Measuring Integration

What efforts are being made to measure and facilitate the integration of migrants to Europe?

EU policy efforts towards encouraging migrant integration rely upon four major areas of social policy. The European Council of Ministers meeting in Zaragoza, Spain, 14th-15th April 2010, declared: ‘Employment is a vital part of the integration process, and efforts in education are essential in helping immigrants to become successful and more active participants in society. Not only access to the labour market is important but also entry into society more generally, which makes social inclusion an important area. The participation of immigrants in the democratic process as active citizens supports their integration and enhances their sense of belonging.

European Union Treaties and Migration Issues (adapted from Wikipedia)

European Union Treaties and Migration Issues (adapted from Wikipedia)

Monitoring progress in the following four areas is seen as key to measuring the impact of efforts to promote integration:
social inclusion
active citizenship

Eurostat, the statistical service of the European Union, has identified the need to collect information measuring integration in a coherent and consistent way across the EU. It has begun comparing measures in these four areas, comparing their rates among migrant and host populations. Measures being monitored by Eurostat include employment and unemployment, levels of educational attainment, rates of early departure from education, net income, poverty levels, home ownership, health status, acquisition of citizenship and residency, and rates of civic participation in elected office. Eurostat released its pilot findings in these areas in mid 2011 and demonstrated that foreign-born European residents are more likely to be unemployed, slightly less likely to be self-employed, and more likely to be over-qualified for the jobs that they are doing. Despite this, there is a higher proportion of poorly educated individuals among migrant populations than there are among the indigenous populations.

NGOs had been pressing for the adoption of such measures prior to 2010 and gave a cautious welcome to the 2010 Zaragoza Declaration. The Migrant Integration Policy Index was developed by an NGO and used a six point measure of integration (Brussels, 2007). The highest scoring country in terms of labour market access was Sweden. Sweden also scored highly in terms of policies that facilitated family reunion. Countries with the strictest penalties for discrimination on grounds of ethnicity and nationality (among others) included the UK, Portugal, Finland, and Sweden. Citizenship to children of resident migrants was most readily extended by Belgium, France, Ireland, Portugal and the UK. Generally, the least restrictions for migrants were found in the areas of access to employment, perhaps a reflection of the economic argument often presented by the more politically and economically liberal-minded individuals and organisations of Europe. Migrants generally have lower disposable incomes, live closer to the poverty level, and have lower levels of private home ownership, making them particularly vulnerable to unscrupulous private landlords.

The Christian churches of Europe offer an important laboratory for social participation, inclusion, and leadership. These occur at a number of levels, from the local congregation or parish, through denominational level, and including several national Alliances and Councils of Churches. The Evangelical Alliance in Ireland deliberately chose the name EA Ireland rather than The Irish EA, because they wanted the Alliance to include Africans, Romanians, and Ukrainians, for example. Exactly the same concerns shaped the naming of EA Russia and several other national Alliances. The EA Kazakhstan and EA Turkey were among those who argued most strongly and successfully that the European Evangelical Alliance’s ‘Measures of Health’ for national Alliances should include strong commitments to ethnic diversity.

You can read more about migration and integration in Europe in Issue 10 of Vista

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