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December 2002

Professor Roger Zetter
Dr David Griffiths
Nando Sigona
Margaret Hauser

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Introduction and overview of policy and practice for refugee integration in Europe ........ 3

Case Study: GERMANY ................................................................................................. 12

Case Study: UNITED KINGDOM .................................................................................. 41

Case Study: ITALY.......................................................................................................... 70

Integration Policy and Practice in 12 EU Member States: A Literature Survey.............. 98

Comparative issues......................................................................................................... 113

Concepts and Typologies of Integration ........................................................................ 123


Indicators of Integration, Harmonisation and Conclusions........................................... 134

APPENDIX 1: Individuals and organisations contacted for the research.............................. 144

Bibliography........................................................................................................................... 148

We wish to record our thanks to the following research assistants:

Germany: Lisa Sturmfels, Faculty of Law, University of Wrzberg, Bavaria
Italy: Giusy D'Alconzo, lawyer and legal expert
Marco Carsetti, caseworker and independent researcher

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1 Introduction and overview of policy and practice for

refugee integration in Europe
This report has been written by a research team at Oxford Brookes University under the
European Refugee Fund Community Actions 2002. It builds upon research on EU asylum
policy and practice which the research team has recently completed for the UK Home Office
(Home Office 2003a, Home Office 2003b).

Structure of the report

The overall structure of the report is as follows.

Chapter 1 Introduction and overview of policy and practice for refugee integration in
This chapter outlines the structure of the report (section 1.1) and describes the aims,
objectives (section 1.2) and methods (section 1.3) of the study. The main part of this chapter
(section 1.4) sets the context of the study through an overview of the evolving policy and
practice of refugee integration in the European Union. It concludes with a brief rsum of the
main case study countries and the comparative issues (section 1.5) and outlines plans for
dissemination (section 1.6).
Chapters 2-4 Three Country Profiles: Analysis of Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy
These chapters provide a detailed examination of three selected EU countries: Germany the
United Kingdom and Italy. Together with the findings outlined in chapter 5, it highlights the
common and contrasting factors and experiences in refugee integration. Taken together,
chapters 2-5 enable substantiated conclusions about the effectiveness of integration policies to
be reached. The main methods adopted in these chapters have been intensive fieldwork in the
three countries with representatives from the statutory and voluntary sectors and refugee
community-based organisation (RCOs).
Chapter 5 Literature Survey of Integration Policy and Practice in 12 EU
This chapter surveys integration policy and practice the remaining 12 EUMS. This is a desk
study of secondary sources. The evidence is drawn from a wide variety of English language
sources books, journal articles and a web search of government sites, NGO and refugee
Chapter 6 Comparative Issues
The comparative issues raised by chapters 2-4 and the Annex are addressed in this chapter.
The analysis provides a comprehensive explanation for the divergencies in policy between
Member States and the implications for the development of a common approach to
Chapter 7 - Concepts and Typologies of Integration
Building on the comparative assessment of the preceding chapters, this chapter assess a
number of conceptual typologies of integration and their relevance to the present study.

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Chapter 8 Indicators of Integration; Harmonization and Conclusions

Based on the comparative findings of chapters 2-5 and the concepts elaborated in chapter 6,
the final chapter develops a framework of integration indicators and assesses the challenges in
operationalising them. The chapter also assesses the prospects for harmonising integration
policies in EUMS and makes recommendations to facilitate integration policy and practice at
the national and EU levels.
Annex Profile of Refugee Integration Policies in EU Member States
Using a systematic template of presentation to ease comparison across the individual states,
this chapter provides a country-by-country profile of refugee integration in each EU Member
State. Key variables in the presentation concern: the date and content of legislation; the scope
of legislation; civil and welfare entitlements according to status; and a short discourse on key
issues related to integration. The main method adopted in this chapter is desk research. There
is a growing literature specifically on refugee integration in the EU (Valtonen 1999; ECRE
2000b; Wahlbeck 2000; Bloch et al 2000), which includes government publications and
policy documents produced on refugee integration within the last few years. We draw on this
literature and related electronic sources in order to evaluate the development and scope of
refugee integration policy and practice across the EU. The principal legislation concerning
refugee integration is documented in the case of each EUMS. In this and chapters 2-4 there is
a particular sensitivity to issues around the periodisation of policies in each Member State and
the political and social context in which they were generated.

Aims and objectives of the research

The key aims we address concern what is comparable between EU states and what drives the
legislative and policy agenda of refugee integration in different EU countries. What, if any, is
the relationship between the outcomes and legislative and policy change? How best might
these conclusions be developed and disseminated between Member States? As indicated
below, we are concerned with the impact of different national models of citizenship and
nationhood upon refugee integration and the relationship between national policy
development in this area and the broader security dimensions of EU asylum and migration
policy. These aims and the context of this study explained in section 1.4,are fundamentally
important for our approach to this research and the methodology we have adopted.
Thus in contrast to the substantial research undertaken by ECRE for example (2000b),
this report is not exclusively focused on the identification of good practice in refugee
integration, although we identify the processes which may in certain contexts facilitate
The objectives of the report are to provide an analysis and evaluation of:

Legislation and practice relating to integration policies

The development of national policies on integration is outlined through an overview
of EU states and in the chapters on case-studies which deal with the themes and
issues in more detail.

The effectiveness of policies

Evaluation of the effectiveness of policies is provided through an examination of
their impacts and outcomes and in particular by analysing integration practice at the

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local level in the case-study sections.

The different national policies developed in Member States

Particular attention is paid to the variations in national models of social inclusion,
welfare entitlement and incorporation, and the underlying basis for this in differing
conceptions which govern the norms of citizenship, nationality and nationhood.

The historical factors which inform the legislation of particular states

Different immigration histories, including relationships with former colonies and the
use of migrant labour in the post-war period have impacted upon the integration
policy framework in EUMS. Our analysis reviews the essential factors involved and
the ways in which these have impacted upon refugee integration policy and practice
in particular EUMS.

The overall objective is to identity the main contours of national policy formation in
the area of refugee integration and to identity the role of EU initiatives in promoting the
development of a Common Asylum Policy across Member States. An assessment is given of
the limits to the communitarisation of integration policies based upon divergences between
particular states in welfare regimes and entitlements


Our approach is essentially two-tier: three in-depth case studies of Germany, the UK and Italy
are reinforced by an EU wide survey of refugee integration policy and practice. The three
countries were chosen for a combination of reasons: size of asylum seeker applications;
degree of development of asylum policies; differences in political structure and history of
immigration and contrasting legislative and normative frameworks regarding the inclusion of
immigrants. These contrasting factors are developed throughout the report and in the
concluding comparative analysis and recommendations.
Our methodology is determined by four key factors:

a desk study method, based mainly on secondary data, predominates in the review of
policies on integration

a largely qualitative methodology is deployed as this is more appropriate to

comparative policy analysis

recognition that a comparative approach and comparative findings are fundamental to

informing policy and legislative change in an EU context

Targetted fieldwork in the UK, Germany and Italy

Our comparative methodology addresses both policy and legislative change which
derives from common supranational concerns, as well as identifying differences in legislation
and policy change driven by domestic priorities.

Refugee Integration: policy and practice in the European Union

This report addresses the development of refugee integration policy and practice in European
Union Member States (EUMS). The broader context of European Union (EU) immigration
and asylum history is indispensable to an understanding of this particular policy field.

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Surveying the broader framework of EU asylum policy, four broad periods can be
1. 1976-85 from the establishment of TREVI in 1976 to Schengen in 1985,
2. 1986-93 from Single European Act to Maastricht Treaty on European Union 1993
(including the Dublin Convention in 1990 and the Convention on the Crossing of
External borders in 1991)
3. 1993-1997 from the Maastricht Treaty to the Treaty of Amsterdam
4. 1998-2004 from the Treaty of Amsterdam to its full implementation
Phase 1. The first phase of largely ad hoc multilateral measures begins with the
establishment of Terrorism, Radicalism, Extremism and Violence International (TREVI) in
1976. As its name suggests, this was principally concerned with the fight against terrorism
and drugs trafficking. TREVI lacked a coherent organisational structure although it acted as a
prototype for later intergovernmental organisation prior to the introduction of the Third Pillar
of the EU in 1993 (Levy 1999:23). The Schengen Group was founded in 1985 by the core
members of the original European Community (EC) Benelux, Germany and France.
Conceived as a response to the problem of controlling immigration in a Europe without
internal frontiers, according to Joly (1996:49) Schengen had four main aims: to determine the
state responsible for examining an asylum application, to streamline asylum procedures and to
facilitate the exchange of information and the circulation of foreigners 1.
Phase 2. The signing of the Single European Act (SEA) in 1986 kick started the EC
after years of stagnation (Geddes 2000:67). Its main provisions, for the creation of a single
European market in which there would be free movement of people, services, goods and
capital, had immediate implications for immigration and asylum policy. Free movement for
individuals from EC Member States entailed the need to control the movement of Third
Country Nationals (TCNs) 2. Amongst the earliest institutional response was the aptly named
Ad Hoc Group of Ministers founded by EC Ministers of the Interior in 1986 under British
initiative. The Group of Coordinators or Rhodes Group (formed from the 1988 EC Summit in
Rhodes), was established by the Ad Hoc Group of Ministers. It produced the Palma
Document in 1989 which proposed a programme of action for the harmonisation of EU
asylum policies, including common visa regulations and external border control. Both the Ad
Hoc Group and the Rhodes Group remained intergovernmental in character. By contrast, the
Dublin Convention of 1990 was framed as an explicitly EC wide response to asylum. The
main provisions concerned the assigning of responsibility for assessing a claim for asylum to
1 On a pragmatic level, Schengen encouraged cooperation between police and customs authorities and the
harmonisation of visa policies. It also included a computerised system for data exchange under the Schengen
Information System (SIS) and EURODAC (European Automated Fingerprinting Regulation System). The
Convention applying the Schengen Agreement of June 1985 was signed in June 1990 by the founder members
and later incorporated into national law by other Member States. The Schengen Convention, which came into
force in 1993, was applied as from March 1995, although with several delays in implementation. By 2000 (Bloch
et al 2000:3) only the UK and Ireland in the EU were outside Schengen. According to Levy (1999), Schengen
was flawed precisely because of the absence of the UK from its provisions and the lateness of its
implementation after the peak in asylum applications had been reached in 1992.
Although a European Commission White Paper of 1985 proposed a community approach to asylum and
immigration (Geddes 2000: 70) this was resisted by Member States who continued to pursue a multilateral, ad
hoc approach

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the first Member State by which an individual entered the EC. The Dublin Convention was
only ratified in 1997 when Ireland signed the Convention. The Draft Convention on the
Crossing of External Borders (proposed by the Ad Hoc Group of Ministers) was agreed in
1991. 3
Phase 3. The third phase from 1993-1997, commences with the Treaty on European
Union (TEU) or Treaty of Maastricht of 1993. This formalised but did not supranationalise
cooperation on immigration and asylum policy by incorporating it into the intergovernmental
Third Pillar of the EU dealing with Justice and Home Affairs (JHA). The deficiencies of ad
hoc multilateralism were one of the reasons for this change in policy perspective, although
stopping far short of a fullsome embrace of communitarianised asylum and immigration
policy by Member States. The British and Danish consistently opposed the move towards
community intervention which was proposed by other Member States and the European
Commission (Geddes 2000: 91). Given the need for unanimity in decision-making a
minimalist role for the Third Pillar was established. Asylum (along with issues concerning
TCNs and illegal immigration) came under Title VI of the Maastricht Treaty, although there
was some blurring of responsibility with the First Pillar assuming responsibility for visa
policies (Geddes 2000:100). K4 became the coordinating committee of Title VI, conducting
its work through steering groups and working parties.
Although Article K was placed under the Third Pillar, K9 or the so-called passerelle
made it possible in theory to transfer asylum from the Third to the First Pillar. Organisational
and constitutional incoherence and the growing sense of democratic deficit in relation to the
operation of the Third Pillar and K4 in particular, set the framework for the Intergovernmental
Conference (IGC) Reflection Group and European Commission reports of 1995. The
Commission in particular argued that asylum and immigration should be transferred to the
First Pillar, a position which was reinforced at the IGC in March 1996, when all Member
States apart from the UK and Denmark voted in favour of the communitarianisation of
immigration and asylum policy. In the event, 12 Member States, bar the UK, Ireland and
Denmark, who now operate selective opt-out clauses, laid the foundations for the Treaty of
Amsterdam in 1997.
Phase 4. The current phase from 1997-2004, is demarcated by the Treaty of
Amsterdam signed in June 1997 and which came into force in May 1999. Under this Treaty
immigration and asylum was switched to the first pillar. Article 63 of the Treaty set five-year
deadlines for a range of measures, including: 4

Procedures for establishing which state is to process asylum applications (Dublin

Convention II)

Minimum standards for a fair and efficient asylum procedure

This has not as yet been signed due to a dispute between the UK and Spain over Gibraltar. In addition to the
Conventions there have been a number of less precise and non-binding instruments developed on an
intergovernmental basis. These include the Resolution on Manifestly Unfounded Applications of 1992 which,
amongst other factors, deemed applications where no evidence of persecution under the Geneva Convention was
evident to be inadmissible and subject to accelerated procedures. This relied upon a conception of safe countries
of origin which was hotly disputed by Human Rights and Refugee Advocacy groups. The Resolution on Host
Third Countries, again passed in 1992, allocated responsibility for determining an asylum claim to a safe third
country through which an asylum seeker had passed before arriving in the EC.
The full text of theTreaty can be located on

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Minimum standards on the reception of asylum seekers

Minimum standards for the grant or withdrawal of refugee status

Minimum standards on temporary protection

The Treaty of Amsterdam also provides for the incorporation of Schengen in the
Schengen acquis, with opt-out clauses in place for the UK and Ireland. On the insistence of
Spain (confronted with the Basque situation) a protocol was also included that EU Members
will not grant asylum to EU nationals.
The Vienna Action Plan began the implementation of the Amsterdam Treaty and was
drawn up at meeting of the European Council and Commission in 1998. This was followed by
the European Council Meeting in Tampere Finland in October 1999 5. The long-term goals of
the Tampere Conclusions include the establishment of a common EU asylum and migration
policy, including:

A common asylum procedure and uniform status for those granted asylum

The development of a comprehensive approach to migration by addressing human

rights and development issues in countries of origin and transit

Provisions for the settlement of TCNs (including refugees) in EUMS, including

strengthening measures to combat racism and xenophobia

The more efficient management of migration flows, including external action on the
root causes of migration flows

The European Council meeting in Laeken in December 2001 reinforced many of these
earlier points. By this time several of the goals of Tampere had been reached: in relation to
asylum and temporary protection the Council had agreed on the establishment of the
European Refugee Fund, the coordination of EURODAC (the centralised computer system for
comparing fingerprints of asylum seekers) and a directive on minimum standards for
temporary protection in the case of a mass influx. Other proposals are currently under
In conjunction with the Tampere Conclusions, the Commission published two
communications in November 2000 6: one on a common asylum policy and the other on a
common immigration policy. The report on asylum reaffirms the goal of a common asylum
policy to be enacted through an open coordination procedure whereby states would
approximate their legislation to common guidelines on policy. In the communication on a
common immigration policy, the European Commission has tackled head-on the fair
treatment and residence rights of TCNs, including recognised refugees. In this document,
integration is seen as a long-term, two way process between migrants/refugees and the
receiving society. From this perspective the integration process should start as soon as
possible after arrival, it should be based upon active partnership between migrants and the
host society and there should be the provision of coherent settlement packages at the local
level 7. In sum, the integration of refugees is now a central component of a coordinated
approach to asylum in the EU. Set against the backdrop of demographic change and

By this time the JHA had been upgraded to a fully fledged Directorate General (Boswell 2002)
COM (2000) 755 and COM (2000) 757 of 22 November 2000
The document follows closely the definition of integration and good practice promoted by ECRE (2000b)

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intensified competition in the global marketplace, the integration of Third Country Nationals
(TCNs), including recognised refugees, is now firmly on the policy agenda as part of the
development of a common asylum and immigration policy.
From the broader perspective reviewed above, it can be seen that the history of EU
asylum policy is one of tentative movement from unilateral, to multilateral and finally
communitarian legal instruments and interventions 8. Concerning the limitations to
communitarisation, Geddes (2000:107) has amplified on the institutional and political
preferences underlying EU migration and asylum policy:
The developing European immigration policy framework and the underpinning
problematique is centred on its control and security dimensions. This reflects lowest
common denominator decision-making where national preferences for control are relatively
well established and, in distinction to this, diverse responses to immigrant integration which
reflect differing traditions of citizenship and nationhood.

The theme of differing traditions of citizenship and nationhood and their impact
upon the national models of incorporation of outsiders is of central importance to this report.
The principal issues we address concern the scale and scope of these divergencies and in
particular their implications for the development of a common approach to refugee integration
in the EU. Equally important here is to demonstrate the ways in which the underlying
securitization of migration (Overbeek 1996) impacts upon the development of integration
policies at the national level.
Substantial work on understanding the processes which facilitate the integration of
refugees has already been accomplished (ECRE 1998, 1999b, 2000b). Research evidence has
clearly shown that refugees are often highly qualified members of their own societies and are
potentially able to fill significant skills gaps in EUMS. Discrimination, lack of recognition for
overseas qualifications and language difficulties are some of the problems typically faced by
refugees. Domestic policy instruments designed to combat discrimination in education,
employment and welfare have been implemented by Member States, although with varying
degrees of success (Valtonen 1999; ECRE 1998,1999b; Korac 2001).
What is most striking in relation to policy development at the national level are the
variations in terms of the date of implementation of integration policies, and divergencies in
their scope and rationale. Different conceptions of the goal of integration are in operation:
from what can be described as the assimilationist stance of Sweden to what is often termed
the multiculturalist inflection of the UK. Opposing traditions of political organisation and
historical development are also at stake as well as the dynamics imparted by earlier
experiences of immigration preceding the unprecedented high inflows of asylum seekers in
the last decade. In particular factors such as the degree of centralisation, federalism and
municipal and local autonomy, and the role of voluntary networks, associations and NGOs are
also instrumental to the integration process.

The emergence of a European regional refugee regime 8 has resulted in the partial pooling of sovereignty
(Uarer 1997:283) by EUMS. In contrast to the global refugee regime which is founded on international law and
human rights, it has been argued that the emergent refugee regime in Europe is characterised by its restrictionism
and problematic relation to the global refugee regime (Uarer 1997; Roberts 1998).

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Overview of case study country profiles and comparative issues

Chapters 2-4 report a detailed examination of three selected EU countries Germany, the
United Kingdom and Italy.
Germany presents: a case of high volumes of asylum; the constitutional status of
asylum provisions; more generally, the role of immigration in the political discourse of the
country; the different responsibilities of central and local government; and, of course,
Germanys strategic location in relation to major refugee originating countries adjacent to its
borders. All of these factors have impacted upon Germanys response to the question of
integrating TCNs, including refugees into the national body. The ethnic basis of German
citizenship is a particular stumbling block in this respect and represents a significant
difference to the multicultural assumptions underlying the UKs recent refugee integration
The UK provides an example of a recently formulated integration strategy which is
closely connected to its adoption of a dispersal programme for asylum seekers under the 1999
Immigration and Asylum Act. One of the aims of the integration policy is to retain refugees in
the regions once a positive decision has been reached on their claim for asylum. Envisaged on
the lines of a partnership between the statutory and voluntary sectors and RCOs, and set
within the framework of multiculturalism and stable race relations, the integration strategy in
the UK is in its early stages of development and provides a useful contrast to the situation in
comparable EU states.
Italy represents the southern European axis of the EU and is one of the main gates of
entry to the continent. Currently the predominant focus of the political discourse on
immigration and asylum seeking is on the comparatively recent phenomenon of large scale inmigration and especially on undocumented migration. Historically a country of emigration,
Italy continues to image itself as a country of transit and not permanent settlement for new
comers. As a consequence, the conditions of settled communities have tended to be of
peripheral concern to social policy makers. Moreover, like Germany, ius sanguinis is clearly
identified as the main, and prevailing, criterion for becoming citizen of the country. Informal
networks and church organisations are the key providers of basic services for vulnerable
individuals. The government system abdicates its social responsibilities, assuming that those
in need will be assisted primarily through the NGOs network and self-help systems
established within refugee and migrant communities.
The comparative issues raised in the substantive chapters are examined in the last
chapter chapter 6. The divergencies in policy between Member States and the implications
for the development of a Common approach to integration relate to the following factors
which inform the development of national policies on asylum: Domestic policy - economy,
welfare, culture and identity; Foreign policy and strategic interest - relation to country of
origin, relations to third parties; Ethical factors including human rights and international
conventions. Rooted in the individual social and economic histories of the individual
countries, these factors explain how policy and legislation differ and identify the challenges
posed to harmonisation.
The feasibility of developing a common set of integration indicators across the EU
an objective of the study is addressed in terms of the impact of national differences in
conceptualisations of social inclusion, levels of welfare entitlement and the perceptions of
refugees themselves.

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The report will be disseminated by a variety of means. The full report, once approved, will be
presented on a website. The website will also be a repository for other relevant documentation
including in-depth case studies of European Union member states integration frameworks. In
addition to disseminating the results of the research and the materials produced by the study,
the website will also be used as a tool to facilitate networking. Moreover a series of
publications and workshops based upon this and our earlier research for the UK Home Office
will be presented.


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2 Case Study: GERMANY

This chapter reviews the conditions which have shaped Germanys integration policies and
how these affect recognised refugees. After a discussion of the current political debates on
immigration and integration the chapter provides an overview of the asylum process in
Germany and the integration framework as this is organised at Federal, Lnder and local
levels. The issues raised here are examined in the case-study locations where comparative
issues are addressed in more detail. The final discussion provides an analysis of the key
agencies involved in integration and the structural and historical factors which determine
Germanys approach to the integration of refugees. Specific policy issues are raised which are
developed in the concluding comparative chapter and recommendations of this report.

From the Gastarbeiter to the 2002 Immigration Act

2.1.1. Migration and Integration in Germany

German migration policy in the post-war period has been consistently contentious and
politicised. This becomes clear if we review the three main sources of migration to Germany
in this period: 9

The Aussiedler or ethnic Germans have a right of return and citizenship in the Basic
Law. In the highly politicised context of the cold war, the rights of Aussiedler were
typically championed over those of other foreigners and asylum seekers, particularly
by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU). The
numbers of Aussiedler has been declining since 1992. Whereas the earlier intake of
Aussiedler from the 1950s onwards was welcomed to Germany in this unprecedented
feat of population assimilation (Fulbrook 1996:93), arrivals in the post-cold war
period have fared less well (Zimmerman 1999).

Under the Gastarbeiter (guestworker) system from 1955-1973 contract workers were
invited from Turkey, Yugoslavia, Spain and Italy (Castles and Kosack 1973). The
system was conceived of as a temporary solution to labour shortages (Cohen 1987),
although family reunion has meant that most Gastarbeiter have settled in Germany.
Despite the ban on further immigration from non-EEC countries in 1973 - the
Auslnderstopp - the foreigner problem has continually resurfaced as a problem in
domestic politics, with concerns voiced over integration, particularly of the younger

Asylum in particular has posed a challenge to the German state. The number of
asylum applications began rising in the late 1970s. Schnwlder (1999) has argued
that the increase resulted in growing public hostility and the construction of the

Other sources of migration have been Jews from the CIS (Thranhardt 1999); quota refugees and intra-EU
migration (Rotte 2000).


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Asylanten problem by sections of the administration and media. Although the Basic
Law guaranteed the right to asylum this was to be the subject of an intense
constitutional and political debate as applications peaked in 1992. The resulting
asylum compromise was refelcted in an amendment to the Constitution: the right to
asylum although retained in law was effectively curtailed in practice.
In general, there has been a marked process of differential inclusion according to the
category of migrant. The degree to which state sponsored integration of outsiders occurs
would appear to be directly related to issues of ethnic affiliation. The integration of Auslnder
(foreigners), including recognised refugees, unlike the absorption of Aussiedler (ethnic
Germans) has had a particularly low political priority until the 2002 Immigration Act
(Zuwanderungsgesetz, June 20, 2002). Aussiedler in particular have been favoured due to the
situation after world war two, with ethnic Germans scattered across central and eastern
Europe. Rotte (2000) more generally has reinforced the view that German migration policy is
compartmentalised according to the category of migrant, a factor which has resulted in a
highly sectoralised administrative approach to integration in Germany.
As a result of the systemic neglect of integration for Gastarbeiter, one of the key
challenges facing Germany is the integration of second and third generation workers,
including, although seldom raised in public debate, the integration of refugees. Refugees, on
the whole, do not figure in the political debate on integration and are not treated as a separate
category for integration purposes. In general the assumption is made that refugees are
temporary stayers and that the majority of asylum applications are rejected (interview with
Steffen Angenendt, Berlin February 2002) 11. The 2002 Immigration Act, the first of its type
in Germany, although it acknowledges the importance of integration as a central plank of
immigration policy, falls short of the explicit examination of integration as it affects refugees.
To what degree does the policy discourse on integration include or exclude refugees and what
are the limitations of the proposed and existing integration framework for refugees in
Germany? Later sections of this report examine these questions in more detail.
2.1.2 The problem of parallel worlds
In the run-up to the September 2002 General Election traditional concerns over immigration
resurfaced, with the CDU/CSU coalition objecting to further immigration on the basis of
domestic unemployment rates (The Times 19.6.02 Stoiber puts issue of immigration on poll
agenda). One of the central issues raised in public debate is the emergence of Parallelwelten,
the parallel worlds occupied by many foreigners, in the sense that they are in but not part of
German society. From this perspective there is a need for cultural integration in addition to
the labour market and functional integration of foreigners.
The debate on parallel worlds has lacked hard corroborating data, although it is
evident that first generation Gastarbeiter and their children are still heavily disadvantaged in
relation to the German population. Language, educational and labour market inequalities
continue to put particular groups of foreigners, notably Turks, at an extreme disadvantage.
According to data cited in Der Spiegel (Die Rckseite der Republik March 2002) 63% of

It is important to note the language of Auslnder foreigner which has been amended to Auslndische
Mitbrger foreign citizen arguably a contradition in terms (Marshall 2000: 140).
Steffen Angenendt was a member of the Sssmuth Commission from January 2001.


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foreign children in Kreuzberg (Berlin) and 4 out of 5 Turkish children are unable to speak
German. Of the 319 million DM spent on language courses in Germany each year the
majority goes on Aussiedler and Jewish refugees, not former Gastarbeiter and their children.
According to the Auslnderbeauftragte des Bundes (Federal Commissioner for Foreigners)
Marieluise Beck, the real cost of language courses to meet demand would be in the region of
half a billion Euros. Although the new Immigration Act includes language tuition up to 600
hours, the Goethe Institute estimates that 800 hours would be barely adequate (Der Spiegel,
Die Rckseite der Republik March 2002). In terms of general education, 42% of foreign
children leave school only with qualifications from the Hauptschule (the lowest
qualifications) compared to 25% of Germans leaving with qualifications from the
Hauptschule (Der Spiegel, Die Rckseite der Republik March 2002). Labour market
inequalities continue to discriminate against Turks in particular (Seifert 1996; Castles
To summarise, several factors have combined to raise the issue of integration to the
centre of political debate in Germany:

heightened tensions over international terrorism, of which the emergence of parallel

worlds and forms of Islamic belief amongst Turks in Germany is a worrying reminder

processes of demographic and economic change which are common to all EU states
and which necessitate the fuller incorporation of foreigners into labour markets,
including easier naturalisation measures

domestic political factors in the run-up to the September 2002 General Election and in
particular the more conservative Lnders opposition to integration measures, for
which they in part will have to pay

the 2002 Immigration Act and restructuring of integration measures under the Federal
Office for Migration and Refugees

In addition to these factors, the issue of citizenship and its relation to the integration of
foreigners has been a recurrent theme in the public discourse on immigration since at least the
2.1.3. Citizenship and integration
From the perspective of the Sssmuth Commission (2001:240) naturalisation is a decisive
step on the way towards successful integration since it provides immigrants with numerous
opportunities for social participation. With this in mind it is important to recall that in 2002
Germany has over 7 million foreigners and that many of these 64% - have lived in Germany
for more than eight years, the new residence period for naturalisation (Sssmuth Commission
2001). Yet Germanys naturalisation rate is amongst the lowest in Western Europe, excluding
Aussiedler at around 1% of the foreign population in 1996. Lengthy procedures and
bureaucratic complexity are the main reasons for low take-up of naturalisation (Green
According to Brubaker (1992) Germany exemplifies a distinctive national tradition of
citizenship based upon ethnocultural exclusionism, contrasted to the civic model in France


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and multicultural model in Britain, Netherlands and Sweden. 12 Peculiar to Germany are its
late development as a nation-state. As a belated or delayed nation, Germany illustrated a
pre-national form of citizenship rooted in the individual states prior to unification in 1871.
The issue of naturalisation is therefore highly charged due to historical and cultural factors,
specifically a cultural conception of the nation as a binding force - the Kulturnation - and a
eluctance to assimilate foreigners in forced Germanisation. The key question raised in
public debate is the degree to which citizenship is a means of integration or the culmination of
a long-term process of settlement and adoption of German cultural values (Green 2001: 45).
The political parties in Germany are closely ranged around this issue: ius soli from one
perspective will encourage integration, while from another it will undermine the foundations
of German nationality 13.
Current debates on citizenship are the heirs to the older ethnic conception of German
citizenship which was inherited in the post-war period (Green 2001:29; Marshall 2000:139).
Germanys first nationality law, the Reichs-und Staatsangehrigkeitsgesetz of 1913 was
premised on this cultural conception of German nationality founded on language and cultural
beliefs. This enforced a ius sanguinis conception of citizenship by descent rather than birth.
Fixed place of residence, means of support and an irreproachable life (Marshall 2000:141)
were amongst the conditions of citizenship but naturalisation was solely at the discretion of
the Lnder authorities. With the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in 1949,
the 1913 law was added to Article 116 as the basis of German citizenship. Hence the
conception of citizenship promoted by the FRG laid claim to represent the whole of the
German nation, whether in the new German Democratic Republic (GDR) or outside the
borders of either German state. Dual nationality, which was generally discouraged as inimical
to German citizenship, was allowed in the case of Aussiedler 14. This stands in marked
contrast to attitudes towards gastarbeiter who were brought in as temporary labour and settled
after 1973 and who were not regarded as an integral part of German society (Castles 2000) 15.
The next major innovation in German citizenship law was the Auslndergesetz or
Aliens Act of 1990 which came into force in 1991. This simplified naturalisation procedures
and supplemented the discretionary naturalisations which were granted under the 1913

It is also important to note the differing conceptions and models of citizenship: ethnic and civic national
models as in Brubaker (1992); Soysals (1994) conception of post-national citizenship and Kymlicka (1995) on
multicultural citizenship.
Wollenschlger (1999) argues for a combined approach of granting citizenship within the context of regional
and constitutional studies which are undertaken by the foreigner. The aim is to foster the active identification of
the foreigner with German society and legal structure, conceptualising integration as a process rather than a
finished product.
In the context of the stop on the gastarbeiter system in 1973 and the consequent settlement of foreigners
through family reunion, the 1977 Einbrgerungsrichtlinien (guidelines on naturalisation) stated that the critieria
for citizenship included ten years residence, language proficiency and renunciation of previous nationality. The
central tenet of the document, often repeated in subsequent debates was that the Federal Republic of Germany
is not a country of immigration - kein Einwanderungsland (para 2.3). In this respect naturalisation was regarded
as an anomaly, only to be granted under exceptional circumstances. Significantly, the document also set a
standard of cultural integration into German society as the benchmark for naturalisation (Green 2001:31). This
according to Green marked a significant transition from a purely ethnic conception of citizenship to a cultural
one, predicated upon identification with German values and culture.
The experience of the foreign population in the GDR was distinctive, with contract workers from communist
countries living under segregated housing conditions (Fullbrook 1996:97). For the FRG the GDR was not
recognised as a separate basis of citizenship: the official ideology of one German nation persisted.


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legislation by the Lnder authorities with easier procedures for naturalisation. Para 85 of the
Aliens act stipulated amongst other factors that previous citizenship had to be given up, and
that a residence period of eight years completed for citizenship to be granted. In addition, an
unlimited residence permit is required (Green 2001:34). Paragraph 87 of the Aliens Act lists
the conditions under which dual nationality is allowed. Although the Aliens Act simplified
naturalisation procedures, lowered costs and allowed for dual nationality in certain
circumstances it is important to note the considerable variation between the Lnder in the
granting of dual nationality (Marshall 2000:142; Green 2001: 37) with Berlin highest amongst
the Lnder in 1996 for naturalisations with almost half of the total with dual nationality.
The political debate on citizenship continued throughout the 1990s although without
significant legislative impact until the end of the decade. In the context of growing public
awareness of the growth of a parallel society of foreigners, in 1998 the new Social
Democratic Party (SPD)/Green coalition government made the reform of citizenship one of
the central planks of its new immigration policy. For the first time in Germany there was an
explicit public policy debate around the control of immigration and a move towards a system
of managed immigration as in the case of Australia, Canada and the US. In relation to
citizenship there was a significant move towards ius soli and easier naturalisation conditions
and dual citizenship. The Gesetz zur Erleichterung des Erwerbs der deutschen
Staatsangehrgkeit (Bill to ease the acquisition of German Nationality) of January 1999
which came into force in January 2000, introduced ius soli for foreign children born in
Germany, on condition that one parent had to have been resident for eight years and held an
unlimited residence permit for three years. Language competence and loyalty to the
constitution were introduced as citizenship criteria, thereby setting minimum requirements for
citizenship 16.
In this context, it is important to re-emphasise the basic resistance to multiculturalism
in Germany. In 1989, the Federal Constitutional Court in response to the attempted inclusion
of foreigners in voting rights in Schleswig-Holstein, affirmed that the German people
consists of only those individuals who are either German nationals or are to be treated as such
in accordance with Article 116 (1) of the constitution. Similarly, a proposed amendment to
the Basic Law in 1993 which sought to gain recognition for the identity of ethnic cultural and
linguistic minorities (ECRE 1998:40) was successfully opposed on the grounds that the idea
of a multicultural society goes against the idea of a German state, specifically as this is
interpreted under Article 116 (1) of the Basic Law. Although the new citizenship law gives
all foreigners living permanently in Germany the opportunity to integrate more into German
society (Federal Ministry of the Interior 2000:57) there are continuing tensions and debates
around the status of Germany as a country of immigration, most notably concerning the
reception and integration of asylum seekers and refugees. In particular, it is important to note
the restrictive application of citizenship to permanent residence categories and Article 16a
refugees who are a minority of those allowed to stay in Germany.


