 30 January 2017 (
Immigration Amendment Act 2015: (accessed October 24, 2015).
Collins, Simon, 2016. Syrian refugees welcomed to NZ. New Zealand Herald. 29 January 2016 (
Cultural, education and social policies seek to integrate migrants into society, but have failed to do so effectively.
Relative to its population size, Australia has maintained one of the largest immigration programs of any established democracy in the post-World War II era. Over one-fifth of the population is foreign-born. Successful integration of immigrants has therefore been a policy priority for much of Australia’s history. In general, Australia has and continues to be highly successful in integrating immigrants. The most important contributor to this success has been a highly selective immigration policy. Most migrants are selected on the basis of their skills and English language ability. Post-migration, explicit integration efforts primarily consist of encouraging immigrants to apply for citizenship. The combination of a steadily growing economy and the exclusion of migrants from welfare payments in the first two years after their arrival has enabled most migrants to find employment. The effect has been a swift integration into Australian society. However, concerns have arisen in recent years about the large number of temporary skilled immigrants, many from island states in the South Pacific. Historically, immigration in Australia has been conceived as permanent resettlement, and the phenomenon of large numbers of temporary immigrants is relatively new. Until recently, more than 100,000 temporary skilled worker visas were issued annually. By its nature, the temporary-immigration program is not geared toward long-term integration of immigrants, creating some potential for breakdown in social cohesion. However, in the last three years, and particularly in 2017, the government has introduced regulations and fees which have reduced the number of temporary visas issued.

Despite Australia’s relatively open immigration policy, an ongoing concern have been asylum-seekers who have arrived, usually on boats from Southeast Asia. Mandatory detention was introduced for asylum-seekers in the 1990s, and offshore processing of asylum-seekers was reinstated in 2012. Following the 2013 election, the coalition introduced Operation Sovereign Borders, under which the Australian navy prevents all vessels containing asylum-seekers from reaching Australia.
Since the Second World War, Luxembourg’s migrant population has grown continuously. Today, around 85% of migrants are citizens of the EU and 90% of migrants are of European descent. Most other highly qualified migrants have come from Japan, the United States and Canada. Luxembourg has one of the highest economically performing migrant populations, with a high proportion of economic migrants coming from other OECD countries and a very small proportion from economically weak developing countries. More than 50% of the total resident population in Luxembourg has a migrant background.

The Migrant Integration Policy Index gave Luxembourg an overall score of 57 (59 in 2010), ranking the country 15th out of 35 examined nations. Migrant children are fully integrated in local elementary schools or high schools. Children between 12 and 15 years who have recently migrated to Luxembourg are given the opportunity to attend a special class called “classes d’insertion” in the capital’s Lycée Technique du Centre, with special programs in French or German designed to facilitate integration into regular classes.

Children of foreign parents have, however, on average a high dropout rate. Luxembourg is regularly criticized in the PISA evaluation for its low performance regarding the integration of migrant children.

In 2016, 2,474 asylum seekers arrived in Luxembourg. The immigration authority made 2,319 decisions on asylum. 764 refugees were recognized, including 538 Syrians, and 438 asylum seekers were rejected. According to the EU 2015 admission quota, Luxembourg should take in an additionally 557 refugees from Greece and Italy. This quota was fulfilled in December 2017. During the period under review, the number of refugees rose again.

All foreigners, EU citizens and third-country citizens can vote and run for office in local elections, provided they fulfill certain residency requirements and are registered on the electoral list. Conditions for the inscription have been eased over the years. However, the fact that the meetings of local councils are held in Luxembourgish (with written reports in German, French or English), poses an obstacle for resident foreign citizens. Participation and social integration of migrants must be improved, both at the local and national level, to increase non-nationals’ political participation. During the period under review, voting rights for resident foreigners in parliamentary elections was a cross-party issue, which ultimately was put to public vote in a consultative referendum in June 2015. However, an absolute majority of 78.02% voted against granting foreigners full voting rights, putting a preliminary end to this ambitious project. The next referendum is not expected before 2018.

In light of this experience, the government implemented a new Naturalization Act in 2017 to facilitate foreigners’ civic participation in public life and boost integration policy. Under the new law, people born in Luxembourg can apply for citizenship without other conditions or receive it automatically at the age of 18. During the period under review, the number of citizenship applications has tripled, potentially increasing the currently low share of nationals among foreign-born migrants.
“Endergebnis des Referendums: Ein deutliches Nein in allen drei Fragen.” Luxemburger Wort, 7 June 2015, Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

“L’école du succès, une chance pour tous.” Ministre de l’éducation nationale, Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.
“Luxembourg 2015.” Migrant Integration Policy Index, Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.

“Nationalitätsgesetz: Reform soll am 1. April 2017 in Kraft treten.” Luxemburger Wort, 21 Sept. 2016, Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Plan d’action national pluri-annuel d’intégration et de lutte contre les discriminations 2010 – 2014. Ministère de la Famille et de l’Intégration, 2010. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

OECD Economic Surveys Luxembourg. OECD Publishing, 2017. 4 Dec. 2017.

Rapport d’activité OLAI 2016. Office Luxembourgeois de l’Accueil et de l’Integration, 2015. Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.

“Règlement grand-ducal du 15. novembre 2011 relatif à l’organisation et au fonctionnement des commissions consultatives communales d’intégration.” Journal officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 15 Nov. 2011, Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Statistiques concernant la protection internationale au Grand-Duché de Luxembourg. Ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes, 2016. Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.

“Luxemburg für Flüchtlingspolitik gelobt.” L´Essentiel, 22. September 2017. Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.
Integration policy is fairly well organized and well funded in Norway, but the effects of immigration represent a new challenge in this country, and policies have to date been less than fully effective. Non-Western immigrants experience higher unemployment rates and lower wages than do native Norwegians. There are complaints of discrimination in both the labor and housing markets.

Immigration and integration policies are increasingly contested, and were one of the key issues during the recent elections. There is some social unrest related to problems faced by second- and third-generation immigrants. In 2011, a terrorist attack damaged a government building in the center of Oslo as well as the youth camp run by the Labor Party on the island of Utoyo. This terrorist attack was carried out by a Norwegian right-wing extremist. And although many voters are expressing concerns regarding immigration, Norway does not have a significant political party on the political far right pursuing an openly xenophobic or anti-immigration policy. Increased integration in 2015 and 2016, due to the civil war in Syria, has added to this. However, in 2017, Norway experienced a significant drop in the number of immigrants arriving.

Integration policies include free language training and additional school resources allocated to immigrant children. Some of these resources are devoted to preserving cultural identity. For instance, children are offered additional classes in their mother tongue. The acquisition of Norwegian citizenship is relatively quick. Applicants must have lived in the country for at least seven out of the last 10 years, and either be fluent in Norwegian or have attended courses in Norwegian (or Sami) for 300 hours. Immigrants with permanent residence status are entitled to vote in local elections.

An autonomous Directorate of Integration was created in 2006, distinct from the preexisting Directorate of Immigration and Integration, a change that was generally regarded as a sensible and successful reform. However, the challenges of multiculturalism stemming from immigration remain relatively unfamiliar in this traditionally homogenous society, and policies remain unsettled and in some respects immature. For example, the country continues to deny the right to dual citizenship. Islam has become the largest non-Christian religious denomination.

The country’s “old minorities,” mainly the aboriginal Sami population, have in the course of two or three decades gone from facing severe discrimination to a state of equity and integration. This status has been institutionalized in their formal recognition as an aboriginal people, with group rights written into the constitution and the creation of a Sami parliament, elected by the Sami population, which possesses some legislative authority.
In previous SGI reporting periods, we noted that the economic crisis has been accompanied by a decrease in immigration. This pattern reversed in 2016 for the first time since 2010, with the total immigrant population increasing by 2.3% in 2016 to 397,731 people.

Portugal is also receiving refugees currently entering the European Union as part of the refugee resettlement program. Between December 2015 and October 2017, Portugal took in 1,511 refugees, the fifth-highest such figure within the EU resettlement program. However, almost half of these individuals had left Portugal by October 2017. Some of whose who remained have complained of excessive bureaucracy and inadequate organization of refugee support.
Migrant Integration Policy Index, “Key Findings – Portugal 2015,” available online at:

“Imigrantes em Portugal diminuíram 1,6% em 2015.” Jornal de Negócios, 23 June 2016. Available online at:

“Portugal disponível para receber no total 10 mil refugiados,” Diário de Notícias, 19 February 2016, Available online at:

“Portugal recebe o 2.º maior número de refugiados recolocados,” Público, 15 June 2016. Available online at:

Diário de Notícias (2017), “Número de estrangeiros a viver em Portugal inverte tendência e aumenta 2,3%,” 24/7/2017, available online at:

Ana Dias Cordeiro (2017), “Quase metade dos 1500 refugiados que chegaram já deixou Portugal,” Público online – 16/10/2017, available online at:

Diário de Notícias (2017), “Portugal acolheu até agora 1435 refugiados,” 20/9/2017, available online at:—ministro-adjunto-8785876.html
On 1 January 2016 there were about 700,000 immigrants and descendants of immigrants living in Denmark, or 12% of the population (7% immigrants, 5% descendants). Roughly two-thirds of immigrants are from non-western countries. After the tightening of immigration policies introduced by the liberal-conservative government in 2002, immigration from non-Western countries fell, but net immigration from Western countries rose. More recently there have been increases from both groups.

The employment rate of immigrants and their descendants (ages 16 to 64) is low compared to other groups, though it had been increasing from the mid-1980s until the onset of the financial crisis. There is a substantial employment gap, taking into account the age distribution, immigrants from non-western countries have an employment rate (2015) which is 23% lower than that of ethnic Danes (for descendants the gap is 17%). The gap is higher for women (25%) than for men (21%). For immigrants from western countries the gap is about 11% (for descendants about 6%). The gaps in employment rates should be viewed in light of high employment rates in Denmark for both men and women, high qualification requirements to find a job and high minimum wages.

Concerning educational achievements, immigrants and their descendants – especially girls – are making progress. For the 2014 cohort, 95.4% of women with Danish ethnicity and 92% of women with a foreign background, and 92% of men with Danish ethnicity and 80.8% of men with a foreign background are expected to complete secondary education.

