Wednesday, 27.02

BOS 6: Diversity, multiple identities and social inclusion. Best practices in integration.

Workshop
Zeremoniensaal

Christian Strohal, Loren B. Landau, Hass Dellal, Howard Duncan, Ibrahim Kalin, Prof. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Policies that promote the integration of migrants hold the greatest promise to maximise the economic and social benefits of migration and minimise tensions, in particular during eco- nomic crisis. Integration is viewed today as the sum of policies and practices that allow for societies to close the economic, social and cultural gap between non-migrants and migrants and their descendants. Of course, there is still much discussion on how to achieve this goal – the panel will present aspects and tools of successful integration policies in different contexts.

Featuring: Michael Girardi, Director, Federal Ministry of the Interior, Austria

Rapporteur: Christian Strohal

Moderator: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Policies that promote the integration of migrants hold the greatest promise to maximise the economic befits of migration and minimising tensions, in particular during an economic crisis. These policies range from the promotion of diversity in the workplace and in schools to education and urban planning. As pointed out in a study presented by OECD (Gaining from Migration – towards a new mobility system), “today integration is viewed as the totality of policies and practices that allow societies to close the gap between the performance of natives and immigrants and their descendants. Whether in the realm of education, the job market, housing, health, social services, language learning, or political and civil participation, integration efforts should aim to close persistent opportunity and outcome gaps that marginalise immigrants and undermine social cohesion.

Of course there is still much discussion about how to achieve this goal. Charting a course for successful intervention with respect to integration is indeed especially challenging as it depends on a broad range of factors and conditions. Legal rights are a prerequisite of integration but an insufficient condition for attainment. Migrants face a range of barriers to integration, including prejudices and hostile public attitudes and discrimination.

However, it seems crystal clear that immigrants can only become, and be seen as, long-term contributors to the community through collaborative integration efforts that engage governments, local authorities, the private sector, civil society and the media. Secondly, it appears that in successful stories of integration it has always been seen as a two-way adaptation which makes the onus of integration/adaption a burden shared by immigrants and by all residents of society, including its major institutions.

Based on a very pragmatic approach, this session will focus on innovative approaches to address challenges and develop policies and practices enabling integration, in particular in the following fields:

  • Education, language and adult learning as an important pathway to integration for children and adults.
  • Fair, equal and early access to labour markets as employment remains the single most effective prerequisite to integration.
  • Recognition of degrees and qualifications held by immigrants.
  • Civic participation, training civil leaders from among immigrant ranks and fostering community engagement.

This panel will present aspects and tools of successful integration policies in a diversity of situations worldwide. Partners from civil society organizations, governments and international organizations will showcase initiatives that can be replicated. The panellists will also discuss the challenges and the difficulties when implementing such initiatives. This panel aims at creating a marketplace where various actors in the migration field or at government level can share expertise, learn from each other and potentially engage in lasting collaboration.