In sum, there has been a general easing of the conditions for naturalisation, an abandonment of exclusive ius
consanguinis and allowance of dual nationality for foreigners growing up in Germany to the age of 23. On
reaching this age the individual has to make a choice between German citizenship and that of the country of
origin. Permanent dual nationality is still not possible, although there is some flexibility according to
circumstances. See Wollenschlger (1999) on the advantages of multiple nationalities as a means of promoting


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In the next section, a brief overview of the background to the asylum process is
followed by a review of the different refugee statuses available in Germany.

Asylum in Germany 17

2.2.1. The social and political context of asylum policy

The early 1990s were a period of intense and dramatic reform of the asylum process in
Germany. As is well documented, the collapse of the Berlin wall and the onset of German
reunification, the return of Aussiedler from central Europe, the general opening-up of
Central Europe to outward migration and the beginnings of the war in former Yugoslavia, all
meant that by 1991 Germany was facing an unprecedented challenge to its national and
territorial integrity. The social and economic costs which unregulated migration posed were
central factors in the reaction to the increase in asylum applications in this period. The social
unrest and targeting of asylum seekers which occurred in the former East German Lnder
(Bosswick 2000:48) were amongst the more hostile responses at the time.

Germany - Asylum Applications 1991-2001


in 1000s

1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001

Table 1 Asylum applications in Germany 1991-2001

The largest increase in applications occurred between 1991 and 1992, reaching a total
of 438,191 applications in 1992 (IGC 2000). The second half of the decade is characterised by
gradual decline, stabilisation and only marginal increase in asylum applications between
2000-2001. The general trend in asylum applications in Germany has been one of a dramatic


There are four principal legal instruments which apply in the case of asylum in Germany. These are:
Grundgesetz (the Basic Law) - BL
Auslndergesetz (The Aliens Act of July 1990) - AA
Asylverfahrensegesetz (Asylum Procedures Act, 1982 amended 1997) - APA
Asylbeweverleistungsgesetz (Act on Benefits for Asylum Seekers amended 1997, 1998) - ABAS
These are Federal instruments which are binding upon the sixteen Lnder which constitute the German Federal
State. The APA stipulates the terms and conditions under which asylum seekers are distributed to the Lnder on
a quota basis. The ABAS sets the general conditions for the social and welfare support of asylum seekers. The
ways in which the ABAS is implemented vary from Land to Land.


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decline from the height reached in 1992 to 78, 565 in 2000, rising to 88,287 in 2001 (BAFl 18
2002). The reasons for this overall decline have been discussed in our Feasibility Study on the
Impact of Asylum Policies in Europe (Home Office 2003a).
It was in the context of rising applications in 1991 that a series of major reforms in
asylum procedures was introduced:

The Aliens Act was passed in 1991 which introduced accelerated procedures for all
applications, reducing the time for decisions from the previous six months to six
weeks and with immediate expulsion upon a negative decision.

Following intense political debate Article 16 (2) of the Constitution persons

persecuted on political grounds enjoy the right to asylum was retained but was now
hedged around by qualifications. The most significant was that states which provided
protection under the Geneva Convention and the Human Rights Convention (all of
Germanys surrounding states) were declared safe third countries. In safe third country
cases, unless an individual could give good reasons why they were fleeing individual
persecution their claim would be ruled inadmissible (Bosswick 1997: 65). The
Constitutional amendment was passed on the 26th May and came into operation as
from July 1st, 1993.

In July 1993 a new Asylum Procedures Code came into effect introducing a special
accelerated procedure at the airports (Flughafenverfahren) modelled after regulations
already in place in France, the Netherlands and Denmark. This concerned asylum
seekers arriving by air without a valid passport or coming from a safe country of

In November 1993, the Asylbewerberleistungsgestz, Asylum Seeker Benefits Act

(ASBA) was introduced separating asylum seekers from the mainstream benefits
system and substituting benefits in kind for cash payments.

This intensive spate of legislative intervention combined pre-entry controls and incountry deterrence in a potent mixture which by the end of the decade had appeared to solve
the asylum problem, in terms of a sustained decline in numbers and certainly as far as the
official discourse on refugees is concerned (Federal Ministry of the Interior 2000).
2.2.2. Statuses available in Germany
Article 16a refugees, as indicated in section 2.1.3. are a small minority of total
decisions made on applications for asylum 19. Subject to restrictions, Art 16a (2)-(5), 16a (1)
of the Basic Law states that persons persecuted on political grounds shall enjoy the right of
asylum. 20 Those granted Article 16a are permitted to reside permanently.

Bundesamtes fr die Anerkennung auslndischer Fluchtlinge or the German Federal Office for the
Recognition of Foreign Refugees
In the period 1997-2001 the main trends are a slight increase in the award of Article 16a, in percentage terms
from 4.94% in 1997 to 5.33% in 2001. A dramatic rise has occurred in those receiving paragraph 51, from 5.73%
in 1997 to 15.86% in 2001. The rate of refusals has declined from around 60% to 50% in this period. In overall
percentage terms therefore there has been an increase in awards of refugee status over this period, most notably
in paragraph 51 which is a lesser status to Article 16a.
In addition to safe third countries the list of safe countries of origin includes: Bulgaria, Ghana, Poland,
Romania, Senegal, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic and Hungary. The list of safe countries of origin has to be


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Section 51 (1) of the Aliens Act grants protection against refoulement, the so-called
little asylum. Those individuals granted this status receive temporary residence permits for
two years which can be renewed. Permanent status may be granted after eight years residence
from the time of the claim for asylum.
In addition to these two refugee statuses there are a variety of other permits. These

Duldung. Duldung is issued under Section 55 of the Aliens Act. Duldung is not a
status but a stay on expulsion which can be extended in practice for many years. There
are several different types of Duldung depending on the reasons for the stay on
removal. In general these factors include both factual (lack of travel documentation,
ill-health for example) and legal reasons why an individual may not be returned.

Civil War Refugees. In 1993 section 32a of the Aliens Act introduced a special status
for civil war refugees. The terms of support for civil war refugees was negotiated
between the Federal government and the Lander and came into effect in 1999.

Kosovo Albanians. Kosovo Albanians arriving under the UNHCR Humanitarian

Evacuation programme in 1999 were granted three month residency permits in
accordance with Section 32a of the Aliens Act. Those individuals who had two three
month extensions were granted Duldung and are expected to leave the country once
the situation in the region makes this possible.

Kontingentflchtlinge or Quota refugees. Under section 33 of the Aliens Act the

Federal Minister of the Interior has discretion to receive aliens on humanitarian

In general, only Article 16a refugees, Convention refugees with permanent residence
and quota refugees are entitled to integration measures. The differential entitlements of
refugees are discussed below.
2.2.3. Numbers of refugees and other statuses in Germany
According to official statistics (Federal Ministry of the Interior 2000:96-97) at the end
of 1999 the number of refugees in Germany was approximately 1,240,000. These included the
following categories:
Persons entitled to asylum and persons recognised as
foreign refugees
Dependants of persons entitled to asylum
Convention refugees under section 51 of the Aliens
Quota refugees (section 33 of the Aliens Act)
Jewish emigrants
Displaced foreigners
Asylum seekers under the Asylum Procedures Act
still awaiting decisions
Civil war refugees from Bosnia Herzegovina

Those recognised as refugees under Article

16a of the Basic Law
Dependents joining principal applicants


approved by Parliament.


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Includes individuals rejected in the asylum

procedure with a form of Duldung


What is notable is the relatively small number of individuals with Article 16a,
Convention refugees and quota refugees. All of these categories, with some exceptions, are
eligible for integration measures from the state. By comparison, the much larger number of de
facto refugees, many of whom will remain in Germany without security of status are
ineligible for integration assistance.
2.2.4. The reception model in Germany: deterrence versus integration
A brief discussion of the reception procedure in Germany is necessary to the analysis of
integration measures which follows. According to Joly (1999) adverse reception procedures
across the EU, including the use of reception centres; payment in kind and voucher schemes;
restrictions on work entitlements and geographical restriction on movement, are explicitly
geared to the non-integration of asylum seekers. Significantly, Germany exhibits all of these
features. It should be noted that the ASBA, which regulates payments to asylum seekers, was
envisaged primarily in terms of deterrence and was predicated upon the belief that asylum
seekers are not fully a part of German society (interview BAFl, Nrnberg February 2002).
The APA, which regulates reception procedures, stipulates a maximum three month stay in a
initial reception centre - the Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung (EAE) with each Land administering
these. BAFl (Bundesamtes fr die Anerkennung auslndischer Flchtlinge or the German
Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees) are currently (August 2002) the
principal federal organisation dealing with first claims for asylum. They have field offices in
most of the reception centres where they carry out the initial processing of the asylum claim.
The geographical distribution (Verteilung) of asylum seekers is based upon a quota system
relating to head of population criteria and economic factors in each Land. Paragraph 45 of the
APA stipulates the quotas which are renegotiated by the Lnder periodically. In principle,
distribution is a mechanism for alleviating costs and social tensions, and in particular
discouraging the formation of high-density ethnic populations21 (Bosswell 2001).
Within the entire determination phase the asylum seeker is restricted to the locality in
which he or she has been allocated. Payment is strictly in kind in the reception centres, with
limited access to health and educational services. After the initial assessment in the reception
centre the asylum seeker goes to an accommodation centre in the locality where he or she
must stay until a decision is reached on their claim for asylum. Initial decisions are made

The Lander and their quota of asylum seekers is as follows:

Table The percentage quota and numbers over and above the quota for the Lander, as at 01.01.02
Baden-Wrttemberg, Bayern, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpammern,
Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein,


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within 2 to 3 months, while decisions on appeals may take several years. Prolonged periods in
accommodation centres are widely believed to negatively impact upon the later integration
chances of refugees. In principle, once given status the individual is free to move within
Germany, subject to the usual reporting requirements on movement which all German citizens
have to observe. In some Lnder there are also restrictions upon freedom of movement for
recognised refugees, with individuals having to remain within the Lnder in which their
application was processed (interview Berlin Refugee Council, May 2002).
In interviews with representatives from BAFl (Nrnberg February and May 2002) it
was argued that the main aim of the reception procedures was not to burden Lnder which are
a popular destination point for asylum seekers with an excess of numbers. For BAFl, it was
also the case that the distribution/dispersal system aimed to discourage ethnic community
formation, an interesting point of contrast to the language-based clustering which is official
policy in the UK (see chapter 3). The control of movement of the asylum seeker was
explicitly geared to the minimisation of community formation and ethnic concentrations in the
major German cities. Despite this it is clear that the larger German cities, Berlin, Hamburg
and Frankfurt for example, all have high densities of former Gastarbeiter, refugees and
asylum seekers. Given the central tendency of the reception process in Germany to seek to
minimise ethnic community formation, it is important to note that for several commentators
the relative density of ethnic networks is an important factor in the success of the integration
process for refugees (Bosswell 2001; Bade 2001; interview with George Classen, Berlin
Refugee Council May 2002).

The integration framework

2.3.1 Introduction
The significance of integration was written into the Green/SPD coalition agreement document
of 20th October 1998. We recognise that an irreversible process of immigration has taken
place in the past and set our hopes on the integration of those immigrants who live here on a
permanent basis and who accept our constitutional values Chapter IX paragraph 7.
According to the Sssmuth Commission (2001:18) 22:
Integration is a permanent political and social undertaking that involves all the people living in
the country. Fostering integration should allow immigrants to Germany to participate on equal
terms in economic, social, political and cultural life and promote tolerance, acceptance and
mutual respect between different groups of the population.

The national framework for integration in Germany is designed to meet the

requirements of the principal sources of immigration outlined in section 2.1. In this respect, it
is important to emphasise the federal structure of Germany which consists of 16 states, the
Lnder, and smaller administrative and political units at the communal level. The integration
framework is therefore stratified according to administrative and political level
National/Federal, Lnder and Communal/local, and according to migrant category


The aim is to integrate them into our economic, social and legal system and to assure them that they will be
given the opportunity to participate to the greatest possible extent and as equal partners in the social activities of
the Federal Republic of Germany (Federal Ministry of the Interior 2000:8)


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Aussiedler, former Gastarbeiter (foreigners) and refugees, although as this report goes on to
demonstrate with no specific provision for refugees. As the Sssmuth Commission report
concedes, the highly sectoralised nature of Germany administration in this area makes it
difficult to give an accurate, comprehensive overview of integration provisions. The
following is a schematic outline.
2.3.2. The Federal level
Ministerial responsibilities

The Bundesministerium fr Arbeit und Sozialordnung (BMA) (Federal Ministry of Labour

and Social Affairs) is the key Federal Ministry supporting integration work through language,
professional and social integration. It supports the work of the Bundesanstalt fr Arbeit (BA)
(Federal office for employment). Those groups supported include foreigners and their families
who have a permanent residence status, former Gastarbeiter and former contract workers of
the GDR. Other Federal ministries also support the work of integration.
In relation to Aussiedler - Federal initiatives have been at the level of language
learning for with full time, six-month language course financed by the BMA. The Guarantee
Fund resources are used to finance language courses for young repatriates and ethic Germans.
Six months courses for special training for university entrance and university students are
paid for by the Bundesministerium fr Familien, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend (Federal
Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior citizens, women and youth).
In relation to Foreigners the Bundesministerium des Innern (Federal Ministry of the
Interior) support language classes for foreign employees and their families and adult
education centres. These courses are aimed at former Gastarbeiter. Again, there is some
division between the different Federal departments in terms of spending responsibilities.
2.3.2. Federal integration measures 23

Language support is promoted through the association German language for foreign workers,
established in 1974. There are different language programmes for different needs and levels. The
authorities are currently working towards a standardised package ensuring uniformity of quality
and controlled learning goals

Social counselling social pedagogy 24, providing advice and support to foreigners

Vocational training - the BA runs courses for foreign adolescents, including training programmes
with language support

Employment programmes - in November 1998 the Federal government launched the Cornerstones
for an Emergency Programme for eliminating Youth Unemployment

Other programmes - the BMA in collaboration with other Federal Ministries promotes the need for
training amongst young foreigners, including community and district oriented programmes aimed
at foreign youth, and programmes for older foreigners

Integration programmes for foreign women these address the specific needs of this group and


Refugees are incorporated into these integration schemes and sets of entitlements as individuals with
permanent residence rights. There is no practical distinction between refugees and other types of foreigners for
the purposes of integration programmes.
The tradition of social pedagogy in Germany is analysed in Lorenz (1999)


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promote access to the labour market

Dissemination of information - involves improvement of host/foreigner relations

Right to receive permission to work - granted to all of those with unappealable recognition as a
person entitled to asylum (Federal Ministry of the Interior 2000:45). This only applies to Article
16a refugees who have consolidated residence status. Asylum seekers may seek work after one
year, with no time restrictions on war refugees and civil war refugees but they will receive lower
priority access to the labour market (Federal Ministry of the Interior: 45).

Political rights - according to a 1990 Federal Constitutional Court decision the Basic Law does not
allow foreigners the right to vote or stand as candidates at federal, Land or local elections (Federal
Ministry of the Interior:47). The only form of political representation is the Auslnderbeirat or
Foreigners Councils. Green/SPD coalition are seeking the right to vote at municipal level for
foreign residents

Welfare benefits - those with permanent residence status and not under the ASAB, can receive
benefits under the Federal Act on Social Welfare (Bundessozialhilfegesetz)

Education - persons entitled to asylum (Article 16a) and quota refugees receive educational
benefits under the same circumstances and to the same amount as Germans under the Federal
Education Assistance Act (Bundesausbildungfrderungesetz)

Citizenship and Nationality Law, changed in 1999 (section 2.1.3. above)

Also at the Federal level it is important to note the founding at the BMA in 1978 of the
Commissioner for the integration of foreign workers and their dependents, which is responsible for
promoting the integration of foreign workers

Article 3 of the Basic Law states that all persons shall be equal before the law (3)
no one may be prejudiced or favoured because of his parentage, race, language, his homeland
of origin, his faith or his religious or political opinions. This general guarantee of equality is
not backed up by specific legislation against racism or discrimination in public life at the
Federal level. There are however clear indications that anti-discrimination legislation will
shortly be introduced in line with EU directives 25. There is also some evidence of antidiscrimination legislation at the Lnder level, as in the case of Brandenburg.
The enlarged role of BAFl

Prior to the 2002 Immigration Act, BAFl was only responsible for the initial determination of
asylum claims (interview, BAFl, Nrnberg, May 2002). Under the new arrangements, BAFl renamed the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (FOMR) will be responsible for the
integration of all foreigners, assuming responsibility for work formerly undertaken by the
Federal Office for Employment. Under the new legislation, part 8, chapter 3 (sections 43-45),
an integration package is introduced consisting of basic language instruction and an
orientation course in German culture and history. This is to be coordinated at Federal level
while implementation of the measures will be the responsibility of the Lnder. Any foreigner
entitled to attend an integration course is also obliged to do so, subject to specified exceptions
(section 45, paragraph one).
It is important to emphasise that the new integration measures introduce a coordinated

The introduction of anti-disrcimination legislation is in process in Germany according to the Sssmuth

Commission Report 2001. This is part of the EU Racial Discrimination Directive, to which all EUMS will have
to conform.


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national integration programme for the first time. Rather than a detailed plan of action, the
new legislation provides a general framework within which the different actors, Federal,
Lnder, NGO and communal, may devise integration measures which are appropriate to
particular local circumstances. For those currently working in the BAFl, several key issues
remain. Firstly, how are the measures to be financed? If the Lnder bear a responsibility this
will meet with some resistance. Are the measures confined to those with permanent refugee
status? What measures will be available for the much larger category of those with lesser
statuses? Above all, what are the aims of integration? What measures will make it possible for
foreign people to participate in social, economic and legal life in German? And what indeed is
participation? This is restricted in practice by the legal position of many foreigners and the
limitations placed upon the acquisition of citizenship. On a practical level there is the issue of
how to organise language instruction given the proliferation of organisations providing
language classes. With these issues in mind, BAFl (interview Nrnberg, February 2002) are
looking to develop a data-base on integration, the groups involved and integration
programmes in particular localities. According to BAFl, competition between groups at the
local level and between the Lnder currently prevents the effective coordination and pooling
of information.
2.3.2. Lnder level
The peculiarity of the German case is its strong tradition of de-centralisation of power and
responsibilities 26. There are a variety of means of integration support, with the Lnder
funding about 40% of the personnel costs of the NGOs involved in practical integration work.
Educational support is the responsibility of the Lnder although costs are difficult to calculate
because measures benefit both domestic and foreign populations. The total amounts spent on
integration vary enormously between the different Lnder, making generalisation in this area
difficult (Sssmuth Commission 2001:203). There are significant variations between the
Lnder in political complexion and response to asylum seekers and refugees, with Bavaria
and Baden-Wrttemburg setting the trend in the restrictive treatment of asylum seekers in the
In general, the role of the Lnder is crucial in context of German asylum policy and
the reception and integration of refugees. Several Lnder have appointed Auslnderbeuftragte
(Commissioners for Foreigners Affairs) who lobby on behalf of migrants and refugees and
promote their social and economic integration. In other Lnder, notably Hamburg, Hesse,
Bavaria and Schleswig-Holstein, there are developed integration policies and institutional
arrangements for refugees.
2.3.3. The communal level
Local initiatives are vital to the integration process and include advice on social benefits, the
provision of nursery care, schooling and leisure activities. Given the Lnder organisation of
Germany and the division of responsibility for different measures, there are no detailed


Jopke (1998:123) further notes that the protection of minority rights is strong in Germany: In sharp contrast to
the US and Britain, Germany has quickly and unreservedly incorporated into municipal law all United Nations
and European human rights and refugee conventions.


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figures concerning expenditure by local authorities on integration measures.

Also at the local or municipal level, the Auslnderbeirat or Foreigners Councils
provide a means of representation for foreigners without passports or voting rights. Trade
Unionists and representatives of migrant organisations are voted onto the Councils which
offer a degree of local representation and influence (interview Tamil Verein in Deutschland
eV, Nrnberg, February 2002). Most local authorities in Germany with over 200 foreigners
now have Foreigners Councils.
2.3.4. The role of NGOs
A distinctive feature of the German system is the fundamental role of the predominantly
church-based NGOs in the reception and integration process: Caritas, a Catholic-church
organisation, has traditionally provided support to migrants from Catholic countries such as
Spain and Portugal, whereas Diakonisches Werk (DW) has dealt with migrants from
Protestant backgrounds. The Deutsches Rotes Kreuz (German Red Cross) is another broadbased organisation, less specifically church-based but institutionally closely tied to the
government apparatus in Germany (Heckman et al 2001; Soysal 1994). ArbeiterwohlfartBundesverband (AWO) is another central NGO active in the reception process and has roots
in the SDP in Germany. All of these organisations either provide support within reception
centres (counselling and advice) or actively run them and provide additional integration
support to refugees. As powerful institutions in their own right they are also active in
lobbying work and in the representation of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers interests
at the political level.
Heckman et al (March 2001) provide an overview of the integration measures
implemented by welfare associations. These include language provision, welfare advice,
vocational assistance, psychosocial services, healthcare assistance, youth welfare, gender
specific services, provision for the elderly and other fields of action. Their work is jointly
financed by the Federal government, Lnder and local authorities and the charities
themselves. DM 309 million was spent on this work in the year 2000 alone (Sssmuth
Commission 2001:206-207). The provision for categories of migrant - guestworker,
Aussiedler and refugee - varies from Land to Land. It is important to emphasise that there is
no typical situation across Germany as a whole. According to one of the authors of the report
(interview Bosswick, Bamberg, February 2002) there was a wide variety of policies which
were quite distinct according to location.

The European Dimension

According to representatives from BAFl (interview, Nrnberg, Feb 2002) ERF integration
funding only applies to those with full refugee status, ie permanent residence status. This
raises a problem for NGOs who dont make a distinction between long term and temporary
status individuals in their working practice. Therefore the individuals which the ERF is geared
to help are a very small part of the total number of statuses, i.e. refugees with Article 16a
status are in a minority, whereas those under para 51 of the Aliens Act may receive permanent
status at a later date. With the implementation of the new Immigration Act, and the
simplification of statuses involved there, this will simplify the administration of the ERF: they
will be able to channel funds to other groups than those under Article 16a. The latter are on


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income support and not ASAB. But there is no literature to indicate what the needs are of this
group are on income support, whereas the needs of those on ASAB are calculated precisely.
BAFl currently scrutinises applications with a view as to whether there is a deficiency or need
which the proposal will meet. They calculate where needs are met under already existing
legislation and exclude these from the ERF fund. It is important to emphasise that this is the
first time that the ERF has been implemented and that progress will be monitored
continuously. It is important to repeat that there has been limited take up of the ERF
programmes because of practical difficulties with NGOs failing to distinguish between
temporary and long-term residents in relation to the integration work which they perform.

The integration of refugees: differential integration entitlements

Integration requires long-term, intensive efforts and is associated with considerable costs.
Therefore, those people whose right to permanent residence has not yet been decided upon
cannot be included as a rule (Sssmuth Commission 2001:199). Only refugees with
permanent residence status under Article 16a, section 51 (to some degree) and quota refugees
are eligible for the programmes which are provided at the Federal level for foreigners. Other
categories of de facto refugees, including civil war refugees, asylum seekers and Duldung are
eligible for the various programmes which are run at the local level by NGOs and voluntary
groups at the communal level. Once an individual has been recognised as a refugee under
Article 16a he/she is entitled to an unlimited residence permit and a travel document.
According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior (2000:81) In wide areas of legal, social and
economic life, such foreigners have the same status as Germans. They may draw on wage
substitutes in accordance with section 418 et seq. of the Social Code under Book III and take
language courses, in line with Guarantee Fund guidelines for general and vocational schools,
and institutions of higher education laid down by the Bundesministerium fr Familien,
Senioren, Frauen und Jugend (Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women
and Youth).
The number of these individuals entitled to integration measures, all of those with
Article 16a, Section 51 of the Aliens Act (little asylum)) and those under Section 33 of the
Aliens Act (Quota Refugees) is therefore small in relation to the overall number of those with
refugee-like status. Section 51 claimants are not eligible for language courses but otherwise
along with Article 16a and quota refugees enjoy the same rights to benefits, work, education,
health services and housing as German nationals (Federal Ministry of the Interior 2000 and
DRC 2000:119).

Case study locations

Nrnberg (Bavaria)
Nrnberg: Located in Middle Frankonia in Bavaria.
Population in 1999: 490,000 (Heckman et al 2001)
In 1991, 14.1% of the population were foreign residents (Marshall 2000)


Capital and city state
Population in 1999: 3,386,667 residents
484,952 foreigner population, constitute 14.32% of the total population (Federal Ministry of the
Interior 2000)

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Former GDR, economically undeveloped, border with Poland, point of entry
Population in 1999: 2,601,207
52,814 foreigner population , constitute 2.03% of the total population (Federal Ministry of the
Interior 2000)

Comparing the different locations, the relevant factors are:

Size of ethnic population:
Berlin has a large foreigner population at 14.32%, placing it second in the league table of
foreign populations in 1999 after Hamburg at 19.15% (Federal Ministry of the Interior
2000:17). Bavaria is seventh in the league table at 9.11% foreign population. By way of
contrast Brandenburg has the third lowest foreign population across the Lnder (Federal
Ministry of the Interior 2000:17).
Geographical location:
Berlin is the capital of the Federal state, with several airports and is close (via Brandenburg)
to the Polish border; Nrnberg although a smaller city is the second largest in Bavaria;
Brandenburg spans a large geographical large area much of which is semi-rural in character.
Political and economic factors:
Berlin and Brandenburg are separate Lnder, while Berlin is both city-state and capital of the
Federal Republic. There is a strong tradition of multiculturalism in Berlin while this is less
pronounced in more conservative Nrnberg (Bavaria) and Brandenburg. Although both Berlin
and Brandenburg have high levels of unemployment there are fewer employment
opportunities in Brandenburg, which is economically and socially depressed in many areas.
2.6.1. Nrnberg
Nrnberg is the second largest city in Bavaria after Munich (Heckman et al 2001) with a
sizeable foreign population and developed economic infrastructure. Discussion of integration
practice in the city has to be framed within the broader context of the Bavarian state
integration programme which is outlined below.
The Bavarian Integration Programme
Bavaria is one of the few Lnder to have a formal integration policy. Other Lnder with integration
programmes include Hesse and Schleswig-Holstein. Responsibility for integration in Bavaria is under
the Bayerisches Staatsministerium fr Arbeit und Sozialordnung, Familie, Frauen und Gesundheit
(Bavarian State Ministry of Employment, Social affairs, Families, Women and Health). Educational
provision is solely by the state with no NGO involvement. In addition, the Social Ministry supports
advice centres in Bavaria. Support is provided according to the category of migrant: Aussiedler,
foreign workers and refugee. The Bavarian state supports the employment of NGO personnel in
accommodation centres and reception centres throughout the Land.
The Bavarian policy document on the integration of foreigners 27, argues for the importance of the
concept of a Leitkultur, or leading culture in the constitution of German national identity (1999:74).
This essentially conservative understanding of national identity invites the foreigner to integrate into
the general values of German society as a basis for social inclusion. These values include:


Auslanderintegration in Bayern: Bericht zur Situation der Auslanderinnen und Auslander in Bayern, Dec 1999
Bayerisches Staatsministerium fur Arbeit und Sozialordnung, Familie, Frauen und Gesundheit


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Respect for human rights and freedom of speech

Democracy and state organisation

Respect for the rule of law

Self respect and responsible behaviour

Integration through employment

The ability to speak German

School of Planning, Oxford Brookes University

Acquisition of citizenship is a more protracted affair. Dual citizenship is to be avoided as it

promotes divided loyalties and weakens the bond to the German state. Ius soli is counterproductive to
effective integration and results in German citizenship without identification with the nation
(1999:77). The relation between individual and state needs to be rooted and fundamental: citizenship
is the end-result of integration rather than one of its preconditions.
The document also outlines the general institutional arrangements for integration in Bavaria in
relation to specific groups of migrants: children and youth, families, women, the elderly and various
forms of advisory work. According to the document, integration occurs through the Communes, the
church, the NGOs, the voluntary organisations, political parties and advisory organisations in Bavaria.
There is no specific provision for refugees as far as integration measures are concerned.
Refugees and asylum seekers in Nrnberg

There are no reliable statistics for the total number of those granted asylum in Nrnberg, or
the distribution of different statuses. Statistics for 1999 (Bavarian State Ministry for
employment 1999) indicate that 2,580 individuals were entitled to asylum in that year and
had received permanent residence status (Aufenthaltsberechtigung). The principal
nationalities of asylum seekers in Nrnberg follow national trends: Iraq, Afghanistan, the
FRY, Turkey, and the Russian Federation were the top nationalities in 2001. According to
NGO and refugee group representatives there are established Tamil, Ethiopian, Kurdish and
Iraqi refugee groups in the city (interviews Tamil Verein in Deutschland eV; thiopisches
Zentrum Deutschland eV. DW, Caritas, Nurnberg, Feb 2002). In general there is a lack of
data on refugees in the locality, either from official sources, NGOs or refugee groups.
NGOs in Nrnberg the link between reception and integration

NGOs are highly active in Nrnberg. The running of the nine accommodation centres in the
city is divided between the major NGOs, AW, DW, Caritas and the Red Cross (Heckman et al
2001: 105). Financing for NGOs comes from a variety of sources including the Land, Church
organisations, the Communal level and the NGOs themselves (Heckman et al 2001). 28.
Significantly, their work spans both reception and integration and a wide range of statuses,
including but not confined to those entitled to formal integration support. Both aspects of their
work integration and reception - were discussed during interviews.
One example is the Psychosoziales Zentrum fr Flchtlinge (Psychosocial Centre for
Refugees) in Nrnberg which is open to asylum seekers outside the local reception centre
(Zirndorf) and refugees in need of care. It was founded 15 years ago and is run by DW and
Caritas. The centre lobbies for integration measures for refugees but most of their clients get
Duldung and are therefore held in a state of suspense concerning their future. For the workers

The NGOs involved are Caritas, Diakonie and the Red Cross, who run the advice centres, provide support in
the accommodation centres, and the Psychosocial centre in Nrnberg.


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at the centre reception conditions were particularly damaging to the future integration
prospects of refugees. Restriction on movement, the difficulties in securing employment 29,
and the general practice of payment in kind (food parcels and standard issue of items of
clothing) were seen as particularly damaging factors for asylum seekers. According to staff at
DW and Caritas, the explicit policy of non-integration in the determination phase is
counterproductive and leads to later difficulties for those granted refugee status. It is
important to emphasise that this viewpoint concerning the negative role of the determination
phase was widespread amongst NGOs in the case-study locations visited for this report.
The local level: the role of the Auslnderbeirat or Foreigners Council

Nrnberg was the second major city after Wiesbaden to form a Foreigners Council, the first
election of which took place in 1973. The Nrnberg Foreigners Council provides a form of
representation to those foreigners without German passports and has been effective in
channelling the needs of those groups according to representatives of the Tamil Association in
Nrnberg. The Council has a history of promoting asylum and refugee issues at the local level
(European Conference on Refugee Participation in Local Policy Making and Political Life,
Nurnberg May 2000). It is important to note that the Foreigners Councils are the only avenue
for influencing political issues at the local level for refugees. In Nrnberg, the degree of
political participation in the Council by refugees themselves appeared to be negligible,
confirming a certain distance from the formal political process which is borne out from other
sources (ECRE 1998, Korac 2001).
Refugees and Community groups

A number of interviews were undertaken with refugees and community groups in Nrnberg.
One of these was the Tamil Verein in Deutschland eV., The Tamil Association in Germany,
(interviews, Nrnberg, April 2002). There are an estimated 1,800 Tamils across Nrnberg.
Funding for running costs comes from DW, while accommodation is provided free. Otherwise
the association is supported under the Kultur und Freizeitamt, (Culture and Leisure Office)
which is under the direction of the Lord Mayor of Nrnberg. As part of the fieldwork, a
German language class for five Tamil women was attended. This was run by a German
voluntary worker for the Tamil Association. In discussion, the teacher indicated that many
Tamil women had been in Germany between eight to ten years without receiving proper
language instruction. She herself used to teach at the evening classes for adults, the
Volkshochschule, where she had developed her own teaching materials. There was a basic
lack of appropriate teaching materials, many of which are geared to educated individuals with
developed literacy in their own language. There was also a need to develop materials
specifically for women.
In discussion with representatives of the association, the point emerged that home
politics were often a paramount consideration for Tamils, with many individuals regularly
tuning in to Radio India and Tamil broadcasts. According to representatives of the
association, integration has to be a two-way process, attempting to overcome the
encapsulation of the first generation which appears to be a typical process and the emerging

Although asylum seekers are entitled to seek employment after one year in practice this is severely restricted
by the limitations placed upon them. Only if a German national or EU citizen is unable to take up the relevant
position may an asylum seeker be eligible for applying for a particular job. In practice this often means that
asylum seekers are bypassed by Employment Office staff who in some cases will leave a position vacant rather
than offer it to an asylum seeker (interviews, accommodation centres, Nrnberg, February 2002).


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conflict with the new generation of Tamils who speak German and have partially adapted to
German society. One of the founders of the association expressed the opinion that most Tamil
women attending the German classes did so as one of the requirements for obtaining a
German passport and not as a means of integrating into German society. Their negative
feelings surrounding social and political participation were reinforced in discussion with the
women themselves (see below).
Refugee Experiences in Nrnberg
Five Tamil women who were interviewed as part of this research (mainly with Geneva Convention
status and varying residence permits and aged between 25-45) reinforced a sense of exclusion from the
wider German society. Although the majority had been in Germany for over five years none of them
was fluent in German. Their main focus was the home and children. Only one of the women expressed
a desire to improve her situation in the labour market, the majority of the women stating that they were
too old or lacked relevant qualifications. Their main hopes were pinned on their children, although it
was felt that they suffered discrimination in the job market despite being successful at school. Contact
with Germans was minimal and restricted to meetings at schools and the local church. Political
participation voting rights - was also a non-issue for these women. Even participation at the local
level was regarded as a waste of time. 30 On the other hand they expressed interest in cultural activities
at the Tamil association, where language and dance classes were run.
A striking contrast is the case of a male Iraqi refugee (aged 34 and single) who had been
recently been awarded status. He was living in an accommodation centre in Nrnberg as he could not
afford the deposit to move into a flat in the city. He was qualified in engineering in Iraq and felt that
his skills were now going to waste in Germany. He wanted to work but given the practical restrictions
on employment indirect discrimination in favour of Germans and lack of recognition of his
qualifications he was finding it difficult to do this. He was also keenly frustrated at the lack of
German classes, either in the reception centre or now in the accommodation centre. Above all, he
wanted to contribute by working and developing his skills. As an indication of his enthusiasm he was
currently undertaking computer training and was active in voluntary work with his own community, a
Christian sect. He personally had some experience of effective networking in the immediate area with
his own community and other Iraqis with Sunni and Shia coming together in exile. There were
good local conditions for refugee groups according to this individual, although there was little
immediate contact with the accommodation centre apart from the Ethiopian association in Nrnberg.