The 24-year-old rule for family reunification introduced in 2004 has allowed fewer immigrants and their descendants to bring spouses to Denmark from abroad. The percentage fell from 61% in 2001 to 31% in 2008. Instead, immigrants increasingly marry other immigrants already living in Denmark as well as native Danes.

Since these reforms have gone into effect there have been improvements. Indeed, an increasing number of immigrants say they feel more integrated and have more Danish friends, and fewer say they experience discrimination. In addition, many more immigrants speak Danish than ever before.

In 2015 and 2016, there was a sudden influx of refugees and asylum-seekers from Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq. This increased revived political debates about immigration and was a key issue in the electoral debate in June 2015, with most parties wanting to limit immigration. The high number of asylum-seekers that arrived over the following summer forced the government to adopt stricter immigration policies. Various measures were introduced to reduce immigration (also for family unification) and recently the government proposed a temporary stop to refugees arriving under the U.N. quota system. The conditions of temporary residency permits are being reassessed and the scope for temporary residents to return is being discussed. These measures should be viewed together with changes to the social safety net and reduced transfers to immigrants.

The current government plans to maintain the temporary border control until control over the Schengen Area’s external borders is improved. Special initiatives to tackle the creation of parallel societies, which have high rates of crime and promote anti-Danish values, have been announced. Rejected asylum-seekers will be returned.

As in most other European countries the inflow of asylum-seekers has recently declined significantly. The first eight months of 2017 saw 2,254 people apply for asylum in Denmark, the lowest number in six years. Of asylum-seekers, 25.7% were from Syria, 10.3% from Morocco, 6.3% from Eritrea and 6% from Afghanistan.
Danmarks Statistik, “21.000 har søgt om asyl i Danmark I 2015,” (Accessed 21 October 2016).

Udlændinge og integration,” (accessed 21 October 2017.

“Hvor mange kommer, og Hvorfra?” (Accessed 21 October 2017).
Since the Soviet period, Estonia has had a large non-native population. Russians and other Slavic ethnic groups compose almost a third of the population, 16% of whom are foreign born. The national immigration policy has been regularly updated and monitored, with the government allocating substantial national and EU funds to various integration programs. All government activities are framed by the national development plan “Integrating Estonia 2020.”

All EU or Estonian registered citizens have the right to vote. Permanent residents without Estonian citizenship can vote in municipal elections, but are not allowed to stand as a candidate or vote in general or EU parliamentary elections. An increasing number of Russian-speakers who hold Estonian citizenship are employed in the civil service, belong among the political elite and stand as candidates in elections. However, the electoral turnout of Russian-speakers remains lower than the national average. Several public and private initiatives have sought to facilitate civil-society activism among ethnic minorities, yielding some visible progress. Nonetheless, the ethnic Estonian and minority populations continue to primarily live separately.

The number of non-citizen residents (currently about 12.4% of the total population) remains an issue. In recent years, the proportion of non-citizen residents who would like to obtain Estonian citizenship has been decreasing as they do not see the value of Estonian citizenship when living in Estonia. Despite improved language skills, the labor market outcomes of ethnic minorities has remained worse than that of ethnic Estonians. The former have a lower employment rate and salary levels. Thus, while institutionally well-established, the positive effects of integration policy remain weak and uneven.

Beyond policies on integrating immigrants from the Soviet period, programs to integrate refugees and new immigrants have been put in place. To help newly arrived immigrants settle in and acquire knowledge, skills and proficiency in the Estonian language, they can choose to participate in an introductory welcoming program. Additionally, the Ministry of the Interior supports and empowers public, private and third-sector organizations working on a day-to-day basis with newly arrived immigrants by building support networks and developing public services. Despite those attempts, more than half of the war refugees who came to Estonia as part of the European migration plan have left the country.
Integration Monitoring of the Estonian Society 2017. (accessed 23.10.2017)
Since the beginning of the 1980s, Finland has witnessed more immigration than emigration. From 1990 to 2016, the share of the population with a foreign background grew from 0.8% to 6.6%. Several factors have challenged the management of this inflow of immigrants. Second-generation immigrants have had difficulties entering education or finding work. There are also differences in labor-market attachment relative to migrants’ countries of origin; Estonians, for example, finding their way into employment much more easily than migrants from sub-Saharan Africa.

Boosting rates of labor-market participation is one of the key targets of the government’s Future of Migration 2020 Strategy and 2016 Action Plan. While Finland, in terms of a per capita ratio, has received a fair share of asylum-seekers, the country is not considered to be among the top destinations for immigrants. This is the result of various factor. Applying for a Finnish residence permit is still a complicated process, as is applying for Finnish citizenship. Finnish is a difficult language and proficient language skills are required. While sympathetic to work-related immigration, authorities’ general attitude toward immigration is rather restrictive. Moreover, the Finns Party has used its platform within the cabinet to fan anti-immigrant sentiments and some demonstrations by anti-immigrant protesters against refugee accommodations have turned violent. However, according to polls, the share of favorable attitudes toward immigration among the public has slightly increased recently, which is in part due to the catastrophic refugee situation in the EU.
Arno Tanner, “Finland’s Balancing Act”,;
“Finland must develop its Immigration and Integration Policies”,;
Eve Kyntäjä, “Integration Policy in Finland”,;
Henna Busk, Signe Jauhiainen, Antti Kekäläinen, Satu Nivalainen and Tuuli Tähtinen 2016. “Maahanmuuttajat työmarkkinoilla: tutkimus eri vuosina Suomeen muuttaneiden työurista” [Immigrants on the labour market – A study of the working lives of immigrants arriving in Finland in different years]. Finnish Centre for Pensions, Studies 06/2016. Helsinki: Finnish Centre for Pensions;
Elli Heikkilä and Selena Peltonen, “Immigrants and Integration in Finland”, Institute of Migration, Turku.
According to a 2016 micro-census, 22.5% of people living in Germany had a migrant background. In comparison to the year before, it increased by 8.5%. This increase is consistent with the trend of the last decade (Statistisches Bundesamt 2016: 37). The Federal Statistical Office estimated that 2.1 million people immigrated to Germany in 2015. This is an increase of 46% compared to 2014. In 2016 and 2017, the numbers considerably dropped.

While Germany already had an extremely liberal regime for migrants from EU member states, a liberalization of labor migration from non-EU countries has taken place. According to the OECD (2013), these reforms “have put Germany among the OECD countries with the fewest restrictions on labor migration for highly skilled occupations.” Nevertheless, there is an ongoing public debate about the need to modernize immigration legislation further. In 2014, the government introduced the right to dual citizenship. This reform abolished the requirement for most children born in Germany to non-German parents to decide between the citizenship of their birth and the citizenship of their parents.

When in 2015 the number of refugees claiming asylum in Germany far exceeded prior levels, the topic of immigration and integration became a priority among the public. The reaction of civil society to the high number of asylum-seekers has been mixed. Although a majority of the population initially appeared to welcome the government’s open approach, skepticism increased as the numbers of refugees claiming asylum remained high and safety and crime concerns grew (in particular following the 2015 New Year’s Eve incidents in Cologne, where numerous migrants were arrested for sexual assault and robbery). Furthermore, xenophobic parties (e.g., AfD) quickly began to organize an opposition to the arrival of refugees. The AfD gained seats in all state parliaments, which have been elected since 2015, and became the third strongest party in the Bundestag in 2017. Though none of the traditional democratic parties are willing to cooperate with the AfD.

Initially, the last government lacked a comprehensive crisis management strategy. However, after disputes between the coalition parties, the federal government took a first step toward solving the problem in October 2015. The reform package includes substantial financial support for states and municipalities, the provision of early integration and language courses, and special support for child refugees traveling without their parents (Presse- und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung, October 2015). In addition, the registration of refugees was extended and improved; among other things, fingerprints are now taken.

These policies were followed by attempts to restrict and regulate the influx of refugees. The most important measures were the so-called asylum packages I and II. The first package included an expansion of countries of origin considered safe (Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo, and from 2017 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ghana, Macedonia, Serbia and Senegal), accelerated the recognition procedures and strengthened financial support for the municipalities. Moreover, benefits were changed from cash to in-kind. The second package, introduced in February 2016, restricted the right to family reunion for people granted subsidiary protection and once again expanded the countries of origin considered safe (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia), to mention only the most important regulations. Finally, in 2017, deportation of rejected asylum-seekers was made easier for German authorities.

The short-term management of the refugee crisis has been largely successful with respect to the logistics of refugee reception. Given the very large numbers of people coming into the country in 2015, government authorities (at the municipal, state and federal level) have shown a remarkable effectiveness, in stark contrast to the miserable refugee reception in other EU countries in the south and east. This reception capacity benefited greatly from civil society’s support.

The long-term challenge of integration remains a crucial concern, including the successful integration of the refugees into both the education system and labor market. Recently, an OECD report (OECD 2017) stated that Germany is on a good track with respect to refugees’ labor market integration. The report acknowledged that Germany had reacted quickly and created an environment conducive to the successful labor market integration of refugees. The report recognized the appropriate focus German policy had placed on liberalizing labor market access for asylum-seekers and refugees, and investing heavily into language training. The combination of these appropriate strategies and excellent labor market conditions have raised the chances for successfully integrating many refugees over the medium term.

Much will ultimately depend on whether broader cultural integration will succeed. So far, German civil society remains in favor of integrating refugees. However, there is a danger of strengthening xenophobia if problems of cultural alienation and safety concerns grow.

A further stress factor for integration with respect to citizens with Turkish origins has resulted from recent political developments in Turkey, where the policies of the Erdogan government have polarized Turkish communities in Germany. This has resulted in divergent perceptions on the importance of free media, the rule of law and separation of powers (values enshrined in the German constitution), raising concerns about an absence of common values.

Overall, the way Germany logistically dealt with the inflow of almost a million refugees in a very brief period of time is impressive. The main challenge for the future will be to integrate these people into German society. Although many imperfections remain and although the task is immense, the country’s overall policy strategy toward refugee integration appears to be promising.
BAMF 2017a: Aktuelle Zahlen zu Asyl, Oktober 2017:

BAMF 2017b: Schlüsselzahlen Asyl. Online:

OECD 2013: Recruiting Immigrant Workers: Germany, Paris: OECD.
The Economist 2015:

OECD 2017: Finding their Way – The Labour Market Integration of Refugees in Germany, March 2017.

