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Integration & Diversity

About our integration and diversity programme

MPG’s Integration and Diversity programme is committed to promoting an environment where diversity is recognised and valued. Migrants are entering societies which are themselves changing and becoming more diverse.

The Integration and Diversity programme is aimed at:

  • Promoting effective diversity strategies
  • Removing integration obstacles
  • Promoting active citizenship
  • Enhancing the capacity of stakeholders

In a strategic approach to diversity, the responsiveness of mainstream institutions and organisations to the challenges and advantages of Europe’s diverse populations is key. Responsiveness means meeting the challenge of providing products and services that reflect the diversity of society, and harnessing the full potential of that diversity to contribute to socio-economic arrangements and processes.

A citizens-centred approach offering multiple pathways to citizenship, leading ultimately to the acquisition of nationality, encourages active participation in society as well as increasing openness among the general public enabling all members of society to shape the shared future of a diverse society.

Tools include:

  • Peer review
  • Handbooks
  • Indicators
  • Benchmarking methods

highlighted projects

diversity and integration work in use

EU Agency CEDEFOP looks into guidance for immigrants to close employment and education gaps

Logo_CedefopThe EU’s CEDEFOP Agency in Thessaloniki, Greece has recently published a study on delivering labour market integration guidance to immigrants, using MIPEX as a reference guide. In its introduction about why study guidance for immigrants, CEDEFOP recommends that “The strategy adopted by national states for the resident immigrant population should combat labour market mismatch, youth disengagement from education and training, and adopt an inclusive strategy that considers the needs of groups and of subgroups at greater risk, particularly women children, the EWSI-ID-employers_portfoliounemployed and those with low qualifications. A publication from the European Commission (2013) highlights that the education and labour market outcomes for nationals and immigrants are still substantially different. Generally, immigrants have lower employment levels, suffer from greater youth disengagement from education (especially among the children of the less qualified) and are at greater risk of poverty and social exclusion.

The same study suggests that if the current gap between the national and immigrant population is closed, substantial progress will be made towards the EU 2020 targets. In countries with large shares of immigrants, such as Belgium Germany, Greece, Italy and the Netherlands, the contribution of the immigrant share can reach 50% on employment, early leaving and poverty risk targets

For more, see here.

EU begins more regular in-depth analysis of migrant integration indicators

Eurostat_LogoEurostat, the EU’s Statistical Office, has begun to regularly publish detailed reports on the annual migrant integration indicators (also known as the EU’s ‘Zaragoza’ Indicators). The publication is a detailed ‘Statistics Explained’ report and includes key charts and raw data and as well as references to relevant studies, including MIPEX and the OECD.

This information on Labour market migrant integration indicators are the first in a planned series of publications on migrant integration, including social inclusion and education, to be released in Autumn this year.

Furthermore, a multiannual publication on migrant integration indicators will be published jointly by the EU and the OECD in the first quarter of 2015, building on the OECD’s 2012 ‘Settling In’ Report.

This way forward follows the recommendations in MPG’s 2013 report with ESN on Using EU Indicators of Immigrant Integration. Based on desk research and discussions with around one hundred users from government, academia, and NGOs, the report recommended that the European Commission’s DG Home Affairs and Eurostat can help policymakers better understand the context for integration policymaking by improving the annual publication of the EU indicators through the Eurostat website and a basic descriptive ‘Statistics Explained’ report. The report further suggested that the EU could build on this baseline and push for more evidence-based policymaking through a new multiannual ‘integration report’ with in-depth and multivariate analysis of migrant integration indicators.

diversity and integration Work in Context

What the disenfranchisement of immigrants means for the far right’s chances in the 2015 national elections

EUObserver – an EU news source –  ran today an overview of 2015’s upcoming national elections and the potential challenge posed by far-right and anti-immigrant parties to mainstream parties. They suggest that anti-establishment parties have at least nine chances to shine this year. In a November 2014 editorial, MPG noted that the electoral success of far-right parties is also fuelled by low levels of naturalisation among Europe’s growing immigrant populations. These low levels are greatly influenced by restrictive citizenship policies and a lack of engagement by government and civil society to inform and encourage eligible immigrants. So what might be the impact of this democratic deficit on 2015’s national elections? Using the latest available statistical data from the OECD and Eurostat, MPG has assembled the following chart:

What the disenfranchisement of immigrants means for the far right’s chances in the 2015 national elections  [Compatibility Mode] -

Hardly any voters support far-right parties in Estonia, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. Thanks to the 2006 Portuguese Nationality Law Reform, most long-settled immigrants and their descendants can now participate in the upcoming national elections. In the absence of similar reforms in Estonia and Spain, less than half of long-settled immigrants – and – approximately half of the second generation – will be ineligible to vote. Despite the Irish government’s efforts to facilitate naturalisation, large numbers of both long-settled non-EU and EU citizens have not naturalised. Immigrants and their descendants make up a sizeable share of the overall population in these countries, except Poland. The registration and turnout of new citizen voters will be especially important in Ireland, Spain and Portugal since most naturalisations happened within the past five years.