The principal aim of this research is to examine refugee integration policy and practice in EU
Member States. Although it is not a central aim to examine the refugee experience and
expectation of integration, it is clear that differences in background, educational level and
literacy, gender, country of origin factors, age, and relations to home all impact on the take
up of integration possibilities by refugees (Kulhman 1991; Robinson 1998a; ECRE 1998). In
addition, in Nrnberg as in other locations in Germany there are important structural
constraints - prolonged periods in accommodation centres; social isolation and restrictions on
geographical movement in the reception phase; lack of integrated language provision;
practical restrictions on work and lack of recognition of overseas qualifications - which
negatively impact upon those recognised as refugees. Importantly, there is no sound research

Note Koracs (2001) point on the lack of interest in formal political participation by refugees and the reasons
for this. In general there is evidence of a pragmatic approach to citizenship contrasted with the value placed upon
interpersonal contacts in the receiving society.


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evidence in Germany on the integration of refugees from which to draw more robust
conclusions 31. Despite this, it is important to emphasise the experiential continuity of the
reception and integration phases, however these may be demarcated for legal and bureaucratic
In the case of Nrnberg the following features have been highlighted:

The Bavarian state has a formal integration policy for the Land based upon the concept
of the Leitkultur

Nrnberg has established refugee groups and a significant ethnic population

There is a lack of data on the situation of refugees, their numbers, characteristics and
integration outcomes

NGOs have a central role in the integration of refugees. Their work typically bypasses
conventional legal categories and emphasises the continuity of the refugee experience
from reception to settlement

There is some limited political representation at the local level for refugees although
there would appear to be little active participation by refugees themselves

Ethnic and refugee community organisations play a key role in providing services to

Language appears to be central to integration but there is limited statutory provision

The differential experience and expectation of refugees according to background

factors is highly significant in the integration process

2.6.2. Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany. It is also a Land with a large foreign population
(14.32% of the total population of Berlin in 1999) and an explicit commitment to the goals of
multiculturalism (Berlin Senate 2002). The distribution of the foreign population is
concentrated in particular areas of Berlin. According to statistics published in 1997 (Berlin
Senate 1996/7:44) 20.3% of the population of Neuklln was foreign, principally from Turkey,
former Yugoslavia and the Lebanon. The areas of Kreuzberg with 34.4% and Wedding with
29.9% also contain large foreign populations. The Auslnderbeauftragte des Senats for Berlin
(Commissioner for Foreigners Affairs) has been instrumental in promoting the integration of
foreigners in the city. With its motto of Miteinander leben, living together, the Office
finances migrant and refugee groups and assists in cross-departmental work on integration.
Under Barbara John, the Office has a nationwide reputation for promoting integration issues.
Berlin has the highest rate of naturalisation amongst the Lnder, many of these with dual
nationality. The Office has produced a number of publications on the theme of integration and
runs a website 32. Berlin also hosts the annual Karnival der Kulturen (Multicultural Carnival)

There is no extant research on this area in contrast to the large literature on the performance of former
Bericht zur Integrations-und Auslnderpolitik, 1996/1997, contains background details on the number of
foreigners, integration programmes, inequalities in schools and labour markets, with some data on refugees,
civil war refugees. The Internet Projekt Forum Einwanderung: Einwanderung geht jeden an- Berlin denkt und
diskutiert mit is a web-based discussion forum organised around a series of themes, including asylum and


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in May. This is similar to Londons Nottinghill Carnival with a strong focus on music and
dance rather than education or long-term integration and settlement issues. Berlin also has a
diverse multicultural media, including Turkish satellite TV channels and radio Multi-Kulti.
Refugees and asylum seekers in Berlin

Statistics from the Berlin Senate for 2001 indicate 22,851 individuals with Duldung (mainly
from the FRY), 3,540 quota refugees and 4,545 recognised refugees (Berlin Senate 2001). As
in other cases these figures are approximate. The largest refugee groups are Bosnians,
Kosovans, Lebanese and Palestinians (interview Berlin Refugee Council, May 2000). The
estimated total number of refugees and asylum seekers in Berlin is between 45,000 and
50,000 (interview Georg Classen, Berlin Refugee Council, May 2002; Business week on line,
19.11.01). The absence of hard data of refugees was noted on several occasions (interview,
Ingrid Luhr, DW Berlin, May 2002). Remarking on this gap, Luhr noted that the starting
point for refugees is already different in comparison with labour migration. There is the
presumption that refugees will not integrate in the long run but will return home. In general,
there are no separate statistics for refugees in the labour, education or housing markets in
The role of NGOs

Diakonisches Werk (interview, DW Berlin, May 2002) works with foreigners as a whole
rather than refugees in particular The head of the integration section argued that it is important
to integrate foreigners at whatever stage and whatever category of migrant is involved. There
was no specific funding for refugees as such although DW ran several projects for refugees
and asylum seekers in Berlin, predominantly in the Neuklln area. Neuklln is a key area for
DW with the Haus der Begegnung or Meeting House in Morusstrasse, hosting several
community-based groups concerned with integration. They run a number of advice centres in
the Neuklln area, including general social advice, assistance for women and families, foreign
workers, Greek language classes, an advice centre for Aussiedler, home-school liaison and
intercultural care of the elderly. In general, the position of DW was that it is important to have
all foreigners together rather than compartmentalised according to status and nationality. This
is the only way to integrate all foreigners successfully.
Caritas (interview, May 21st Berlin 2002) has a general background of supporting
Gastarbeiter but has now shifted its workload to assisting refugees and Aussiedler. Berlin
Caritas was started 30 years ago. It is not directly linked to the state and has a critical attitude
to official policy, in supporting illegals for example or individuals resisting deportation. The
head of the refugee section led a multicultural team of 15 workers including volunteers. They
have four projects spread over Berlin and work with all nationalities. Currently 50% of their
work is dedicated to refugees and asylum seekers, the remainder to other categories of
migrant. Specific work with refugees includes: German language and orientation courses,
home school/liason, lobbying work with refugees, publicising information and organising
free-time activities for refugees.
Ongoing projects include:
Young stars, an internet chat group, largely aimed at young Tamil women who
produce a webpage which aims to encourage interaction with German youth. Caritas


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focus is on young people as they believe that they have the greatest potential to
integrate into German society.
A buddying project or befriending service for refugees is supported by the Robert
Bosch Foundation. The programme is currently being monitored for outcomes. The
three year project has only been running for six months. The main aim of the project is
to prevent prejudice and help people to understand the situation of refugees.
Getting Old Abroad project for elderly refugees. This project deals with the specific
issues faced by elderly refugees.
They also run a number of other projects relating to work and employment. A 3 year
project concerned with training refugees for the labour market, including making applications,
is also ongoing.
The leader of the refugee section argued that it is generally very difficult to integrate
refugees into the labour market as their qualifications and experience are not recognised in
Germany. Caritas use their existing contacts with businesses in Berlin to try to get refugees
work. They have a project for women refugees from Vietnam which has been partially
successful in this respect. Summarising the position of Caritas, the head of the refugee section
observed, Integration into the labour market is one of the most difficult areas and most
important. She argued that the state has an interest in not integrating asylum seekers in the
way we see i.e. Caritas made no distinction between refugees and asylum seekers in terms
of their need to integrate. In general, she felt that nobody wants to talk about refugees and the
reasons why they are here and that the political climate remained unfavourable towards the
question of refugee integration in Germany.
Refugees and Community Groups

Berlin is well served by a dense network of NGO and community groups (Nachrichten
Paritt Fr Berlin, 1/2002) encompassing family support groups; nationality based groups;
women migrants, psychosocial support and advice, youth projects and specific projects for
Auslnder and Aussiedler (interview, BAFl, Berlin, May 2002). In addition, there are a large
number of civil war refugees from Bosnia and Kosovo, who have established means of
community support in Berlin (interview, Berlin Refugee Council, May 7th 2002; Berlin Red
Cross, April 2002). In contrast to the case of the UK there are far fewer organisations run by
refugees themselves, with the principal NGOs tending to monopolise activity in this area.
Some illustrations are provided below:
Al Muntada (interview, the Meeting House, Neuklln, Berlin, May 22nd 2002) is
another DW funded organisation which is based in a meeting house for asylum seekers,
refugees and foreigners. The organisation was founded in 1982 largely to cater for civil war
refugees from the Lebanon with temporary permission to stay. The initial intention of the
organisation was to prepare children for their return to Lebanon. With protracted civil war
many Lebanese have been forced to remain in Germany. The aims of the organisation have
therefore changed with the accent now on gaining status for civil war refugees and integrating
those who remain in Germany 33.


Under a special ruling in Berlin in the late 1980s certain groups such as Sri Lankans and Ethiopians could
receive status if they had arrived before 1st Dec 1989: this dispensation was pushed through by the Greens.


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According to the leader of the organisation, in gauging the success of integration

projects it was important to distinguish between the different statuses and groups involved.
Civil war refugees in particular often only have temporary residence permits. Combined with
their poor educational background this makes integration difficult for many individuals.
Recent Iraqi arrivals by contrast tend to have higher educational backgrounds and to be well
qualified. The difficulty in obtaining employment is a major problem for both groups. From
the late 1980s the Lebanese had effectively given up trying to achieve anything in Germany,
according to one of the organisers. Iraqis, although highly qualified and often in employment
do not get work which is equivalent to their former occupational status.
Again, it was the organisations position that integration should begin as early as
possible, particularly given the prolonged periods in the accommodation centres and the
lengthy appeals procedures in the courts. An individuals resources get lost if they have to
wait for prolonged periods without status or security 34. This particularly affects the children
of asylum seekers and civil war refugees who lack security of status. For refugees on benefits
the cycle of dependency and low expectations tends to be reproduced. It was also widely
believed that if integration occurs this tends to be within the refugees own communities and
not within the wider social setting.
Verein iranischer Flchtlinge in Berlin e.V. (interview Iranian Refugee Association,
Berlin, May 2002) was founded in 1985 and set up to provide advice and support for all
Iranians living in Berlin. The association currently receives financial aid on behalf of the
Berlin Senat section for Social affairs. As an organisation they are very concerned with
avoiding the ghettoisation of Iranians in Germany. They actively want to build bridges
between the old and the new society Iran and Germany. This is a key issue in relation to the
role of women where issues of divorce and womens rights have assumed importance in
Germany. The associations projects include:

special computer, German and Integration courses for women and young people

participation in international meetings concerning the role and rights of refugees

lobbying work

Special advice classes for women only: legal advice, awareness of rights

Advice and support for asylum seekers in the Motardstrasse reception centre in Berlin

According to the director of the association, as a group Iranians have integrated

relatively well in Berlin. Although they have had to downgrade their occupations they still
manage to secure employment, being well-qualified and motivated individuals on the whole.
It was also his opinion that integration should begin as early as possible. Areas for
improvement included more effective ways of building bridges between the two societies and
regular funding. In general, integration needs to be looked at in terms of wider social
participation in terms of leisure and social contacts rather than simply getting refugees into
jobs. There was a need to educate Iranians in their new rights and entitlements and for
general public education on refugees.
Kurdistan Kultur und Hilfsverein (interview, Kurdish Cultural and Self-Help Group,

In Berlin for example the average waiting time for decisions once they have reached the courts is 22 months.
In some cases this can extend to 45.8 months (Der Tagesspiegel 28.02.02).


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May Berlin 2002). This organisation was founded in 1975 and is co-financed by the Berlin
Senat for Employment, Social Affairs and Women and the ERF. Since 1990 it has run
employment orientation courses for women. It also runs a ten months course where women
from different countries learn German for five hours per day. They also receive an
introduction to employment skills, health issues, education and office communication. During
this period the women receive legal social advice. In discussion with the organisation a
similar range of issues was raised concerning the need for continuous funding streams and the
active engagement of both refugees and the wider German society in promoting integration.
2.6.3. Brandenburg
The Land of Brandenburg which surrounds Berlin provides a number of striking contrasts. In
terms of spatial distribution alone, the extensive (largely rural) area covered by Brandenburg
differs markedly from the relatively compact, urban city-state of Berlin. As part of the former
GDR Brandenburg has also experienced a drastic worsening in economic performance since
reunification (Fulbrook 1996:99). Competition with the former West has undercut business
in Brandenburg resulting in unemployment rates of over 20% in some areas. Inflows of
asylum seekers to areas in Brandenburg following reunification added to social tensions. It is
important to note that although the GDR had encouraged the use of contract labour from
friendly states foreigners were effectively segregated from the general population. The
Auslnderbeauftragte for Brandenburg, located in Potsdam is active in promoting the goals of
integration for foreigners. There is for example, an Antidiskriminierungsstelle
(antidiscrimination unit) in the bureau of the Auslnderbeauftragte which monitors
discrimination against foreigners. Despite this, the legacy of the GDR persists in the lack of
employment opportunities and the air of social decline which is characteristic of many areas
in Brandenburg.
Refugees and Asylum seekers in Brandenburg

Brandenburg had a total foreign population of 52,814 in 1999, or a mere 2% of the total
population. The principal nationalities were Poles, Vietnamese (largely Aussiedler and former
contract workers in the GDR) and Romanians. The nationalities of refugees and asylum
seekers vary according to their location in Brandenburg. According to data published by the
Office of the Auslnderbeauftragte, 2,159 individuals had Aufenthaltsberechtigung residence
permits in 2000 (Migration in Brandenburg, 28.2.2000). Brandenburg, in clear contrast to
Berlin had not experienced large scale migrant flows until reunification and the dispersal of
asylum seekers which then occurred. The small foreign population has meant that
Brandenburg is relatively inexperienced in the integration of foreigners, especially in
comparison with neighbouring Berlin.
The role of NGOs

NGOs from different locations in Brandenburg were interviewed to gain a sense of the variety
across the Land. Integration projects run by DW in Brandenburg are located in three principal
areas: Elbe-Elster Finsterwalde, Potsdam and Uckermark-Angermnde. Potsdam and Cottbus
were chosen for examination. Potsdam is the capital city of Brandenburg while Cottbus lies
on the fringes of the Land, near to the Polish border.
In Potsdam (interview, DW, Potsdam, May 2002) DW are running a series of cofunded projects with the ERF. Existing programmes include language courses and advice for


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the high proportion of refugees and asylum seekers living in flats. DW have built up networks
over the five years they have been in operation in Potsdam and have received some
recognition from the local social office. This situation may be peculiar to Potsdam as other
areas in Brandenburg are openly hostile to refugees, according to the workers in the DW.
Potsdam City Council is also very supportive of the work they are doing and assists their
work in various ways. Concrete integration measures include: buying goods for refugees,
organising family reunion, providing legal advice, organising Doctors visits, helping with
documentation for marriage and liasing with schools. Short-term funding is a constant
problem and a constraint on what the organisation can do. Their EU project is language and
employment focused. The development of a multicultural centre is being actively supported
by the Auslnderbeauftragte and special courses on integration are also being developed.
Unlike other areas of Brandenburg there is a high percentage of recognised refugees in
Potsdam. DWs client base is around 750 individuals and consists of a mix of nationalities
including Turks, Iranians, Afghans, Bosnian and Kosovans. According to the workers there
the integration aspect of their work is the most important: helping refugees to find flats, work
and language training, accessing schools, kindergarten, social benefits and understanding
social networks. The following issues were raised:

Housing: there were problems with large families as most flats are for single people.
High rents are a problem as social benefits only pay 8.25 marks per sq mt. Rents in
Potsdam are amongst the highest in Germany, as the city is a fashionable commuter
area for Berlin. Location of housing on sink-estates and the suspicion of landlords
were also recurrent problems for refugees.

Employment: in general there is a very low rate of employment for refugees and
asylum seekers in Potsdam. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many married men
migrate to other areas of Germany to find work while their wives stay in Potsdam.
Low paid work in service sector and tourist related employment appeared to be typical
of Potsdam.

Language provision: under the new Act all foreigners (article 16a only) will get
language classes for 4 months, although this is at present levels of expenditure. There
were the recurrent issues around the lack of language courses and the small number of
qualified teachers.

Social contacts: these are limited and determined by the location of accommodation
and the characteristics of the groups and individuals concerned. There is the possibility
of social isolation for those individuals living in flats rather than Heime
(accommodation centres) but this again depends on the degree of community
formation amongst refugee groups themselves. Apart from Bosnians and Afghans the
degree of community formation is weak and many refugees depend upon networks in
Berlin for assistance, regularly commuting there to make and maintain contacts.

In Cottbus (interview DW Cottbus, May 2002) DW had established a regional advice

centre for that part of Brandenburg in 1997. They provide basic orientation courses and
advice on refugee status. The chief problem they face is the wide geographical spread of the
area they are responsible for. Most asylum seekers are in Frstenwalde one hours travel away
from the office in Cottbus, which is near to the Polish border. They cover several Landkreis in
the region, which is semi-rural and sparsely populated. They have a range of tasks: giving
advice, finding work for refugees and providing language courses (with one worker

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specifically working on German language tuition). In terms of the background of the asylum
seekers and refugees they work with, Eissenhttendstadt has a high proportion of Columbian
asylum seekers who are well qualified, many of whom live in Frstenwalde. Kurdish women
from Turkey on the other hand are not so well qualified and often illiterate in their own
language and are therefore harder to integrate. Overall, there is a pronounced differential
capacity of the different groups to learn the language and integrate successfully.
Upon a positive decision there may not be much to keep refugees in Cottbus and as a
result many of them will move to Berlin. On the other hand reception conditions in Cottbus,
with many asylum seekers living in flats and receiving cash payments appeared to be better
for their future integration prospects, according to the workers at DW. Cottbus as a whole
offered little in the way of employment opportunities for refugees, apart from a few local
firms and was socially and geographically marginalised compared to Potsdam and
neighbouring Berlin in particular.
Refugees and Community Groups

Given the geographical spread of Brandenburg the possibilities for refugees to organise
effectively were small. One multinational association in Potsdam, the Refugee Initiative is
based at the Refugee Council there. It is active in lobbying local government (The petition
from asylum seekers in Rathenow 2001) and works on integration issues in conjunction with
the Auslnderbeuftragte in Potsdam and the Brandenburg Refugee Council (interview Berlin
Refugee Council, May 2002). There was no evidence of independent refugee organisation in
2.6.4. Brandenburg and Berlin compared
It is important to note the degree of internal differentiation in Brandenburg, between for
example Potsdam and Cottbus: the former a wealthy commuter belt and the latter a relatively
run-down part of the Land. Despite this, there are several general contrasts between
Brandenburg and Berlin which can be drawn:

The geographical and economic characteristics of Brandenburg - semi-rural and

economically depressed in many areas, this contrasts with the wider employment
opportunities in Berlin, particularly in the informal economy

The small foreign population in Brandenburg - this contrasts to the large foreign
population and well developed multicultural traditions of Berlin

The relative absence of refugee community organisation in Brandenburg there is a

contrast here with the high proportion of voluntary groups and local organisations
providing support for asylum seekers and refugees in Berlin

In general, the social and economic conditions in Berlin, as a large multiethnic city
with high population density, appear to be more favourable to refugee settlement than
is the case in Brandenburg. This is well recognised by the principal NGOs (DW,
Caritas, Berlin Refugee Council, interviews, May Berlin 2002) and explains the
refugee integration initiatives which are currently being implemented in Brandenburg,
particularly by the Diakonisches Werk (interviews, Berlin and Brandenburg, May
2002). As many of the projects are new or have been running only for a matter of
years there is no clear evidence as yet of their effectiveness. As in the case of


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Nrnberg there is no evidence on the integration outcomes for refugees from which to
draw more wide reaching conclusions. Local factors are clearly one determinant in the
overall mix of variables affecting the integration process of refugees.

The German integration model: prospects and problems

This chapter has outlined the contours of German integration policy. Inclusion of outsiders
has been shown to be related to issues of ethnic affiliation, with the integration of foreigners
and refugees assuming a low priority in this area. Germany, despite easing conditions for the
acquisition of citizenship is not (in constitutional terms at least) a multicultural society and
continues to resist recognising itself as a country of immigration. In practice the degree to
which integration policies and multicultural programmes have been introduced varies across
the Lnder. At the Federal level, Germany has only recently introduced a coordinated national
integration programme for all foreigners including refugees under the 2002 Immigration Act.
Refugees are subsumed under general integration programmes and there will continue to be
no specific provision for this group. Formal integration programmes will, as in the past, be
directed at the small minority of individuals receiving Article 16a and to some degree
paragraph 51.
A striking feature in Germany is the prominent role of the large NGOs. In conjunction
with the Lnder authorities and Federal government they perform the vast majority of
integration work with refugees. The dominance of the NGOs has clear historical roots and is
linked to the corporate character of institutional arrangements in Germany (Soysal 1994)
whereby the Church, trade unions and NGOs wield substantial power, in some cases
assuming quasi-governmental functions. The role of NGOs in Germany may have its
advantages, for example in providing avenues to effective lobbying and influencing decisionmakers. On the other hand the dominance of the NGOs, particularly in the area of refugee
integration, may tend to stave off smaller local initiatives. Clearly, the large NGOs dominate
the area of refugee integration in Germany and have legitimacy in the eyes of the public
authorities. Grass roots organisation of asylum seekers and refugees may therefore be hard to
mobilise in Germany.
It is important to note that integration projects funded by the NGOs are run by
Germans for foreigners with very little participation by these groups themselves. Even on the
Sssmuth Commission on Immigration there was only one foreigner on the panel of expert
advisers! There are clearly huge financial and organisational difficulties involved in setting up
refugee organisations in Germany. The capacity to set up such organisations presupposes a
degree of integration which is very hard to achieve for the majority of individuals with
insecure status. Overall, given the corporate approach in Germany it appears that refugees
tend to be absorbed into larger ethnic or social units and to be administered to, rather than
organising for themselves. From the fieldwork evidence, the small number of RCOs in
Germany compared to the case of the UK (chapter 3), is striking and illustrates differences in
institutional arrangements for refugees which have important implications for the comparative
analysis of refugee integration policy across EU Member States.
Another central feature of the policy framework in Germany is the relationship
between reception conditions and the integration of refugees. NGOs and refugee groups


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involved in reception and integration assistance repeatedly noted the negative impact of
restrictions upon asylum seekers in the determination phase 35. From interviews conducted
with officials in Berlin and Nrnberg it was clear that Ministry of Interior/BAFl policy is one
of the non-integration of asylum seekers in the determination phase. On closer examination
the official response to the question of integration reflects a striking policy dualism. It is
interesting to note for example that the ERF programme run by BAFl recognises some of the
tensions affecting asylum seekers in reception and accommodation centres (interview, BAFl
April 2002). ERF funding for reception is therefore being used to provide German classes for
asylum seekers in reception centres. Projects will aim to improve the situation of asylum
seekers in reception centres and will supplement what is provided through the existing
legislation. On the whole however there is a clear resistance to the introduction of positive
integration measures in the asylum determination phase. The dominant assumption remains
that asylum seekers are not fully part of German society (interview BAFl, Nrnberg
February 2002) and that most refugees will eventually return home. Given this type of
institutional bias it may not be surprising that BAFls new responsibility for the integration of
refugees has been greeted with marked scepticism in some circles (interview Angenendt,
Berlin, February 2002).
According to several commentators (Bade 2001; interview Berlin Refugee Council
May 2002) the key issue for integration is the question of freedom of movement. If refugees
are prohibited from moving this will affect their potential in the job market and capacity to
integrate. There is some evidence that refugee networks function as integrative mechanisms,
particularly in the Anglo-American refugee literature (Dorais 1991; Gold 1992; Walhbeck
1998). Rather than disallowing movement, as under the quota system, allowing for the
settlement requirements of asylum seekers may result in ethnic community formation which
actively promotes the long term settlement of refugees. A significant contrast here is the
language-based approach to refugee community formation in the UK, where it is explicitly
assumed that community clustering will promote the integration of refugees (chapter 3).
Contrary to official policy, spontaneous settlement of asylum seekers in Germany (which
occurs to some degree despite the quota system) may be better for the long-term integration of
refugees. It has also been cogently argued that the costs associated with large numbers of
asylum seekers in specific localities could be reimbursed through financial equalisation
between the Lnder (Bosswell 2001).
Again, concerning the viability of the national integration programme, it would appear
from the fieldwork that there is nothing like an integration programme from a national to
local level, but rather the other way round (interview, Thomas Schwarz, Berlin Feb 2002). It
is important to bear in mind the peculiar historical development of the German state in the
post-war period, which developed from the Lnder level to the national. Both historically and
politically the Lnder organisation of Germany precedes the centralised administrative state.
In the political process the Lnder have an instrumental role in the formation of national
policy, as for example in the case of the amendment to the Basic Law in 1993 which were
instigated by the Lnder and not at the national level.
Given the role of the Lnder, there are several key issues which are likely to influence

Research conducted in Nrnberg in the late 80s (Wong 1991) indicated that prolonged periods in camps and
the effects of social isolation were disruptive of the biographical continuity of asylum seekers with damaging
results for later integration.


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the implementation of integration measures for refugees:

What may be expected in relation to integration is the formation of minimum

standards only, with the Lnder taking a dominant role in setting goals and norms. The
national framework will be enabling but not constraining. Integration is an issue which
is too politically sensitive to be firmly addressed at the national level. Local solutions
and initiatives are required which address the needs of refugees on the ground

The current situation is that all measures are directed towards recognised refugees.
There are relatively few measures in operation, and these depend upon local
conditions in labour markets and social infrastructure. Despite this, NGOs will
continue to work with all categories of migrant rather than those prescribed by the

The costs of integration are a central consideration. It has been estimated that 300
million Euro would be needed for the first year of an integration programme
(interview Angenendt, Berlin, February 2002). For many of the Lnder authorities this
is politically unacceptable. Spending money on immigrants in a country which denies
that it is a country of immigration is obviously problematic

As one of the members of the integration working group of the Sssmuth Commission
observed, the general presumption is that refugees should not be considered as permanent
members of German society given the strong likelihood that they will return home (interview
Angendendt, May 2002, Berlin). Two points can be made here. Firstly, that many individuals
in fact remain in Germany, under differing statuses and for extended periods of time.
Secondly, that casting refugees in the role of permanent outsiders may simply impede their
integration into German society. The key issue, as Fijakwoski notes (1997) is the selfunderstanding of the host nation and the degree to which it tolerates heterogeneity. Against
German ethno-cultural exclusivism, the case of the UK which is examined in the next chapter
illustrates an explicitly multicultural approach to integration. The contrast between the two
cases is addressed in this chapter and further developed in the conclusions to this report.


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This chapter outlines the background to integration policy in the post-war period in Britain.
The dominant assumptions of a multicultural approach to race relations are being replayed in
the refugee integration policy which is currently being developed by the Home Office. After
outlining the national policy framework for refugee integration the chapter provides
illustrations from fieldwork in London and Birmingham on refugee integration practice. The
policy issues raised by this evidence are discussed in the conclusion and developed in later
sections of the report.

Race relations, multiculturalism and integration

3.1.1 Migration and Integration in the United Kingdom

Britain has a long-standing history as a country of immigration (Fryer 1984; Cohen 1994;
Miles and Cleary 1993) and in the reception and settlement of immigrants and refugees. In
this respect, immigration policy in the post-war period continues a well-established line of
external and internal control. The race card which was to become a hallmark of post-war
electoral politics, was already being played in relation to Jewish immigration at the turn of the
20th century and in relation to the settlement of seamen from Somalia and Yemen in port areas
of the UK in the 1920s (Solomos 1998). The post-war experience of immigration, itself a
response to labour shortages, is primarily one of admissions from the New Commonwealth
(the Caribbean and the Indian subcontinent) with continuing intakes from the Old
Commonwealth, the Irish Republic and Europe. Under the 1948 British Nationality Act all
New Commonwealth entrants were assigned the status of British citizens (see section 3.1.3).
Accordingly, it was believed that the new coloured entrants could be readily assimilated into
British society. Increasing social tensions in the 1950s led to calls for curbs on immigration,
particularly from within the ranks of the political elite (James and Harris 1993; Miles 1993).
In policy terms immigration was interpreted as a problem of numbers and in relation to
potential cultural and racial dilution.
The state response is well documented:

The 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act, introduces first restrictions on primary

migration (Solomos 1998) with the introduction of a voucher system to regulate labour
and reduce numbers of arrivals, particularly from New Commonwealth countries

The 1968 Commonwealth Immigrants Act was a response to arrival of East African
Asians (Robinson 1985). It introduces immigration control for British citizens who
were not born in the UK, or had parents or grandparents who were not born in the UK
(Mason 2000:27)

The 1971 Immigration Act brings the UK into line with the European migrant labour
model (Castles et al 1984) and introduces the concept of patrial, to refer to individuals
born in Britain or with parents/grandparents born in Britain. Patrials are not subject to

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immigration control, non-patrial commonwealth citizens on the other hand are now
subject to immigration control. In effect, individuals from the then EEC and Old
Commonwealth had rights to entry not enjoyed by coloured British subjects (Miles
and Cleary 1993:68)

The 1981 Nationality Act. Under the act those qualifying as patrials under the 1968
and 1971 legislation became British citizens. Two other categories of citizenship were
introduced. As a result, only British citizens and EU nationals are now free of
immigration control (Mason 2000:28).

Although immigration was effectively racialised in the post-war period, it is important

to emphasise the diversity of migrant flows and countries of origin which has characterised
the period to the present day (Miles and Cleary 1993; Morris 1997, Home Office 2001) 36.
Despite this, public discourse on immigration in the UK continues to focus on the question of
race and race relations. Immigration has become synonymous with race relations, a factor
which helps explain the generally restrictive government response to increasing numbers of
asylum seekers entering the UK from the middle of the 1980s onwards, many of whom were
from non-white third world countries (Miles and Cleary 1993; Cohen 1994, Schuster and
Solomos 1999; Griffiths 2002).
The British response to immigration (whether by labour migration or the specific case
of refugees) is above all characterised by policy ambivalence, or a pronounced duality of
approach (Solomos 1998; Solomos and Back 1996). Restriction on admissions has been
combined with a race relations and multicultural approach to those allowed to settle in the
UK. The classic expression of British multiculturalism was made in 1966 by Home Secretary
Roy Jenkins, who saw integration not as a flattening process of assimilation but rather as
equal opportunity, accompanied by cultural diversity, in an atmosphere of mutual tolerance37.
The public policy framework of multiculturalism has proven remarkably resilient and is
clearly evident by the reaffirmation of the main principles of the 2002 White Paper, Secure
Borders, Safe Haven: Diversity in Modern Britain, which forms the basis for the 2002
Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 38. The British tradition of fairness, tolerance and
respect for diversity is firmly predicated upon a policy framework of restriction of admissions
and the control of numbers entering the country. The contradictions between integration
policy and restrictive admissions based upon the racialisation of immigration are well
documented in the literature (Solomos 1998; Miles and Cleary 1993; Spencer 1994). These
have important implications for the long-term development of a coherent immigration policy
and specifically the approach adopted for the integration of refugees.
In parallel with the introduction of restrictive immigration legislation has been the
development of an anti-discrimination policy which attempts to secure equal treatment in
public life for ethnic minorities in Britain:

The 1965 and 1968 Race Relations Acts created monitoring bodies which challenged
direct discrimination in employment, housing and other areas of public life. Race


The Home Office report Migration: a social and economic analysis illustrates the complexity of migration
flows and the positive benefits to the British economy of increased migration, particularly in the last twenty
Transcript of a speech to the National Committee for Commonwealth Immigrants, 23 May, London, 1966
Still in passage through Parliament.


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Relations were to be managed in the context of a Community Relations Commission

which was to coordinate the work of local voluntary community relations
organisations (Saggar 1992: 85).

The 1976 Race Relations Act (RRA) included indirect discrimination in its remit and
introduced the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE). Specific provisions under the
legislation allow local authorities to tackle discrimination in certain areas and to
promote racial equality. The legislation introduces codes of practice for the
elimination of discrimination in housing, employment and other areas of public life.

Other relevant legislation includes: section 11 of the 1966 Local Government Act
which allowed additional funds for local authorities with high concentrations of ethnic
minorities 39; the Public Order Act 1986 introduced specific offences which incite to
racial hatred; the Crime and Disorder Bill 1997, introduced additional sentencing for
crimes involving racial harassment or which are racially motivated; the 2000
amendment to the Race Relations Act which extended discrimination to areas
previously not covered by the Act.

According to several commentators, in terms of its approach to the incorporation of

immigrants, Britain illustrates a half-way house between assimilationist and liberal
integrationist models (Parekh 1994; Castles 1995) Whereas assimilation involves the
economic and cultural absorption of immigrants, liberal integrationism involves the functional
adaptation of immigrants (in economic, social and political spheres) while encouraging them
to retain distinctive cultural values in the private sphere. The British case retains the
assumptions of a dominant national culture without requiring that immigrants are absorbed
into it. Consequently, for Parekh (1994: ) the current situation for minorities is one of partial
absorption into a shared political culture while remaining outside a properly national culture
(see also Parekh 2000).
Favell (1999:4) carries the argument further by arguing that in Britain integration (is)
a question of managing public order and relations between majority and minority populations,
and allowing ethnic cultures and practices to mediate the process. British race relations are
founded on the representation of racial group interests but without the guarantee of specific
minority rights as such. Retention of ethnic cultures has a number of positive functions in this
respect, as it acts as a symbolic safety valve for forms of recognition while allowing for the
mediation of relations between minority and majority populations. In the British case
multiculturalism involves the incorporation of minorities, managing public order through
devolving responsibility to local community groups and forms of representation (Favell
1998:339). The underlying principles of the multicultural legislative framework are
acknowledgement of state sovereignty; preservation of territorial boundaries; allegiance to the
Crown and Parliament and representation of ethnic minority interests through designated
community organisations (Favell 1999:139). Tolerance of diversity under the benign
authority of the state is the key motif of British race relations and multiculturalism.
Thus the twin tracks of restrictionism and liberal integration, developed over the last
50 years in response to labour immigration in the 1950s and 1960s and incrementally
enshrined in statute and policy, are highly instrumental in the approach adopted by successive

Section 11 funding was altered in 1998 to two budget areas: the Ethnic Minorities and Travellers Achievement
Grant (EMTAG) under the DfE and another budget directly administered by the Home Office.