Presse- und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung 2015 (15 October):

Statistisches Bundesamt 2016: Fachserie 1, Reihe 2.2:
The large inflow of immigrants during the boom years led to a rapid increase in the foreign-born population resident in Ireland. More than 70% of immigrants to Ireland have the right to reside, work and own property in the country by virtue of their EU citizenship. Despite the resumption of a high rate of emigration among Irish nationals after 2008, inward migration from abroad has continued at a significant rate.

The unemployment rate among non-nationals (especially those from the new EU accession states) is higher than among the native-born population. Many employed immigrants are not in occupations commensurate with their skills and education.

The inflow of families from non-English-speaking countries in the last 10 years has placed a strain on the education system. Additional resources have been provided to help cope with this challenge, but these are not regarded as adequate. There are signs of increasing gaps between schools in relatively deprived areas of the main cities, which often have high concentrations of children holding non-Irish citizenship, and schools in the more affluent areas with lower concentrations.

Forced integration is not an issue, although some ethnic and religious minorities face difficulties in a country that is still overwhelmingly Irish, while their children face problems in a school system that is still largely under Roman Catholic management.

The treatment of asylum-seekers by the Irish authorities came under critical scrutiny in the course of 2014, with adverse attention drawn to the system of “direct provision,” which is intended to provide for the welfare of asylum-seekers and their families as they await decisions on their asylum application. It provides essential services, medical care, accommodation and board, with three meals per day provided at set times. Attention has recently been focused on the poor standards of accommodation and living conditions in the facilities serving this population, as well as the enforced isolation of families waiting for as long as seven years to learn of a decision on their asylum applications.

During 2015, Ireland was not affected by the growing immigration/refugee crisis in much of Europe. Ireland agreed to accept some immigrants/asylum-seekers from Syria and other war-torn countries before the end of 2015. There is no explicitly anti-immigrant political party in Ireland and immigration was not a prominent issue in the 2016 general election.
Lithuania remains a largely homogeneous society. The country’s 30,000 foreign residents (as of the beginning of 2011) represent just 1% of the country’s population. Immigration of foreign nationals to Lithuania is comparatively rare, totaling an average of about 2000 people per year. As part of the EU program to distribute asylum-seekers among member states, Lithuania has committed to taking in 1,105 people over the course of two years. However, by mid-December 2017, 431 refugees have been relocated. However, the majority of refugees have left Lithuania for Sweden, Germany and other EU destinations.

Most foreigners used to come to Lithuania from Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, all former republics of the Soviet Union. For this reason, their integration into Lithuanian society has not been very difficult. However, the fact that the majority of new asylum-seekers are likely to come from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea presents the Lithuanian authorities with more complex integration challenges (unless they decide to leave Lithuania). Furthermore, a number of developments call for the implementation of new integration measures, including the country’s rising flows of legal and illegal immigration; the economic recovery, which helped contribute to the recent increase in the number of work permits granted to third-country nationals; and the language and cultural problems faced by foreign residents in Lithuania.

Migrants from other EU member states tend to integrate into Lithuanian society more successfully than do third-country nationals. Various cultural, educational and social programs, including the provision of information, advisory, training services, and Lithuanian language courses are aimed at integrating migrants into Lithuanian society. However, labor-market services are not sufficiently developed in this regard, and foreign residents’ access to relevant education and training programs remains limited in practice. Moreover, new integration facilities and services are necessary in order to support the expected new surge of refugees. The government has proposed shortening an initial integration period and establishing local divisions of the Foreigners Registration Center, among other measures.
By most international comparisons, Sweden has a generous immigration policy. The country has received a large number of refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria and, in 1992, from the former Yugoslavia. Indeed, there are individual local authorities (Södertälje) that have received more immigrants from Iraq than has the entire United States. In the European setting Sweden, together with Germany, stands out as one of the most immigration-friendly country.

As is the case across Europe, the war in Syria has triggered huge immigration to Sweden. In 2015 and 2016, Sweden received some 163,000 and 29,000 asylum-seekers respectively; for 2017, as of mid-November, the number is about 22,500. Permanent residency was granted to circa 120,000 refugees between 2015 and 2017. Sweden offers permanent residency for unaccompanied children and for Syrian families with children. These provisions, however, are highly disputed in contemporary public discourse and in the parliament.

The increasing immigration represents a major challenge, unprecedented in size and scope, to Swedish integration policy. These policies cover a wide range of measures, from language training to supportive labor market and housing policies. Most of the policies are implemented locally. Given the extensive autonomy of Swedish local governments, the instruments vary regionally. There are now political signals that local autonomy should no longer prevent individual local authorities from being requested by central government to receive asylum-seekers.

It is difficult to argue that integration policy in Sweden has been successful. In terms of both educational attainment and employment, immigrants in Sweden find it much more difficult to integrate than immigrants in comparable countries. This is not to say that there is a lack of political or economic commitment to integration policy. To the contrary, integration policy remains a very important policy sector and related political activities are far-reaching. The activities of the ombudsman and the minister for immigration and equality ensure that immigration issues have a high public salience.

Sweden’s lack of success in integrating immigrants, despite strong efforts, thus indicates that the problem lies in the design and implementation of its integration policies. It is possible that the same obstacles facing young people as they try to make their way into the labor market also discriminates against immigrants. The current surge in immigration in the wake of the Syrian crisis has exacerbated these problems. Whether this is a short-term phenomenon or a lasting situation remains to be seen.

There is some good news, however. Studies show that second generation immigrants, particularly girls, perform well in secondary and tertiary education. However, for immigrants with low education, entry into a labor market with high standards seems more or less blocked.
Kvist, Jon et al. (eds.) (2012), Changing Inequalities. The Nordic Countries and New Challenges (Bristol: Policy Press).

Multiculturalism Policy Index (
For many years, Swiss integration policy was predicated on the perception that foreigners were “guest workers,” whose limited stay meant that broad efforts to encourage integration were unnecessary. As many foreign workers gained access to unlimited work permits between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s, the policy approach grew inappropriate over time. Accordingly, a number of efforts to improve integration have been made, starting as early as kindergarten. Nonetheless, integration policy cannot broadly be called a success in Switzerland, particularly given the very high share of migrants in the population (accounting for about one-quarter of the country’s residents). Yet if the lack of a coherent federal integration policy is undisputable, this does not mean that integration policy is failing as a whole. Many local authorities are doing a good and sometimes innovative job of integration, especially for second-generation migrants.

According to OECD statistics, second-generation migrants in Switzerland perform better in school and are better integrated into the labor market than in other European countries. This is not to say that immigrants have equal opportunities in all respects. If immigrant unemployment rates and dependence on social aid are above the national average, this is due to the fact that the share of low-skilled workers with a correspondingly higher risk of unemployment is also above average among immigrants. But the lack of a coherent integration policy may add to the problems, and social discrimination is not limited to the labor market. Within the housing market, for instance, some groups of immigrants may find it comparatively difficult to rent apartments.

With regard to naturalization, 43,000 foreigners were granted Swiss citizenship in 2016. Calculating the number of naturalizations as a share of all migrants actually living in the country, the Swiss rate of naturalization is very low in comparison with other Western democracies. In 2016, about 2% of resident foreigners acquired Swiss citizenship. Only some of the new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe and a few Western democracies (e.g., Austria and Germany) have similar or lower naturalization rates. The naturalization procedure is burdensome. As naturalization in Switzerland is a bottom-up process that starts at the level of the commune, considerable regional differences are evident, with some communes and cantons pursuing a liberal naturalization policy, and others acting more restrictively. These regional differences show up also in the issue of political rights. A few cantons and communes grant political-participation rights to foreigners, even though the federal government does not. Thus, with regard to integration, naturalization and legislation on political rights, we find a bottom-up approach rather than federal standards.

In Switzerland, as in all modern societies, some segments of society suffer from globalization and, in particular, from the free movement of labor. These “globalizaton losers” have particularly likely to hold xenophobic attitudes – to insist on “my country first”-positions – and, consequently, to vote for right-populist parties. The Swiss Peoples Party is the political party with the strongest electoral support. It has been particularly successful in mobilizing these segments of society. Therefore, on the one hand there, is limited prospect for a more generous and liberal integration policy in the near term given the strength of integration-averse political actors and citizens. On the other hand, as a comparative analysis of European Social Survey data shows, Switzerland belongs to the least xenophobic societies in Western Europe, together with the Nordic countries; for example, the country is much less xenophobic than Austria, the United Kingdom and France.
As 4% of the population is foreign-born, the Netherlands is a sizable immigration-destination country, with a considerable integration task. In 2011, the Netherlands ranked fifth in the Migrant Integration Policy Index, which compares 37 industrial countries; in 2015, the county ranked 15. The country scores relatively high on measures of labor mobility and access to citizenship for migrants, but low on measures of access to family reunion and permanent residence. It attains average scores for criteria such as education, anti-discrimination policy, health and political participation.

In a 2017 public opinion poll on immigration and integration issues, 31% spontaneously named immigration and integration as the second most important public concern, only after healthcare. In summer 2017, the first serious cabinet formation effort broke down over the issue of migration. In view of occasional riots and disturbances at municipal council meetings on the location of refugee settlements, integration issues flared up again.

Since 2009, all non-EU nationals who migrate to the Netherlands are required to learn Dutch and about Dutch society. The Civic Integration Abroad policy involves obligatory integration tests in the country of origin for family reunion applicants. Refugees are expected to “deserve” their status in the Netherlands by taking language tests and many refugees accumulate debt paying for language courses, which are also difficult to find and are often of unreliable quality.