Sizeable shares of voters have supported far-right parties in national and especially European elections in Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, the Netherlands, and the UK. In all countries but Greece, a majority of long-settled immigrants, especially their descendants, will be eligible to participate in the upcoming national elections, ranging from around half of the first generation in Denmark to three-quarters in the Netherlands. Large numbers in France and the UK will be first time voters – both young second generation adults and immigrants naturalised within the past decade.

Immigrants and their descendants make up as important of a share of the overall population as do far-right voters in France, the Netherlands and the UK. In contrast, the number of voters in recent elections for the Danish People’s Party or True Finns far outnumbers the number of immigrants and their descendants in Denmark or Finland. Thanks to the overturning of Greece’s much praised 2010 Nationality Law Reform, nearly two-thirds of long-settled immigrants – and many within the second generation – are still not citizens of Greece, even though they make up at least 10% of the population.

The citizenship process in Ireland has come a long way but still needs work

Costs and bureaucracy remain barriers to people who wish to become Irish Citizens and should be examined as part of an overall review of the process, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland and Nasc, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre.

The warning comes as 800 people receive their citizenship at a ceremony in University College Cork on Monday, 24th November. In October, 3,100 received their citizenship at ceremonies in Dublin.

The two organisations say that while reforms have ensured that 77,000 people received citizenship during ceremonies over the past 3-years, Ireland still lags behind other European countries and has one of the highest naturalisation fees in the world.

Both are asking the Government to implement four measures:

  • A review of the €175 application fee and €950 for a certificate, this cases great difficulties in the case of families with multiple applications.
  • Clear rules and guidelines for applicants to replace the current system which is almost entirely discretionary
  • The introduction of an appeals system so as people do not have to apply multiple times
  • Special citizenship packs to include voter registration

Denise Charlton, Chief Executive with the Immigrant Council of Ireland, said:

While today there will be joyous scenes and happy memories for 800 citizens with their families and friends the reality is that there is still work to do to ensure people who want to make a commitment to Ireland do not face un-necessary barriers.

Close examination of Europe wide figures show we still lag behind other countries – lying 6th in the EU in terms of rate of citizenship granted to foreign residents which is at 4.6%.

Such a low rate tells us something is wrong and the first thing that should be looked at is the cost of naturalisation with our fees now ranking among the highest in the world.

The Government is quick to point to the reforms which have already been introduced and we acknowledge they have had a positive impact – but if we are honest that is only part of the story and there is still work to do.

Fiona Finn, Chief Executive of Nasc added:

Firstly today is one of celebration for all going to UCC and our call in no way takes away from that. What we want to ensure is that others who will follow those receiving citizenship will have an easier path.

In addition to the costs issue both the Immigrant Council of Ireland and Nasc are seeking clear rules and guidelines to make the process easier to negotiate and to end the almost total reliance on discretion.

The introduction of an appeals system is also important as it would not only allow people to have their application reviewed, but bring clarity which they can use in a renewed bid for citizenship.

We must also ensure that new citizens are active citizens. We believe an information pack including voter registration forms should be presented at ceremonies. Today at UCC members of Nasc will be providing information on voter registration to ensure people can secure their vote.

Citizenship-campaign-model_COVERThe Immigrant Council of Ireland and Nasc are developing a joint citizenship campaign ahead of the forthcoming General Election that is being developed partly as a result of the Immigrant Citizenship Campaigns project funded by Open Society Foundations from February to October 2014.  The campaign will follow up on their previous work on this issue, focusing on providing information about the citizenship application process and supporting people in applying for citizenship, monitoring application refusals, lobbying for important reforms in the citizenship process, encouraging new citizens to register to vote and to engage with their local politicians and political parties, and generally developing a greater sense of belonging for new Irish citizens to promote integration. This is based on the model developed by MPG of citizenship campaigns for immigrants that aims to inform and encourage thousands of immigrants to become citizens, register to vote, participate in politics and turn out for elections.

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