From Immigration to Integration

Local Solutions to a Global Challenge

image of From Immigration to Integration

For the potential advantages of migration to be harnessed, it is crucial that immigration be accompanied by integration, or effective mechanisms for ensuring that immigrants are incorporated into labour markets, the economy and society. While immigration policy is often determined, designed and funded at the national level, its impact on migrants and society is more strongly felt at the local level where other policies interact. This publication highlights principles and factors which are important in supporting integration locally. A comparison of local initiatives implemented in five OECD countries - Canada, UK (London), Spain, Italy, and Switzerland - answers key questions facing all policy makers and stakeholders working in this field. This book provides a set of concrete policy recommendations for implementation at both local and national levels.

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Introduction. Integrating Immigrants: Finding the Right Policy Mix to Tackle a Governance Problem

The issue of integrating migrants, their families and their descendants can be assimilated to two governance issues. There is a clear mismatch between immigration and integration policies in many countries, with policies to manage immigration rarely being accompanied by strong policies to support integration. Secondly, integrating immigrants is a multifaceted issue which cuts across policy areas, creating a collective action problem and a lack of effective public sector action. While local stakeholders such as NGOs can attempt to fill the gaps in public services, this often leads to increased fragmentation at the local level. In order to better tackle the barriers facing immigrants, it may ultimately be more important to increase flexibility in the management of mainstream policies relating to the issue of labour market integration (namely training and education, labour market policy and economic development) rather than create new initiatives and partnerships locally.

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