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Working Together for Local Integration of Migrants and Refugees in Amsterdam

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

In Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 51.66% of the population was born outside of the country or has at least one parent born abroad. Amsterdam is proud of its cultural and ethnical diversity and actively works to attract international students and high-skilled migrants. Like many European cities, Amsterdam experienced a peak in refugees and asylum seekers arrivals in 2015 and in response has implemented a holistic integration model, which starts at the moment migrants arrive and supports them for their first three years. Migrants are not considered as a minority group with different needs, but rather as one group among others with specific characteristics (such as women, the elderly, the disabled, LGBT) whose outcomes are monitored to identify potential structural gaps in their access to opportunities and services. This work compiles data and qualitative evidence on how local actions for integration, across a number of sectors, are being designed and implemented by the City of Amsterdam and its partners within a multi-level governance framework.

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Block 3. Local capacity for policy formulation and implementation

Increasing diverse ethnic composition of the staff of all municipal institutions and companies at all levels serves two objectives: to reflect the characteristics of the city’s population and to improve services’ accessibility for migrants. Since beginning of the 1980s, the Amsterdam administration formulated a personnel policy providing that 17% of the municipal staff should have a non-western migrant background. Since 1991, the Regulation of the Legal Position of the Municipality of Amsterdam (Rechtspositieregeling van de Gemeente Amsterdam, RGA) includes an article on diversity policy, under the heading ‘positive action’ (CLIP, 2009). In 2017 the city started a programme to hire refugees with the aim on one side to further increase the diversity of its personnel while on the other to give the example to local employers. A group of 14 refugees from Iran, Egypt, Syria and Eritrea started working for the municipality for a three-year programme, and after two years, will receive a contract. A combination of learning the Dutch language and gaining work experience is at the core of the programme.

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