Starting 2016, the Migration Policy Group is the coordinating research partner for a six-year long monitoring of refugee integration in 14 EU member states. The National Integration Evaluation Mechanism (NIEM) evaluates policies according to the needs and situation of beneficiaries of international protection and asylum seekers. Assessments completed in 2017, 2019 and 2021 will contribute to national and European debates on improved refugee integration and provide governments with evidence for more efficient and effective policies.
Funded from the EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), the NIEM project builds on the Pilot Refugee Integration Tool developed in collaboration with UNHCR Budapest and MPG’s experience designing the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) and participating in international debates on integration indicators. Led by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) in Warsaw, partners in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain contribute to NIEM and further national alliances for better and faster refugee integration across Europe.
- Set priorities to improve the state of refugee integration
- Build national capacity to gather data and evaluate policies
- Build relationships to mainstream refugees into the relevant public policies and services
- Plug into greater national and EU support for mutual learning and policy improvement
The integration evaluation tool comprises twelve sets of indicators, covering governance, legal, socio-economic and socio-cultural aspects of refugee integration, and thus every aspect of the daily life of beneficiaries of international protection and asylum seekers. It captures their particular needs, vulnerabilities, but also their unique opportunities for integration. It asks questions like:
- Do their jobs meet their skills and qualifications?
- What can refugees do if they can’t travel home to get documents?
- Are they placed in housing and towns that helps them participate in society?
- Do education authorities know about the special needs of vulnerable pupils like unaccompanied minors?
- Do all beneficiaries of international protection have access to an effective nationality?
It links up the different types of indicators needed to evaluate the implementation and impact of policy, while highlighting the special needs and opportunities for beneficiaries of international protection.
The Integration Evaluation Tool pilot was implemented in 2012/13 in four countries – Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Four domains were being evaluated in this phase: refugees’ access to education, to employment, to housing and to family reunification. The pilot was part of UNHCR’s Refugee Integration: Capacity and Evaluation project, co-financed by the European Refugee Fund. The project aimed to develop effective, reliable and sustainable data collection methods and internal review mechanisms, identifying gaps and good practices as well as building the capacity of the various actors involved in refugee integration. The project also aimed to help develop effective refugee integration programmes, improve the quality and level of refugee integration and rally more support by fostering partnerships between governments, civil society, business, academia and other actors. At the end of the project, the findings, gaps and good practices were made available in thematic reports and regional roundtable discussions.
The User’s Guide, entitled ‘EU support for integration: what about beneficiaries of international protection? A User’s Guide to EU Standards, Funds and Cooperation’ is a 53-page guide, written by MPG Policy Analyst, Thomas Huddleston, critically analysing EU standards, financial instruments and methods of cooperation in the field of integration. It gives 30 recommendations to all levels, from the European Commission, national governments and municipalities down to refugee organisations themselves.