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UK governments to meet the new migration trend of the last decade refugees and asylum
Britain does not have a national level integration policy for particular categories of
migrants as is the case in Germany for example - but a set of legal instruments and norms
outlined above which promote racial equality and equality of opportunity, primarily in the
different spheres, employment, education, housing and welfare which affect the life chances
of immigrants and their descendants (Soysal 1994: 54-58). The peculiarity of the current
formulation of integration policy is that it is exclusively focused on refugees, although set
within the broader framework and history of migration policy. The approach to refugee
integration, as indeed to the integration of immigrants from earlier periods, is being developed
incrementally rather than strategically, but it is set firmly within the multicultural and race
relations approach which has dominated the post-war period. While this means that there is a
strong continuity and recapitulation of earlier debates on integration and its meaning at the
policy level, there are also specific features which are linked to contemporary political
vocabularies and ideologies, for example partnership models of implementation, the
incorporation of stakeholder groups and other features associated with the specific political
discourse of New Labour (Maile and Hoggett 2001). More generally, asylum has come to
dominate the policy agenda as a result of the rising numbers of asylum seekers entering the
UK from the late 1980s onwards.
3.1.2 Diversity of outcomes and problems of integration
Given the race relations and multicultural approach, ethnic minorities are the key focus of
policy interventions. Evidence from the 1991 Census indicated a 3 million ethnic minority
population (based upon ethnic self-ascription) representing 5.5% of the population. There is a
characteristic geographical residential distribution, with concentrations of ethnic minorities in
Greater London, the West Midlands and the North-West. Cumulative evidence from the
Policy Studies Institute (PSI) reports, Labour Force Survey documentation and recent Home
Office surveys on migration reflect the diversity and complexity of migration flows and
patterns of settlement (Home Office 2001a,b).
Diversity continues through into the outcomes of the different groups, with significant
inequalities in a wide range of key social spheres: employment, housing, health and education
(Modood et al 1997) and in terms of region of origin, gender, class, caste and religion. There
are highly differentiated outcomes for the different groups (Modood et al 1997) with
Bangladeshis and Pakistanis typically fairing worse than other groups in housing, education
and employment fields. These factors pose significant challenges to the notion of a
homogenous black community and to across the board integration policies 40. Newer
migration flows, including refugees and asylum seekers with ethnicities not typically
represented in the UK to date, add to the picture of overall diversity both in terms of group
characteristics and outcomes 41, as the most recent research indicates (Home Office 2001b).
A particular feature of government policy for the integration of refugees have been the


As indicated above, the preferred policy has been to promote equality of opportunity in the public sphere
through the mediating role of ethnic community groups.
The Guardian (June 17, 2002) noted that Bangladeshis and Pakistanis are two and a half times more likely to
be unemployed than the white population and three times more likely to be on low pay.


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consistent attempts at the spatial dispersal of this category of immigrant. The problematique
of immigration conceived primarily in terms of race relations accentuating the impact on
locations already experiencing social exclusion and deprivation, induced governments to
manage the distribution of quota refugees in small groups to a large number of cities such
as Vietnamese, Ugandan Asian and more recently Bosnian and Kosovar refugees in ways
that were impossible with economic migrants or spontaneously arriving refugees. Research
evidence (Robinson 1992; 2000; Robinson and Hale 1989; and Robinson and Coleman 2000)
confirms that these dispersal policies failed, notably in the case of the Vietnamese and
Ugandan Asian refugees, where processes of secondary migration and regrouping in a few
locations quickly undermined government strategies for integration based upon widespread
distribution. Neither the failure of earlier dispersal policies, nor the very large numbers of
spontaneously arriving asylum seeker, have deterred the government from sustaining
dispersal as the cornerstone of refugee integration in circumstances far more complex than in
the past.
Thus the evidence on post-war settlement suggests both the limitations of legal
equality and of the general race relations framework. There are continuing tensions between
formal legal equality and the evidence of discrimination and inequality which pervades most
aspects of public life in Britain for ethnic minorities. The arrival of large numbers of asylum
seekers over the last decade and the high degree of social exclusion and marginality they have
experienced has exacerbated the sense of inequality which ethnic minorities already
confronted within British society. The emergence of forms of separatism, particularly
amongst the Asian community, and sporadic rioting in the major areas of Asian settlement,
have led to concerns about a growing parallel society and the failure to successfully
integrate Muslim youth (Guardian, 17, 6 2002: Muslims reject image of separate society.) The
2002 White Paper (Home Office 2002:10) echoes these concerns, noting that last summers
disturbances in Bradford, Oldham and Burnley painted a vivid picture of fractured and
divided communities, lacking a sense of common values or shared civic identity to unite
around. It is in this context that the need to rebuild a sense of common citizenship has
become a key policy issue. The integration of refugees appears to occupy a significant role in
the process of reconfiguring citizenship. In this respect, it may not be incidental that the
official policy document outlining the refugee integration programme is entitled Full and
Equal Citizens: a strategy for the integration of refugees into the United Kingdom.
3.1.3 Citizenship and integration
Immigration from the New Commonwealth is the principal factor behind the gradual
shrinking of Citizenship rights which occurred in the post-war period. As Hansen (2001:69)
remarks, as Britain divested itself of its empire and increasingly treated Commonwealth
citizens as aliens, citizenship came to be slowly but ultimately linked with birth and residence
in the UK. In the process the traditional allegiance to the crown, encapsulated in the notion of
the British subject, was replaced by the legal concept of citizenship which was anchored in
the tradition of ius soli. The key developments in citizenship law are:

The British Nationality Act 1948 status of Citizen of the UK and Colonies
introduced to distinguish between older British subject and British subject without
citizenry which referred largely to Indian sub continent therefore subject to
immigration control. Britons and colonial subjects on the whole therefore had the
same rights and possessed an identical formal status (Hansen 2001:75). Ius soli was

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respected. The 1962 Act did not fundamentally change this situation but introduced
immigration control according to the authority issuing the passport: all of those issued
by colonial governments were subject to immigration control.

The 1971 Immigration Act - introduces the concept of patrial to refer to the right of
abode which is now linked to birth in the UK of the parent/grandparent of the
applicant. Non-patrials were on the same footing as aliens in terms of the acquisition
of citizenship, subject to a five-year residency period and good character and
language requirements. The overall effect of the 1971 Act was to place
Commonwealth citizens on the same legal footing as aliens for the purposes of
immigration (Hansen 2001:78).

The 1981 British Nationality Act introduced three categories of citizenship. British
citizenship was defined as excluding the colonies: all persons with right of abode were
granted British citizenship. At the same time the term patriality was replaced by
citizenship. Two other categories of citizenship were introduced. 42 The Act also
departed from the principle of ius soli: citizenship for those born in Britain was now
only conferred on those born of a British citizen or a permanent resident. According to
Cohen (1994:19) the changes introduced in the 1981 Act, including the departure from
ius soli, were designed to buttress a racially-based British identity.

Given this move to a more restrictive application of citizenship, it should be noted that
the UK is broadly comparable with other EU states, in its residency requirements (5 years)
and language and good character stipulations, as well as its mix of ius soli and ius
consanguinis principles.
Changes in citizenship are at the forefront of the themes addressed in the 2002 White
Paper. These include the cultivation of a sense of active citizenship in both working class
communities and those entering the country. The White Paper reinforces the recognition of
multiculturalism and diversity, while arguing for the need for language training and education
for citizenship. A citizenship test (in English language and citizenship) will be reinforced by
a ceremony celebrating the acquisition of citizenship. The aim is to promote individuals
economic and social integration (Home Office 2002:11).
Refugees may apply for citizenship five years after receiving Convention status and
Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Asylum in the United Kingdom43

3.2.1. The social and political context of asylum policy

In contrast to most of its neighbouring states, the UK has only recently introduced organised
reception and dispersal procedures for asylum seekers (as opposed to refugees). Dispersal of

British overseas citizens with a formal citizenship status but no right of entry to the UK and British Dependent
Territories citizenship, largely to cater for Hong Kong and which gave a more secure status.
The principal national legislation are the immigration acts: Immigration Act 1971; Immigration (Carriers
Liability) Act 1987; Immigration Act 1988; Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993; Asylum and
Immigration Act 1996; Immigration and Asylum Act 1999; Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 at
the time of writing still in passage through Parliament.


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quota refugees has taken place since the 1970s: with the Ugandan Asian, Vietnamese and
Chilean programmes in the 1970s and 1980s (Robinson 1985; Joly 1996) and more latterly in
the case of the Bosnian and Kosovan programmes in the 1990s (Bloch 2000). During the
1980s and well into the 1990s, British asylum policy could be said to have been essentially
reactive in character, responding to increases in asylum applications as they occurred. The
1999 Immigration and Asylum Act marked a radical point of departure in British asylum
policy. The pressure of rising numbers of asylum seekers during the 1990s and increasing
demands upon housing and welfare facilities in the major areas of settlement has necessitated
the introduction of a coordinated approach to asylum and the development of an organised
reception and integration framework (Home Office 1998, 1999, 2000).
United Kingdom -Asylum Applications 1991-2001
1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001

Table 2 Applications for asylum in the UK 1991-2001 - excluding

dependants. (Source: Home Office)

The pattern for asylum applications throughout the 1990s is one of two peaks and
succeeding troughs, combined with a steady increase in applications after 1995. The first peak
in asylum applications occurred in 1991 with 44,840 primary applicants, the second in 1995
with 43,965. Legislation was introduced after each of these high points in the trough of
applications rather than at their height. Recently, a decline in applications has occurred, from
80,315 in 2000 to 71,700 in 2001. Taking dependents into account, as is the case in most
other EUMS, 92,000 claims (including dependents) claims for asylum were lodged in 2001,
making the UK the largest recipient Member State in term of absolute numbers and 10th
proportional to host population.
Four major pieces of legislation will have been introduced between 1993 to 2002.

The 1993 UK Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act strengthened pre-entry controls
and reduced housing rights for asylum seekers

The 1996 Asylum and Immigration Act introduced a range of deterrent measures
including removal of benefits for asylum seekers claiming asylum in-country or for
those on appeal. Curtailment of access to public social housing in the 1996 Housing
Act compounded the destitution of asylum seekers and these changes resulted in a
housing crisis in London and the south east as social services departments were legally
obliged to house asylum seekers under the National Assistance Act 1948 (NA48).

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The Immigration and Asylum Act which came into force at the end of 1999 attempted
to address the housing and welfare strain on the south-east by introducing a centralised
system of support through a voucher system and the dispersal of asylum seekers to
designated cluster areas of surplus housing under the National Asylum Support
Service (NASS).

The 2002 Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 44 will begin the pilot phasing in
of accommodation centres for asylum seekers, providing facilities in situ rather than
leaving asylum seekers to access mainstream services. Reception centres will co-exist,
at least for the immediate future with the dispersal programme under the 1999 Act.
The White Paper also addresses the issue of integration for refugees and summarises
the conclusions of the earlier policy document Full and Equal Citizens of November
2000. Dispersal of asylum seekers and the settlement of refugees in the dispersal areas
are retained as key policy objectives.

3.2.2. Statuses available in the United Kingdom 45

There are two principal categories in the UK:
Convention status: a standard letter is issued explaining that the person has full rights
to live and work and to claim benefits in the UK. Convention refugees are entitled to grants
and to home fees as students, advice on contacting the Refugee Council. Persons with
Convention status are granted a travel document the Convention Travel Document and a
residence permit of Indefinite leave to remain (ILR)
Exceptional Leave to Remain: is granted at the discretion of the Home Office in
those cases where return is ruled out on humanitarian grounds. ELR is granted outside the
Immigration rules, usually for a period of four years after which the applicant can apply for
ILR. Those issued with ELR are expected to continue using their national passport or will be
issued with a travel document.
There are some significant differences between the categories. For example,
Convention refugees have the right to family reunion while individuals with ELR do not. In
general, the two categories are broadly similar in terms of welfare and work entitlements.
3.2.3. Numbers of refugees and other statuses in the United Kingdom
According to the Home Office (HO 2001b: 254):

Between 19901999 39,265 asylum seekers and their dependants were granted refugee
status. 79,290 asylum seekers and their dependants were granted ELR in the same

In 2000, 12,645 were granted ELR.


Approved by Parliament on 6th November 2002 after a number of key concessions to the many opponents of
the legislation.
The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) was incorporated into UK law in the Human Rights Act
of 1998 which became effective in 2000. Those ineligible for Convention status or ELR may claim the right not
to be returned to their country of origin under Article 3 of the ECHR which prohibits torture or inhuman and
degrading treatment or punishment (JCWI 2002).


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In 2001, 138,000 refugees and individuals with ELR were legally entitled to work

The Home Office acknowledges that these statistics are limited given that no record is
made of how many of the individuals concerned return to their country of origin. In general,
there is a striking lack of data on refugees in the UK, their numbers, characteristics and labour
market skills. There are no reliable estimates of the total refugee population. The Refugee
Health in London Report (ELCHA 1999) estimated the total refugee population from 19831997 as between 280-330,000 (higher estimate) and 240-280,000 (lower estimate). Of these,
85% of are likely to have remained in London and the south-east (Carey-Wood et al 1995).
None of these estimates is totally reliable and are based upon a number of key assumptions,
all of which are open to challenge (MORI 2001:51).
The high concentration of refugees in London and the south-east still generally
applies, although ad hoc dispersal from London and organised dispersal from April 2000 have
changed the geographical distribution of asylum seekers and refugees to some degree. This
has resulted in the formation of new groupings of asylum seekers in the regions and new
processes of settlement outside London (see the section on Birmingham below). These factors
have important implications for the integration of refugees outside London and the south-east.
3.3 The integration framework
3.3.1. The National level
In UK, the voluntary sector has taken a lead role in reception and settlement for quota and
non-programme refugees (the Refugee Council, Refugee Action, Ockenden Venture, the
Refugee Arrivals Project, the Medical Foundation) are amongst the key NGOs in the field.
Reception and settlement provision had tended to be uncoordinated and ad hoc in character
with no systematic national policy framework prior to 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act.
The lack of national intervention in refugee settlement and integration has led to significant
local variations in coordination and provision for refugees throughout the UK (Robinson
As stated above, to date there has been no formal integration programme for specific
categories of migrants but rather a race relations framework within which equality of
opportunity is the core policy goal. In this respect, the policy response to the settlement of
refugees has been distinctive, depending upon the category of refugee and the date of arrival:
Quota or programme refugees from the 1970s to the 1990s: the evidence on the
reception and settlement 46 of quota refugees had suggested systemic policy failure related to
accommodation-led integration, without due attention to the broader social and economic
infrastructure of the regions to which refugees were dispersed. The programmes were frontloaded in the sense of prioritising accommodation and neglecting later settlement
requirements (Robinson 1986; Joly 1996). The Bosnian Programme of 1993 was hailed as an


On a terminological note, throughout the 1980s and most of the 1990s settlement was the preferred label to
refer to general integration processes (Refugee Council, 1987, 1997; Home Office 1985; Carey-Wood et al
1995). Only since the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act and the policy documents outlining a refugee
integration strategy has there been a move to the term integration in official policy discourse, a term which has
only reluctantly been adopted by NGOs due to its suggestion of assimilation as the goal of refugee settlement.


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example of effective settlement based upon language clustering and the principle of ethnic
community formation (Refugee Council 1997). Of the small literature on the settlement of
refugees (Robinson 1985, 1993) there is evidence of upward mobility for some groups,
although it is notable that the failure to integrate in dispersed areas led in many cases to
secondary migration to areas of already existing community settlement.
Non programme, spontaneous refugees: there was a substantial growth in arrivals
from the mid-1980s onwards. Home Office (Carey-Wood et al 1995) and local studies
(Haringey Council 1997; Bloch 1996, 1999, 2000) suggest blocked opportunities and barriers
to employment, education and training. In other studies, insecurity of status and attachments
to the country of origin have been shown to obstruct integration and participation in British
society (Al-Rasheed 1991, 1994; Bloch 2000).
The initial premise of the NASS dispersal programme for asylum seekers of April
2000 was language-based clustering in areas of ethnic community support, with access to
social facilities and economic infrastructure in the regions outside London. In the event,
accommodation-led policy has appeared to prevail over language-based clustering and
appropriate social and economic support with consequences for the settlement of refugees in
the regions which are beginning to become apparent (Audit Commission 2000; NASS
Foundation Reports; Home Office 2003 forthcoming). While settlement appears to be taking
place in some of the dispersal regions, notably in Birmingham and the West Midlands, in
other cases there is strong anecdotal evidence of secondary migration to London and the
south-east where refugee communities and infrastructure are better developed the legacy of
earlier unregulated settlement by refugees. The local authority consortia which are charged
with administering dispersal are also responsible for developing regional integration strategies
in order to encourage recognised refugees to remain in the regions.
What underlies the current formulation of a national refugee integration policy 47,
according to Home Office sources (interview INPD, UK Home Office, May 2002) are issues
of social cohesion, demography and labour market stability. The current sectoralisation of
refugees across government departments is seen as a major challenge to a coordinated
approach to refugee integration (Bridging the Gaps National Conference, Home Office 2001a
Migration: an economic and social analysis). Integration is officially viewed as applying to
all migrants with leave to settle in the UK. Nevertheless, refugee integration is in the process
of emerging as a distinctive policy area with its own rationale and administrative structure 48.
Refugee Integration Policy

The UK refugee integration policy, which has developed in close conjunction with the
dispersal system for asylum seekers since April 2000, is based upon three policy documents:
1. Full and Equal Citizens: a policy and implementation model for the integration of refugees
into UK society (Refugee section of Race Equality Unit, Feb 1999) was set in context of the

The term policy is preferred to the word strategy since the approach to integration in the UK lacks the defining
characteristics of a strategy - intersectoral cohesion, agency co-ordination, organised programme of actions, aims
and objectives
Research teams concerned with integration have been established in the Immigration research and statistics
service of the HO (IRSS), Economic and resource analysis unit (ERA) and the research, development and
statistics directorate (RDSD). The focus of research is on the impacts of refugees on local economies and


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1999 Asylum and Immigration Act and the implications of dispersal for community and race
relations. According to this document, the aim of integration policy is To include recognised
refugees as equal citizens and members of society who are empowered to exercise maximum
freedom of choice with respect to their futures(1999a:4).
The document deploys the idea of spheres of development - social, economic,
community, community safety and individual - for successful integration. It is also based
upon a partnership model between NGOs, the voluntary sector, local authority consortia and
RCOs. According to the document, there is a need for a distinct policy framework: Refugee
integration policy must, therefore, be treated as a distinct policy and be distinguished from
policies whose goal is to meet needs shared by refugees and other disadvantaged groups. The
principle of community clustering derived from the Bosnian programme and re-enacted in the
1999 Immigration and Asylum Act is regarded as most effective in fostering a sense of social
It also proposes a division of labour between the national level, involving the Refugee
Council 49 and the regional level including regional refugee councils and local service
providers. The role of then Asylum Support Directorate (ASD) - later NASS was to promote
dispersal and support for asylum seekers while providing a framework for the settlement of
refugees. In this respect, support for asylum seekers was not to be seen as distinct from that of
the goals of integration for recognised refugees (Home Office 1999a:11). For most practical
purposes, the document states that integration actually starts after the first few days in the
country, a concession which is conspicuously absent from the later policy literature and in any
case is little evident in practice.
2. A consultation paper on the integration of recognised refugees in the UK (IND Asylum
Support Project Team, October 1999). This document repeats the central arguments of the
earlier policy implementation model. Integration policy is set firmly within the framework of
social inclusion, community and race relations (Home Office 1999b: 5). The aim of
integration is to provide the opportunity for all refugees to be fully included in society and
the opportunity to develop their full potential in their new host communities (Home Office
1999b: 6). The aim is multiculturalism not assimilation. The need for an inter-departmental
approach is restated, with the development of a National Refugee Integration Forum (NRIF)
and related sub-groups in education, housing, health, welfare, community safety, community
development and employment. The text also stresses community support and language
clustering to foster refugee community formation, the role of RCOs in promoting inclusion
and stability of contacts; the importance of language provision and the range of welfare
benefits and entitlements open to refugees in education, housing, health and employment.
The partnership model mentioned above is developed to include the role of NGOs in
the regions in providing a One Stop Service (OSS) of advice and support to asylum seekers
and refugees settling in the regions. The OSS were also to be a key element in drawing up
integration programmes for individual refugees.
3. Full and equal citizens: a strategy for the integration of refugees into the United Kingdom
(Refugee Integration Section, NASS, November 2000). This document restates the earlier
aims of integration but within the framework of the NASS and the NRIF. This latter body is

The refugee Council is the main national level NGO representing the needs of refugees and asylum seekers
and is an umbrella organisation co-ordinating national and local level NGOs and RCOs.


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now located within the Asylum Appeals Policy Directorate (AAPD) rather than the Race
Equality Unit. This demonstrates its close connection with the work of NASS in distributing
and supporting asylum seekers in the regions. The regionalisation of integration policy, based
upon the partnership model with the voluntary sector, local authorities, NGOs and RCOs is
reinforced. The directing role of the NRIF under the Minister for Immigration and the
function of the sub-groups in developing research and action plans in particular areas is also
underlined. A recent research document (Home Office 2001a) has restated the governments
concerns over social exclusion, pinpointing the need to ensure that asylum seekers are enabled
to move quickly into mainstream provision once a decision has been reached.
Overall, the Home Office may be described as research active in the area of refugee
integration and is currently engaged in a range of projects including the development of a set
of refugee integration indicators (see conclusion) 50. Despite this, it is important to emphasise
the limited resources of the Refugee Integration Unit (RIU) within the AAPD. It currently has
six key personnel in contrast to over 650 individuals within NASS as a whole. The move of
the RIU from the Race Equality Unit to the AAPD has also been interpreted by NGOs active
in the field (interview Refugee Council, London, August 2002) as working against the RIUs
stated aim of promoting integration within a multicultural framework. At present, staffing and
resources are overwhelmingly concentrated in the reception end of the settlement process.
Integration measures

Integration projects currently take place through three centrally administered channels:

The Purposeful Activities fund was established in 2001 for social activities for asylum
seekers and refugees

The Refugee Community Development fund supports the work of organisations for
start-up costs, new activities and capacity building

The Home Office Challenge fund addresses the specific social needs of refugees and
supports innovative projects

Challenge Fund evaluation is ongoing, incorporating self-evaluation by the projects

themselves (National Integration Conference, Manchester, June 2002). Initial research by
NASS indicated that Challenge Fund resources would not be adequate to meet demand (Vine
Management Consulting, June 2001). Consequently, funding was raised from 500,000 to
1million in 2002. On a national basis this remains severely limited in scope. There is also a
reportedly small take-up of funds due to the stringent eligibility guidelines requested by the
Home Office (interview Midland Refugee Council, August 2002). 30 projects have been
funded for the financial year 2002-2003 (Newsletter of the Refugee Integration Unit, June
2002). In principle, domestic funding is geared to local developments and needs.
Responsiveness at this level is linked to cross-departmental collaboration and monitoring of


An integration research working group has been established, another sub-group of the national refugee
integration forum. They are currently looking at problems of definition, units of analysis, filling in research gaps
relating to the numbers, characteristics and locations of refugees. The main focus is on functional integration
rather than political, cultural or social integration i.e measurable outputs in terms of employment, education
and training and service provision. Work on integration indicators is also being undertaken. Action research is
also being encouraged to build a common approach between the host community and refugees.


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outcomes at the national level (interview, Refugee Integration Unit, Home Office, June 2002).
In addition to these new centrally administered funding routes, organisations assisting
refugees will be able, as before, to access a number of conventional funding sources including
charitable trusts, the Single Regeneration Budget, the European Social Fund and local
authority grants.
The NRIF was established in January 2001 and is chaired by the Minister of State for
Immigration. It is a cross-departmental, consultative body (although with no formal policy
making powers) and operates through a number of designated sub-groups which are chaired
by Regional Consortia Managers (see below).


Community Development

Community Safety and Racial Harassment

Education (schools)

Employment and Training (Adult education)

Health and social care

Positive images


Unaccompanied asylum seeking children

Full and Equal Citizens (Home Office 2000a) documents some of the crossdepartmental initiatives which complement existing programmes in education, employment,
health, community development and accommodation. These aim to improve access for
refugees to services and improved information to service providers on the needs of refugees.
The Accommodation sub group
This subgroup aims to advise NRIF on the housing needs of refugees and to identify good practice in
housing provision. A rent deposit guarantee scheme for rented accommodation upon a positive
decision has been piloted since April 2001. Effective move-on of recognised refugees from NASS
accommodation is currently one of the key issues affecting settlement in the regions (section). The
subgroup is currently working around three key areas: prevention of homelessness (for those under
NASS arrangements; access to housing (provision of move-on accommodation) and sustaining a home
(the broader social issues of settlement in an area).
The Health and social care subgroup
A project entitled the Health needs of refugees and newly arrived communities has been funded by the
Department of Health which aims to provide guidance concerning the health issues affecting refugees.
A web-based resource, Health for Asylum Seekers and Refugees Portal (HARP) is also supported by
the subgroup and consists of information for health professionals; information on health conditions
and services and information on translating and interpreting services.
The Community Development subgroup
This sub-group is concerned with the link between community development and integration and aims
to identify the processes by which communities are enabled to promote integration. It is chaired by a
representative of the Refugee Council with expertise in community development in London and the
regions. Following a conference on refugee community development held in March 2002, the


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subgroup identified the following areas for future development: improved two-way communication
between the subgroup and RCOs; promoting awareness of the role of RCOs in integration; identifying
effective models of refugee community development and strengthening the role of refugee
communities in mainstream service provision.
The Adult Education, Training and Employment sub group
This subgroup deals with a range of issues including English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
and Basic Skills and the coordination of the National ESOL Training and Development Project which
is developing training programmes for teachers of ESOL in the regions 51. Representatives from the
Employability Forum, Refugee Council, Refugees Into Jobs 52, Employers organisations, the World
University Service, the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) are included in the subgroup.
Members of the subgroup were contributing throughout 2001 to research on refugee employment
which is analysing the labour market position of refugees and the barriers to employment. This was
commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions which was established in June 2001, with a
special remit to promote employment possibilities for disadvantaged groups and individuals, including

There remain key issues around the remit of the subgroups, particularly in terms of
accountability and the absence of a clear programme of action (interview, Refugee Council,
August 2002). Although representatives from the different government departments are
invited to attend the meetings of the various subgroups, this is voluntary and tends to be
outside of regular working commitments rather than a part of designated roles. Without direct
funding or policy-making capacity the subgroups and the NRIF as a whole occupy an
ambiguous position. According to several individuals attending the subgroups it was felt that
although they provided a potential framework for developing a strategic integration
framework there was a lack of consistent and coherent policy formulation from the centre.
Nomination of chairs for the meetings occurred informally and in general there was a lack of
clear terms of reference for the subgroups. Cross-departmental governmental support for the
NRIF also appeared to be lacking according to several regional managers and NGO
representatives attending the meetings (interviews, London, August 2002).
3.3.2 The regional level
According to Full and Equal Citizens (Home Office 2000a:12) every dispersal region in the
country should have an integration policy in place by August 2001. The NRIF is the model
for the regional integration strategies which should occur in conjunction with NASS regional
managers and the consortia. It would appear that the development of regional integration
strategies has been delayed in practice, with the logistical demands of dispersal outweighing
settlement issues.
3.3.3. The role of NGOs and the voluntary sector
Although the Refugee Council, Refugee Action and other NGOs have a strong tradition of

The National ESOL Training and Development Project is a consortium of organisations including the Basic
Skills Agency, the National Organisation for Adult Learning (NIACE), The London Language and Literacy
Unit, the National Association for Teachers of English and other Community Languages to Adults (NATECLA)
and the Learning and Skills Development Agency.
Refugees into Jobs was formed in 1997 by the London boroughs of Brent and Harrow in partnership with the
local Training and Enterprise Council and five local colleges. It provides careers advice and guidance and plays
a strategic role in shaping the provision in colleges to meet the needs of their clients.


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supporting refugees in London and the regions, they have assumed new roles under the NASS
arrangements. The OSS, in collaboration with NASS and the regional consortia - as indicated
in Home Office policy documents - aimed to provide a framework for integration through
drawing up individual integration programmes for refugees. Again, the practical outcomes
have been different from those anticipated, with many of the OSS in the regions unable to
cope with the demands posed by dispersal.
Despite the important resources which RCOs offer, they are the least developed
partner in the integration arrangements (Zetter and Pearl 2000), but are clearly specified as
an active agent in the integration process in various government publications, (Home Office
1999a, 2000a; Audit Commission 2000). Organisations such as the Coordinators Training and
Support Scheme (COTASS) and the RCO Development Project (a working party of
COTASS) are active in the field developing RCO capacity. There are currently an estimated
300 RCOs in London alone, with considerable growth in other regions including Birmingham
and the West Midlands. Research suggests that RCOs are typically under-resourced and overutiltised (Zetter and Pearl 1999, 2000; Audit Commission 2000).
3.3.4. The European Dimension
The UK government is actively engaged in administering ERF programmes and is currently
monitoring their progress. The EQUAL programme under the European Social Fund consists
of four themes, linked to the four pillars of the European Employment Strategy:
employability, entrepreneurship, adaptability and equal opportunities. Refugees can be
assisted under several of these headings, although there is also a specific theme for asylum
seekers. Initial resistance by the Home Office to the incorporation of asylum seekers was
effectively challenged by NGOs at the outset of the EQUAL programme. The governments
perspective is to add value to existing domestic programmes aimed at reducing social
exclusion. At the launch of EQUAL the Minister for Employment emphasised the need to
target the concentration of low skills and unemployment in the most deprived areas, and noted
the overlap of EQUAL with government initiatives including the Neighbourhood Renewal
Fund, the Community Empowerment Fund and the Community Chest (Update from the
EQUAL Launch Conference, 2001).
The Refugee Council is setting up a Development Partnership which aims to target
monies set aside for asylum seekers nationally and refugees in London under the pillar of
employability. In total there will be 100 Development Partnerships, 60 at local levels, 20 at
regional levels and 20 at national levels. Refugees will be included in several of the funding
programmes separate strands. Of the 233 million over a 6 year period, 5% is set aside for
asylum seekers, although achieving matched funding will cause difficulties for many refugee
based organisations (interview COTASS, London, August 2002).
3.3.5 The integration of refugees: differential integration entitlements
It is important to restate that there is no formal programme of integration for migrants as a
whole, with refugees to date typically incorporated into mainstream service provision. With
the National Refugee Integration Strategy a series of distinct funding routes has emerged.
Refugees with Convention status and those with ELR are eligible for funding under the
Challenge Fund, Refugee Community Development fund and the Purposeful Activities
Programme (which includes asylum seekers). In terms of formal entitlements there are a few


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differences between individuals with Convention status and individuals with ELR:
Entitled to

Refugee status


Welfare benefits



Public Housing



Early years nurseries






Further Education fees

As Home Student

As Home Student

Higher Education fees

As Home Student

As Home Student

Higher Education grants/loans


After three years residency

National Health Service



Family Reunion


After four years if able to support


Travel Overseas

Yes, but not always to the home


Yes, but not always to the home


Permission to work



Right to vote or stand for election

Only if Commonwealth citizen, or if

naturalised as a British/Irish citizen

Only if a Commonwealth citizen, or

if naturalised as a British/Irish citizen

Source Refugee Council 2001


In key areas existing domestic legislation is applied to refugees and individuals with

Social Services under the Children Act 1989 there is a duty to provide for all
children under the age of 18

Accommodation under the Housing Act 1985 there is a duty to provide public
housing, subject to usual waiting lists and eligibility criteria, i.e. single people are not

Education according to Annexe B of the Department of Education and Employment

(skills) Code of Practice on school admissions, refugee children are entitled to
schooling. Under the 1996 Education Act Local Education Authorities (LEAs) are
obliged to school children between 5-16 years of age

Employment and Training refugees are eligible for government training schemes
after six months unemployment, including Work-based learning and New Deal

Given the broad convergence of rights between Convention refugees and individuals
with ELR, the refugee integration strategy includes individuals with ELR within its scope as
full and equal citizens. The real dividing line therefore is between these two categories and
asylum seekers, although the latter are eligible for certain funding streams including the
Purposeful Activities Programme and EQUAL. It is important to note that the right to apply
for permission to work after six months has been withdrawn for asylum seekers as from
August 2002, a factor which may further marginalise asylum seekers from mainstream
economic and social relationships.

There are no restrictions on movement for either category.


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3.3.6 Conclusions to section 3

The legacy of Empire conditioned post-war immigration policy with gradual restrictions
introduced on primary immigration from the New Commonwealth

Since the 1960s there has been a multicultural framework and race relations approach to

Citizenship is accessible to refugees with indefinite leave to remain, subject to a

residency period and eligibility criteria.

Individuals with Convention status and ELR have full access to a range of services with
minor differences in entitlements

There has been a formal integration strategy for refugees since November 2000

The refugee integration strategy is based upon a partnership model and decentralised
implementation through regional consortia

There is a new role for regional consortia in the development of regional refugee
integration strategies

There is an enlarged role for NGOs, RCOs and the voluntary sector under the new
reception and integration arrangements


Case study locations

3.4.1 Introduction
Two principal locations were chosen for fieldwork, London and Birmingham. London is the
main area for the settlement of refugees in the UK while Birmingham represents a more
recent area of settlement.
Total population in 1997 of 7,122 million (HO 2001:42)
Estimated 85% of refugees settled in London and the south-east (Carey-Wood et al 1995)
London Boroughs
Total population 216,100 (1996)
43% of the population is from black and ethnic minority backgrounds
Estimated 15,000-17,000 refugees and asylum seekers (ELCHA 1999)
Total population 235,700 in 1999
50% ethnic minority population in 2000 (London Borough of Newham 2002)
Estimated 16,700 19,500 asylum seekers and refugees (ELCHA 1999)
Total population- 1,079 million in 1997 (HO 2001b)
40% ethnic minority population
Estimated 10,000-15,000 refugees and asylum seekers

The contrasting factors are:


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Infrastructure and services. Most of the support services needed for effective
refugee settlement are located in London and the south-east. These include a dense
network of statutory, NGO and voluntary groups as well as the bulk of RCOs in the
country. Birmingham is less developed in these respects, reflecting the recent
character of refugee settlement in the area.

Existing community settlement and size of ethnic communities. Although

Birmingham has a high ethnic concentration it has fewer developed refugee
communities than many areas in London. Haringey and Newham in particular have
established refugee communities going back to the 1980s.

Central /Regional relations. The centralisation of policy formation, infrastructure

and services relating to refugees is an important contrast between London and the
regions. Although dispersal and settlement is effected through the regional consortia
these remain restricted in terms of their decision-making capacity. The regional
consortia have no independent policy-making function but operate through a system of
decentralised control, consultation and partnership with Home Office institutions.