Compared to other countries, immigrants benefit from several measures targeting employment and labor market integration. Nevertheless, unemployment rates among non-Western migrants are three times as high (16%) as among Dutch-born citizens (5%). This difference is somewhat less pronounced within the 15 to 24 age group but remains twice as high. One in three young migrants without a formal school qualification are unemployed. Although the Dutch recognize and disapprove of discrimination more compared to other European countries, they still think that discriminated minorities are “exaggerating” and should “get used to it.” Recent research shows that ethnic discrimination in the labor market is widespread and difficult to sanction. Muslim citizens’ self-reported discrimination experiences and perceptions, and incidents of harassment and violence, are among the highest in Europe.
T. Huddlestone et al., Migrant Policy Integration Index (2011) (

Migrant Integration Policy Index 2015. Integration Policies: who benefits? ( consulted 7 November 2016)

Burgerperspectieven 2017|3, Sociaal Cultureel Planbureau (, consulted 26 October, 2017)

Nederlands Jeugdinstituut, Jeugdwerkloosheid (, consulted 26 October 2017)

Aanpak Jeugdwerkloosheid, Samen met de steden (, consulted 7 November 2016)

de Waal, T. M. (2017). Conditional belonging: A legal-philosophical inquiry into integration requirements for immigrants in Europe, UVA, Amsterdam

Additional references:
Turkey’s new Law on Foreigners and International Protection took effect in April 2014. On the same date, the General Directorate for Migration Management officially took on responsibility for implementing the law with a view to bringing Turkey in line with European Union and international standards.

Turkey is increasingly becoming a country of destination for regular migration. At the same time, it also remains a notable transit and destination country for irregular migration. The civil war in Syria which started in 2011 is placing a heavy burden on the Turkish economy. It is estimated that about 3.5 million Syrian refugees, 100,000 Iraqi refugees and more than 50,000 Afghan refugees are in Turkey. Key development needs for the refugees relate to education, housing and employment. Turkey hosts a large number of refugees in refugee camps equipped with schooling, health care and social services, while nearly 60% of refugees live in cities. In February 2017, the Minister of Interior Affairs stated that Turkey had spent over €22.5 billion since the beginning of the Syrian civil war on health care, education, nutrition, and social and other services for refugees.

In an effort to manage the influx of refugees into Europe, the European Union negotiated a deal with Turkey in November 2015. The European Union offered Turkey up to €3 billion in aid, and the prospect of easier travel visas and renewed EU accession talks in return for its support in stemming the flow of refugees to Europe. As part of European Union’s financial assistance to Turkey under the “Facility for Refugees in Turkey,” €1.2 billion was contracted to various U.N. agencies and international organizations – with the participation of Turkish civil society organizations – to support education, health care, socioeconomic and municipal infrastructure projects.
EU Commission: Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council and the Council.
Seventh Report on the Progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement, COM(2017) 470 final, Brussels, 6.9.2017.
Murat Erdoğan, Syrische Flüchtlinge in der Türkei, Juni 2017, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung,
When in the fall of 2015 a comparatively high number of refugees and/or migrants came to Austria, for a brief period society’s response seemed to go into the direction of a “welcoming culture”. Recent reforms pointed in the same direction. But this more liberal approach ended in 2016 when the dominant Austrian attitude became increasingly closed. Despite some remarkable efforts, the Austrian approach to integration continues to be deficient in two key ways. First, there is still too little formal recognition that Austria is a country that has been and will continue to be defined by immigration. Though not a feature of official government policy, the slogan “Austria is not a country of immigration” continues to be invoked by parties such as the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ).

Second, and compared to other EU member states, acquiring citizenship in Austria is still difficult for non-nationals (despite some prominent figures such as opera performers, athletes, and billionaires).

These shortcomings are reflected in education outcomes. Education in urban areas has to deal with the challenge posed by the children of first-generation migrants, in school systems with constrained resources. This means that children from migrant families find it more difficult to qualify for higher education and are often stuck in the lowest types of school. This also heavily nourishes discontent of “native” Austrian parents with children in such schools, where successful educational outcomes are increasingly difficult to realize. Special support policies for such children have recently been put in place, but it remains to be seen how successful these policies will be in the short to medium term.

With respect to the labor market more broadly, the Austrian government is only halfheartedly welcoming employees newly arriving from foreign countries. Its policies (including the “red-white-red card”) are neither well received by economic actors nor are they succeeding in attracting highly skilled professionals. The indirect, undeclared alliance between organized labor (which defends the short-term interests of union-protected laborers, and is usually linked politically to the left) and the far right (which exploits xenophobic resentments, especially in the case of the Freedom Party) creates a political climate that sometimes breaks into open hostility, particularly against migrants coming from Muslim countries. This alliance between right-wing populism and organized labor is still an obstacle to the development of a more distinct integration policy.

While many refugees and migrants who came to Austria in quite significant numbers in 2015/2016 traveled on to countries such as Germany and Sweden, many others remained in Austria to seek asylum. Despite the fact that many asylum-seekers and refugees have left Austria in the meantime, not always voluntarily, the public discourse is still very much influenced by the “refugee wave”. Xenophobic sentiments are used in political campaigns, especially before the 2017 general elections.

The government has responded to the increase of refugees and migrants by introducing more stringent asylum rules. Asylum is to be granted on a temporary basis only and is to be reviewed after certain periods of time. These legislative measures may function as a disincentive to integrating migrants into Austrian society. However, they have also made the body of laws for aliens more complex. Migration in such amounts has also clearly overburdened the Austrian system and society and made action imperative. A solution to the evident intra-European migration imbalances will be possible only on a European level.
New legal provisions:
Belgium has a contradictory attitude toward immigration. On the one hand, it has traditionally been quite welcoming to political refugees. Its initial reaction to the Syrian refugee inflow was no exception. The government responded with the rapid creation of emergency accommodation centers, followed by the re-dispatching of families to different cities and villages to promote integration and avoid the creation of ghettos. But the situation deteriorated since then, particularly in the wake of the terrorist attacks on Brussels and in the rest of Europe. As in many – if not most – EU countries, popular support for a complete halt to immigration is rising strongly. To fulfill its plan of returning illegal immigrants to their home countries or preventing future entries, the government has been forced to take increasingly controversial actions. These have ranged from signing the EU-Turkey agreement to block immigrants from reaching the EU, to inviting Sudanese officials suspected of crimes against humanity to identify migrants of Sudanese origin. Even the minister responsible for this latter initiative, who belongs to the expressly conservative NVA party, admitted that he had to “hold his nose” when engaging in such deals. Indeed, some of these policies border on illegality, given that Belgium has signed all Geneva conventions, including that on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.

For those who remain in Belgium, including second and third-generation immigrants, the degree of economic integration is far from being satisfactory, a fact that has produced increasing cleavages in the Belgian society. The Itinera Institute has argued greater data collection within these communities would be a necessary first step for identifying immigrants’ skills for job placement.

Even when legally Belgian, second-generation immigrants are confronted with a school system that is insufficiently adapted to people whose parents’ mother tongue is not Dutch or French. The OECD’s PISA reports note that the country’s significant inequalities in pupil performance can largely be explained by the immigration issue.

Belgium has long been making efforts to combat these challenges. The Center for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism was created specifically to address discrimination issues. Civil society and the press are very wary of acts of outright discrimination and racism. Nonetheless, existing public funding levels and proactive policies remain insufficient to deliver the substantial results needed to demonstrate that the last 30 years of immigration have been a success.
The number of immigrants in Chile has increased significantly during the last five years. In general, there are few restrictions for highly skilled immigrants and professionals, most of whom tend to obtain working permits. The integration of immigrants from other Latin American countries, who represent nearly 75% of all immigrants (by far the largest group of foreigners in Chile), does not face significant difficulties since these immigrants share a common language and, to a certain degree, a similar cultural background. Typically, Peruvians have been the biggest immigrant group in Chile. However, in the period under review, most residence applications were submitted by Venezuelans due to the multiple crises in their country. Since 2013, immigration from Venezuela has grown by a factor of 19.

Latest estimates indicate that there will be about 600,000 immigrants living in Chile by the end of 2017 (about 3.5% of the population); this is an increase compared to the previous review period, but still a very small share in comparison to its neighbor Argentina or other OECD member states.

Also noteworthy is the fact that the relationship between emigration and immigration in Chile has changed. While in the past Chile registered higher rates of emigration than immigration, this is reversing due to the country’s economic development and political stability. The vast majority of immigrants settle in Chile’s capital Santiago and in those parts of the country characterized by a high concentration of mining activities – the country´s most important source of income. Because immigration happens most in these highly visible regions, migration policy has become more present in public discussions during the period under review. It is fair to assume that its importance will further increase, considering its impact on the country’s economic and social development.

In 2016 and 2017, laws were enacted that foster protection of refugees and their integration into Chilean society. Refugee children now receive privileged access to Chilean citizenship regardless of age and residence time when one of their parents adopts Chilean citizenship. Before this reform, only adult children qualified for receiving citizenship through a parent. Additionally, some administrative barriers for migrants to attend public schools have been lowered.

On the basis of Chile’s experience with the humanitarian resettlement of Palestinians, Bachelet’s government promised to host between 50 and 100 Syrian families, regardless of religion, but in the end, only 14 families had arrived by the end of October 2017.
Citations: lth/international-migration-outlook-2015_migr_outlook-2015-en#page196 -de-dos-tercios-trabajan-y-el-42-cotiza-en-fonasa.shtml -2005-2014.pdf–es/index.htm

Refugee policy: risis-actual-de-los-refugiados/

Chilean plan for Syrian refugees: imperativo-etico/
Traditionally, France has an open policy toward immigrants. Every person born in France is considered French, or eligible to obtain French citizenship. Integration policies, in terms of long-term residence permits, access to citizenship and family reunification are open and generous. Presently, the largest share of new legal immigrants is related to the reunification of families. It explains partially the difficulty of integrating new immigrants who often have no skills, no education and do not speak French. Processes of integration have to start from scratch. The characteristics of immigrants moving to France are another problem: most are unskilled and as such, subject to vagaries of the economic crisis, for instance in the construction sector.

The integration of the so-called second (in fact, often the third) generation of immigrants, especially coming from Maghreb countries, is difficult for many reasons: education system failures; community concentration in urban/suburban ghettos; high unemployment; cultural identity issues, practices of job discrimination and so on. Immigration from Eastern Europe, the southern Balkans and, more recently, from the Middle East has become a very sensitive subject exploited by the National Front. The reluctance of the French socialist government to put in place a serious migration policy has been challenged by German Chancellor Merkel’s sudden decision in August 2015 to open the doors to migrants from Syria, forcing the French government to revise its veiled but deliberate policy of restricting entry (low level of asylum admissions, cumbersome and discouraging bureaucratic processes). The number of refugees that have come to France since the summer of 2015 is substantially smaller than in neighboring Germany. The national office on refugees (Office français de protection des réfugiés et apatrides, Ofpra) reported that 78,000 refugees came to France in 2016, an increase of 27% from 2014.

