When it comes to migrant integration, the local level matters. Where migrants go and how they integrate into their new communities crucially depends on the specific characteristics of cities and regions. Even though migration policies are often under the responsibility of national governments, the concentration of migrants in cities, and particularly in metropolitan areas, has an impact on the local demand for work, housing, goods and services that local authorities have to manage. Local authorities therefore play a vital role in this integration. Cities can learn from each other and help provide local, regional, national and international policy makers and practitioners with better evidence for policy design related to migrant integration.

This case study Working Together for Local Integration of Migrants and Refugees in Rome provides insight into the city’s migrant integration trends and current situation. It applies the OECD Checklist for public action to migrant integration at the local level that is articulated around 4 blocks and 12 objectives. The four blocks cover: 1) institutional and financial settings; 2) time and proximity as keys for migrants and host communities to live together; 3) enabling conditions for policy formulation and implementation; and 4) sectoral policies related to integration: access to the labour market, housing, social welfare and health, and education.

This case study, which is part of a broader OECD-European Union project, entitled “A territorial approach to migrant integration: The role of local authorities”, addresses a critical knowledge gap on migration issues by analysing the multi-level governance issues of local integration. The project takes stock of multi-level governance frameworks and policies for migrant and refugee integration at the local level in nine large European cities: Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Glasgow, Gothenburg, Paris, Rome and Vienna and, thanks to the support of the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, a small city in Germany (Altena). It also builds on information from these and 61 other European cities, that were collected through a survey and consolidated into a newly created and publicly available statistical database on migrant integration outcomes at regional level. The project looks at updates to the governance mechanisms that cities adopted in the wake of the influx of asylum seekers and refugees that has concerned EU countries since 2015. Conversely, it also investigates opportunities to extend some of the services recently established for newcomers to long-standing migrant groups.

This and the other nine city case studies, along with the synthesis report Working Together for Local Integration of Migrants and Refugees, are outputs of this OECD-European Union initiative contributing to the programme of work of the OECD Regional Development Policy Committee (RDPC), implemented by the Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities (CFE). They also contribute to the OECD Horizontal Project on “Ensuring the effective integration of vulnerable migrant groups”, by focusing on improving the integration capacities of the local governments.

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