3.4.2. London - overview

There is a long-standing history of settlement in particular areas of London, notably the East
End and Docklands areas (Bloch 1996, 1999, 2000), although there is considerable variation
across London boroughs (ELCHA 1999; Haringey Council 1997). The concentration of
refugees in London reflects the more general population characteristics for the UK as a whole
(HO 2001a: 39). It is important to recall that London is the UKs largest labour market (HO
2001a) and hosts a high concentration of migrants in key inner city boroughs. Overall, the
concentration of refugees in London and the south-east would appear to be undergoing a
process of change due to the asylum seeker dispersal policy introduced in April 2000.
Refugees and asylum seekers in London

In terms of the numbers of refugees and asylum seekers, the East London and City Health
Authority (ELCHA 1999) provides one of the more up-to-date and comprehensive estimates
of the distribution of refugees and asylum seekers in London 54. The report estimated the total
refugee population between 1983-1997 as approximately 280-330,000 (higher estimate) and
240-280,000 (lower estimate). Of these, 85% are likely to remain in London and the southeast (Carey-Wood et al 1995). None of these estimates is totally reliable and are based upon a
number of key assumptions, all of which are open to challenge (MORI 2001: 51).
The role of NGOs

There is an overwhelming concentration of NGO resources and personnel in the capital which
reflects both the role of London as the main reception city for refugees. At the same time the
picture is characterised by the proliferation of small, specialist NGOs which support asylum
seekers and refugees 55. In these respects the UK contrasts with both Italy and Germany.

The ELCHA report estimates are based upon averaging results from five different sources (ELCHA 1999:26).
The methodological problems involved in estimating exact numbers cannot be discussed in detail here. As the
authors of the report acknowledge, their estimates tend to be conservative and are used here largely for
illustrative purposes.
This is aside from the Refugee Council which operates across London and has two regional offices and
Refugee Action and the regional refugee councils which operate across the regions.


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In London, there is a wide ranging network of refugee-related NGOs and voluntary

bodies, including the World University Service (WUS), the Refugee Education and Training
Advisory Service (RETAS of the WUS), the Refugee Council, the Medical Foundation for
victims of Torture, Asylum Aid, the Refugee Legal Centre, and the Refugee Assessment and
Guidance Unit (RAGU) of the University of North London. In addition, there is a broad
spectrum of advisory bodies, campaigning groups and web-based groups (Refugee Council
2001), many of which are focused on employment initiatives (Phillimore and Goodson 2002).
Longstanding integration work has been undertaken in the key areas of education, ESOL,
employment, health, and housing. Last but not least, over 300 RCOs provide essential support
to their communities (Home Office 2001a). Although this situation is now changing, it is
important to note that no single region in the UK outside London has equivalent resources,
organisational back-up or expertise in the area of refugee integration.
An overview of two London boroughs is provided below. Each has a high density of
ethnic minorities and refugees and a substantial history of refugee settlement. Specific
illustrations are given of practical integration work which is undertaken by statutory agencies,
NGOs and refugee groups in the areas.


Newham is a long-standing area of settlement for ethnic minorities and refugees. The total
population of Newham was 235,700 in 1999. In 2000, it was estimated that over half the
population was from Black and Asian communities, with the proportion higher among
younger residents. In all, there are more than 30 ethnic minority communities in the borough,
making Newham a multicultural settlement area. It is important to note that there are
significant variations across the borough with concentrations of ethnic minorities in particular
areas, typically the more economically disadvantaged (Bloch 1996).
Refugees and asylum seekers in Newham

According to ELCHA estimates (1999:27) there are between 16,700 19,500 asylum seekers
and refugees in Newham. This is approximately 7% of Londons total asylum seeker and
refugee population, making Newham the single largest borough in London for asylum seekers
and refugees. Newham has been an area of settlement particularly for Tamil, Somali and
Zairean refugees (Bloch 1996; Refugee Council 1997) from the late 1980s onwards. Since
1999 the number of refugee and asylum seeking children speaking European languages in
Newham has increased by 34.3%. (Refugee and asylum seeking pupils in Newham, Autumn
2000). The increase in Roma from Poland and Kosova, in addition to Latin American and
Iraqi refugee children reflects the diversity of the newer arrivals.
Local authority provision: health, housing and education.

In terms of practical integration work, at the statutory level Newham Homeless Family Forum
is run by the social services and the housing department in Newham borough council and is
cross-departmental in nature. The forum is active in a wide range of areas concerning the
welfare of refugees and provides a range of support services including advice and assistance
with finding accommodation and accessing health services. Newham Educational Services is
run by two EMTAG teachers with expertise in providing assistance to refugee children from a
wide range of nationalities. In-school support is supplemented by home-school liaison and the
support of recently arrived refugee communities.


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NGOs and voluntary organisations: vocational training and ESOL

Newham Training Network (NTN) is an umbrella organisation for local voluntary sector
training providers offering training to unemployed people, including refugees, in Newham.
NTN works in partnership with range of organisations including the Further Education
colleges, London East Learning and Skills Council and the Employment Services. Its mission
statement includes a commitment to maintain Quality Standards as part of the London
Borough of Newhams Access to Jobs Strategy. There are also a number of independent,
well-established organisations in Newham which cater for specific nationalities or groups,
such as the London Oriental Academy which is almost exclusively Tamil and has a large
refugee and asylum seeker client base. A wide variety of vocational and academic courses is
run by this organisation including ESOL for refugees.
Refugees and community groups

Tamils and Somalis both have a strong organisational presence in Newham. Of the Tamil
organisations, London Tamil Sangam appears to be one of the more developed organisations,
providing a range of skills based learning. Newham Tamil Housing Association was founded
in 1986 and provides accommodation to Tamils at different stages of the settlement process.
The Somali Education and Employment Project is currently running a new pilot scheme for
Basic Skills. Like many other Somali organisations in Newham it has a largely female client
base. It should be noted that many Somali projects are targeted at women, as there is a
significant number of single mothers amongst the Somali population in East London (Somali
Conference Report 1998).
The newer refugee arrivals specifically Roma and Kosovar refugees - appear to be
facing a range of integration problems around lack of literacy in their own language. Bilingual
support may therefore be an important factor for these groups, particularly in aiding them to
access mainstream services. The Renewal Refugee and Migrant Project is run specifically for
Kosovar refugees and provides practical assistance in language training. Other organisations,
for Roma and Latin American refugees are similarly geared to provide for specific language
groupings. In sum, there are a variety of refugee organisations in Newham, some until
recently coordinated under the Newham Refugee Centre, others organised under the Refugee
Rainbow Alliance.
3.4.4 Haringay
Refugees and asylum seekers in Haringay

In terms of the numbers of refugees and asylum seekers in Haringay, ELCHA (1999:27)
estimates are between 15,000-17,500 asylum seekers and refugees or 6.3% of the London
total, making Haringay the borough with the second largest number of asylum seekers and
refugees after Newham. Haringey is notable for its concentration of Kurdish (Turkish) and
Somali refugees (Haringay Council 1997). Almost half of its 223,700 people come from
ethnic minority backgrounds, including Greek and Turkish Cypriot, African and Caribbean,
Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi, Irish and Chinese. Recently, Kurdish, Somali and Kosovan
nationals have settled in Haringay, too. The people of Haringay speak a total of 193 different
languages (London borough of Hackney 2002).
Statutory providers: ESOL

The College of North East London - CoNEL - provides a wide variety of ESOL courses with a


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current number of 2,500 ESOL students and a waiting list of over 1000. There is a strong
emphasis on linking ESOL with vocational training at CoNEL, with a range of courses on
offer including ESOL and hairdressing and English for the Service Industry. In addition,
outreach work occurs in over 30 centres throughout Haringey. Many of the courses are
specifically geared to the needs of refugees.
Training providers

A spectrum of training organisations exists which provide for the unemployed and specific
nationalities or groups. Caris, is one such charitable organisation which provides for parents
living in temporary accommodation in Haringey. In the last two years its workload has shifted
almost exclusively towards providing for refugees and asylum seekers. Other organisations
are directly contracted to Employment Services for Work Based Learning for Adults (WBLA)
or cater for specific nationalities e.g. Chinese or Turkish residents. In many of these cases
refugees and asylum seekers have become a significantly larger proportion of the total
workload, with implications for organisational working. Lack of specialist workers and
interpretors have been particular issues in this respect.
Refugees and community groups

As in the case of Newham, there is considerable diversity in the number and types of refugee
groups in the borough. The Haringey Refugee Consortium is exceptional in cutting across
national and political groupings and provides a range of training and vocational subjects for
refugees and asylum seekers. The principal Kurdish organisations in the area, the Kurdish
Advice Centre and the Kurdish Community Centre represent political divisions from the
home context and are affiliated to political organisations in Turkey. Both organisations
provide a combination of vocational subjects, including ESOL. Equally important is the
attention which is given to mother-tongue instruction in these organisations. Own language
maintenance has a particular significance for Kurdish groups who have been assimilated into
the Turkish speaking majority at home and now, they argue, similarly neglected as a distinct
minority within the settlement context in London.
3.4.5 Barriers and potentialities
Newham and Haringey exhibit high levels of activity at statutory, NGO, voluntary and RCO
levels, with substantial degrees of refugee community organisation. The above has merely
illustrated some of the wealth of activities which are currently being run by and for refugees
which aim to promote integration in key areas of social life. Importantly, for the practitioners
themselves the application of a coherent integration framework to inform their practice is
lacking. Integration practice does not appear to be closely related to policy formulation but
occurs independently through formal and informal networks of statutory agencies, NGOs and
refugee groups
In this respect, there are a number of key issues which are raised by the fieldwork and
substantiated by a review of the literature:

The lack of strategic coordination of the different agencies statutory, NGO,

voluntary and RCOs - on a borough basis and across London

A failure to record and disseminate good practice across London boroughs

The need for improvements in the networking capacity, funding, training, and


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coordination of RCOs and their interface with statutory authorities

The need for adequate, precise information on the numbers of refugees and asylum
seekers in particular boroughs to allow advance planning and the provision of services

These issues have been pinpointed in a number of other contexts (Zetter and Pearl
1999; Robinson 1998) but warrant repetition in the light of current policy interventions.
In general, research evidence has consistently suggested that refugees in London face
problems in accessing employment, education, health services and housing 56. The most
common factors include:

Language barriers

Waiting lists for ESOL classes which are accessed via further and adult education

Lack of recognition for overseas qualifications

Lack of familiarity with labour markets

Absence of specialised training routes for professionally qualified refugees

Lack of interpreters for accessing services

Specific health needs including mental health needs and gender issues

Racism and discrimination

Although the regional consortia, including the London Asylum Seekers Consortium
(LASC) provide a framework for potential action in relation to integration, to date the focus
has been on the logistical problems of dispersal and the immediate needs of asylum seekers
rather than the long-term issues posed by refugee settlement. In particular, lack of data on
refugees prevents long-term planning in the provision of services which is vital to an effective
integration strategy.
3.4.6 Birmingham
Birmingham stands out in marked contrast to London as an area of only recent settlement for
refugees and asylum seekers. Statutory, voluntary, NGO and RCO provision is therefore less
developed than is the case in London. In general, Birmingham is responding to the increasing
numbers of asylum seekers arriving in the city by developing new institutional arrangements
and solutions to the issues posed by long-term refugee settlement. Birmingham had a total
population of 1,079,000 in 1997 (HO 2001b). Currently some 40% of Birminghams residents
are from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Refugees and asylum seekers in Birmingham

The history of refugee settlement in the city is complex but may be divided into pre-dispersal
and dispersal periods. The take-off in the number of refugees and asylum seekers in the city
has occurred in the last four years as a result of ad hoc dispersal from London boroughs,


Duke 1997; Africa Educational Trust 1998; Salinas 1998; Haringay Council 1997; MORI 2000; Bloch 1996,
1999, 2000; Audit Commission 2000


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organised dispersal under the NASS and spontaneous in-region arrivals of asylum seekers.
There are a number of factors involved in Birminghams attractiveness as an area of
destination: the existence of settled ethnic and refugee groups, its proximity to London and
relative development of economic and social facilities. By the middle of 2002, 80 asylum
seekers were self-presenting per week in Birmingham. The increase in arrivals has raised
pressing issues around exit from the NASS system, as positive decisions result in more
refugees seeking to settle in the region.
There are no reliable statistics on the number of refugees in Birmingham, although
these are believed to be in excess of 10,000 individuals. Settled groups such as the Sudanese,
Iraqis and Somalis have been joined by later additions, many of which now have well
established community groups, such as Afghans and Ethnic Albanians. Other groups such as
the Iranians who have also been arriving in large numbers in recent years are less well
The role of the West Midlands Consortium for Asylum seekers and Refugees
(WMCARS) 57.

The role of Consortia is clearly designated under the NASS arrangements as entailing the
management of accommodation and support services for dispersed asylum seekers as well as
the integration and settlement of refugees remaining in the region (WMCARS Business Plan,
2001-2002). Currently, there is no regional integration strategy in place (August 2002),
although the Manager of the Consortium is working in collaboration with the Centre for
Urban and Regional Studies (CURS) at Birmingham University to develop a regional
integration strategy 58.
WMCARS has secured funding under the Purposeful Activities Programme for 31
projects aimed at offering outlets for social activities for asylum seekers and refugees
(WMCARS Purposeful Activities Grant 2001-2002, Progress Report). The overall aim is to
encourage interaction between asylum seekers, refugees and local communities. WMCARS
has also been granted funding under the Challenge Fund (2002-2003) for Mental health
(social and cultural support) and for Roselodge Housing for a project designed to assist
refugees to begin commercial enterprises (Full and Equal Citizens: the newsletter of the
Home Office Refugee Integration Unit, June 2002).
In terms of the general coordinating role of the consortium, the opinion expressed by
NGOs and voluntary groups in Birmingham was that more work needed to be done to provide
a clear, strategic direction for the integration of refugees in the city. Lack of independent
decision-making under the NASS arrangements was consistently cited as one of the principal
reasons for the late development of a regional integration strategy (interviews, Refugee
Action, Midlands Refugee Council, August 2002), while firmer regional control of reception
and settlement were seen more generally as key issues by many of those active in the
WMCARS (interview, Manager of the WMCARS, January 2002).
Statutory authorities

Birmingham City Council Asylum Team manages the contract with NASS for the West

The Consortium consists of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Stoke-on-Trent, Walsall and
Wolverhampton. Birmingham is the lead authority and manages the contract with NASS.
Exploring mechanisms for the integration of asylum seekers and refugees into the labour market in
Wolverhamption, Phillimore and Goodson 2001


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Midlands. One of the principal aims for Birmingham City Council is to develop the
integration component of the Consortias role in providing assistance and advice to
individuals who have been awarded status. In this respect, there was a deficiency in current
service provision for refugees which was apparent across a range of statutory bodies,
voluntary organisations and RCOs in the city (interview, Birmingham City Council Housing
department, January 2002; Home Office 2003 forthcoming).
In response to this deficiency in coordinated service provision, a resource centre for
refugees and asylum seekers is in the process of being set up under the supervision of
Birmingham City Council. The resource centre is to be led by the leader of the asylum team
and will include NHS Health outreach, the Careers service, the Refugee Council, MRC, RA
and the Neighbourhood advice team. It will provide housing advice, neighbourhood advice,
welfare support, NHS surgery and signposting to other agencies, including Refugee Council
information and data collection. Refugee community involvement in the centre will be
encouraged through the provision of office space. This can be used for training purposes for
RCOs in relation to capacity development and project management. It is to be opened on a 7
day a week basis and located in Duddleston which is immediately outside the city centre.
The role of NGOs

The Midland Refugee Council (MRC) is a community-based charity founded in 1987 as a

voluntary association of refugee groups. It provides a free service to refugees and asylumseekers, offering advice, counselling, advocacy and support in the fields of:


Welfare rights


Access to health care

Housing support

Womens support

Employment and training

Community development

The MRC is principally concerned with refugees but works with asylum seekers as
volunteers at the Council, particularly in the areas of self-employment and training (Dispersal
or Disposal? Retrieving Refugees Skills for our Society, European conference on integration
Policy, Birmingham, January 2001). According to the chief executive of the MRC (interview
August 2002) the integration of refugees should be conceived in holistic terms, as a series of
interrelated needs and corresponding services which are best catered for under one roof. The
MRC is likely to play an increasingly important role in longer-term plans for the integration
of asylum-seekers and refugees in the region, through skills-matching and other work in the
fields of employment and education. In terms of employment, the MRC has a good track
record of getting refugees into employment, particularly in the shortage areas of teaching and
the medical profession59.

Up to middle of 2000 the MRC had 299 people on their books through skills matching. As a result, 12-13% of
refugee doctors have jobs as locums while others are securing employment through the Primary Care Trust


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Refugee Action has also been based in the region since the early 1980s, working
initially in Vietnamese settlement and later Bosnian and Kosovan programmes. As an
organisation it prioritises the principle of self-activity amongst refugee groups and their own
capacity for integration (interview Refugee Action, August 2002). Indeed the emphasis is
more upon maintaining home links and ties with the culture of origin, renewing and building
communities under new settings, than it is with economic and functional integration in the
receiving society.
In the last four years dispersal from London and the south-east and the increase in
refugees settling in the region has impacted directly on their work. The emphasis of their
workload has shifted from long term settlement issues to day-to-day advice work for asylum
seekers. In this respect, it was believed that initial reception experiences of asylum seekers
will impact negatively upon their later integration and settlement prospects. Concerning the
NASS arrangements there were fundamental issues over the lack of information, coordination
and planning which made long-term needs assessment problematic. The issue of adequate
information in service delivery remains a key issue under dispersal, much as it had done under
earlier reception arrangements (Robinson 1998).
The Refugee Council runs the One Stop Service in the region. In common with the
position of the RA, it was observed that under-resourcing and increasing numbers of asylum
seekers has resulted in the neglect of community development and settlement work. The focus
of the Refugee Council is on processing applications of those arriving in region and the
provision of emergency accommodation (interview Refugee Council, Birmingham Feb 2002.
Refugee Council London, August 2002).
Refugees and Community Groups

It is important here to emphasise the key role of RCOs in providing additional support under
the dispersal programme. RCOs are often the first port of call for newly arrived asylum
seekers. Again, this reinforces the Audit Commission recommendations on recognising the
significance of RCOs in service provision for asylum seekers and refugees in dispersal areas
(Audit Commission 2000: para 63 onwards). In the West Midlands as a whole but particularly
in Birmingham, the key issue concerns the growth and consolidation of RCOs which has
occurred over the last few years. With the growth in the number of asylum seekers and the
settled refugee population there has been an equivalent strain on RCO capacity and resources.

The Society of Afghan Residents in the Midlands is a well-established community

organisation with charitable status and provides services to a combination of asylum
seekers, refugees and Afghan residents in the West Midlands. There an estimated 2000
Afghans in the WM, the second largest Afghan community after London and the
fastest growing nationally, according to community estimates (Afghans in Britain,
We came because you are civilised, Independent 23.9.01). Late or non-arrival of
NASS 35s (the issue of notification of a positive decision on the claim for asylum) has
caused problems for recognised refugees attempting to access the mainstream benefits
and welfare system.

scheme There is also some evidence of improvement over the last few years in staffing in careers advice and
refugee advisory staff in FE colleges. The Job centre is also working on fast tracking skilled refugees with
information, advice and guidance. In addition, there is an extensive network of ESOL providers in Birmingham ,
although demand typically outstrips supply.


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The Midlands Ethnic Albanian Association - the full-time project worker indicated that
the MEBA is a cross-religious organisation. The intake of ethnic Albanian asylum
seekers took accelerated in 1999 although had begun earlier in 1995. The main role of
the association is to link Albanians to service providers and to provide information on
education, housing and other key services. As in the case of the Afghan community,
the issues surrounding move-on and integration were amongst the most pressing for
individuals who had recently received status.

The Kurdish Development Foundation (Iraq) The KDF is a registered charity with a
small amount of funding from the National Lottery start up scheme. The two workers
at the organisation both work part-time on a voluntary basis. According to the two
workers there are about 7000 Iraqi Kurds in the WM, largely concentrated in
Birmingham. They appear to have arrived in the last three years, due to the
deterioration in the situation in northern Iraq. The main integration issues concerned
provision for Kurdish children at school, with several schools in the area failing to
provide bi-lingual teachers. A high reported drop-out rate for Kurdish children was
one consequence of this according to the workers at the KDF.

Evidence from discussions with refugee groups in Birmingham indicated that

increased numbers of asylum seekers had negatively impacted upon the workloads of RCOs
and their potential to deal with long-term community development and capacity building
(Analysis of Community Development Needs Research, Refugee Action, June 2002). It was
also felt that RCOs were not recognised for their work, that they were inadequately consulted
by other agencies and suffered from isolation in relation to wider policy networks (Focus
group results, Refugee Action 2002).
3.4.6. Birmingam - Conclusions
From the fieldwork in Birmingham there are several issues around the impact of dispersal on
the settlement of refugees which can be raised.

Although the Consortium provides a potential framework for integration work there
are continuing tensions with NASS concerning the aims of the dispersal programme,
which in theory aims to deter unwanted economic migration but which in practice
affects all asylum seekers and the promotion of the long term integration of recognised
refugees. One representative of the MRC in Birmingham argued that the Home Office
played the business card for internal purposes, i.e. in order to gain legitimacy for the
economic goals of its integration strategy within government circles but not in relation
to the treatment of public opinion, where a hard-line stance on immigration and
asylum was seen as the only electorally viable solution 60.

The centralised character of decision-making was also perceived as a problem in

Birmingham, with the hierarchical model of the NRIF and subgroups failing to
effectively filter down to the regional level. Consultation and strategic coordination
across statutory agencies, NGOs, the voluntary sector and RCOs remained in need of
improvement according to many sources in Birmingham.


It has been noted by the Home Secretary David Blunkett that a hard line stance on immigration issues is the
only way of forstalling the extreme Right which has made significant electoral gains in other EU states.


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For NGOs and RCOs there were also clear issues raised concerning the impact of
growing numbers of asylum seekers and the neglect of integration and community
development due to increased workloads.

These essentially negative conclusions can be balanced by several factors:

There is growing evidence of the skills base of asylum seekers and refugees in the
West Midlands region (Wolverhampton study) and a number of initiatives by the City
Council, the MRC and RA which aim to promote the integration of refugees in
employment and housing in the region.

The growth in the number of RCOs in the region and the establishment of the Refugee
Resource Centre in Birmingham also provide solid grounds for future development.

As yet there is little evidence that the integration policy framework has begun, in its
own terms, to work in practice. If integration occurs (and there is no local research to show
how and in what way and over what period of time this happens) it would appear that this
takes place through the work of local agencies and individuals and through networking
practices which depend very much upon the will and energy of the individuals involved. What
is clear is that the development of coherent regional strategies, in the West Midlands and
throughout the UK, would facilitate the process of networking and the pooling of information
which is vital to effective refugee settlement. The degree to which this is happening at present
is open to question.

The UK integration model: prospects and problems

This chapter has noted the basis of contemporary British integration policy in the race
relations framework which was generated as a response to immigration from the New
Commonwealth in the post-war period. Over this period, restrictive admissions policy on
immigration was buttressed by changes in citizenship law which have reinforced an
essentially racial conception of British identity. Ideally, a multicultural approach to
integration was to be implemented through the operation of market mechanisms promoting
equality of opportunity and enforced through an anti-discriminatory legislative framework. In
practice, significant inequalities persist in key areas of social life for Britains ethnic
minorities. By way of contrast to Germany there have been no formal integration programmes
for specific categories of migrant but rather the promotion of fairness and diversity for
immigrants through the mediation of forms of ethnic community representation.
From a comparative EU perspective, asylum in the UK has been characterised by its
relatively late development as a distinctive policy area. This is partially due to the date of
arrival of large numbers of asylum seekers from the late 1980s onwards (Home Office 2003a)
but it is also reflective of the long-standing tradition of ad hoc response to arrivals as they
occurred. The Home Office, for example, has enjoyed a close relation with NGOs and the
voluntary sector. By and large it is these agencies which have dealt with the logistical issues
posed by the reception and integration of asylum seekers and refugees. The concentration of
refugees and asylum seekers in London and the south-east was in part responsible for the
introduction of a more coordinated approach to reception and settlement with the 1999
Immigration and Asylum Act. Significantly, organised dispersal of asylum seekers to the
regions has resulted in new processes of refugee community formation outside London.


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The Refugee Integration Strategy has to be located within the broader framework of
reception and dispersal of asylum seekers and is also firmly rooted in the multicultural and
race relations paradigm which has dominated immigration and asylum in Britain. Notably, the
Refugee Integration Strategy is based upon a partnership model of governance, whereby the
NRIF is the central coordinating body for a series of reporting subgroups which in turn inform
and are informed by the development of regional integration strategies. The latter are to be
enabled via the regional consortia set up under the NASS arrangements, which are themselves
a partnership of local authorities, NGOs , voluntary agencies and RCOs and other
stakeholders. Ethnic (refugee) community representation and delegation of responsibility to
NGOs and voluntary agencies are consistent with the general tenor of post war race relations.
The New Labour rhetorical patina is however distinctive 61.
It may well be too early to provide an assessment of the Refugee Integration Strategy,
although the following points can be raised:
The first issue is the extent to which there is an intelligible refugee integration policy
in the UK, given the marked policy ambivalence racialised immigration control versus the
discourse of toleration of difference and multiculturalism which continues to inform policy
developments in this area. The explicit link between organised reception and dispersal and
eventual settlement in the regions is rendered problematic by the emphasis given to deterrence
in the overall approach to asylum in the UK. The conflicting rationales of deterrence and
social inclusion have not, to date, been satisfactorily resolved. Policy formation will
undoubtedly be subject to conflicting aims in this area, although it appears to be the case that
speedier decision making has been prioritised over radically improving reception conditions
(Head of AAPD, National Refugee Conference, Manchester June, 2002) as it is more
amenable to the calculation of outputs than improved quality of life for asylum seekers. In a
similar vein, the integration strategy would appear to be driven more by measurable outputs in
terms of employment and education indicators than by quality of life and more interpretive
measures (Head of Research, National Integration Conference, June 2002). In addition, there
is no clear rationale and guidelines for the NRIF and subgroups. The evident underinvestment in terms of resources and personnel suggests a lack of political will in this area.
Funding programmes, although improved, remains at a low level given the scale of potential
The second issue concerns the involvement of non-state agencies in the integration
process. NGOs, voluntary agencies and RCOs have all been delegated central roles in the
settlement of refugees in the regions. But it is questionable whether they have been
adequately resourced to fulfil these roles. Currently, the bulk of practical effort goes into
managing the dispersal process with settlement issues tending to occupy a poor second place.
There is a range of issues over the role of NGOs and RCOs which urgently require
clarification, particularly as their changed roles impact upon their capacity to address the
long-term settlement needs of refugees. Overburdened NGOs and RCOs are currently
shoring-up the dispersal system without adequate remuneration and at a cost to their
organisational coherence and goals.
The third issue is the degree to which de-centralisation of control has occurred, or
might occur under the NASS arrangements. In the UK, the issue of regionalisation of control

For an examination of the political vocabularies of New Labour see Maile and Hoggett 2001, Fairclough 2001.


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has been raised by Regional Managers of the Consortia as a central issue, with local agencies
seen as best adapted to respond to local conditions in promoting the reception and settlement
of asylum seekers and refugees (Home Office 2002). Again, unlike the case in Germany, local
authorities are tightly reined in by the centre and have little room for maneouvre and no
independent scope for policy development. Consultative mechanisms and partnership models,
although they are an integral part of the refugee integration strategy stop short of the genuine
devolution of decision-making which might facilitate greater responsiveness to local
conditions and needs. In the conclusions to this report we argue that decentralisation is a key
component of a successful refugee integration strategy. At present this issue is only poorly
addressed in the UK.


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4 Case Study: ITALY

This chapter provides a review of the conditions which have shaped Italys approach to
migrant and refugee integration. The discussion of the current political debate on immigration
and integration is undertaken focusing both on the national and the local level. After an
overview of the asylum process in Italy and the integration framework, the chapter provides
an analysis of the key agencies involved in integration, stressing the importance of historical
and cultural factors in the definition of the Italian integration paradigm. Finally, the emerging
key issues are examined in details in the three case study locations: Rome, Tuscany and
Venice. As with Germany and the UK, Italys approach can be caricatured as obstructed
avenues to integration.

From a country of emigration to a country of immigration

4.1.1. Myth and reality

From its unification (1861) to the 1960s, the years of economic boom, Italy has always been
among the countries of emigration (Macioti and Pugliese, 1993). Italys long and intense
experience of migration is characterized by two main features: first, the enormous number of
emigrants sent abroad more than 26 million since official records began in 1876 (Favero,
1978); second, the dramatic switch, in the last three decades, from being a land of mass
emigration to one of mass immigration (King and Andall, 1999). The switch, statistically,
occurred in 1972 when in-migration exceeded out-migration for the first time. The impact of
such a change found the country quite unprepared in legal, policy and psychological terms.
Most Italian scholars did not have the interpretative tools to understand the change which was
occurring in the country: early scholarly interpretations of Italys new status tended to
emphasize the importance of push factors in the sending countries, underestimating the
influence of pull factors within the receiving country as a principal explanatory factor for
the presence of migrants.
The shift from a country of emigration to a country of immigration can regarded as the
result of three different migration trends: the constantly declining flow of emigrants, which
peaked in the early 60s before declining; the steady profile of return migration, which was
the initial force which reversed Italys migration balance in the early 1970s; and the
significant rise in immigration.
Hence, the Italian role in the system of international migration changed drastically in
the 1980s. The country became the final destination for more and more immigrants. At the
same time the number of people seeking international protection also increased considerably.
A distinctive feature of the migrant settlement patterns in Italy is the lack of
uniformity both in distribution and life conditions. Recruitment and distribution of migrant
labour are strictly linked to the different economies of the various regions and the operating
mode of the labour markets in the different areas of the country.


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The near-absence of the classic immigrant niches, according to Hellman (1997:46), is

a distinctive feature of the Italian society and it impacts on the condition of the newcomers in
many ways.
A key feature of Italys approach to migrant issues is well highlighted by Andalls
analysis on second-generation migrants (2002). She noted that, despite the presence of
migrant communities already into the second-generation, public and political attention has
continued to focus on new waves of migration and especially on undocumented migration. As
a consequence, the conditions of settled communities have tended to be of peripheral concern
to immigration social policy makers (Andall 2002: 389).
By the end of 2001, there were 1,362,630 foreigners in Italy, making it the fourth
country within the EU by the number of resident foreigners (Caritas, 2002). According to
UNHCR (2002), the overall number of refugees living in Italy is about 23,000. Of this figure,
13,000 are Geneva Convention refugees, the rest have a permit to stay on humanitarian
4.1.2 The political response to immigration
Despite the steady growth in immigration throughout the 1970s, the issue only began to
occupy a significant place in the countrys political agenda and to assume a national
prominence in the mid-1980s. Prior to this, the Italian response to the needs of migrant
workers needs was largely coordinated by the Catholic voluntary sector. The dominant role
played principally by Caritas in organising and responding to the needs generated by this new
social context, permitted the Italian political system to abdicate responsibility for the
phenomenon. However, suggest King and Andall, the involvement of the Catholic
voluntary sector is significant also for another reason. The Catholic ethos underpinning the
strategy of Caritas stands in conflict with the development of restrictive stances with regard to
immigration in both Italy and Europe (1999: 152).
The first legislative response to immigration was Law 943 issued in 1986. One of its
main aims was to regularise the juridical situation of sans papiers migrants. The instrument
elaborated by this legislation was an amnesty (in Italian sanatoria), a topos in the Italian
approach to migration. As a result of the 1986 amnesty, 119,000 formerly undocumented
migrants legalised their situation.
Italian migration policy, according to a number of scholars, can be regarded as
characterised by these kinds of extraordinary measures. Indeed, the number of migrants
whose legal position has been 'regularised' through various 'sanatorie' in the last decade is
much higher of the number of those who accessed to Italy legally.
According to King and Andall (1999:153), this first piece of legislation appeared to
conflate a number of conflicting aspirations: first, to formulate a pragmatic response to
immigration; secondly, to display a humanitarian and receptive approach; thirdly, to protect
the employment status of Italian citizens; and fourthly to implicitly encourage return
Four years later, in 1990, Law 39 was passed. This legislative act again made
provision for an amnesty, and a further 235,000 immigrants were regularised. This law put
migrants on a more equal footing with Italian workers with regard to the possibility of
employment via collocamento (public employment centres). On the other hand, it can equally


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be seen as an attempt to strengthen control on entry and to clamp down severely

contraventions of the law. One revealing shift between the two laws was the greater emphasis
regarding the expulsion of migrants, linking the behaviour of foreign nationals with
When the so-called Legge Martelli (Martelli Law named after the then Minister of
Justice who drafted it) came into force, there were 780,000 foreigners in Italy. This law
represents the first attempt in Italy to lay down a comprehensive framework of procedures and
instruments to regulate immigration and refugee. Amongst other measures, the act introduced
a policy of planned immigration and the provision of yearly immigration quotas. The quotas
were to be established by governmental decree after reviewing a variety of social and
economic factors. The 1990 act can therefore be regarded as a benchmark: the year when Italy
declared itself as being an immigration country in principle. However, as Hein (1998:36)
suggests, the policy was never really implemented up to now and the quotas tended to be at
zero level, since it was felt that a major effort first had to be made to recognize and integrate
those foreigners who were already present on the territory.
In 1996, the first Centre-Left government of the post-war period was elected in Italy.
After two years the government introduced a new immigration law, which was intended to
mark a radical change in the handling of immigration, signifying a step forward from some
of the emergency measures which had preceded it (King and Andall, 1999:154).
The Centre-Right coalition won the 2001 political election capitalising the fear for a
mass invasion of Italian borders by migrants. Two parties in the government coalition, the
Northern League and the National Alliance, have very clear anti-immigration positions.
Significantly, the new Alien Act, introduced in the summer 2002, takes its name from the
leaders of these two parties: Umberto Bossi and Gianfranco Fini.
4.1.3 Gaining citizenship in Italy
The Italian legislation on citizenship, as the former Minister for Social Solidarity Livia Turco
acknowledged, is skewed towards protecting descent.
The contents of a new citizenship law in 1992 confirmed the increasingly restrictive
approach to immigration. Law 91, which drastically renewed the provisions of the Citizenship
law no.555 of 1912, established a clear hierarchy of desirable citizens. While facilitating
Italian citizenship for people of Italian origin with foreign citizenship and establishing a fouryear residence period for EU nationals in order to gain Italian citizenship, the condition
imposed on non-EU nationals to acquire Italian citizenship were quite different. Ten years of
legal residence were now required, as opposed to the earlier provision which had required
only five (King and Andall, 1999:153).
Law 91 reinforces the importance of the hereditary factor for the acquisition of Italian
citizenship. The ius sanguinis is clearly identified as the main, and prevailing, criterion for
becoming a citizen of the country. Such a preference for the blood tie rather than the territorial
one is typical of emigration countries, which aim to maintain their tie with expatriates.
According to Zincone (2000: 94), Italy adopted a law as if it was still an emigration country.
But it had already become a country of immigration: it passed a law turned to the past.
The 1992 law was also more restrictive in dealing with second generation immigrants.
The previous legislation granted naturalization to individuals born in Italy of foreign parents,


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if the individual was resident in Italy on reaching majority and if s/he registered the wish for
citizenship within one year (Pastore, 2001). The 1992 Act introduced a new requirement
whose effect was to make it much harder to gain the citizenship - the principle of continuous
To summarize, several aspects of the 1992 law on citizenship appears to put Italy on
an opposite trend with respect to developing European legislation on the subject. It:

Increased the number of years of permanent residence in the country before applying
for citizenship

Gave preference to foreigners of Italian origin

Imposed harsher requirements for non-EU nationals

Retained high levels of discretionary power in the decision on citizenship claims

Maintained, as main way of gaining citizenship, marriage with an Italian national

Introduced the requirement of continuous residence for children born in Italy to

foreign parents

Whilst the Act continued to make the decision on the request for naturalisation
discretionary, foreigners with some Italian descendants could gain the citizenship
directly by law, without the requirements imposed on non-descendant claims such as:
knowledge of Italian cultural or language or simply permanence on the territory of the


Refugees may apply for citizenship five years after receiving Convention status and
permanent permission to stay, although for most practical purposes Convention refugees and
those with permission to stay have welfare and social rights equivalent to other Italian
However, as pointed out by Korac (2001), citizenship as an indicator of the formal
membership in the receiving society, clearly cannot be considered as a mark of full
integration, because it does not guarantee full social inclusion, regardless of its de jure
guarantee of enjoyment of a set of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

Asylum in Italy

4.2.1 Political context

The key event which pushed the Italian government to develop an asylum reception policy
was the mass influx of displaced people escaping wars or situations of general and widespread
violence in their country of origin during the 1990s. The first to arrive were the Albanians,
followed by displaced people from former Yugoslavia. In the latter case the flow decreased
only with the signature of Dayton agreements in 1995. In 1997 the second mass arrival of
Albanians marked a clear change in the Italian approach. From those who were initially called
our cousins, Albanians were soon to occupy the role of dangerous foreigners in Italys
xenophobic map. In 1998 a large number of Kurds arrived from Turkey and Iraq followed by
Kosovo refugees escaping from ethnic cleansing.