Integration remains at the heart of French political discourse, but actual policies set up to achieve this aim are notoriously insufficient. The new administration has not yet been active in this field. In September 2017, President Macron declared his intention to review France’s immigration policy, combining measures to improve welcome and integration measures for immigrants and refugees with accelerated procedures for handling the applications for asylum and re-enforced measures for sending back people whose applications are rejected.
Civil rights legislation for immigrants is largely influenced by the Danish and Norwegian models, which also reflects Iceland’s obligations under the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement. Separate legislation for immigrants from EEA/EU countries and non-EEA/EU countries makes it difficult for citizens outside the EEA to move into the country. Legislation for non-EEA/EU countries focuses on the need for foreign labor and restricts non-EEA/EU migrants to temporary work permits. Authorities provide instruction in the Icelandic language for foreign nationals. Nationals from other Nordic countries with three years’ consecutive residency in Iceland are eligible to vote in local elections, while for other foreign national’s eligibility follows five years of consecutive residency. The right to vote in parliamentary elections presupposes Icelandic citizenship.

The center Alþjóðasetur in Reykjavík provides interpretation and translation services to immigrants. The Directorate of Immigration (Útlendingastofnun) – a division within the Ministry of Interior whose mandate includes processing residence permits, visas and citizenship applications – has repeatedly been criticized for expelling foreign nationals on weak grounds. The Directorate of Labor (Vinnumálastofnun) reaches out to foreigners by, for example, providing important information in English on its website. The Directorate of Labor is also responsible for running the European Employment Services office in Iceland.

In a report on the social and labor market participation of immigrants following the 2008 collapse, Wojtynska and colleagues found that the crisis and unemployment in Iceland in general have resulted in lower labor market participation rates, reduction in working hours, limited over-time and part-time employment, and lower wages. Immigrants are, for example, offered the same job as before but with lower salaries. Participants in the study also complained about increasing prejudice from Icelandic employers to foreign workers. Further, the authors concluded that labor market conditions following the 2008 collapse are much less favorable for immigrants compared with the previous period of economic expansion. One reason is that the industries that were the main employers of foreign citizens were particularly harshly hit by the recession.

In 2015, Iceland received and accepted 82 refugees. The government contributed further grants to the support of refugees for 2016 and the number of refugees in 2016 was 111.

In 2016 and even 2017, as earlier, the Directorate of Immigration repeatedly came under heavy media criticism for its insensitive handling of immigrants and refugees, especially for refusing to grant extensions to individuals who would face grave difficulties if sent back to their home countries.
Lög um kosningar til sveitarstjórna nr. 5, 1998 (Law on local government elections no.
5 1998).
Tölfræði hælismála 2015
Tölfræði hælismála 2016
Wojtynska A, Skaptadóttir U D & Ólafs H (2011): The participation of immigrants in civil society and labor market in the economic recession. Reykjavík. University of Iceland. Faculty of Social and Human Sciences.
Large-scale immigration is a relatively new phenomenon in Italy compared to other countries in Europe. In recent years, the number of legal (mainly from new EU member countries) and illegal immigrants has increased significantly, making immigration one of the hottest political issues. Issues associated with immigration have been cast in negative or even xenophobic rhetoric by some parties (especially the Northern League or Lega Nord) during electoral campaigns, with immigrants portrayed as dangerous social elements.

Policies dealing with the topic have concentrated more on controlling illegal immigration and temporarily hosting refugees than on integration. However, given the failure of measures designed to prevent illegal immigration, successive governments have adopted provisions for the large-scale regularization of immigrants, especially those working for and within families. In spite of these measures, a large number of immigrants are still involved in the black economy and are thus subject to economic exploitation, dangerous working conditions and a lack of respect for their rights. Some sectors of Italy’s agriculture, for example, rely heavily on a workforce of low-paid illegal immigrants. In general, it is clear that in some sectors entrepreneurs and families are only able to operate due to the high number of migrants available to work. Agriculture, the building industry, private elderly care services, many child-care services and private cleaning services are dependent on legally or illegally employed immigrants. Access to citizenship for immigrants remains problematic. The discussion about the “ius soli” (i.e., granting Italian citizenship to children with a migrant background born in Italy) has been heated and legislative proposals remain blocked in parliament.

The school system has proved to be a positive factor in the process of integration, but schools have not received sufficient resources for achieving the best results in this field. Public housing policies have been weakened by the budgetary constraints. As a result, in many cities there are ghetto-like areas where immigrants live in extremely poor housing conditions. The universal health care system has in general been fairly effective in providing medical treatments also for immigrants. Charitable organizations, in particular organizations aligned to the Catholic Church (e.g., Caritas), have contributed significantly to assisting and integrating migrants.

To address the influx of immigrants from Africa arriving in Italy by the dangerous Mediterranean Sea routes and prevent immigrants from drowning at sea, Italian governments have deployed significant naval forces in the Mediterranean Sea, which have been joined by NGO vessels. While international support for these operations has increased in recent years, the willingness of other EU countries to accept a redistribution of migrants has been minimal. The efforts of successive Italian governments to promote a common European policy to address the phenomenon have so far been ignored or opposed.
As a country with a shrinking and aging population, Romania has yet to adopt an integration system which embraces the opportunity presented by recent migration trends. Rather, it remains focused on ways to incentivize the return of Romanian émigrés, particularly those in the education, medical and high-tech sectors. The newly established National Centre of Human Resources which provides grant assistance to Romanian doctors abroad who want to return is an example of this trend.

In the run-up to EU accession in 2007, legal rules on family reunification, long-term residence and anti-discrimination were adopted to ensure conformity with EU law. From a comparative perspective, Romania’s legislation has been fairly favorable toward immigrants. Romania scores particularly well with respect to anti-discrimination and labor market mobility, but policies are less welcoming with respect to education access and access to citizenship. Moreover, foreign workers are not represented by local labor unions, and often fall victim to dubious contracts leading to worse work and pay conditions than initially promised.

Growing numbers of non-European migrants have entered the country in recent years, most recently as part of the larger EU refugee crisis. Romania has upheld its commitment to receive and integrate according to its migrant quotas. Concerns regarding migrant shelter, support and employment have been raised. Moreover, the discrimination to which the Roma are subject threatens to marginalize refugee and migrant peoples arriving from abroad.
Spain ranks 11th out of 38 advanced Western democracies in the latest available edition of the Migrant Integration Policy Index, and is a particularly progressive country regarding the issues of family reunions and permanent residence. Even though the government has taken little action in this area, the Spanish population’s degree of tolerance toward immigrants is striking. In contrast to most comparable EU countries, no relevant xenophobic populist parties exist and violent attacks on immigrant groups are very rare. The underlying cultural tolerance is bolstered by the fact that most immigrants are first-generation, and in the case of Latin Americans, share a common language and cultural links with the native population (Ecuadorians, Colombians and Bolivians represent 25% of the total foreign-born population). Furthermore, many immigrants enjoy dual nationality due to the country’s links with its old colonies. With regard to the Muslim population, Moroccans comprise 20% of Spain’s immigrants, with most well-integrated into Spanish society.

Nevertheless, there is no active immigration policy with the objective of integrating asylum seekers into Spanish society. Furthermore, illegal immigrants are frequently housed in prisons due to a lack of room at the Foreigner Internment Centers (Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros). Although the Spanish government supported the EU system for the reallocation of refugees, the number of refugees accepted by Spain during 2017 has been very low.
June 2017, Salvador Llaudes: “Reasons to be proud” /2017/06/27/inenglish/1498560440_80 5094.html
Migrant Integration Policy Index (2015)
Due to the country’s colonial history, the United Kingdom has a large share of ethnic minorities (approximately 14% of the population), and integration has long been an important area of government policy. However, while the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 imposed the general duty to promote race equality on all public authorities, the United Kingdom has not developed a formal integration program. The focus has been more on the protection of minorities than on the integration of migrants, but that is because the United Kingdom has a preference for multiculturalism. There are both regional and ethnic differences in integration, with some cities and smaller towns having concentrations of populations of distinct ethnic groups, and tensions over access to public housing and public services in localities where recent immigrants have concentrated.

The Equality Act 2006 merged three existing bodies (including the Commission for Racial Equality) into a new Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). The EHRC is an umbrella organization, which attempts to enforce integration and equality across several dimensions, such as ethnicity. In recent years, attempts to create a national narrative around “Britishness” were aimed at changing from an ethnocentric concept of citizenship to a more civic one. Despite the anti-immigration narrative of the UK Independence Party and the tensions associated with the refugee crisis (particularly concerning the refugee camp near Calais), in high-profile cases (e.g., cases involving celebrities or police officers) where racist language was used, the perpetrators have been roundly condemned.

Attempts to increase diversity in parliament have been promoted by both major parties. As a consequence, public life reflects society more today than it did two decades ago. However, in public bodies, such as the police, concerns remain that minority ethnic groups are under-represented.

During and shortly after the Brexit referendum in 2015, there was an increase in anti-immigrant rhetoric and racially motivated crimes. Although it subsequently declined, it then rose again after the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester in 2017. Bodies such as the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) and Human Rights Watch have expressed concern. It is, however, important to stress that British society remains broadly hostile to discrimination and that policy remains supportive of the integration of migrants.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Report 08. Jul 2016.

United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: CERD/C/GBR/CO/21-23.

European Commission against Racism and Intolerance: ECRI Report on the United Kingdom, 4 October 2016.
Cultural, education and social policies do not focus on integrating migrants into society.
While the integration of past waves of migrants, possibly exceeding one million, had not been accomplished by the beginning of the period under review, the problem of refugees and irregular migrants, crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Turkey to the islands of the Aegean, continued to grow.

The agreement concluded in March 2016 between the European Union and Turkey, which bound Turkey to limit the flow of refugees passing to Greece and on to Europe, was only partially implemented. Turkey complained that it had not received the promised levels of financial aid from the European Union in exchange for its cooperation on this issue. Meanwhile, the European Union clearly distanced itself from the Erdogan regime, particularly after the aborted coup d’état in July 2016 in Turkey.

