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Working Together for Local Integration of Migrants and Refugees in Paris

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

Of the requests for asylum in France made in 2016, more than 10 000 applications were made by people in Paris and were made in the context of a rising number of refugees and asylum seekers since 2015. This increase has stirred a debate in France around its “universal” migrant integration model, which aspires to equal treatment for all and for which the main tool has been “Integration Contract” for migrants. At all levels of government, measures are now being designed for “reinforced” support for migrants, helping them to better integrate socially and to better access the  job market; these measures are tailored for all persons with a residency permit, in particular for refugees. This case study examines the City of Paris and its ambitions to successfully integrate its new inhabitants. The municipality sets aside dedicated resources for this and actively involves French citizens in implementing activities to foster social cohesion. The city is still attracting new migrants while socio-economic disparities and segregation remain marked in Paris and its region, in a context of limited emergency accommodation facilities for migrants and a tight housing market. More can be done to improve coherence across levels of government and among partners, in order to prevent fragmented service delivery and to improve how the impact of integration programmes is measured.

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Allocation of competences in France relevant for migrant integration

The process of decentralisation has been developed through three key steps in France starting in the early 1980s. In 1982, Act 1 of decentralisation begun through the Gaston Deffer law that transferred executive power from the state-designated administrator at the local level to regional and department councils, and financially compensated such transfers through local taxes and a decentralisation grant (OECD, 2006; OECD, 2007; OECD, 2017c). In 2003-2004, Act 2 of decentralisation strengthened regions and recognised them in the Constitution as local autonomous bodies with financial autonomy (the compensation principle was introduced in the constitution) and transferred to regions new competences (i.e. vocational training) (OECD, 2006; OECD, 2007; OECD, 2017c). Through the MAPTAM law in 2014, Act 3 of decentralisation, responsibilities of each government level were clarified and the competences of métropoles (which only apply to large urban areas) strengthened. The 2015 NOTRE law transferred competences to regions and inter-municipalities at the expense of departments (Verpeaux, 2015).

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