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Government responses to the increasing number of displaced people landing in Italy,

were varied. The first settled Albanians (about 20,000) followed the standard asylum
procedures. But the enormous difficulties in handling such a large number of claimants using
the normal procedural instruments suggested the need for tailor-made measures which could
tackle cases of mass persecution.
Consequently, as reported by Vincenzi, when forcibly displaced migrants from former
Yugoslavia began to arrive, the government opted for granting temporary protection and
assistance, rather than firmer levels of status, solely on the basis of displacement from the
war-torn areas. The use of temporary protection managed to reduce to the minimum the
number of asylum claims submitted by former Yugoslavs who sought international protection
in Italy (about 80,000 people were granted temporary protection during that period) Vincenzi
In 1997, following the second mass flow of Albanians, the Italian government secured
assistance and temporary protection for over 16,500 displaced people. Nevertheless, the
Albanians did not receive work permits and once the emergency in Albania appeared to be
ended, a number of them were repatriated.
However by 1998, the government adopted different measures for the significantly
new trend of arrivals of Kurds from Iraq and Turkey. In this case the government decided to
handle their claims under the normal asylum procedure rather than temporary protection. The
use of different measures for different groups of refugee claimants is symptomatic of Italys
lack of a coherent approach to the changing role of migration in the social and politiccal
landscape of the country.
Up to 1998 the use of temporary protection had to be decreed by a parliamentary law,
a legislative provision which did not allow sufficient reaction time in emergency situations.
Therefore, Law 286 (Legge Turco Napolitano) introduced an article (no.18) which gave the
President of the Council of Ministers the power to grant the temporary protection to a group
in need of protection by decree.
The first use of this decree was when it was issued on 12 May 1999, to provide
retrospective temporary protection to displaced people from Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
from the beginning of NATO bombing campaign to the official end of the conflict (5 August
1999); about 20,000 people benefited from this procedure. No permission to stay under the
provisions of this temporary protection was issued after this date. Kosovo Roma, fleeing from
persecution by ethnic Albanians, were the group most affected by this decision (see Sigona,
2003, forthcoming).
Such a widespread use of temporary protection explains the very small number of
asylum applications during the 1990s (see table below).
Table 3 Asylum applications in Italy 1991-2001

























Source: Italian Ministry of Interior


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4.2.2 Italy and relevant International Law: a legal framework

Italy ratified the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees by Law no. 277
of 24 July 1954. The accession to the 1967 Protocol amending the Geneva Convention dates
from 26 January 1972.
Due to the so-called geographical limitation adopted when signing the Convention,
until 1990 Italy only recognised refugee status for individuals fleeing from European
countries; asylum seekers coming from other countries could benefit from UNHCR protection
once recognized as refugees under UNHCR mandate by the relevant Branch Office in Rome,
but they were not entitled to rights accorded by the Geneva Convention. However 1990 Law
no.39 (Legge Martelli), Section 1, comma 1 withdrew the geographical limitation, so posing
the basis for the full implementation of the Geneva Convention into Italian legislation.
No comprehensive asylum act explicitly implementing the integration-related
provisions of the Geneva Convention has yet been adopted. However, a number of provisions
exist within other internal regulations which make possible the enjoyment of such rights by
recognised refugees.
With respect to emerging European wide practice, Italy ratified the Schengen
Agreement of 14 June 1985 by Law no. 338 of 30 September 1993 and the Dublin
Convention of 15 June 1990 was ratified by Law no. 523 of 23 December 1992, but only
entered into force on 1 September 1997.
Since 1996, Italy has signed several bilateral readmission agreements with, amongst
other countries, Slovenia, Macedonia, Romania, Georgia, Hungary, Lithuania, Leetonia,
Estonia, Yugoslavia, Croatia, France, Austria, Albania, Bulgaria, Morocco, Slovakia, Tunisia,
Switzerland, Greece, Spain, Algeria, Nigeria. In the context of these agreements, refugees are
explicitly safeguarded from expulsion in cases of readmission of citizens coming from third
countries by crossing one of the signatory states. The text of the readmission agreements is
identical: it binds the signatory country to readmit its own citizens illegally entered to Italy
and vice versa. Nationality of immigrants is checked on the basis of their passport, identity
cards, and nationality certifications. Where those documents are not available, the illegal
immigrant is submitted to an interview at the nearest relevant diplomatic mission. According
to the wording of these agreements, signatory states are obliged to also readmit citizens from
third countries who have reached Italy by crossing their territory.
Asylum seekers are only referred to in the context of transit permits for deportation to
third countries. No explicit safeguards are provided in favour of possible asylum seekers and
refugees coming from one of the signatory states.
4.2.3. Asylum in the Italian Constitution
Article 10, comma 3, of the 1948 Italian Constitution, provides that any alien debarred in his
own country from the effective exercise of the democratic liberties guaranteed by the Italian
Constitution shall have the right of asylum in the territory of the Republic on conditions laid
down by law. This provision has been regarded for a long time as a non-binding declaration
of principles, i.e. not directly applicable nor claimable before Courts without further internal
regulations based on an agreed procedure. Several decisions by Italian Civil Courts endorsed
this restrictive interpretation, ruling that Section 10 comma 3 of the Constitution () has
provisional value, as it needs case-law practice to determine conditions for the exercise of the


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In 1997 a significant judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal - Corte di Cassazione,
the highest of Civil Courts intervened in this question. In the course of a trial before the
Rome Civil Court, the Corte di Cassazione was called upon to rule upon the attribution of
judicial power over the acceptance of a constitutional claim for asylum. In the final judgment
the Court spelled out the meaning of this right, distinguished it from Convention refugee
status and, by that logic, establishing the judicial competence of Civil Courts over the relevant
acceptance procedure. In so doing, the Corte di Cassazione explicitly admitted the binding
power of Section 10 (3) of the Constitution, and stated that that provision recognises for
aliens who find themselves in the situation described under the Section [10 (3)] a subjective
right to the granting of asylum, even with the lack of a law laying down conditions () for the
exercise of the right (decision no. 4674 of 12 December 1996-26 May 1997).
As a result of this judgment, constitutional asylum can be regarded as a possible legal
status in Italy for persons seeking protection, even if not regulated by statute law. Thanks to
the wording of Article 10 (3) Constitution, the definition of constitutional asylum appears to
be broader than that contained in Article 1 of the Geneva Convention: while the latter requires
a (at least) well founded fear of persecution, the constitutional definition is met by testing the
infringement of rights by the applicants country of origin, in terms of the democratic
liberties guaranteed in the Italian constitution. In accordance with the judgment itself and
with subsequent court rulings, the application for constitutional asylum can be filed before
the local Civil Court, even in the context of an appeal challenging a deportation order or a
negative decision on Convention refugee status. Given the different juridical content of
Constitutional asylum and Convention refugee status, it is also possible to apply for the
former to the civil courts and simultaneously apply for the latter under normal asylum
determination procedure.
Since no legal provisions have been adopted regarding the rights attached to
Constitutional asylum, the legal status arising from the acknowledgement is not defined.
Thus, many persons who have been granted Constitutional asylum remain without any formal
authorisation to stay in Italy and cannot benefit from any other rights. Nevertheless,
Constitutional refugees are protected from refoulement and have the right to remain in Italy,
even though they are not automatically granted a residence permit.
4.2.4. Convention asylum in internal laws
As mentioned, the protracted legislative gap characterising Italian policy toward refugees, was
eventually bridged by the 1990 Alien Act: it was enacted as a urgent Decree Law on 30
December 1989 and subsequently converted into ordinary Law no. 39 of 28 February 1990.
No other laws regulating asylum procedure have been enacted for 12 years, although
an asylum bill has been pending before Parliament for a long time under the past legislature.
The Immigration Consolidated Law (Testo Unico) no. 286 of 1998 was conceived as a
comprehensive act, aiming at regulating immigration in all its aspects (entry to the territory,
residence permit, deportation, integration). However, it contains only a few asylum-related
provisions but does not deal with the refugee status determination procedure, relegating these
aspects to specific provisions within the deferred asylum bill mentioned above which remains
to be passed. Thus, the Immigration Law 286/98 eliminated all provisions of the 1990 Alien


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Act with the exception of Section 1 and its implementing regulations, which are still in force.
The new Immigration Law approved by Parliament on 11 July 2002 (the so-called
Bossi-Fini Law) introduces some restrictive amendments to Section 1 of the 1990 Alien Act,
without eliminating this section. Since, like Law 286/98, this law also fails to deal with
refugee determination procedure and with refugee integration rights from a comprehensive
point of view, it cannot be regarded as a real reform of the Italian asylum law. During
fieldwork many interviewees expressed considerable concern about the anticipated dramatic
outcomes of the new legislation in this respect.
4.2.5. The asylum procedure from 1990 to the present
As mentioned, a single Section of the 1990 Alien Act, together with a 6-article Presidential
Decree and a few references within the 1998 Immigration Law, now in effect form the entire
normative framework of Italian asylum law for this 12 year period during which the processes
of migration have brought such profound change to Italys social and political landscape. This
situation - characterised by a number of legislative oversights, gaps and ambiguities - has
contributed to the increasing power of praxis in this field, i.e. strengthening the role of the
Public Administration and, partly, the Judicial System 62. The following discussion aims at
giving a brief overview of the asylum procedure as it has been implemented (note that the
amending provisions of the new Bossi-Fini Immigration law of 2002 are not yet in force)
according to laws, decrees, circular letters, decisions of the courts and practice.
Within this somewhat pragmatic framework, asylum applications can be submitted to
the Border Police, or at the local Police Headquarters (Questura) once a claimant is inside the
country, if the asylum seeker has not been detected entering the country. Asylum seekers are
not admitted to the procedure (or allowed to enter the country if an application has been
submitted at the border) if they are under exclusion clauses provided for by Sec. 1 (4) of the
1990 Alien Act, e.g. when they have been convicted of committing serious crimes. The
Questura gathers personal data and the asylum application written by the applicant in his
mother tongue. According to law, the entire file should be sent to the Central Commission
within 7 days, together with a report and any supporting documents provided by the applicant.
In reality this stage of the process can take months, especially if the file has been moved from
one Questura to another, due to the transfer of the applicant from region to region. Asylum
seekers processed under the normal determination procedure receive a three-month residence
permit, renewable every three months pending a decision by the Central Commission. During
the eligibility procedure asylum seekers enjoy basic social rights and freedom of movement
within the Italian territory, but are not allowed to work.
Applications are dealt with by an inter-ministerial body called the Central
Commission for the Recognition of Refugee Status (Commissione Centrale per il
riconoscimento dello status di rifugiato), chaired by a Prefect and composed of
representatives from: the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Presidency of the

However, the remarkable difference between the possibility of the Public Administration and of the Judicial
System to intervene in this field has to be taken into account: while the former handles the procedures at nearly
all stages, Courts may intervene at a later stage, when they have been called on by the individual concerned.
Thus, although the scope for action of these two institutions emerges as a result of the same problem (the
legislative gaps and lack of legal and procedural clarity) the weight, nature and involvement of Judicial action is
very substantially less than that of the Public Administration.


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Council of Minister. A UNHCR representative participates in the meetings on an advisory

level. Asylum seekers have the right to be heard personally by the Central Commission about
the reasons for their flight. The law does not provide for legal assistance before the
Commission; neither is it possible for asylum seekers to be assisted or represented by a
lawyer during the interview. If the applicant does not appear in person before the
Commission, the decision is made solely on the basis of the police report. In such cases, the
decision is generally negative.
Although law provides a time limit of 15 days for the first decision, the time required
to process a case before the Central Commission usually takes up to 10-12 months.
In the case of recognition, the claimant is granted a renewable 2-years residence
permit and several civil and social rights.
Until a decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal (Corte di Cassazione) was made in
1999, appeals against negative decisions by the Central Commission for the Recognition of
Refugee Status had to be lodged with the Regional Administrative Courts within 60 days. A
positive ruling by the Administrative Court led to a re-examination of the case by the Central
Commission. Negative decisions by the Regional Administrative Court could be further
appealed to the Administrative Court of Appeal (Consiglio di Stato) within 60 days. In both
cases, appeals had no automatic suspensive effect, but this could be granted by the Court.
In a judgement on 8 October 1999, the Corte di Cassazione decided that appeals
against the Central Commissions negative decisions must be lodged with the Civil Courts.
There is no automatic suspensive effect, but the appellant may submit a formal request for
suspension if s/he has been notified with a request to leave the country or with an expulsion
order. Civil Courts examine both the legality of the appealed decision and the merits of the
case. Negative decisions by the Civil Courts can be further appealed to the Appeal Court and
then to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
In addition, asylum seekers may lodge a hierarchical appeal before the President of the
Republic within 120 days from notification of the Central Commission's negative decision.
This appeal, of an administrative nature, has no suspensive effect and is limited to reviewing
the legality of the first decision.
Recent developments in Italian immigration law regarding asylum procedure: provisions of
Bossi-Fini Law no.189 of 11 July 2002.
After a parliamentary debate marked by intensive coverage in the media and protests by NGOs, the socalled Bossi-Fini Law was approved on 11 July 2002 and came into force on 10 September 2002. As
already mentioned, this law does not provide the much needed comprehensiveness and coherence of
internal asylum law, as it does not contain provisions reforming and regulating the asylum procedure
and the rights attached to the refugee status. Instead, it introduces detention of asylum seekers and
establishes an accelerated procedure for detained applicants. The framework of the law has been
heavily criticised by UNHCR and NGOs because it puts genuine asylum-seekers at severe risk of
being rejected, given the rapidity of the procedure and the difficulty for NGOs advisors to intervene at
that stage. From a technical point of view, it should be noted that the newly-enacted law modifies and
integrates Section 1 (the only section still in force) of the 1990 Alien Act: as a result, the asylum
procedure in Italy is currently regulated by a single article 1 with the addition of article 1-bis, -ter, quater, and so on.
The following overview only refers to the wording of the law. Features of its implementation
cannot be foreseen at the moment.


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The new law establishes Territorial Commissions for the recognition of the refugee status 63,
working under the responsibility of a National Commission. According to article 1-bis and following
sub-sections, asylum seekers can be detained when: undocumented or bearing forged documents;
proof of the asylum claim are not available; the procedure of admission to the territory is pending.
Asylum seekers must be detained when: they entered or tried to enter Italian territory illegally; they
were not legally residing in the territory or had been given a deportation order before submitting the
asylum application. Asylum seekers falling under these two provisions are submitted to an accelerated
procedure 64. Decisions made following the accelerated procedure can be appealed within 5 days
before the same Territorial Commission. In deciding on the appeal the Territorial Commission is
joined by one member from the National Commission. The final decision can be appealed within 15
days before the competent Civil Courts, but it has no automatic suspensive effect. However, the
applicant can ask the Prefect the authorisation to remain in the territory until the end of the procedure.
Asylum-seekers not falling under accelerated procedure are to be interviewed by the
Territorial Commission within 30 days from the acquisition of the application by the Questure. A
decision shall be taken within the following 3 days. These decisions can be appealed before the Civil
Courts within 15 days.
The new law establishes a system of assistance to asylum seekers who do not fall under
accelerated procedure. According to this system a National Fund for Asylum Policy and Services is set
up within the Ministry of Interior, in charge of funding local bodies which arrange assistance services
for asylum seekers.

4.2.6. Other forms of humanitarian protection

According to Section 19(1) of the Aliens Act 286/98, a residence permit on humanitarian
grounds can be granted to persons at risk of persecution, in compliance with the principle of
non-refoulement. In all cases where the asylum seeker cannot be recognised as a refugee
under the Geneva Convention but cannot return to his/her country of origin, the Central
Commission makes a recommendation on whether or not the conditions for granting a
humanitarian residence permit are met. On the basis of this recommendation the Questura can
issue a permit of stay for humanitarian reasons. Such a permit is generally granted for one
year and is renewable on a yearly basis. It gives the right to work and study in Italy. In
principle, the Questura can also, according to the same provision, issue residence permits
based on broader humanitarian considerations, but this never happens in practice.
Based on the same Section 19(1), and following a Directive by the President of the
Council of Ministers of 6 August 1998, holders of residence permits issued under Sections
12bis (humanitarian grounds) and 12ter (Italys international or constitutional obligations) of
the abolished 1990 Aliens Act, as well those staying in Italy under the temporary protection
schemes for Somalis (1992), displaced persons from Former Yugoslavia (1992) and
Albanians (1997), can ask for a two-year work/residence permit or a residence permit on
humanitarian grounds even without a passport.
According to Section 20 of Alien Act 286/98 the Government can adopt extraordinary


The Territorial Commissions are chaired by a representative of the Prefecture and composed of a police
officer, a representative of a local administrative body and a member of UNHCR.
The Questura shall transmit the application to the competent Territorial Commission within 3 days after the
submission. Within 15 days the Commission shall interview the applicant. A decision on the request shall be
made within 3 days after the interview.


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measures of temporary protection, by means of a Decree of the President of the Council of

Ministers, in cases of war conflicts or natural disasters. Pursuant to this provision, a Directive
of the President of the Council of Ministers of 12 May 1999 accorded special protection to
Yugoslav citizens (Kosovo Albanians, Serbs and Roma people) who entered Italy between 12
May and 6 August 1999. They were granted a residence permit valid until 31 December 1999
which could be extended several times and converted into work permits upon expiration.
4.2.7 The building of a national reception system: from Azione Comune to National
Asylum Programme
The mass arrival of displaced people during the Kosovo conflict in 1999 shed light, once
again, on the lack of a reception system capable of dealing with the phenomenon of mass
asylum seeking. Some Italian NGOs involved in the reception of forced migrants locally and
at a national level felt the need for elaborating a joint project of reception, which was named
Azione Comune 1999. The project had a short life, only 6 months, but it represented the first
attempt to coordinate different organizations working on refugee issues. The project was cofunded by the European Refugee Fund and the Italian Home Office.
In 2000 the project was funded again and it saw the participation of a larger number of
organisations and institutional partners. Azione Comune was implemented with contribution
of 11 NGOs and support of UNHCR.
The main difference with the previous project was the extension of the target group.
The beneficiaries were not only those refugees fleeing from Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
but all asylum seekers and refugees without any distinctions of nationality. Such an
innovation was not however matched by a corresponding increase of the project budget.
According to UNHCR (reported in ICS, 2000), Azione Comune emerges as the first
consistent and coordinated attempt to build up a model of reception to face mass arrivals of
displaced people in Italy, which are commonly handled in an emergency manner.
Furthermore, the UNHCR evaluation stresses the importance of a dispersed model of
reception, which creates a better social environment for asylum seeker reception and lower
the costs of accommodation.
The NAP (National Asylum Programme) was born from the experience of Azione
Comune with a stronger involvement of institutional and international actors. It is an
important step toward a system of reception and assistance for asylum seekers and for
supporting the integration process of refugees and people with residence permits for
humanitarian reasons as well.
The NAP was established jointly by the Italian Ministry on Interior, by the National
Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI) and by UNHCR in June 2000 and it officially
started to work from January 2001. Italian municipalities play a key role in planning and
implementing the programme activities at territorial level, with support of local associations.
Five NGOs (Caritas, CIES, ICS, CIR, Servizio Sociale Internazionale) and the International
Organization of Migration (IOM) involved in refugee issues at a national and international
level signed an agreement with the NAP for coordinating some specific programme areas.
The main aims of NAP are to create and manage through a network of
municipalities a national system of reception and assistance for asylum seekers and
refugees. The NAP network links a number of reception centres, which are scattered in nearly


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all regions, and in areas of entry and exit, of the country. Municipalities are selected on an
annual basis among those applying through public tender. Hence, their projects are funded on
such short time base. Moreover, as happened in 2002, their funds may be significantly cut
during the year with no possibility of applying for resources other than than those internal to
the municipality. As a consequence, as stressed by some interviewees, local reception centres
have faced increasing problems of management, eventually being obliged to cut part of the,
already limited, number of places.
A co-ordinating body based in Rome manages the programme and deteremines NAPs
policy. A central secretariat has been created to monitor the implementation of the programme
and to provide technical support to all territorial projects. Moreover, the Secretariat
coordinates the project activities, facilitates the circulation of information within the network
and organizes training sessions for operators. Through a central database, the secretariat
collects all available information on the assisted beneficiaries.
The direct involvement of local authorities can be regarded as the main feature of the
NAP. Through their participation in the network a large number of people have had the
chance to be mobilised on refugee issues. According to an ICS representative, the building up
of a network of solidarity grounded in the day-to-day exchange in the field is one of their
main goals. As stressed by the interviewee, it is a guarantee against the easy demagogy
broadcasted in the mass media and the changes in government attitudes.
Due to limitations of accommodation availability within the network (about 2000
places), the allocation of asylum seekers and refugees in reception centres does not really take
in consideration family and friendship links. The NAP dispersal logic seems to be centred not
on asylum seekers needs but principally on the available capacity of municipalities and
NGOs. Questioned on this point, interviewees in the NAP secretariat emphasised how
participation in the programme is open and not compulsory. Each asylum seeker signs a
contract with the NAP and renounces the financial support provided to those living outside
reception structures. But, considering the absence of acceptable alternatives, it is clear that it
is a contract in which one party is much weaker than the other.
Another aspect that needs to be highlighted regards the quality of services and
facilities provided to asylum seekers. Most of the municipalities involved in the programme
are very small. In such a context, it is often hard to offer high-standard services, especially
keeping in mind that the client group is constituted by vulnerable people, often in need of
psychological support and other specific treatment. The scale of needs can only be tackled
through effective networking among the different experiences of the NAP and training
programmes for local staff and social workers. But due to the further funding reductions for
NAP made by the government in the 2002, it seems unrealistic to dedicate more resources to
these aims.
4.2.7. Points of concern regarding the asylum reception system
As pointed out in the final report of the Nausicaa project (ICS, 2000), the Italian reception
system appears as a circular system of non-reception. Asylum seekers do not want to stay in
Italy because of the lack of assistance; and, on the other hand, the state does not supply better
services and facilities, beyond emergency provisions, because Italy continues to conceive of
itself as a country of transit.


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One outcome of such a vicious circle is that those asylum seekers who remain in Italy
or who are proposed for repatriation under the Dublin Convention, are deprived of any sort of
assistance, and face an extremely high risk of social exclusion and legal uncertainty.
As Korac (2001) suggests, how a state imagines itself, that is, either as a country of
emigration or a country of immigration, affects how the legal and institutional frameworks for
immigrants and asylum migrants are developed. The Italian public discourse on migration
has been focused on the idea of Italy as a country of emigration or transit. The impact of such
an approach to migration issues has not been without consequence. It has led to insufficient
legal and institutional provisions to meet the needs of asylum seekers in the country.
Moreover, as suggested by Carlo Bracci, how the state behaves towards its nationals also
shapes its approach to the protection of those seeking or granted asylum. Italy spends less
than the EU average on social protection and welfare system, and does not have a developed
public housing or welfare system for its own citizens, let alone refugees and asylum seekers.
In Koracs words (2000), the underdeveloped social protection and welfare systems
have led to a corresponding approach to assistance for asylum seekers and refugees: the
assistance is minimal and commonly does not cover even basic needs such as the provision of
shelter and food.
In 2000 ICS warned that the increasing pressure on controlling illegal migration was
leading to a significant reduction in the right to apply for asylum at Italian border check
points, with the correspondingly higher risk of violation of the right of non- refoulement.
Generally, once arrived in Italy, asylum seekers are accommodated in large transit
centres where they are identified. Later, in some regions, they are moved to a reception centre
where they wait for the temporary residence permit, which is valid till the first decision on the
asylum case. In other areas of the country people wait for the residence permit in the transit
centre. An alarming element pointed out by Schiavone, is the gap between asylum
applications submitted in 1999 (33,364) and the number of temporary permits to stay (20,336)
released by Italian authorities to asylum seekers. This means that more than 13,000 asylum
applicants did not receive a residence permit as stated in the law. Those who are considered
not eligible to apply for asylum are moved to detention centres. NGOs have reported on the
very poor living conditions within the centres and on the implications of the presence of many
potential asylum seekers who have been denied the right to apply for this status.
In addition, the Italian reception system appears to be characterised by a broad variety
of practices and actors and by the complete absence of monitoring and evaluation practices
based on generally accepted minimum standards of reception.
Once asylum seekers receive their temporary leave to remain, they have to leave the
transit or the reception centre where they are accommodated and have to search for
accommodation in a centre run by NGOs somewhere in Italy. As stressed by interview
accounts, the impact of the new Alien Act (Bossi-Fini Law) and the capability of expanding
of National Asylum Programme network are challenged by two major concerns:


The new law, although it seems to institutionalise the NAP as a national reception
system based on municipalities involvement, provides insufficient funding either for
the reception of NAPs asylum seekers, or for those not included in the network 65.

The NAP was presented as a national system for reception, despite the fact that it assists on average less than


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The reception network, at present, appears unable to handle more than its current caseload despite the huge demand. This is not just because of financial constraints but also
a matter of staff expertise and capacity. The NAP relies mainly on the human
resources of NGOs and religious agencies who have been working in the field for long
time but in the current year there is evidence of difficulties in guaranteeing a
satisfactory standard of services in some municipalities, as well as to adequately train
social workers and volunteers. The concern is that such a system will not be able to
deal with an increasing number of claimants entering in the reception system.

On the one hand the government has demonstrated its will to institute state control of
economic and forced migration. But on the other, it has neglected the consequence of such
intervention, that is the need to support the growing number of people who, until now, have
been outside the formal reception system.
As suggested by Schiavone, for too long reception has been handled in an emergency
manner. After the initial reception procedure, asylum seekers are left with only two possible
choices: to emigrate to a northern European country or, if the first option is not available, to
find friends or relatives somewhere in Italy and look for a job in the informal economy. In
both circumstances the outcome is that a positive conclusion to the asylum procedure
becomes impossible because many of the claimants become, in effect, clandestine
immigrants. The impact of this factor is clearly highlighted in the table below regarding 1999.
Of the asylum claims examined by the Central Commission, approximately 72% received a
negative response due to the absence of the claimant.
A further element emerging from the data is that, of the claims receiving a positive
determination (both Geneva and humanitarian), the rate is very high at about 73%.
Table 4: Asylum applications submitted and processed in 1999
Asylum applications Asylum


Negative Decisions

status suggested untraceable





Source: Ministry of Interior in ICS, 2000


The integration framework

4.3.1. A national integration policy?

I really cannot understand why Italy does not want to take care of us. In our families there
are many youths. They can easily get lost here and have bad or violent behaviour. Helping us
should be a duty not only toward us but the whole Italian society, for its own safety. Why
doesnt the Italian government do anything? (Masom, Iranian woman)

Discussing the national integration policy in Italy must take as a starting point the
Turco Napolitano Law of 1988. This law was the first coherent attempt to address the issues
3000 asylum claimants and refugees a year. The rest, a large majority, had to survive independently. The new
Bossi-Fini Law sets up a National Fund for Asylum Policy and Services within the Ministry of Interior, in charge
of funding local bodies which arrange assistance services for asylum seekers. The Fund for 2003 is insufficient
to cover the costs of the reception of claimants already part of the NAP case-load, let alone those outside this
system and new arrivals.


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related to immigrant integration. Prior of this, as highlighted above, the approach to migration
was mainly pragmatic and fragmented, focused above all on new arrivals rather then on
migrants already settled.
The definition of integration, is implicit in the 1998 law and is expressed in article 3 of
Law 40/1998 where is stated that:
Integration is a process of no discrimination and of inclusion of differences. Furthermore, it is
a process of mixing and experimentation of new behaviours and relational forms in the daily
attempt to link together universal principles and particular attributes. Hence integration should
prevent situations of marginalisation, fragmentation and ghettoisation, which are a challenge
to social cohesion, and affirm universal principles such as the worth of human life, the dignity
of the person, the rights of women and the protection of children. Principles that cannot be
contravened, not even in the name of protecting differences.

The 1998 Alien Act established a new consultative commission on immigrant

integration: Commissione per le politiche di integrazione degli immigrati. The main task of
the Commission was to elaborate an annual report on integration issues. The Commission had
been working for three years, up to the time of the election of the rightwing government in
2002 led by Berlusconi. Two reports were published, Primo rapporto sullintegrazione degli
immigrati and Secondo rapporto sullintegrazione degli immigrati, while the third, which was
dedicated to Rome and Sinti, was not. The members of the Commission were experts,
practitioners and researchers, with the chairwoman Giovanna Zincone.
In the first report, Zincone (2000) discusses a possible operational definition of
integration. The resulting definition is a combination of two factors: integrity of the
individual, which stresses the importance of guaranteeing each individual decent living
conditions and a clear legal status; and positive social interaction, as a key factor for a
harmonious community relations. Taking that definition as starting point, the report identifies
civil society agencies, including migrant co-ethnic organizations, as the key instruments for
achieving its goals. Law 286/1998 largely delegates powers to civil society actors.
Nevertheless, the inclusion of migrant organisations is more a wish than a reality since the
formal requirements envisaged by the legislation for the participation of NGOs in the
integration process are highly demanding. This indirectly favours the already well-established
Italian NGOs, rather than new agencies developing from within the refugee and ethnic
minority communities themselves.
The preference for Italian NGOs and the consequent difficulty for ethnic organisations
to make their voice autonomously heard are two major elements which typically produce,
according to Zincones analysis, a paternalist policy, characterised by care and protection
rather than independence and security (Zincone, 2000).
This concern has been captured rather well by Masom:
When I am upset with Italians they often tell me to visit a psychologist. But I am perfectly
sane. I only need a decent job, a decent house where my children can grow up safely. I cannot
spend the rest of my life in a queue for a warm free meal at Caritas.

In Italy, informal networks and church organisations are the key providers of basic
social assistance services for vulnerable individuals. The political system often abdicates its
social duties, assuming that those in need will be assisted primarily through the NGOs
network and self-help systems established (in the present context) within refugee and migrant
communities. The claim is that this encourages them to become self-sufficient and

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independent (obtaining shelter and employment which provides enough for rent and a modest
diet) in a short period; but such an argument, given the high levels of marginalisation and
destitution which asylum seekers experience, seems more a rationalisation for nonintervention than a considered policy. Such an approach to reception and integration
reflects, according to Korac (2001), the surviving perception that Italy is not a country of
permanent settlement regardless of its declaration in 1990 that it has become a country of
The states abdication of a role and responsibility in elaborating and implementing a
national integration policy creates the space for a fragmented concept of integration, which is
shaped accordingly to the varied and often conflicting attitudes and ideologies of NGOs and
local authorities. Of the concerns emerging in the fieldwork interviews, one of the principal
matters raised was the risk that the lack of a firm lead on integration by government could
lead to the exploitation and the misrepresentation of migrant issues by political groups.
In short, amongst the many key issues in contemporary policy with regard to refugees
and asylum seekers in Italy, that of integration is the most pressing. As emphasised in the
legal section (4.2), only very limited provisions exist (in the Turco Napolitano Law).
Moreover, as emerged in the interview with a former member of the Commission, even within
the Commission, there was a lack of clarity as to whether refugees were to be included or not
amongst their statutory duties.
Another issue debated within the integration Commissions report concerns the
fragility and volatility of co-ethnic organisations whose number has increased significantly
in the last few years (Frisano and Ranci, 1999). During the 1990s, as the pressure on NGOs to
have migrants in their management board grew, the building up of manufactured ethnic
representatives was a frequent phenomenon.
The importance of reception procedures and conditions to the eventual integration of
those receiving positive status is widely acknowledged in research across Europe. Equally in
Italy, the definition of minimum standards of reception both for asylum seekers and refugees,
and economic migrants, has been another issue on the government and NGOs agenda for a
long time. But the lack of any effective political power by migrants and refugees, as well as
the absence of strong migrant organisations capable putting pressure on political authorities,
has effectively relegated the issue of minimum reception standards to a secondary problem.
4.3.2. Integration: social rights of asylum seekers and refugees in Italy
The lack of a national reception system for asylum seekers and refugees is only a part of a
major legal vacuum regarding asylum in Italy. Italy, as we have emphasised repeatedly, does
not have comprehensive legislation on rights accorded to asylum seekers and refugees. Thus,
only by examining the complex and disparate legal apparatus relevant to refugees and asylum
seekers (even if, for the most part the legal provisions are not specifically made for them) can
their legal status be established and the scope for subsequent integration be delimited. As we
have seen, the legal status of refugees and asylum-seekers in Italy is defined by the
combination of: provisions applying to all human beings present in the territory, such as those
Constitutional norms relating to basic rights; provisions generally referring to aliens normally
resident within the territory; provisions of Alien Acts and other regulations explicitly
mentioning refugees and asylum-seekers.