Refugee camps which had been constructed in 2016 on Greek islands close to Turkey, such as Lesvos, Chios and Samos, quickly overflowed. Financial and other resources devoted to hosting the refugees and personnel rapidly proved inadequate. In the period under review, the number of refugees and irregular migrants entering Greece, after a brief decline, increased again. In the span of one month (October 2017) approximately 3,500 refugees crossed the sea and landed on Greek islands. Port authority officers registered incoming refugees, doctors and nurses of public hospitals offered medical help, and island residents offered food. NGOs continue to provide significant support, as the situation has overwhelmed local Greek authorities. However, this valuable support to desperate people, arriving on Greece’s shores in small boats, does not amount to their integration into education and social life.

The integration of migrants into the education system has been functional in primary and secondary education. However, in the period under review, there was social turmoil in cities around Greece due to the participation of refugee children in social activities outside of the classroom. In a few cases, associations of Greek parents reacted negatively to the enrollment of children with migrant backgrounds in the same schools as their own children.

As for social integration, this was never a strong point of Greek migration policy. With the exception of Albanians, who probably constitute more than half of all migrants in Greece and first came to the country in the early 1990s, the rest of the country’s migrants – including migrants from Asia and Africa – are systematically excluded from Greek society. With regard to cultural integration, it is telling that still there is no official mosque for Muslims in Athens. However, the current government (despite opposition from the junior coalition partner, ANEL) has proven far more willing to liberalize relevant legislation than its predecessor. Law 4332/2015 grants children of foreign nationals the opportunity to gain Greek citizenship as long as they are born and raised in the country.

To sum up, significant problems in terms of policy efficiency remain and policy setbacks are now obvious. Greece still needs to manage the problem of uncontrollable flows of refugees and migrants. This problem has severely strained Greece’s relations with its neighboring countries. It is a problem that obviously cannot be managed individually by the Greek state and will remain unresolved as long as the aforementioned EU-Turkey agreement is not implemented.
Data is drawn on Greek press reports on the numbers and social situation of arriving refugees. Τwo sources in Greek:
In 2015, Latvia is still ranked second-to-last among 38 European and North American countries in the Migrant Integration Policy Index. The index noted that Latvia still has the weakest policies among European Union member states.

In 2016, 350 persons applied for asylum in Latvia. Only 23 were granted refugee status and 222 received alternative status. Most people who were granted protection status were from Syria, Russia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

In 2015, Latvia convened a working group charged with creating a coherent policy for accepting and integrating larger numbers of refugees as part of a burden-sharing process reflecting the broader European refugee crisis.

On 11 October 2011, Latvia adopted the Guidelines on National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy (2012 – 2018). These guidelines established a set of policy goals for achieving a more inclusive and cohesive society, which include new policy proposals, increased governmental support and improved institutional arrangements. Latvia faces challenges in integrating two particular categories of immigrants: migrant workers and non-citizens. Non-citizens are long-term residents of Latvia who were not eligible for citizenship when Latvia regained its independence from the Soviet Union and have not been naturalized since independence. Non-citizens comprise 11.43% of the total population. The Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs indicates that there are 89,023 migrant workers (i.e., individuals holding either a temporary or permanent residence permit) in Latvia; they comprise 4.5% of the total population.

Since July 2010, Latvia has granted temporary residence permits to investors meeting monetary investment targets. Between 2010 and mid-2015, 15,820 temporary residence permits were issued. In September 2014, parliament doubled the minimum investment required to attain a temporary residence permit resulting in a significant drop in demand for these types of permits.

Rights for immigrants depend on the type of residency permit. Individuals holding a temporary residency permit are particularly vulnerable, as they do not qualify for public health care, legal aid or unemployment support. An individual holding a permanent residency permit or who has acquired long-term resident status within the European Union has the same rights as Latvian non-citizens.

In May 2013, Latvia adopted changes to its citizenship law that legalized dual citizenship with 38 countries. This will enable some permanent residents to retain their current citizenship if they choose to apply for Latvian citizenship.

As of March 2010, all children, including children of migrant workers holding temporary residence permits, have access to free education.

No restrictions are placed on the right to work for high skilled migrant workers, foreign students or immigrants who have moved for family reasons. However, access to the local labor market is restricted for migrant workers who have obtained only a temporary residence permit. These individuals’ work rights are tied to the employer who invited them to Latvia. Temporary migrant workers do not have the ability to freely change employers or their position within the company.

Access to the labor market also depends on language proficiency, as a certain level of language skill is required by law for many professions. This is true of state and local government institutions as well as commercial companies in which the majority of capital shares are publicly owned. Moreover, in late 2017, politicians from the National Alliance party called for legislation to strengthen the importance of the Latvian language in the private (primarily service) sector.

Legislative obstacles restrict the ability for immigrants to participate in society. Migrants do not have voting rights in local elections and cannot be members of political associations. Third-country nationals with temporary residence permits cannot organize protests or marches.
1. Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (2017). Statistics – Asylum seekers. Available at: Last assessed 10.10.2017

2. Policy Report: Migration and Asylum in Latvia 2014 (in Latvian). Kitija Kursa. European Migration Network. Last assessed 21.11.2015.

3. Policy Brief: Immigration in Latvia. Dace Akule and Indra Mangule, Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS (2014), Available at: Last assessed 22.11.2015.

4. Migration Policy Group (2015), Migrant Integration Policy Index, Available at:, Last assessed: 22.11.2015.

5. Guidelines on National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy (2012 – 2018), Available at (in Latvian):, Last assessed: 20.05.2013.
South Korea
Since the 1990s, South Korea has evolved from a net-emigration to a net-immigration society. In 2016, foreign nationals residing in Korea accounted for approximately 4% of the total population of 51 million. Within this foreign-national population, about 1 million come from China, with the share of Vietnam and U.S. nationals trailing well behind (at about 150,000 each). South Koreans are used to seeing their country as culturally and ethnically homogeneous, but the number of migrant workers and multicultural marriages is slowly changing this perception. According to the Korean Statistical Information Service, almost 1 million residents live within multicultural families, making Korea an increasingly multicultural society.

Despite the increasing population of migrants and citizens with a family background of migration, as well as improvements in the legal conditions and support provided to multicultural families, the country’s cultural, education and social policies still fail to systematically address the role of migrants in Korea. While ethnic Koreans with foreign passports, foreign investors and highly educated foreigners are welcomed and treated favorably, Amnesty International reports that migrant blue-collar workers are often treated as “disposable labor.” From a legal perspective, migrant workers have very similar rights to native Korean employees, but these rights are routinely neglected by employers. While courts have offered some protection to migrant workers, the government has not pursued active enforcement measures against employers that exploit the precarious status of migrant workers.
HanKyung. No. of Foreign Nationals Residing in Korea Exceeds 2 million in 2016. June 22, 2017.
Korea Herald, Multicultural familes left out in election, as always. May 3, 2017. Transformation into a Multicultural Society.
Sang-young Rhyu. “The Challenge of Social Integration in South Korea,” Global Asia, Vol.12, No.2 (Summer 2017), 30-35.
Yonhap News. Reasons for expecting new government multicultural policy. August 29, 2017.
Segye Daily.
Prior to the Trump presidency, on the basis of data provided by the Migrant Integration Policy Index, the United States was ranked ninth out of 31 analyzed countries with regard to overall integration policy, but first with respect to anti-discrimination laws and protection. The United States also ranked high on the access-to-citizenship scale, because it encourages immigrants to become citizens. Legal immigrants enjoy good (but often low-paid) employment opportunities and educational opportunities. However, the United States does less well with regard to family reunification. Many legal permanent residents cannot obtain visas for other family members.

A large fraction of the immigration to the United States has consisted of illegal immigrants, most of whom have crossed the border from Mexico and who may live, work and pay taxes in the United States for their entire adult lives without ever becoming legal residents. These illegal immigrants account for nearly one-third of the immigrant population, numbering 12 million to 15 million individuals or 3% to 4% of the country’s overall population. They have in effect been tolerated (and even virtually invited by the ease of illegal entry) for their economic contributions, often as agricultural workers or in low-paying service occupations. Children of illegal immigrants attend public schools and businesses that employ illegal immigrants have not been subject to effective sanctions.

Events in 2016 and 2017 profoundly increased the insecurities faced by large categories of immigrants. In 2016, the federal courts blocked an Obama administration order that would have allowed several million current undocumented immigrants to remain in the country indefinitely.

The Trump administration has taken numerous major actions on immigration during 2017. The administration has banned nationals of eight countries, most majority-Muslim, from entering the United States and reduced refugee admissions to the lowest level since the resettlement program was created in 1980. In comparison to the last two years of the Obama administration, the new administration increased arrests of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. interior. The administration also canceled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which is currently providing work authorization and temporary relief from deportation to approximately 690,000 unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children. The U.S. government also ended the designation of Temporary Protected Status for nationals of Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan, and signaled that Hondurans and possibly Salvadorans may also lose their work authorization and protection from removal in 2018.

Even more concerning, both as a presidential candidate and as president, Donald Trump has made intense, categorical opposition to immigration a centerpiece of his policy agenda. It is difficult to say how this active hostility toward immigration at the presidential level will affect, for example, educational and job opportunities and support for legal immigrants. In any case, Muslim, Latino, and other immigrant communities have experienced a massive increase in uncertainty about their status and acceptance.
Migration Policy Institute (December 2017), Immigration under Trump: A Review of Policy Shifts in the Year Since the Election, (accessed December 2017)
In 2017, Cyprus’s labor force included 20.4% migrants, 13% other EU nationals and 7.4% non-EU citizens. This is indicative of significant changes since 1989, when the granting of temporary working permits commenced. Despite very restrictive policies, the flow of workers continued, initially from Southeast Asia, Central Europe and after 2004 from the EU. Policy changes and some integration projects have taken place, but a comprehensive integration policy is missing.

Pressures by the EU and the Council of Europe to comply with European standards have not succeeded in changing existing policies and official rhetoric which do not facilitate long-term integration. The country scores poorly on most indicators, including labor-market access, culture and education, family reunion, political participation and access to citizenship. The 2015 Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) ranks Cyprus third-last among 38 countries. In its 2016 report, The European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) notes a series of recommendations to amend laws and practices and for the adoption of a comprehensive plan on integration of various groups in the country.

