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Working Together for Local Integration of Migrants and Refugees in Vienna

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

Fast population growth in the city of Vienna is largely related to international migration.  Long-standing migrant communities represent half of Vienna’s population. In 2016, 50% of the inhabitants had migrant backgrounds, and since 2015, the number of refugees and asylum seekers in the city has increased. Since 1971, the city has developed dedicated administrative structures and local policies for migrants. A dedicated municipal unit (MA17) oversees how departments achieve migration-sensitive standards in their respective policy fields and produces the yearly Vienna Integration and Diversity monitoring report. A good practice is “Start Wien”,  a comprehensive coaching and information programme addressing newcomers (including asylum seekers) for the first two years after arrival. After that, foreign residents benefit from non-targeted measures, for instance from a programme fighting labour market exclusion of low-skilled groups. Vienna has avoided high segregation due to its large and well spread social housing. However migrants can only access it after five years of residency in the city, before which they rely on private rental market. Vienna establishes close contacts with migrant associations and NGOs at the district level and engages public consultations when formulating integration concepts. 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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Introduction

This report starts out from the basic observation that local authorities are at the forefront of providing essential services for all migrants, developing a favourable environment for integration, and creating labour and education paths for inclusive societies as well as managing the recent influx of asylum seekers and refugees. This case study aims to identify practices put in place to manage the short- and long-term effects of previous and current migration flows in Vienna, taking into account the relations of local authorities with other public and private stakeholders. The interests of the OECD concern the major challenges posed by migrant integration and the responses undertaken at the local level.

English

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