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According to this complex combination of norms, asylum-seekers are entitled to:

Temporary leave to remain, renewable until the end of the asylum procedure, with the
exception of those detained pending the accelerated determination procedure,
according to new provisions of 11 July 2002.

Freedom of movement within the territory, with the exception of those detained
pending the accelerated determination procedure, according to new provisions of 11
July 2002.

Medical assistance with the same conditions of Italian citizens (for refugees see

Basic education

Access to vocational courses

Financial assistance

According to Decree No. 237/90 of 24 July 1990 implementing the 1990 Aliens Act, asylum
seekers in need who do not benefit from any other form of support may apply for financial
assistance. The amount granted is 17.5 per day and is paid for only 45 days 66. Children are
entitled to the same amount as adults. Asylum seekers who are accommodated in the
reception centres are not entitled to receive this allowance Asylum seekers are not allowed to
work during the asylum procedure.
Refugee rights

Fundamental rights and freedoms, such as freedom of religion, association, opinion, access to
Courts, privacy exist. Refugee rights are far more established than those accorded to asylumseekers. However, in most cases, these rights accord with those provided to immigrants
legally resident. This means that very few provisions afford specific consideration of the
particular conditions of refugees, such as the forced nature of their migration.
The following rights are accorded to refugees by internal laws and regulations:

Permit to stay: refugees are given a 2-year residence permit, renewable until the
cessation of the status. The permit is usually renewed the first time for another 2 years,
then for 4 years.

Travel documents: refugees are given a grey-coloured Convention Travel Document

which is valid for 2 years and renewable, and entitles travel in European countries for
a maximum of 3 months, according to the Schengen Convention provisions on
freedom of movement.

Personal status: pursuant to Italian rules of Private International Law, refugees are not
submitted to national laws with regard to personal status (marriage, family law, etc.).
This provision implements Art.12 of the Geneva Convention.

Citizenship: according to Italian Law on citizenship, in contrast to other legal aliens,


Carlo Bracci, medical doctor, points out the impact of long decision time for the asylum claim impacts on the
asylum seekers physical and mental health. According the Italian law, asylum seekers are not allowed to work
and the resulting passivity may further negatively impact on their well-being. On the other hand, if they are not
accommodated within a reception centre, they are entitled to a 17.5 per-diem contribution only for 45 days. It
is of course impossible to survive for 12-14 months, which is the average length of the asylum procedure.


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who can apply for citizenship after 10 years of regular residence in Italy, refugees can
apply for Italian citizenship after 5 years.

Family reunification: Pursuant to Section 28 of Immigration Law 286/98, Convention

refugees are entitled to family reunification with their spouse, unmarried minor
children, dependent parents and dependent relatives within the fourth degree if
disabled. Unmarried couples are not entitled to reunification. The right to family
reunification is not subject to any housing or financial requirements. Family members
who have entered Italy illegally may also benefit from family reunification. Persons
reunited with a refugee in Italy receive a residence permit for family reasons, valid for
two years and renewable on a two-year basis. The permit allows its holder to work, to
study and to be given access to the national health service. Persons with other types of
residence permits also have the right to family reunification, but they must meet the
requirements applying to immigrants. These include, in particular, appropriate housing
as well as a monthly income at least equivalent to the social pension, i.e. 300.

Work: refugees are entitled to work with the same conditions of Italian citizens. They
are given relevant documents and enjoy all workers rights as Italian citizens.

Basic education: refugees have rights to basic education; children up to 15 years are
obliged to attend primary and secondary school.

University education: refugees may enrol in University courses after recognition of

their diploma. A special procedure is available in this regard: given the impossibility
for refugees to contact their embassies for the legalisation of their diplomas, the latter
can be legalised by the Italian Embassy in the country of origin, through the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs. Refugees are not counted in the quota of foreign students annually
admitted to Italian Universities.

Medical assistance: refugees have access to the National Health Service and enjoy
medical assistance with the same conditions as Italian citizens: i.e. they have right to a
medical card and personal family doctor. Medical assistance is usually free of charge,
apart from a small contribution for medicine and examinations. Totally free assistance
is recognised under the same conditions for Italian citizens (destitute persons, pregnant
women, etc.). Medical care includes paediatric assistance to children.

Accommodation and basic assistance provided for by local bodies: in principle,

refugees have the right to be accommodated in the same centres provided for asylum
seekers. However, as the time of residence within those centres is limited, many
refugees have already exhausted the period pending the asylum procedure, and are not
entitled to further accommodation after recognition.

Social assistance: refugees have the right to social assistance as available for Italian
citizens, which is usually quite low. They are also entitled to social benefits (pension)
provided for by the Ministry of Interior to disabled, blind and destitute over-65 years
old persons.

Fundamental rights and freedoms: in particular, privacy provisions exist regarding the
asylum procedure.


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4.3.3. Key actors

Refugee Community Organizations

In the main cities, for example Rome and Milan, there is an established network of
community-based organisations. In some cases these ethnic associations have a strong
political background: i.e the Turkish Kurds in Rome. There are marked variations in their
structure and capacity. There are both formal associations, which can apply for municipal or
regional funding, and informal ones. Generally speaking, from the perspective state power
and influence, they do not play a significant role in the political arena. Those more involved
in projects rather than advocacy are often part of larger consortia of associations and they act
in a consultancy role as representatives of a particular ethnic group.
Focusing at the grass roots, RCOs and the social networks they represent, play a
crucial role in initial stages of reception in a system such as exists in Italy, especially for those
just arrived and unable to communicate in a language other than a mother tongue. These
organisations act as informal employment agencies and in some cases also help in finding
accommodation. Lacking a national presence, in notable contrast to Germany and to a lesser
extent the UK, with very few exceptions they do not participate in national-level decisionmaking processes. Participation in public life at the local level is more significant given the
immediate needs of their communities for basic needs as much as broader political rights and
In the Italian context, where asylum seekers and refugees are particularly
disadvantaged because of limited access to and a weak social security system, these ethnic or
functional networks may often literally mean survival. They operate as an alternative selfreception system for disseminating information, resolving housing problems, and finding
Non-Governmental Organizations

A distinctive feature of the Italian system is the fundamental role of the NGOs in the
reception and integration process: Caritas, a Catholic-church organization, has traditionally
been the main player in provided support to migrants and people in need.
According to Hellman (1997:36), the Catholic Church has found a whole new social
role as protector of immigrants and it has led the call for tolerant, civilized and democratic
behaviour toward them. Furthermore, the author suggests that, while Church-based
organizations are frequently criticised by non-religious NGOs as creating a dependent
mentality among immigrants, there is no question that the crisis of immigrant settlement has
provided a revitalizing challenge to the Church in Italy.
The secular elements of civil society involved in work with immigrants are the
voluntary associations, generally staffed by activists from leftwing, peace, womens and green
movements. They have been filling the vacuum created by the lack of a clear public policy
and adequate public resources, providing a range of services to the new comers that elsewhere
in Europe are the responsibility of the state or private employers.
The Catholic ethos underpinning the work of religiously-based organization,
according to some interviewees, leads in practice to an assistance-based approach, which may
be appropriate in the short run but is less useful in the long run. Such an approach is s not
only a feature of the refugee and migrant client group arena but is deeply rooted in the Italian


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social support system with its origins traced back to the Catholic culture of the country. It is a
leitmotiv of the Italian way to deal with migrant issues and, as scholars noted, has established
a sort of precedent for assistance-based policies which at various stages and in different areas
of the country have bee partially emulated by the state at national and local level.
4.3.4 Conclusions to sections 4.1.-4.3.
Emerging from the discussion of the integration framework the key features of the Italian
system are:

Italys long and intense experience as a country of emigration has conditioned citizenship policy
with a clear preference accorded to ethnic descent

The switch from being a land of mass emigration to one of mass immigration found the country
quite unprepared in legal, policy and psychological terms.

Individuals with Convention status and humanitarian permission to remain have full access to a
range of services with minor differences in entitlements

There is no formal integration strategy for refugees

Refugee integration strategy is largely based upon the broader immigration framework but largely
locally-based initiatives

NGOs play a key role in providing assistance and social support to refugees and asylum seekers.

The absence of state-led integration leads to multiplication of meanings of integration and to

fragmentation of practices


Case study locations

Three principal locations were chosen for fieldwork: Rome, Tuscany and Venice. Rome is the
main area for the settlement of asylum seekers and refugees in Italy. Venice is at the same
time both an entry gate and a place of settlement. It represents a more recent area of
settlement. Finally, Tuscany is a region characterised by a dispersed model of reception. A
common feature is the lack of data on refugee settlement and living condition.
The contrasting factors are:
Infrastructure and services. Most of the support services needed for effective refugee
settlement are located in the Rome area. These include a dense network of statutory, NGO
and voluntary groups as well as the bulk of RCOs in the country. Venice and Tuscany are less
developed in these respects, reflecting the recent character of refugee settlement in the area.
Existing community settlement and size of ethnic communities. Tuscany offers a dispersed
model of asylum seeker and refugee reception does not facilitate ethnic concentration. Recent
refugee settlement in Venice partially explains the few developed refugee communities. Rome
has some established refugee communities.
Central/Regional relations. The decentralisation of policy formation and the fragmentation
of practices of intervention is a main feature of the Italian model, although the work of some
nationally-based NGOs guarantees some coordination and coherence in the reception
activities. Tuscany represents an example of a regionally-based system of reception with large
participation of NGOs in the decision-making process. Venices role and response must be


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framed in the context of the citys political orientation in the Veneto region.
Total population in 1997 of 2,654 million (TCI, 1998).
Estimated 1,900 asylum seekers (Nausicaa, 2000). No data available on refugees settled. According to
data provided by Caritas Report 2002, the number of foreigners living in Rome is 212,095. Top-5
countries of origin: Philippine, Romania, Poland, Albania, Bangladesh.
Tuscany Region
Total population of 3,523 million. Main city: Florence (383,00). According to Caritas (2002), there are
94,467 foreigners living in the region (about 7% of total). About 40% come from a European country.
Refugees living in the region are mostly Kurds and Yugoslavia Roma.
Population- 298,915 (TCI, 1998). In Veneto there are 127,588 foreigners (9.4% of total), estimated
1000 asylum seekers in 2001.

4.4.1. Rome: gateway to somewhere else

The number of asylum applications submitted in Rome is not large, but the Italian capital
represent a key point of transit for those who wants to leave Italy and is an important location
for those waiting for status determination from the central Commission. Most asylum seekers
live in the neighbourhood of the city of Rome itself, while very few claimants residing in the
rest of the region. It is hard to estimate the number of asylum seekers in Rome. In the
Nausicaa report, ICS (2000) estimates, taking into account the applications for 'early
assistance contribution and the number of people living in reception centres, that there are
approximately 1900 asylum seekers in Rome.
In the capital district there are 26 reception centres for foreigners, 16 of them have an
agreement with Rome's special Bureau on Immigration (USI). The agreement states that one
third of the places must be reserved for asylum seekers. The statistics for 2000 suggest that in
fact 95% of the spaces are occupied by asylum seekers.
Due to the long waiting time for receipt of a status decision, there is a little turn over,
and consequently a long waiting list for getting a place in one of the centres. A major concern
regarding these reception centres is the fact that they are built for migrant workers and
residents are thus not allowed to stay in the centre from early in the morning until evening. As
a result asylum seekers, who are not allowed to work officially, are obliged to spend all day
wandering around. Moreover, regarding the stay in the reception centre, this is limited to nine
months, whilst the asylum procedure lasts on average much longer.
Concerning services provided to asylum seekers and refugees in Rome, despite the
presence of some very high quality providers, the lack of co-ordination and often the
competition among NGOs in the region produces a waste of resources which could be far
better and more effectively deployed.
The main NGOs working in the asylum field are: CIR (Italian Refugee Council),
Centro Astalli - Jesuit Refugee Service, Caritas, Casa dei Diritti Sociali - Focus, ICS (Italian
Consortium of Solidarity), CIES, Medici Senza Frontiere, Ass. Virtus Ponte Mammolo, Ass.
Medici Contro la Tortura, Servizio Rifugiati e Migranti della Federazione delle Chiese


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Evangeliche (FCEI), Servizio Sociale Internazionale, Comunit di S.Egidio, Ass.

Senzaconfine and Ass. Azad.
Organizations with a national profile are often weakly rooted in the territory.
Meanwhile some with a considerable potential for advocacy prefer to not be involved at this
level, opting instead to provide basic services with a low public profile. Most of the agencies
provide specific services to asylum seekers and refugees; the smaller organisations notably
tend to be more sectoral.
L'Ass. Virtus Ponte Mammolo, founded a few years ago, run one of the few
accommodation centres in Rome. Asylum seekers and refugees contribute paying a small rent.
The agencys focus is to work on the integration of their clients within the local community.
CIES is a highly professional agency and it works in the specific field of employment.
It trains cultural mediators, a key position in the Italian migration system. After a one-year
training programme graduates are employed in different services. CIES has agreements with
many public offices such as the Interior Ministry, Police headquarters, schools, where
successful graduates from its programmes are placed. The cultural mediator position is one of
the few highly qualified posts available in the Italian public sector for migrants.
Another specialist agency is Medici Contro la Tortura, which provide a intensive
medical and psychological support to victims of torture. Servizio Sociale Internazionale has a
monopoly in the field of advocating the recognition of foreign degrees and diplomas. In Italy
this procedure is particularly bureaucratic and tortuous. Senzaconfine and AZAD, whose
membership overlaps, are small groups who have been working hard to place migration and
refugee issues on the political agenda in the capital. CDS tries to link together both assistance
and advocacy. As stressed by a lawyer in Rome, it is very helpful to work in parallel on these
two aspects because this allows more efficient employment of resources and to provide better
and more holistic support to asylum seekers in need. This is a revealing comment on the lack
of coordinated policy and provision for refugee reception and integration in Italy the motif
of this chapter.
In some public hospitals, i.e. S.Gallicano, Fatebenefratelli, there are some
professionals who work together informally on issues such as victims of torture, providing a
very high quality service.
The local authority in Rome tends to delegate services to the private sector. The
largest part of this responsibility concerns the management of reception centres, run by
NGOs, and the training of cultural mediators (CIES). A municipal office (USI) allocates
asylum seekers to the different centres and supervises the activities of NGOs working for the
4.4.2. Tuscany: a regional system of reception
A number of interviews were undertaken with refugees and community groups in Florence,
Borgo San Lorenzo, Cecina and Volterra. What follows is an overview of the recent history of
asylum seeker and refugee reception in Tuscany.
Up to 1998, asylum seeker reception was run individually and sporadically by NGOs
and voluntary groups, within the framework of immigrant reception. During 1990s, Tuscany
had only one asylum seeker reception centre for Kurds in Cecina. The main change occurred


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in late '98 with the first flow of Kosovars. Lacking clear international recognition of an ethnic
conflict in the terms of experience at the start of the decade, at the same time there were no ad
hoc protection measures in place either. NGOs and lawyers begin to work on this issue and to
campaign to guarantee non-refoulement for Kosovars. At a regional level, NGOs begin to
lobby with local authorities. Many Kosovars could not be included in the extraordinary
temporary protection measure having arrived in Italy before the official start of the war. They
had only two possible choices for legally staying in Italy: to seek asylum or to try to be
regularised by an amnesty for economic migrants. Those who were unable to access either of
these options had little choice but to become illegal and invisible.
The Tuscany regional administrations reaction was positive and in 1998 Tuscany
established that 20% of the National Immigration Fund expenditure would be spent for
displaced Kosovars. Unfortunately, there was no budget allocation until 2000 (ICS, 2000).
On 12th May 1999 the Prime Minister Decreed extraordinary measures of protection
for FRY displaced people'. The Italian Interior Ministry started to allocate specific resources
for refugee reception and to sign agreements with local authorities. NGOs and the several
medium-to-small reception initiatives run by local city councils began to network, building
up, within the national framework programme called Azione Comune, the first semi-structured
and co-ordinated network of asylum seeker reception centres.
The dispersal of those who were unable to receive temporary protection is an unsolved
problem in the Azione Comune programme. Once the NATO bombing ended, the Interior
minister notified all local police divisions and border check-points that the extraordinary
measures were rescinded since the war was officially over.
It is estimated that about 10,000 Roma arrived in Italy during the spring/summer of
1999. They, ECRI (2002) reports, have benefited comparatively less than other groups from
the various opportunities for regularization. Roma found protection only in camps,
shantytowns in the neighbourhood of the major cities. Initially this was because there was no
other choice. Later, family and friendship networks attracted a growing number of displaced
Roma who often were not recognised as refugees. Indicative of the markedly poorer
conditions which the Roma experience is the evidence from fieldwork at the so-called
'Masini's camp' in Florence: irregular Roma and Geneva Convention refugees share the
same barracks and tents and the dramatically inadequate living conditions (no running water,
no electricity, no schooling).
In Volterra, a small reception community, member of the National Asylum
Programme (PNA), has developed a programme based on theatre training, workshops and
performances. The project leader has been working for a long time with refugees and their
experiences, paying special attention to the journey of asylum seekers from their homeland to
the country of refuge. The focus of the hidden theatre is the tale of the asylum experience,
through a technique called reportage-theatre. Two main aspects emerge: regarding the
audience, it helps to develop empathetic feelings, which are a primary element in any
attempt to work on integration as a two-way process. The second aspect concerns the actors.
Deciding to participate in a project such as the one of Volterra, asylum seekers are involved in
community building which has as its main focus their own experience and the importance of
being able to communicate it to others. This process leads necessarily to an analysis of ones
own past and present.
In the project directors words:

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This type of experience is of course not just theatre. My principle aim is not to create actors,
but to give to the asylum seekers living here as many tools as I can to interpret and understand
our society. Often their limit is not to understand how better communicate their experience to

4.4.3. Venice: political laboratory

In Veneto region, the number of asylum seeker is estimated in 1000 (ICS, 2000). In Venice
itself, in mid-2001, the city hosted 100 people of different nationalities, mainly Turks, Kurds,
Iranians, Iraqi, Somali and Yugoslavs. These comprise both families and single person
households, lodged both downtown and in the old city centre, in small, recently refurbished
Reception and other services are designed, as happens in most of Italy, for economic
migrants. Given the increasing number of asylum seekers and refugees, there has been
pressure to restructure the services already available and to establish new services. In the last
decade the administration of Venice has been led by left and centre left governments. In the
Italian political context, Venice is seen as a political laboratory where reformist and
sometimes cutting-age ideas are experimented. Venice municipality is constituted by Venice
and Mestre which is a working class borough and together with Marghera, with its large
industrial plants, is the electoral base of the ruling coalition.
In 1993, following the emergency situation in Former Yugoslavia and the arrival of
large numbers of displaced people, the city council of Venice decided to address the need of
these forced migrants by building a refugee camp, Zelarino, which became the centre for all
the displaced people who up to that time were living in destitute conditions all around the
city. The camp was directly managed by the municipality. Another camp was built in San
Giuliano in 1994. Both camps, despite the intention for them to be a temporary solution, in
fact experienced little turn over since there was no other move-on accommodation
programme. Thus, when newly displaced people arrived in Venice following later stages of
the war in the Balkans no space was available for these newcomers. Tensions emerge in both
camps and the police had to intervene to guarantee public security.
In 1999 the city council adopted a project for the progressive disbanding of the two
camps. The main aim of this project - project Mila - was to facilitate the exit of those living in
the camps and their settlement in ordinary flats or houses in the city or in its neighbourhood
or, in same cases, to support repatriation. The significance of this innovative city council
decision lies in the acknowledgement of the importance of progressing from emergency
solutions, such as camps, to longer term provision where the goal is integration of refugees
and due recognition for their autonomy.
Amongst other initiatives the following are noted.
Because the port of Venice is a key entry point along the north-east border of the
country, an information point is located at the maritime station. It is a two-room container
where newcomers can have a shower and ask for basic information. An analogous service is
provided at Fiumicino airport in Rome, and at Malpensa airport in Milan.
In 1998, the scandal caused by the deaths, through medical neglect, of a number of
illegal migrants has led to initiatives by regional governments such as Veneto, which started
to provide free medical treatment for sans-papiers around Venice and Padua.


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Starting in June 2001 Venice City Council commenced a project entitled Fontego,
which focuses on asylum seeker and refugee reception and integration. The project is funded
by the European Community (European Refugee Fund) and the Ministry of Interior. It is part
of the National Asylum Programme.
Since 1994, Venice has had a Refugee Bureau. Through the work of experienced staff
it has developed a model of public reception which is unique in Italy. The Bureau at present
co-ordinates and monitors the implementation of the Fontego project, which is structured in
five main parts each managed by a different NGO:

Darsena project: 9 families (41 people) are accommodated in flats in Venice and
Marghera, they also receive financial support for food and basic needs, as well as
socio-psychological support. A caseworker facilitates their access to general public

Boa project: 50 asylum seekers, and occasionally refugees, are lodged in Fort Rossarol
in two-bedroom accommodation with shared bathroom and kitchen. Residents receive
a small amount of pocket money.

Cason project: This provides asylum seekers and refugees with support in the search
for apartments, flats and rooms in the private market once State assistance is
withdrawn. Another aim is to facilitate the integration of refugees in their new
environment. Costs of the accommodation are partially covered for the first few
months by the project funds.

Exile Caf: The caf is in the historic centre of Venice. Its main goal is to offer
refugees and asylum seekers an informal meeting place and information. Another goal
is to create a place open to the rest of the city, where Italians and refugees can
exchange ideas, talk or just drink a coffee and thus achieve some measure of social
exchange and integration

Voluntary repatriation: The Refugee Bureau and International Organization of

Migration coordinate repatriation plans for those whose asylum claims are rejected
and for those voluntarily choosing to repatriate to their homeland.

In summary, there is clearly a significant level of activity in Venice and the Veneto
region with regard to the needs of refugees and asylum seekers. There are a number of
innovative actives to assist integration. All this is in marked contrast to the other two case
study regions of Italy and, indeed, to the rest of Italy as well. On the other hand, despite this
positive evidence, the picture which emerges of fragmented and patchy provision which is
both reactive and under-resourced, typifies the pattern found in the rest of the country.
4.4.4. Practices of integration
As noted in earlier sections, integration of refugees is not a high priority in the Italian political
landscape. There is no recognisable strategy for integration. Consequently few resources are
provided nationally and programmes are sporadic and lack co-ordination. Nonetheless there
are examples of good practice. As reported in the Tuscany section, the reception centre in
Volterra can be regarded as an example of good and innovative practice in the Italian context.
The focus on theatre training, a distinctive feature of the reception centre, highlights some
interesting elements regarding integration and simultaneously offers asylum seeker and


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refugee as well as the hosts valuable perspectives on their different societies which can only
aid integration processes. Similarly in Venice, the active work of the agencies and the City
Council, the latter notably with regard to accommodation indicate some of the more proactive
tendencies which are beginning to emerge in Italy.
The need to support and facilitate greater independence must be particular objective in
the Italian case where the culture of imposed dependency makes it very difficult for asylum
seekers to express their life in Italy. The need for voice and a more assertive role for RCOs in
articulating the process of integration are also notable for their absence in Italy. This is
particularly significant in a country such as Italy where the willingness but discretionary
attitude of NGOs and individual civil servants is a key factor.
Lack of language training is also notable by the absence of provision, let alone
systematic programmes across the country. Regarding the point on learning the host country
language, Sale suggests:
Until one is not able to find a common language with the other people living in the centre, it is
very hard to have any sort of solidarity. One tends to rely only on his own co-ethnics, those
who speak his own language.

A potentially important point emerging from interview narratives is that it appears

easier in Italy, than in other European countries, to get in touch with host citizens as one way
of restoring a normal life, despite the huge voids in the official reception system. This view
seems to be supported also by the comparative research conducted in Rome and Amsterdam
on former Yugoslav refugees by Maja Korac (2001). In Koracs report interviewees highlight
how they feel at home in Italy, which is sometimes described as a Mediterranean country like
their own 67.
4.4.5 Conclusion to section 4.4.
Fieldwork in the three principle locations highlights some crucial points regarding local integration
strategies and the relationship between local and central authorities:

Lack of dedicated structures capable of addressing the specific needs of asylum seekers and refugees

The instrumentality of local political contexts, the political orientation of local authorities and the
established NGO network in the definition of integration strategies

Nearly-absence of data on refugees and their living conditions

Presence of many small pilot projects which inevitably leave out the bulk of asylum seekers and

Refugees never appear as primary target group of social policies which, although usually stated in
terms of including both asylum seekers and refugees, mostly only deal with asylum seekers

Low levels of funding and unanticipated budget cutbacks by central government which necessitate
local authorities reassessing their strategies.

Short term projects dependent on funding allocation system.


It is worth to note that in Italy it is very uncommon that Italians think about former Yugoslavia countries as
Mediterranean, despite the geographical proximity they are perceived as the Balkans. This perception has been
analysed with regards to the Italian indifference for the 90s wars in the region (see Rastello, 1997)


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This chapter has emphasised the near-absence of a refugee integration in the contemporary
political and policy landscape of Italy.
A relative new comer in the field of in-migration and notably for refugees and asylum
seekers, Italy preserves features typical of emigration countries: restrictive citizenship law,
based on descent, is the most noticable. The ius sanguinis is clearly identified as the main,
and prevailing, criterion for becoming a citizen of Italy.
The efforts made in the late 1990s by the Commission on Immigrants Integration to
develop a conceptual framework to address integration issues did not, unfortunately, lead to
sensitive practice. The under-investment in terms of resources and personnel suggests a lack
of political will in this area. Funding programmes, although improved under the centre-left
coalition, remained at a low level given the scale of potential demand. Moreover, the
premature ending of the Commission as a consequence of the change in political orientation
of Italys government in 2002, sheds light on the fact that integration is not a key issue in the
national political arena indeed rather the reverse. Immigration and integration are still
partisan issues.
The lack of interest, or the very recent and limited interest, in migrant integration at a
national level can only partially be justified by the recent shift from a country of emigration to
one of immigration. As stressed in the chapter, this statistical fact has been used time and
again as the pretext for the very poor reception provisions for migrants and asylum seekers.
The political debate on immigration is strongly focused on new flows of migration and
especially on undocumented migration (so-called clandestini). As a consequence, the
condition of settled communities has tended to be of peripheral concern to immigration social
policy makers.
From a comparative EU perspective, asylum in Italy has been characterised by its
relatively late development as a distinctive policy area. As in the UK case, by and large it is
NGOs, especially from catholic backgrounds, which have dealt with the logistical issues
posed by the reception and integration of asylum seekers and refugees.
Concerning the involvement of non-state agencies in the integration process, NGOs,
voluntary agencies have all been delegated central roles in the settlement of refugees in Italy.
There are a range of issues over the role of NGOs and RCOs which urgently require
clarification; particularly, with regard to NGOs, as their state-substitutive roles impact upon
the capacity to address the long-term settlement needs of asylum seekers and refugees. As far
as RCOs are concerned, their underdevelopment in Italy should be investigated and its causes
adequately addressed. The chapter suggests, as one of the key factors, the fight for public
resources which sees established national NGOs in a position of advantage.
Another central issue is the degree of de-centralisation of control and decision. In
Italy, as highlighted in the chapter, decentralisation is strictly linked to the abdication by the
central government of its responsibility regarding migrant reception. Local authorities lack
access to national and European funding programmes and sub-delegate NGOs to implement
their projects. Like the German case, local authorities are not tightly reined in by the centre
and have some room for manoeuvre. Moreover there are some opportunities for independent
scope for policy development. But this is in the context of very limited national political
concern and still less the dedication of adequate resources to support integration initiatives at


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the local level.

Nationally-based NGOs, or large NGO consortia, can directly access national and
European funding and implement their own projects directly, with a larger internal coherence
between policy and practice.
A major concern regarding the resource allocation system is the short-term basis of
most of the funded projects. In a context of very weak coordination such as occurs in the
Italian case, this produces a fragmentation of practices with very varied and different quality
What does all this imply with regard to the definition of Italys integration paradigm?
Firstly, that the analysis has had to be conducted on many different administrative levels and
with the participation of many varied actors involved in the process (i.e. NGOs, volunteers,
refugees), none of whom appear to share a consistent or cohesive view of the scope process
and objectives of integration. This lack of a national framework is particularly relevant in the
Italian context because this leaves any definition of integration largely to the agencies active
on the ground. The resulting fragmentation of the idea of integration leads to a variety of
practices, which produce a variety of outcomes. In this millieu, the marginal role played by
refugees and asylum seekers in such an a-systemic system is even more marked than in
Germany and certainly in contrast to the UK. Their lack of power and their dependency is
based first of all on the uncertainty of their legal rights and then on the lack of basic
The lack of political visibility for the issue is reflected in academic debate on
integration. Little attention is paid to refugees and asylum seekers: the focus of debate such as
it is lies on economic migrants. Generally speaking, the issue of integration therefore tends to
be reduced to the simple factor of finding a job. This lack of interest by academics can be
linked to the relatively recent arrival of asylum seekers in Italy.
On the other hand, the fact that there have been relatively few applications for asylum in Italy
does not mean that there are few people in need of protection from persecution. The
fundamental issue in Italy with respect to both integration and, more generally, an
understanding of the situation of refugees and asylum seekers derives from a cultural and
academic vacuum: the fact that there are poorly developed tools of inquiry, interpretation and
analysis, limited data and limited exchange between researchers with each other and with the
categories and groups which are the subject of their inquiry.


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5 Integration Policy and Practice in 12 EU Member States:

A Literature Survey
This chapter complements the detailed case studies with a survey of integration policy and
practice in the remaining 12 EUMS. It provides a synopsis of findings based on is a desk
study of secondary sources. The evidence is drawn from a wide variety of English language
sources books, journal articles and a web search of government sites, NGO and refugee
group. The data for the chapter are presented in the Appendix Volume which provides a short
profile of each of these 12 EUMS. This chapter: reviews the sources of the data (5.1); assesses
the presence of foreign populations (5.2); reviews the differing chronologies of legislation and
policy related to refugees and integration (5.3); examines the issue of residence status (5.4);
compares administrative regimes for integration (5.5); examines the policy fields related to
integration based on the following variables Financial assistance, Employment, Education and
training, Language training, Housing, Freedom of movement, Family reunification, Citizenship (5.6);

explores the differing concepts of citizenship with respect to the 12 countries (5.7); explores
the barriers to integration (5.8); and finally considers matters of discrimination (5.9).


Several surveys of policy and practice relating to the integration of third country immigrants
into host countries in Europe have already been carried out and this report has drawn
extensively on these. The European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) produces
periodic country profiles which cover demographic and legal aspects of migration but also
look at the socio-economic conditions for exiles in host countries and any changes which have
occurred since the previous reports (ECRE, 1999); a 2000 report commissioned by the Danish
Refugee Council (Liebaut, 2000) contained a tabulated version of the ECRE material. The
background paper to an ECRE conference on integration held in Antwerp in 1998 included
another useful, more general, country-by-country survey (ECRE, 1998). A comprehensive
survey of integration practice in EU countries was carried out with EU funding for the findings are presented in tabulated form on the website. All these
reports deal mainly with people who claim to have suffered persecution in their countries of
origin. The reports of the Organization for Economic and Cultural Development
(OECD/SOPEMI, 2001), on the other hand, include labour and family reunion migrants as
well as asylum seekers in their annual overview of world migration flows. There are some
useful reports compiled by NGOs on various aspects of integration, particularly employment
(British Refugee Council, 2001; SEON Foundation, 2000), public attitudes (IOM, 2001) and
good practice (ECRE, 2000b), and by government departments (Dutch Bureau against Racial
Discrimination, 2000). The Danish government publications deserve special mention for the
thoroughness of their analysis (2001, 2002) and are notable for being supported by statistical
data and for feeding into comprehensive information services within Denmark, including a
practical manual for local authority and other workers in the field of integration (see Statistical data are published by OECD (2001) and UNHCR (2001).
Most of this material is available on the internet.
These surveys provided an extremely useful framework in terms of country coverage
and policy overview for the current literature survey. However, they were only a starting point


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and, in some respects, they are not an entirely satisfactory resource, particularly when it
comes to making comparisons between countries. They are generally compiled from
submissions by a number of different contributors, so the information in them is not always
compatible or comprehensive and it is difficult to infer a comparative scale of significance
between items of information. Some of the surveys are evidently responses to questionnaires
and are distorted by the desire to find answers to all the questions. Short summarized entries
can be misleading if qualifying detail is omitted. Access to citizenship, for example, is usually
much more complex than a simple statement of the number of years of residence required in
order to qualify might imply. In some cases, the material is patchy or repetitive, sometimes
inconsistent with other surveys or even within the same survey and not always clearly dated.
Author bias and subjectivity is sometimes apparent, and negative or positive aspects of
integration policy and practice in a particular country may be exaggerated disproportionately,
probably depending partly on whether the material was provided by an official or a member
of a migrant group. The detail provided varies between countries and between various aspects
of integration and individual programmes, not necessarily in proportion to the size of the
project, either in terms of funding or of the number of people involved.
The survey for this report has attempted to eradicate some of these shortcomings by
drawing also on papers in academic books and journals and by searching through a large
number of web sites of government departments, NGOs and refugee groups for confirmation
of specific facts or further details in order to provide a more rounded picture of aspects of
integration in practice in a particular country. However, it also has weaknesses. In the time
available, only secondary sources in the English language could be consulted and there was
no opportunity to look at daily newspapers and other topical resources to ensure, as far as is
possible, that the material is completely up-to-date; nor was there sufficient time to interview
national or local government and NGO officials, individual migrants or community groups, or
to visit the countries involved for corroboration, augmentation or qualification of the findings.
Among the most valuable sources for conceptualizing integration and providing
background information on the situation in individual countries are Castles and Miller (2003),
a definitive work on the scale and implications of 20th century migration, Baubck, Heller and
Zolberg (1996, especially Westin on Sweden and Pennix on the Netherlands), Joly and Cohen
(1989, in particular Silva, Jordana and Sayers on Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands
respectively) and articles in the Journal of Refugee Studies (notably Van Selm on the
Netherlands, Sitabopoulos on Greece, Abiri on Sweden and Delouvin on France).
This survey has not investigated individual countries interpretations of the meaning
of the term integration. Some countries have included a definition in their integration
legislation but it is, otherwise, rarely defined in country context nor is it necessarily specified
which groups of migrants are involved or what they are to be integrated into. This report
recognizes that integration is an umbrella term for summarizing a wide variety of facets of
immigrant experience and possible trajectories and outcomes, including assimilation,
incorporation, inclusion, acculturation, settlement, adaptation, adjustment and social inclusion
and that countries, such as France, dedicated to assimilation, interpret the term differently
from multicultural countries, such as the Netherlands. However, it assumes that all integration
policies will have as their ultimate aim enjoyment by immigrants of comparable rights to
those enjoyed by nationals and a commitment to comparable civic responsibilities.