In the framework of EU programs, some local authorities are running integration projects. However, laws are not favorable to market access or long-term labor-market integration. Non-native workers enjoy limited rights in many areas, with non-EU citizens facing time limits on working permits that preclude any ability to obtain long-term resident status. The crisis is also driving non-native workers into unemployment, and tens of thousands of these workers have left the island during 2013 and 2014. Non-EU citizens are at a very high risk (2016: 44%) for poverty and exclusion.

Some recent policies aim at providing education to all children as part of the compulsory education scheme, including access to language classes. These efforts, along with timid family-reunification policies, remain insufficient for achieving integration. The latter introduce restrictive criteria such as fulltime employment, high fees and limited access to the labor market by dependents.

Government officials have stated support for prioritizing the employment of Cypriots, which increases pressures on immigrants in the labor market. Also, there are few opportunities for non-EU migrants to participate in democratic life or to attain citizenship. The authorities, however, offer citizenship to very wealthy investors or depositors.
1. Cyprus assessment by MIPEX,
2. Council of Europe, ECRI Report on Cyprus, 2016,
Czech Rep.
Compared with other East-Central European countries, the Czech Republic has experienced relatively high levels of immigration since EU accession, with the number continuing to slowly rise. From December 2016 to June 2017, the number of foreigners increased from 496,413 to 509,963 foreigners. The largest immigrant group consists of Ukrainians, followed by Vietnamese and Russians. Asylum applications are low, at 1,478 in 2016 with 148 asylum cases granted and 302 cases of supplementary protection.

The Ministry of Interior annually submits a report to the cabinet on the migration and integration of foreigners. Integration centers exist in all regions of the Czech Republic. Some immigrant support has been provided over the years by municipal authorities and NGOs, with recent emphasis on language courses, social events, and employment. However, the processing of residential applications of immigrants remains slow and the acquisition of Czech citizenship remains complicated. Many foreign workers are employed in the shadow economy or by temp agencies, offering temporary and often unstable work with pay levels significantly below those of Czech employees. Even with the current labor force shortage, the situation is not improving.

Although the Czech Republic is not located on one of the major routes used by refugees for coming to Western Europe, the European refugee crisis has stirred a strong and highly polarized debate on migration and integration. The right-wing extremist camp has shifted its focus from anti-Roma to anti-Islam and anti-refugee agendas, and President Zeman and the media have also nurtured the discourse against refugees. These attitudes contributed to the significant electoral success of parties exploiting the migration issue in the October 2017 parliamentary elections.

Beger, P. (2018): Europäisierungsprodukt oder eigene Handschrift? Entstehung und Entwicklung der tschechischen Migrationspolitik, in: A. Lorenz, H. Formánková (Hrsg.), Das politische System Tschechiens. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 201-222.
The legal status of immigrants in Israel is based on the Law of Return (1950), the Law of Citizenship (1952) and the Law of Entrance to Israel (1952). These constitute strict conditions for gaining citizenship, allowing Jewish immigration to receive a permanent legal status as part of the Zionist vision. While still relevant, it is unable to offer a constructive framework for dealing with current global immigration challenges including Palestinian or African immigration to Israel. In the absence of a coherent framework for general immigration, immigration policy is de facto established by ad hoc decisions, harming the state and immigrants alike. For example, Israel’s Supreme Court recently issued an order to all employers of illegal immigrants to pay a retroactive 20% tax, imposing a serious financial burden for many small businesses.

A 2014 state comptroller report exposed potentially dangerous consequences of this lack of policy. These include illegal construction and infrastructure that poses security risks in dense urban areas and a lack of access to proper health and housing needs for immigrants. Policy solutions so far, including a law on “illegal migrants” that focuses on barriers, detention centers and transfer agreements, deal with a small portion of the estimated immigrant population and neglect its weakest members such as battered women, victims of human trafficking and children. Furthermore, since these immigrants are not officially recognized, it is unlikely that a policy for monitoring and facilitating their inclusion will be developed.

In February 2016, the Knesset passed the government’s fourth policy in the last few years addressing African migrants who arrive in Israel illegally. The policy permits the placement of migrants in a combination of closed and open detention centers for up to 12 months. Recently, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal against deportation of illegal migrants to a third country, thus making this practice legal.

There are approximately 40,000 illegal immigrants in Israel. In December 2017, the Knesset approved a new program backed by the Netanyahu government paving the way for forced deportations beginning in April 2018.

In the last significant wave of Jewish immigration during the 1990s, the vast majority of immigrants came from the former USSR and Ethiopia. Since cultural barriers create challenges for integration into Israeli society, the state offered a wide support infrastructure through education and employment programs, legal aid and so forth. The Jewish Agency, a statutory authority, is responsible for Jewish immigrants’ welfare as they arrive, while providing them with financial aid during the implementation of immigrant policies is the responsibility of the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption.

Policies in recent years have mainly included tax breaks and subsidies. Individual committees have been formed to study the social aspects of immigration, with the aim of improving working methods. However, as noted by the Knesset’s Committee for “immigration, absorption and diaspora affairs,” a relatively small proportion of these committees’ recommendations is implemented.

Since the big wave of immigration in the 1990s, the majority of the new immigrants have been integrated into the community in what is called a “direct integration track.” More than 1 million immigrants have been dealt with in this way. This track represented a privatization of immigrant absorption, and a major change in the policies relating to immigrant rights.
Bar-On, Guy, “The Only Country that Fines Refugees,” The Marker, 24.9.2017,

“Enlarged assistance to native Ethiopians,” The Ministry of Construction and Housing website (Hebrew)

“Foreigners who cannot be deported from Israel,” State comptroller, 2014 (Hebrew):

Leshem, Elazar, “The Reform in the Absorption Policy”16.8.2007,

Lior, Ilan, “Israel Jails Hundreds of African Asylum-Seekers Without Trial Every Year,” Haaretz 24.9.2017,

Rosenberg, David, “Israel prepares to deport African infiltrators, issues warnings,” 04.02.2018,

Kershner, Isabel, “Israel Moves to Expel Africans. Critics Say That’s Not Jewish“, 02.02.2018,
It is only recently that Malta has begun to consolidate its policy approach to integration. Indeed, in 2017 the EU singled out four states – one of them Malta – for having no integration action plan for non-Europeans. Under the current government, the Ministry for European Affairs and Equality is responsible for the integration of migrants. Meanwhile, the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum-Seekers is responsible for the provision of some services, including employment, housing, education, health care, and welfare information. The agency is also a facilitator between public services and serves as a pre-integration functionary. The office of Refugee Commissioner also spearheads important initiatives, such as the new Initial Reception Centers, creation of a work registration system under Jobsplus and detention policy reform. A new integration unit will offer courses to migrants in Maltese and English as well as social culture. The unit will also accept and facilitate integration requests. The courses will make participants eligible for a “pre-integration” certificate that will facilitate their request for long-term residency. Government has pledged to publish a national strategy on integration within a year.

In his recent address to the UN General Assembly, the prime minister stressed the importance of a broader global response toward human trafficking networks in the Mediterranean.

The number of migrants granted subsidiary or humanitarian protections is very high and UNHCR figures indicate a rejection rate of 13.5% for the period ending August 2017. In 2016, the government introduced a new migration strategy which terminated the practice of automatic detention. Moreover, refugees and asylum-seekers granted protection are eligible for unemployment benefits. These reforms aim to lessen the hardship on migrants seeking work and their own accommodation. Furthermore, the Malta Declaration was signed by all EU state leaders in February 2017 as the first step toward concrete solutions to combat illegal migrant routes in the Mediterranean.

Nonetheless, integration policies remain weak. Under the Migrants Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) 2015 Malta ranked 33 out of 38 countries and classified its policies as “Slightly unfavorable” for the purposes of integration, stating that non-EU residents are less likely to reunite with family, become long-term residents with equal rights, and become citizens in Malta than in almost any other MIPEX country. Delaying family reunion delays the integration of these families and their sponsor. Evidence of poverty and homelessness among migrants indicates the need for government to allocate more resources to this group, as the percentage of the foreign population in Malta at risk of poverty and social exclusion increased between 2005 and 2013. The issue of citizenship also needs to be urgently reassessed for the children of asylum-seekers born in Malta, these children currently have no right to citizenship. Malta has signed but not ratified the European Convention on Nationality to address the acquisition of citizenship through naturalization.

A recent protest in a Maltese locality with a large migrant presence sheds light on the difficulties of community integration as ethnic and racial discrimination remains rife.
Times of Malta 30/10/2016 ‘We are dealing with humans not categories’ - New Refugee Commissioner interviewed
The Malta Independent 22/09/2017 ‘Malta can be beacon of political courage for others,’ Muscat tells United Nations
Times of Malta 03/01/2016 New migration strategy is a step in right direction – NGOs
Times of Malta 16/03/2017 National integration strategy should be published this year
Times of Malta 10/12/16 Man’s death under bridge highlights poverty and homelessness among migrants
Television Malta 17/09/2017 UPDATED: Protest in Marsa against criminality by immigrants
The Malta Independent 15/08/2017 Malta listed as one of 20 EU countries where risk of modern slavery is rising
Times of Malta 01/10/17 Government Plans Culture, Language lessons for Migrants
The People for change foundation (2017) Ethnic Minorities Beyond Migration: The Case of Malta.
The People for Change Foundation, Briefing Note: How to Score Better on MIPEX
The People for change Foundations Migration in Malta 2016 Report
Aditus, NGO Submissions to the Public Consultation on National Migration Integration Strategy 2015 -2020
Successive governments have done little to foster the integration of migrants into society by opening up health services and schools, offering anti-discrimination support or encouraging political participation. In June 2015, however, the National Assembly adopted new legislation on foreign employment that improved protections for foreign workers employed in Slovenia, and as of 1 September 2015, foreign workers receive a unified work and residency permit. As a result of the economic crisis, the number of work permits for foreigners dropped from 85,000 in 2008 to a mere 7,033 in 2016 and began to increase once again – albeit slowly – in 2017, when 7,919 permits were issued already in the first eight months of the year. The Cerar government reacted to the inflow of almost 500,000 refugees from October 2015 to March 2016 by pushing for the closure of the Western Balkans route. It has also sought to reduce refugee protection by allowing for the rejection of migrants already at border crossings. The adopted amendments to the Aliens Act have been criticized by organizations such as Amnesty International, the Red Cross and Unicef for denying refugees rights guaranteed under international and EU law.
Slovenian Times (2017): National Assembly passes aliens act amendments. January 27, 2017 (
Bulgaria does not have a developed policy for integrating migrants, largely because the country has only been a transit point for migration flows to other EU countries. According to estimates, the share of migrants in the total population amounts to less than 1%, with most migrants being people of traditional Bulgarian origin from neighboring countries.

