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Working Together for Local Integration of Migrants and Refugees in Barcelona

image of Working Together for Local Integration of Migrants and Refugees in Barcelona

In Barcelona, the rate of foreign residents has quintupled since 2000, and in 2017, 23% of the population was foreign-born. From the late 1990s until today, the municipality has followed an intercultural strategy to implement inclusive measures for local migrant integration. These measures have been recently reinforced to welcome asylum seekers who tripled between 2015 and 2017. For this group, the municipality set up targeted housing and reception policies that complement the national reception system. Migrants have access to municipal measures in key sectors such as housing, minimum living allowances and labour market integration - by the employment service Barcelona Activa - on the same basis as the other residents. Further, Barcelona has developed sensitization initiatives to curb discrimination and improve service delivery in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. The municipality has developed local coordination mechanisms with migrant associations and non-governmental organisations that aim to share information, avoid duplication and maximise the access to services such as language classes for migrants. Yet, migrants are particularly affected by socio-economic inequalities particularly following the economic crisis. This report sheds light on how the municipality and non-state partners work together with the other levels of government for sustainable migrant and refugee integration.

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Migration Snapshot of the city of Barcelona

Barcelona (Ajuntament de Barcelona) is the second most populated city in Spain with more than 1 620 809 inhabitants. It is the most populated city of the region (Autonomous Community of Catalonia) which includes 7.5 million people. There are provinces within the Autonomous Communities (4 provinces in Catalonia, for example) and the city of Barcelona is part of the province of Barcelona (TL3) and is at the heart of a metropolitan area of 3.2 million residents. In the City there are ten municipal districts - the most granular territorial and administrative unity - and 73 neighbourhoods in the metropolitan area. In 2018, relevant competences for migrant integration are the remit of central, regional and local governments whereas provincial and metropolitan bodies do not have competences in terms of migrant integration and do not implement policies pertaining to it. Yet, the provincial level remains used for statistical purposes.

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