A new beginning: refugee integration in Europe

For the majority of refugees in Europe, integration is the most relevant durable solution and EU Member States have placed integration high on the policy and political agenda. This study reviews trends in the development of policy areas relevant to integration. Four project countries took part in the research: France, Sweden, Ireland and Austria. In addition, an overview was done of three other countries which have made significant moves toward refugee integration policy and programming: Canada, United Kingdom and Germany.

The report finds that the individuality of each person’s integration process is particularly important for refugees who arrive in EU Member States from very different individual backgrounds. There are refugee-specific concerns of family unity, reception conditions and the asylum process, documentation, and the transition period immediately after recognition which should be reflected in future integration evaluation. The transition from asylum-seeker to refugee is a particularly stressful time for refugees. The study also notes that there is a general absence of quantitative refugee data on integration policy areas and measurable indicators of integration in project countries, even when this data is well accounted for in the case of migrants. Indications from statistical data on migrants more widely and from the available literature suggest that refugees may overall have greater incidence of lower educational attainment, lower labour market participation and higher likelihood of being overqualified for their current position, and that significant gaps exist between refugees and other populations relating to poverty, social exclusion and living conditions.

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