The influx of refugees in the wake of the Syrian crisis has demonstrated that accommodations for the migrants have been extremely poor; food, clothing and heating have been generally insufficient; and no real attempts have been undertaken to integrate migrants into the local society. In many municipalities, the local population has risen in protest against hosting migrants in their vicinity and against the prospect of migrant children attending local schools, thereby exacerbating the integration problems. These public attitudes contributed to the strong showing of nationalistic and xenophobic parties in the national elections in 2016 and 2017, and to the inclusion of the National Patriotic Front in the governing coalition.

Bulgaria’s policy is focused on trying to prevent migrants from entering the country rather than improving the coordination of and mechanisms for accommodating and integrating them. In fact, the country continues to pursue segregation in areas such as education, where language proficiency requirements prevent most refugee/migrant children from enrolling in school, and the presence of nationalists in the government has increased this tendency.
Amnesty International (2018): Bulgaria Report 2017/2018. London (

Bordermonitoring Bulgaria (
Migration to Croatia is largely limited to ethnic Croats from neighboring countries, who are de facto integrated and have citizenship and equal access to labor market, social system and education. Other groups of migrants are very small and there is no policy directed at integrating them. Integration is complicated by weak inter-sectoral cooperation of institutions responsible for carrying out immigration issues with local communities and civil society organizations. The treatment of returnees from among the 200,000 Croat citizens of Serbian ethnicity expelled from the country in 1995 represents a significant gap in migration policy. More than 20,000 minority returnees still have outstanding housing, reconstruction and civil-status issues to resolve, with most returnee families needing legal counseling to help them gain access to their basic rights. Many refugees have not been able to return to Croatia, as they were stripped of their rights to socially owned housing after the war.

Since 2016, Croatia has drifted away from its originally relatively compassionate and humane treatment of refugees taking the Balkan route. The closing of the borders in Hungary and other neighboring countries has created fears that the country might become a rallying point for refugees. As of late 2016, Croatia began pushing refugees back across the green border to Serbia. An amendment to the Act on Foreigners that became effective in June 2017 has criminalized demonstrating solidarity with refugees by making it punishable by law to assist irregular foreign nationals in accessing basic needs, such as housing, health, sanitation or food, except in cases of medical and humanitarian emergencies or life-threatening situations.
Amnesty International (2018): Croatia 2017/2018 (

Šabić, S. Š. (2017): The Impact of the Refugee Crisis in the Balkans: A Drift Towards Security, in: Journal of Regional Security 12(1): 51-74.
The refugee crisis has proven that Hungary is still primarily a transit country with only a small number of migrants who want to stay in the country. The fragile economic situation, low wages, a difficult language and a government-orchestrated xenophobic public climate are deterrents. While the integration of ethnic Hungarians from neighboring countries – above all from Romania, Serbia and Ukraine – has gone fairly smoothly, the integration of other migrants remains a controversial process. The Orbán government has fiercely refused the integration of non-Europeans and non-Christians as a lethal danger to Hungarian national culture and identity. In September 2017 the European Court of Justice refused the Hungarian – and Slovak – attempt to sue the EU over quota arrangements, but it is still uncertain how the Orbán government will react to this decision.

The Orbán government’s tough stance on refugees contrasts with the government’s Hungarian Investment Immigration Program. In this framework, non-EU citizens can get Hungarian passports for investing in the country. So far, the government has collected €403 million from these residency bonds issued for twenty thousand persons, many of them from China. This business has been organized by the Antal Rogán, the head of prime minister’s cabinet office, and managed by Fidesz close offshore companies accumulating a large amount of private profit from this business. Because of protest against this intransparent scheme, the business was allegedly suspended in March 2017, but still seems to be going on in some ways.
Helpers HU (2018): Hungarian Investment Immigration Program. Budapest (
In spite of its aging and shrinking population (which is forecast to fall by more than half to 52 million by 2100 if the current low birth rate persists and immigration remains heavily restricted), Japan still maintains a very restrictive immigration policy. Still, the number of legal foreign residents hit a record high of 2.38 million at the end of 2016.

One of the few exceptions are bilateral economic-partnership pacts that have allowed Filipino and Indonesian nurses and caregivers to enter Japan on a temporary basis since 2008.

The LDP-led government has relaxed some immigration restrictions with the aim of attracting highly skilled foreign professionals. Under a new program dubbed the “green card for highly skilled professionals,” it is possible to apply for permanent residence after residing in Japan for five years.

Since mid-2017, non-Japanese residents have been able to draw pensions after 10 years of paying contributions, rather than after 25 years as previously.

Recently, more voices within the LDP have stressed the need to reconsider Japan’s approach to foreign labor in view of Japan’s labor shortages. Nevertheless, the Japanese government still appears reluctant to embrace the idea of a full-fledged immigration policy, and has proceeded quietly on the issue. The nationalistic viewpoints held by many LDP lawmakers pose particular challenges.

Given Japan’s restrictive approach to immigration, there is little integration policy as such. Local governments and NGOs offer language courses and other assistance to foreign residents, but such support often remains rudimentary, especially outside the metropolitan centers.
Kazuyoshi Harada, Japan’s Closed-Door Refugee Policy, feature, 19 May 2015,

Himeda Konatsu, Easier Permanent Residency for Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals – Is Japan Ready?,, 11 April 2017,

Record 2.38 million foreign residents living in Japan in 2016, Japan Times, 17 March 2017,
Mexican integration policy remains weak to nonexistent. The dominant cultural narrative in Mexico tends to assume that migration means emigration. Mexico was and remains a major source of emigration, but has not effectively addressed problems related to immigration that have been steadily increasing during the last 15 to 20 years. There is no problem with “middle-class” European and U.S. migration to Mexico. Indeed immigration of this kind is broadly welcomed and has been increasing – albeit from a very low level. A number of wealthy U.S. citizens retire in secure areas in Mexico where the climate is better and health services are cheaper. However, there are serious problems related to migrants entering Mexico from Central America, especially Guatemala, with most seeking entry to the United States and a minority wanting to stay in Mexico. Few are able to acquire formal documentation. In their desperation, such people are often preyed upon by criminals or even recruited into local drug gangs. Homicide rates are also high among this group. The Mexican authorities mostly do not welcome this kind of immigration and do their best to discourage it. However, there is no effective integration, transit or migration policy to deal with these issues. Mexican authorities also downplay the incidence of criminal attacks on Central American immigrants, although the international media has cast a spotlight on this population’s predicament.

Additionally, since 2016 a wave of Haitian immigrants increased pressure on northern cities to guarantee their safety while they waited to cross the border to the U.S. In 2017, many of those immigrants remained in Mexico as the U.S. stopped granting them immigration hearings. Many stayed in Mexico’s northern cities, supported by non-governmental organizations that maintain shelters. These organizations have also advocated for the respect of human rights and for the government to follow due process. However, this has not changed the securitized perspective the federal government holds on the issue.

More efforts are also needed in the integration of young “returnees:” young Mexican nationals or children of Mexican nationals who come to Mexico after living in the United States, either voluntarily or through deportation. This issue becomes particularly relevant as the Trump administration decided to terminate DACA. Many of these students are not fluent in Spanish and have problems integrating into Mexican schools since they have studied under a different school system utilizing different teaching and evaluation methodologies. The Mexican education system is not ready to provide sufficient resources to improve these students’ language skills and their sense of belonging. As the Trump administration tightens migration policies, Mexico can expect an increase in young returnees. It must be ready to successfully integrate them in the education system through specialized programs and resources.
Until 2015, issues related to Poland as a sending country featured far more prominently on the political agenda than issues related to Poland as a receiving country of migrants. About 2.5 million Poles live abroad, 4.7% more than in 2015. Migration to Poland has been relatively low, Ukrainians and Vietnamese make up the largest group of migrants to the country, with the number of Ukrainians working in Poland estimated at one million. But when Europe faced a larger influx of migrants than usual in the summer of 2015, Poland was one of the countries that objected to the integration of refugees and other migrants, especially from countries with a predominantly Muslim population. In many public speeches and on other occasions, PiS representatives denounced Muslim immigrants as potential terrorists, health risks and a threat to Polish culture and society. In 2017, the parliament amended the Act on Foreigners with a view to making the domestic institutional framework for dealing with immigrants harsher again. Asylum-seekers – 95% of whom come from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine – are held in guarded shelters until a decision on their applications is taken. The Catholic Church, which initially had not been very supportive to refugees, seems to have changed its position. On several occasions, priests have publicly asked for more solidarity with refugees.
While the share of foreigners in the Slovak population is still relatively low compared to most other EU countries, the inflow of migrants has increased in recent years. The 105,000 foreigners living in Slovakia in 2017 accounted for 1.92% of the population. More than half were workers; about 40% of came from Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland or Ukraine. From January to June 2017, the Slovak Republic granted asylum to 18 people.

Despite the growing labor shortage, the second and third Fico governments have done little to develop consistent and sustainable policies for migrant integration. The second Fico government passed a new document on integration policy that largely embraced the Common Basic Principles for Immigrant Integration Policy in the European Union. Largely implementing EU directives, the third Fico government reduced barriers to the arrival, stay and employment of foreigners from outside the European Union by an amendment to the Act on Residence of Foreigners that went into effect on 1 November 2016. In the context of the EU refugee crisis, Prime Minister Fico has continued to oppose mandatory quotas for distributing refugees within the European Union. He filed a law suit against the European Council for adopting the quota mechanism in December 2015, which was eventually dismissed by the European Court of Justice in September 2017. During the 2016 election campaign, Fico instrumentalized the issue of migration and fueled anti-refugee sentiments by implicitly linking refugees to the threat of terrorism. In May 2016, shortly before Slovakia took over the EU presidency, Fico stated that “Islam has no place in this country.”
International Organization for Migration / Office for the Slovak Republic (2018): Migration in Slovakia. Bratislava (

Terenzani, M. (2017): Refugee quota lawsuit is dead, in: Slovak Spectator, September 6, 2017 (
Cultural, education and social policies segregate migrant communities from the majority society.
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