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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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Migration Snap-shot of the city of Paris

Official statistical data on the presence of migrants use three categories: immigrants, foreign nationals and native-born individuals with at least one parent who is a migrant. According to the most recent INSEE data, immigrant (i.e. individuals born foreign in a foreign country who might have obtained French nationality) represented on January 2014, 8.9% of the population in France (Brutel, 2016; OECD, 2017b). While there has been evolution in the countries of origin in the past 45 years, the main countries remain Italy, Spain, Portugal, Algeria and Morocco. France has a long history of international migration and the presence of migrants today results from several migration inflows from the 20th century. Between the two world wars, workers from Spain and Italy arrived in the country responding to the needs of the expanding industrial and agricultural sectors. After 1945, the reconstruction efforts particularly important in the most populated urban areas, called for workers from colonial Algeria, first, and other Maghreb areas after. They were followed from the 1960s by Portuguese and sub-Saharan Africa nationals, and by the end of the century arrivals of Asian migrants coming mainly from Turkey and China (Brutel, 2016). In 1968, there was a strong concentration of economic activity in the Île-de France region which accounted for, at that time, 40% of the industrial work and 30% of the French population. Consistently, 50% of immigrants settled in Île-de France. Yet, while industrial labour has been declining since the 1970s, especially in these areas, the immigrant population is still highly concentrated in these zones (Brutel, 2016).

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