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This literature review covers the following 12 EU countries:













It excludes the 3 case study countries which form the subject of the main body of this
report (UK, Germany and Italy).
Profiles for each of the 12 countries are arranged under the following headings:

Foreign populations

The population figures quoted in this section have been extracted from tables in the OECD
Report (2001), except for the population of concern figures which are taken from the
UNHCR web site (2001).
Several different groups of aliens are quantified in this section, but the figures are only
an indication of the potential market for integration programmes and none of them are a
satisfactory measure of the number of people involved. It is apparent that, not only is it
unclear from the literature exactly which groups of new arrivals and foreign residents are
considered to be in need of integration, but also that none of the countries are able to
accurately quantify the need. Moreover, new potential candidates are arriving daily, usually in
the form of spontaneous asylum seekers, which means that even well-intentioned
governments are finding it difficult to plan ahead and devise strategies for coping. The foreign
population figures, for example, include groups who are unlikely to be expected to participate
in integration programmes, such as residents who have been in a country for many years but
have never applied for or been eligible for citizenship, or citizens of other European countries,
North America and Australasia. On the other hand, they exclude groups who may,
nevertheless, be perceived as marginalized in their host countries, such as those who acquired
citizenship by reasons of birthplace or parentage but who remain linguistically or culturally
foreign, or those who enter and remain in the country illegally. In addition, official figures for
the size of the foreign population are conditioned by the rates of repatriation, naturalization
and participation in periodic legalization programmes for undocumented migrants which vary
between countries.
The numbers of new foreigners arriving each year also include groups who do not
require integration, such as students, but also many who do, such as family reunion arrivals.
The numbers claiming asylum are generally recorded accurately but asylum seekers are not
generally eligible for integration programmes, even though those who eventually become
permanent residents may comprise the group most in need of integration support. No country
has reliable records of the number of recognized refugees residing within its borders, although
all agree that refugees should qualify for any integration assistance which is available. The
UNHCR figures for the population of concern have had to be estimated from applications for
asylum in the previous 10 years for 7 of the countries in the survey (Austria, Finland, Ireland,
Denmark, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden). The table below gives figures for asylum seekers
in 2001.


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Table 5: Asylum 2001


No. of asylum
seekers received

The Netherlands


No. of asylum
seekers per

First instance


Normal case
time (months)


Source: Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (June 2002) Factsheet Denmark

Another feature of foreign populations which does not appear in the figures is the
distribution of immigrants within a country, which is highly significant for integration
planning, especially since most countries have now devolved responsibility for integration to
the regions and municipalities. Immigrants are heavily concentrated in a few large urban areas
in all the countries in the survey. They gravitate to cities where they are more likely to find
work and to make contact with family and co-ethnic communities and networks, even in those
countries which practise the enforced dispersal of newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers,
but none of the countries publish regional distribution figures and it is likely that only a few
municipal or regional governments collect their own data or, indeed have a mechanism for
doing so, other than through records of the number of immigrants who come to the attention
of the authorities. The ease with which new immigrants are integrated into a host country does
not seem to bear a direct relationship to the density or size of the indigenous population (see
table, below) or the proportion of new arrivals to permanent residents. Density of population
appears to be less an indication of the chances of successful integration of newcomers than its
distribution, ethnic composition and experience of discrimination. Dense populations, for
example Belgium and the Netherlands, are highly urbanized and have absorbed newcomers
into their municipal structure, but low density populations in Finland and Sweden are
restricted by the physical geography of the countries and are also highly concentrated in urban
regions: in Sweden, 65% of the immigrant population lives in just 13 cities. Ireland with a
population of only 4 million has had difficult absorbing new arrivals because of the religious
and ethnic homogeneity of the indigenous population, whereas integration has been more
successful in Denmark, also with a small population of just 5 million, but with a tradition of
centralized planning for the reception of refugees and other immigrants in the context of a
long history of concern for human rights (until, that is, a recent swing to the political right and
increasing hostility to immigration).


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Table 6 Population density and GNP





(per sq km)

(billion $)


(thousand $ per

Source: World Bank (2001) World Development Report 2000-1: Attacking Poverty

Wealthy countries with more centralized control have more detailed and more accurate
statistical records than the poorer countries and these variations make comparisons between
the countries difficult. The table, above, shows GNP per capita in the 12 countries in the
survey. The attraction of a destination country to immigrants is undoubtedly affected to some
extent by the strength of its economy although, again, the relationship of migration flows and
subsequent integration to GNP is not straightforward. Governments in the northern European
countries with high GNP are able to spend more on integration assistance and welfare
support, and these countries have highly developed services and aging populations which are
dependent on foreign labour, but they also exert more control over illegal work and entry. The
southern European states have less well-funded integration programmes but also exert less
control on immigrant populations and offer more opportunities for working in the illegal
Another item of information presented in the foreign populations section is the main
countries of origin of migrants which has an important influence on the ease with which
integration is achieved. The presence in a host country of an existing community of migrants
from a source country or of family members is believed to be one of the strongest influences
in attracting further immigration, but more as a source of support and information to the
prospective migrant than as an indicator of the ease with which integration can be achieved.
Countries receiving mainly European or homophonic immigrants face different problems of
integration from those whose integration programmes need to cater for a much wider
spectrum of countries of origin, some of them culturally and ethnically very different from the
host country. Immigrants from former colonies are in a special category as they are likely to
share culture and language with the host country: migrants from Suriname to the Netherlands,
for example, appear to have achieved almost total integration and a position comparable to
natives in the Dutch labour market. Research in many of the countries included in the survey
has concluded that the greater the contrast between phenotype of immigrants and the native
population the more likely they are to be marginalized, a phenomenon which can be explained
partly by cultural difference but also by prejudice and racism. A case in point is the suspicion
of Muslims living in Christian countries which has undoubtedly increased since September
11th 2001. Immigrants joining large ethnic communities slot into communities with their own
associations and services which help newcomers to feel at home but may also be perceived as

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a threat by indigenous populations; members of smaller communities may become

marginalized and isolated but may also have more opportunity to build relationships with the
host population. In Spain, the variety of immigrant groups is thought to have aided
integration; Greece, which welcomes the immigration of Pontian and other ethnic Greeks, has
shown strong resistance to settlement by large groups from Albania and other neighbouring
Balkan countries; communities of Muslim West Africans have experienced particular
difficulty in achieving integration in Ireland. Some countries have focused resources on
integration programmes for specific ethnic groups, but, for political reasons, such policies
have tended to be based on co-ethnicity (eg recently returned descendants of emigrants from
Portugal) or colonial ties (eg the Netherlands Integration Programme which targeted specific
ethnic groups in the 1970s and 80s) rather than need.
Lack of resources, the fact that immigration has become a central political issue only
comparatively recently, sensibilities about ethnic monitoring and distrust of authorities by
new arrivals uncertain of their status mean that detailed analysis of foreign populations is nonexistent or patchy at best. As well as country of origin, it would be very useful to know more
about the age, gender, language skills and educational background of possible candidates for
integration programmes. A few countries have begun to set up databases which log this
information and a few research projects have carried out local surveys but, in general, such
analyses of foreign population figures are not available. A notable exception is the statistical
survey of the foreign population in Denmark which is now being published annually by the
Danish government. The number of foreigners available for work and the rate of
unemployment among ethnic minorities are highly significant if the aim of integration
programmes is seen as economic self-sufficiency. However, although the unemployment
figures in Austria, the Netherlands and Luxembourg record the country of origin and
nationality, there is no ethnic monitoring of figures in Sweden and Finland for civil rights
reasons (although individual PIN numbers can be used to break down unemployment figures
in Sweden into nationality and country of origin groups) nor in France, where there is no
recognition of the concept of minority groups. Moreover, foreign labour figures only record
the numbers registered for work and not the large numbers who are believed to be working
illegally in European countries. There is very little data available relating ethnicity or length
of residence to poverty or wealth differentials and other vital indicators of social exclusion
and the literature generally shows very little evidence of long-term monitoring of indices of
integration. The relationship between immigration and crime is another area which is only just
beginning to receive attention although it is known that some immigrants trying to make their
way in a new country remain hostages to traffickers and other organized crime networks for
many years and discrimination is also known to operate within the justice systems in many
countries. Some figures for the ratio of foreign to native imprisonment in 1997, for example,
should have considerable implications for policy (Spain 16:1, Netherlands 8:1, Portugal 7:1,
Belgium 6:1, France 5:1, Austria 4:1 and Denmark 3:1).
None of the countries in the survey are able to accurately quantify the numbers of
undocumented migrants and failed asylum seekers living within their borders, though their
presence within ethnic communities undoubtedly affects the perception and acceptance of
immigrants by the host country, and their marginalization ultimately affects the integration of
the majority who stay. The numbers coming forward in the legalization programmes held in
several countries (eg more than 50,000 applicants in Belgiums campaign held in 2000) give
some indication of the size of these hidden populations. In contrast to the large numbers of


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people who currently slip through the integration net in EU countries, many of the integration
projects which qualify for inclusion in the section on Good Practice which concludes this
literature survey, appear in most cases to cater for very small numbers of people.

Chronologies of legislation and policy

Governments of many European countries have introduced a spate of legislation and

implementing regulations to cope with the increase in flows of asylum seekers and illegal
entrants since the 1990s. Some of the northern countries (eg Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden)
have been working up to the current phase of legislation for more than 30 years, while others
in the south (eg Portugal, Greece) have only recently begun to react officially to the
implications of offering permanent residence to non-nationals. Occasionally, the legislation
has brought about (or reflected) a radical change in the host country's response (eg when the
dispersal of new arrivals was enforced in Denmark in 1998). The chronologies in this report
concentrate on a selection of legislation and institutional policy changes which are known to
relate directly to integration of foreigners who have been granted residence rights. They do
not include legislation designed solely to regulate immigration or to lay down rules for entry
procedures and determination of status. The information was obtained from secondary
Anglophonic sources and may not, therefore, be completely comprehensive. In particular,
legislation passed in 2001-2 may have been overlooked. Such omissions will only be serious
if very recent legislation has radically changed the approach to integration in the country
National policies in individual countries have their origins in different traditions:
socio-democratic movements in Sweden, multiculturalism and religious identity in the
Netherlands or republican assimilation in France, but in general, EU countries are moving
towards harmonization on integration issues. This means that some countries are becoming
more tolerant while others are tightening up their procedures. For example, Ireland was the
only EU country not to have ratified the UN Convention of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination until it finally did so by introducing the final stages of the appropriate
domestic legislation in 2001 (in fact, although this change has silenced the critics of Ireland's
failure to incorporate the Convention it has not yet effected radical changes in attitudes to
ethnic minorities in the country). Meanwhile, Belgium was the last EU country to offer
asylum seekers the same social welfare benefit as was paid to citizens, but withdrew this right
in 2001 when they introduced a regime of benefits in kind and reception centre
accommodation for asylum seekers. Integration programmes in the more advanced countries
are currently moving on from a focus on migrants to incorporation in wider agendas targeting
social exclusion in areas of deprivation where there are high concentrations of immigrant
residents (eg projects targeting youth in priority action zones ZAPs in Belgium).
Legislation for integration of foreigners in individual countries has also become an issue
within wider discussions on harmonization and integration of constituent countries and their
citizens within the EU, particularly with regards to employment, and on the increasing
significance in Europe of transnational communities.

Residence statuses

All the countries in this survey are signatories to the 1951 Geneva Convention and the 1967


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New York protocol so are committed to offering asylum to applicants deemed to be in need of
protection against persecution. Apart from people arriving to be reunited with family
members with residence permits, asylum seekers now form the bulk of applicants for
permanent residence in the countries forming the subject of this study. Those who achieve
refugee status are the principal recipients of integration support, continuing a tradition in
some countries of providing induction programmes in the past for mass arrivals of refugees,
eg the Viets in the 1970s and the Iraqi Kurds in the 1980s. The result of a significant increase
in the number of individual spontaneous asylum seekers arriving in European countries has
been a range of subsidiary forms of protection offered to applicants for asylum whose cases
are not considered 'well founded' but who cannot return home for various reasons
(humanitarian cases) or those who have become ex officio refugees because of the length of
residence in the host country.
Countries with traditions of guestworking (eg France, Luxembourg) are also coming
to terms with the fact that many temporary workers are not going to go home but want to be
reunited with their families and become citizens of their host countries. Meanwhile, countries
with ageing populations are devising new forms of residence and work permit in order to
encourage controlled foreign labour immigration. The status of these groups of foreign
workers often remains ambiguous for many years and while they remain on temporary
residence permits and the option of return to their home countries is not discounted, measures
to implement their integration may not be appropriate and, indeed, they may not be eligible
for integration packages. It is not always clear from the literature whether or not integration
policies which have been introduced in various countries apply to foreign workers and people
under all the forms of subsidiary protection currently available, as well as to Convention and
de facto refugees. They do, however, generally seem to be designed for 'newcomers' although
concern is now being expressed in several countries about second and third generation
immigrants who have not yet achieved an acceptable level of integration; integration policy in
the Netherlands has recently been specifically extended to include long-standing residents


In countries still in the early stages of development of national integration policies,

newcomers have to appeal to mainstream statutory service providers or charities, churches
and NGOs for welfare support. In some instances (eg Greece, Portugal), this situation reflects
a lack of resources or the comparatively recent development of a state welfare system for
citizens. In countries at a more advanced stage of development, there are different reasons for
a lack of separate provision. In the case of Luxembourg, for example, the country is too small
and the number of newcomers too few to justify separate provision; in France, on the other
hand, there is a philosophical refusal to recognizes the separateness of any group within the
state, so common provision for migrants and citizens is a matter of principal.
Some countries with well-developed and long-established integration programmes,
however, (Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden) have recognized the inefficiencies of
'unjoined-up' provision and have set up specific departments within one of the Ministries to
administrate the designated funding and implement integration programmes. The
development of separate departments to manage integration has certainly simplified
procedures for migrants who have sometimes found language difficulties and bureaucratic red


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tape insuperable barriers to accessing entitlements in certain countries: in Greece, for

example, a right to access the national health service can often only be exercised through the
personal advocacy of an NGO or other supporter. However, critics of separate provision claim
that they may achieve the reverse of what was intended by emphasizing the marginalization of
minorities in mainstream society and are in fact designed to increase state control of minority
groups. Some of the more advanced countries have decided that the same Ministry should
process applications for asylum, grant residence permits and allocate new arrivals to the
municipalities (if dispersal is in force) as well as implement integration in order to achieve a
seamless service, while others consider that integration is quite a different process from
enforcing entry procedures and have separated the two functions. Denmark and the
Netherlands are examples of countries in the former category (the DIS in Denmark and the
COA in the Netherlands) and Sweden, the latter. However, it seems that single responsibility
does not necessarily achieve a greater degree of coordination: there may be as little
coordination between separate units dealing with different stages of the whole process as
there is between different Ministries. Some countries within the EU are federal states in which
each region has its own parliament and policy on welfare matters, including integration
measures. In Austria, for example, different laws apply in Vienna from those which have
developed in some of the other 12 Lnder; in Belgium, integration policies (as well as native
language) differ considerably between the Flemish, Wallon and Bruxelles regions.
Most of the countries have accepted that integration needs to be funded centrally, if
only to institute some kind of cross-subsidy for municipalities with high concentrations of
foreign residents. Funding is almost non-existent in countries with poorer economies or less
efficient administrations (eg Greece, where integration policy has been legislated for but not
yet been implemented because funding has not been forthcoming from the government),
whereas in others it has become highly structured (eg in Sweden, where state funding is paid
per capita for 3.5 years for each individual participant in an integration programme; and in
Denmark, where funding is made available for 3-year integration programmes, lump sum
subsidies are advanced for a further 3-year transition period and additional financial rewards
have recently been introduced for municipalities demonstrating a good record on integration).
All the countries have devolved responsibility for administrating support for new arrivals to
the regions or municipalities. In countries with structured integration policies, individual
integration programmes may be worked out during the reception phase and travel with the
new arrival to the municipality, whereas in others, the programme may be devised between
the individual migrant and local stakeholder agencies only after settlement has taken place; in
some countries, individuals may move between municipalities and the funding travels with
them, while in others they must stay in the municipality to which they have been allocated for
the duration of the programme. In the more organized countries, government funding is
sometimes targeted to improving participation by certain groups in specific activities (eg the
NGOs are active in integration in all the countries. The highly organized Danish
Refugee Council in Denmark acts for and is funded by the Danish government; Caritas and
other church based NGOs have a long tradition of providing refugee support in Austria; in
Greece, the presence of UNHCR and MSF is essential for providing welfare support for
migrants which is not forthcoming from the government. The relationship between refugee
community groups and governments seems to be ambivalent and RCGs do not yet seem to
have been used to any great extent in implementing integration policies, although they are


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responsible for some of the small-scale projects described in the good practice section at the
end of this review, and some countries (eg Belgium and Luxembourg) have established
networks of local consultative bodies which involve representation from immigrant groups.

Policy fields

The policy fields for the integration process seem to be consistent across all the countries in
the survey. In countries which have specific formal integration programmes, financial support
for the destitute, accommodation, vocational training and language tuition are considered to
be essential prerequisites for integration and have become integral parts of the programmes
for their duration. These elements are provided for newcomers in a separate package from
provision for citizens and the participants in the programmes only move on into the
mainstream provision when the programme is complete (if the programme is compulsory as
in Scandinavian countries) or when the newcomers opt out of the programme in order to
move into private accommodation, take up an offer of employment or simply exercise their
freedom of choice (options in countries where the programme is voluntary; participants may
take this action also in countries where the programme is obligatory although often at the cost
of loss of all or part of their benefits). Beyond the boundaries of integration programmes, all
the countries in the survey recognize and facilitate the human rights of all immigrants to
receive basic health care and education for children, although the financial and social costs of
extending these rights are becoming a matter of increasing concern to over-burdened states.
Indicators used by states to measure whether integration has been achieved are
economic independence (ie employment), language skills, family reunion, adoption of
citizenship, freedom from discrimination, participation in the political life of the state and,
more controversially, a commitment to the adopted country. Social researchers, welfare
workers and the migrants themselves see integration in different terms, such as a sense of
belonging or acceptance by the host community. In this context, the media, including the
internet, play an increasingly influential role. Induction programmes provided at the
commencement of the integration period in some countries (eg the Netherlands) include
elements which do not qualify as 'policy fields' eg instruction in the culture and behavioural
norms of the adopted country, guidance in access to statutory institutions, such as the health
service, orientation within the local area, multicultural festivals, outreach programmes and
mentoring. An individual migrant may achieve integration in terms of one field but remain
marginalized in terms of another: eg economically integrated while remaining culturally
marginalized or vice versa. The cost-benefit equation of integration programmes is a matter of
increasing concern to politicians and public opinion. More research needs to be done on the
relationship between the immediate costs and long-term benefits of integration programmes.
Eligibility for integration support and access to integration indicators is dependent in
most countries on residence status. Convention refugees generally have full rights and
permanent residence. Asylum seekers are generally specifically excluded and are increasingly
being segregated into reception centre and benefits in kind regimes, designed to encourage
return rather than integration. Between these two extremes, access to rights, including work
permits, is conditional, or is denied to some groups and allowed to others: it seems that
governments wish to hedge their bets, to avoid encouraging integration if return is a real
option but, at the same time, impose the norms of the host society on new arrivals at an early
stage if they are to eventually become permanent residents, in order to prevent the formation


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of ethnic minorities. Groups under temporary protection, often participants in mass arrival
programmes from areas of civic conflict, are a special case in many countries: they have
tended to be been treated as asylum seekers and placed in reception centres but have also had
family reunification rights and, in some cases (eg the Bosnians in many EU countries) have
been given work permits. The Netherlands has recently decided to bring the complexity of
eligibility to an end by introducing a single residence status for all new arrivals.
The policy fields examined in the country profiles which follow are:
Financial assistance
Education and training
Family reunification


Some groups of immigrants from third countries take on the positive characteristics of ethnic
communities, while others acquire the more negative presence of ethnic minorities. The main
marker for minority status seems to be phenotypical difference: there is a widespread
acceptance of EU citizens in European countries but hostility to non-Europeans, especially
Arabs, Asians and Africans because they are the most recent arrivals, their cultural distance
from host countries is greater and their socio-economic position makes them a target for
racism. The reasons why groups become minorities is not primarily related to the
characteristic of migrants but more to the historical ideology and structure of the countries
concerned. One area in which the differences between them become apparent is in citizenship
There are 3 main groups of citizenship regimes: some countries (eg Luxembourg)
make it very difficult for immigrants to become citizens, others (eg France) grant citizenship
but at the price of cultural assimilation, while in a third group (eg the Netherlands) it is
possible to become fully functioning citizens while maintaining a distinct cultural identity.
Among the countries in this survey, only Austria applies ius sanguinis strictly (ie citizenship
by descent) which means that children born in the country to foreign parents have no rights
even if they have lived there all their lives. Ius soli is applied most consistently in Ireland: a
child born to immigrant parents in Ireland automatically becomes a citizen and ius sanguinis
is used only to confer citizenship while citizen parents are abroad. France, Belgium and
Netherlands practise a combination of the two systems: ie children born in the territory to
foreign parents obtain citizenship if they have been resident for a certain period and fulfil
other conditions. These countries also practise double ius soli, ie children born to foreign
parents, at least one of which was also born in the country, acquire citizenship at birth, so the
third generation automatically become citizens unless they specifically withdraw at the age of
Most ius consanguinis countries, apart from Austria, have taken steps towards ius

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domicili ie entitlement arising from long term residence. In Sweden, young people of
immigrant origin (foreigners who have been resident for 5 years before the age of 16 and have
lived there since) can become citizens by declaration between the ages of 21 and 23, and
similar rules apply in Belgium, where young people are given the option of naturalization.
Giving up a previous nationality is seen as a marker of integration in many countries and
hanging on to it as a desire for separatism but some countries recognize that keeping former
nationality may be necessary for the development of self-esteem in the new society. In France
and Sweden, dual citizenship is permitted but Austria, Denmark, Finland and Luxembourg
expect renunciation of former citizenship upon naturalization. France attempted to withdraw
the privilege in the late 1990s but was forced to restore it after intense protest from immigrant
groups. The Netherlands allowed dual citizenship until 1997 but withdrew it because of a
belief that applicants for citizenship were not sufficiently committed to the Netherlands and
were applying for passports so as to be able to travel in the EU. Researchers suggest that dual
citizenship on the basis of ius soli is the ideal form of citizenship, allowing people to achieve
integration while retaining links to their former lives.

Barriers to integration

There are many barriers to successful integration of foreigners in host countries, including
lack of financial resources, inadequate administrative structures, economic crisis, rising
unemployment, housing shortages, political shifts to the right and the perceived threat to the
notion of the nation state. On an individual level, resistance, trauma, lack of skills and
education, and ill health among the immigrant community itself impede progress, as do
hostility and rejection from the host community. The ways in which governments manage
asylum seekers and tackle discrimination are examples of two specific problem areas which
could determine whether immigrants form vibrant multiethnic communities on the one hand,
or marginalized and disaffected ethnic minorities on the other.
One set of factors which needs to be taken into consideration in judging the ease with
which integration might take place relate to the way in which the socio-economic structure of
a host country has developed on the one hand, and specific features of the newly arrived
populations on the other. One example within the first set of factors is the structure of the
housing market. Securing decent accommodation is a vital feature of integration. The
Netherlands and Sweden have comparatively very large social rented sectors; in Austria,
Denmark and France, the social rented sectors are the same size or smaller than private rented
sectors; Belgium, Finland, Ireland and Luxembourg have relatively small social rented
sectors; while Greece, Portugal and Spain have minimal social rented sectors and very large
owner-occupied sectors. It is easier for states to manage integration programmes linked to
allocated accommodation in countries with available public housing stock than in those where
this option is not available. Another example is the attitude to foreign entrepreneurs in various
countries. In Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium, there is a perception that immigrant
entrepreneurs have an important contribution to make to the social and cultural life of the
country and laws and regulations are the same for native, migrant and refugee entrepreneurs.
In Belgium, all entrepreneurs have to deal with a complex system of licensing regulations but
refugees have made a success of businesses abandoned by Belgians because they are willing
to work hard for long hours. In Greece, on the other hand, where the level of self-employment
is the highest in Europe, foreign entrepreneurs find it more difficult to obtain the right
permissions and licences than native Greeks and are often forced to marry or go into business

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with a Greek to get a loan or a licence to operate. Ethnic businesses often started in vulnerable
conditions often compete only on price.
Within the second group of factors, the level of education among migrants can be
taken as an example.
Migrants to Portugal and Greece tend to be mainly poor peasants and out of work farm
labourers with poor levels of education who are prepared to take jobs in the strong illegal
economies in these countries rather than return home or risk destitution. Migrants to Spain, on
the other hand, are largely better educated elite youths. However, they also have to take the
low skill jobs that the locals are unwilling to do, although their opportunities for work have
been affected recently by an increase in labour inspection following race riots in south Spain
arising from hostility to illegal agricultural workers. in the south.
Host communities must also be prepared to change and accept the positive
contribution that can be made by immigrant communities. Indeed, the biggest contributions to
integration of mature immigrant populations in many countries have been effected by the
migrants themselves and adopted by host communities without government intervention - in
the form of restaurants, ethnic food imports, music, family values and other cultural

Models of integration

Historical factors and fundamental differences in attitudes to foreigners have affected the
approaches taken to integration by the countries in the survey. One way in which the countries
can be grouped is in terms of their history of immigration. Spain, Portugal and Greece, for
example, have historically been countries of emigration until they began to attract
immigration in the 1970s. These countries have continued to offer preferential treatment to
returning nationals who may already hold citizenship when they arrive, speak the national
language and be more amenable to cultural integration. Greece welcomes Pontian and
Albanian Greeks, and Portugal has instigated special vocational training programmes for
young Portuguese living abroad who are willing to return home. Meanwhile, the flourishing
underground economy in these countries has shaped inflows of illegal migrants which the
governments are generally too weak to regulate. Spain, for example, has 2.5 million
expatriated citizens; the foreign population, which was only 0.7% in 1990, is now 2% of the
total and many illegal workers are resident in the south. Deeply entrenched corruption in the
Greek administration prevents it dealing with illegal immigration, though 2.4 million
Albanians have been deported. A legalization programme in Greece in 1998 had only limited
success because many illegal entrants did not know about it, but many more declined to
participate because of fear of expulsion or a preference for illegal status because the
employers, who are keen to avoid providing statutory benefits for workers, prefer illegal
Immigration flows to other countries has been conditioned by their colonial past.
France, Belgium and the Netherlands were colonial powers and have a long tradition of
immigration from former colonies and protectorates: people from North and West Africa to
France (Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Guinea) and the East Indies to the Netherlands (Surinam).
Many already had citizenship and spoke the language of the destination country which
immediately put them at an advantage in terms of integration, quite apart from other


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privileges they were given compared to other groups of immigrants. Ironically, as former
colonial powers have moved towards multiculturalism and stricter controls on immigration,
they have had to shed the former privileges offered to colonials.
Other European countries with well-developed economies have a long-standing
tradition of encouraging temporary migration of foreign labour in guestworker programmes,
until unemployment and economic reconstruction in the 1980s plus demands for family
reunion, permanent settlement and citizenship began to challenge this tradition. Austria and
Luxembourg still cling to the guestworker model: although there is now more opportunity for
permanent settlement and family reunion in these countries, the naturalization rules remain
highly restrictive. Classic countries of integration with strong socio-democratic governments,
notably Sweden and Denmark, and, more recently, Finland, have encouraged permanent
settlement and family reunion and, though they also had guestworker programmes, they have
for many years been treating most legal immigrants as permanent settlers from the start.
Another division occurs between the countries of north and south Europe. Strong
centralized governments in northern European countries Sweden, Denmark, Belgium the
Netherlands - are interventionist and have highly organized integration programmes. They
also have comparatively strong economies and higher GDP than countries in southern Europe
so can afford to support more highly developed welfare state provisions for both citizens and
highly structured integration schemes for newcomers. The possibility of levelling down is
politically untenable in these countries. Development of the welfare state in the poorer, more
traditional societies of southern Europe, including Greece, Portugal and Spain (and also
Ireland) is much more recent and less comprehensive. These countries have more traditional
forms of social support and rely much more on church, NGOs and family support for
integration services. The prospect of levelling up remains very unlikely for these countries
and would be very costly.
Geography has a role to play in the challenge faced by states in controlling
immigration flows and thereby implementing integration. Austria and Luxembourg, both
landlocked countries have more chance of control than countries bordering the Mediterranean
South Spain, Southern France and, particularly the long undefendable coastline of Greece
and its islands. Countries in southern Europe, additionally (but also Austria) are more
accessible to source countries of illegal immigrants, in some cases (notably Greece-Albania)
sharing borders.
Political models also play a part. Countries which have maintained a policy of
attracting guestworkers, of which Austria is the main example in this survey, sees their nation
as essentially a community of birth and descent. Foreigners may be integrated into the labour
market but not into other spheres of belonging, such as the welfare benefit system or
citizenship. They therefore tend to form ethnic minorities rather than communities, with civic
roles as parents, workers and consumers but not accepted fully as part of social, cultural or
political society. This can be described as a differential exclusionary model. Countries
conforming to this model are often former guestworker countries where there is an
unwillingness to accept that integration in the labour market will lead to a demand for
integration in other areas, such as welfare and citizenship.
Assimilationist states, on the other hand, expect foreigners to give up their
distinctiveness in terms of language, culture and social characteristics until they become
indistinct from the majority population; in return they become fully fledged members of the


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nation. France has retained an assimilationist stance more than any other EU country but even
France has had to adopt more flexible policies. Newcomers often feel strongly attached to
their former identity and the insistence in France that separate services should not be provided
for fear of giving a sense of otherness has been replaced by a series of targeted integration
programmes, particularly in inner city areas, where a substantial proportion of residents are
immigrants. The ultimate aim however remains assimilation and newcomers are expected
ultimately to give up their distinctive linguistic, cultural and social characteristics, to accept
the existing social structures and its set of norms, and to become indistinct from the majority
population, though the state now accepts this stage takes longer to achieve than was once
thought possible. The states role is to create conditions favourable for this process through
insistence on the dominant language and so on. The model has to some extent been
abandoned in most countries in favour of a more flexible integration policy, a slower process
requiring group cohesion, though the ultimate aim may still be assimilation ie to encourage
migrants to give up their former life in favour of becoming members of a new civil society
and nation.
Other states, such as the Netherlands, are ambivalent and aim for assimilation in some
areas and multiculturalism in others. A full multicultural model aims for equal rights while
maintaining diversity, either as a result of laissez-faire policies or deliberately. Countries,
such as Finland, with pluralistic political aims, demonstrate a willingness to accept difference
in spite of fears of loss of national identity. These countries believe that immigrants should be
encouraged to share the values and norms of the host society but also have the opportunity to
maintain and evolve their unique qualities and capacities. Two key features of multicultural
models are the recognition of the right to cultural difference and an acceptance of a duty by
the state to create conditions for equal economic, social and political participation,
irrespective of cultural difference.
The myth of temporary stay, which lingers to varying degrees in all European
countries, has implications for status with respect to labour market rights, political
participation and naturalization, Temporary stay is likely to take place under discriminatory
conditions. Expectations are influenced the temporary residents themselves get blamed if
governments refuse to admit that temporary settlement is turning into permanent immigration.
A political discourse presenting immigration as threatening creates problems for longstanding immigrants and their subjects: anyone who looks different becomes suspect. If the
myth of short-term sojourn is maintained, the contradictory perspective becomes part of
migrants consciousness: they settle and form ethnic groups but cannot plan for a future as
part of society, resulting in isolation, separation and emphasis on difference. Immigrants are
frequently victims of labour market segmentation which hinders integration. Highly skilled
foreign workers are welcome but are usually temporary residents; unskilled workers are more
likely to want to stay permanently but their importance to the countries of immigration is
generally unrecognized. In the short term, investors and employers benefit from this situation
but social problems are created as immigrants remain concentrated in insecure jobs, subject to
exploitation, and with little hope of promotion. They form a large part of the at-risk
population at times of economic decline. Residential segmentation also occurs: newcomers
lack social networks and knowledge, have low incomes and status and experience
discrimination in the form of high rents or refusal to rent. It is these conditions which make
integration politically necessary and why integration policies, in some countries at least (eg
France, Sweden and the Netherlands) are designed to promote upward mobility.


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6 Comparative issues
The chapter elaborates the issues raised by three main case study countries and the survey of
the remaining EUMS within a comparative framework. The chapter considers the following:
citizenship and integration; strategies for settlement and integration; citizenship, integration
and policy harmonisation; governance and administration; NGOs; reception, status
determination and the timing of integration; the meaning of integration.
This chapter provides the point of departure for the following two chapters which
assess the typologies of integration and their relevance to the present study (Chapter 6); and
the development of indicators of integration and the challenges in operationalising them.

Comparative data

The key finding of the study is the distinctive, and in some respects, the unique character of
the particular national models of citizenship and nationhood and the differential impact these
models have upon refugee integration. Moreover, a second key finding is that there is only
ambivalent evidence as to the commitment to and effectiveness of integration policies
especially with regard to refugees in the case study countries. All three countries display
marked duality in their approaches to citizenship and integration of asylum seekers who may
then obtain refugee status, although the contours of this duality vary significantly between
them. Thus, against the backcloth of the dramatic growth in asylum claims in Europe, the
deterrence to and regulation of immigration is reflected in the notable firming up of entry into
both the EU Member States and also to citizenship within them for those claiming refugee
status. These have been salient features of policy in this field in the last decade.
From these perspectives, the prospects for the communitarianisation of integration
policies with respect to refugees are challenging. And yet conversely at the same time, the
integration of Third Country Nationals (TCNs), including recognised refugees, is a central
component of the emerging coordination of responses to asylum as part of the development of
a common asylum and immigration policy. Over the last decade the Member States have
embarked on an incremental process from unilateral, to multilateral and finally to the
communitarian adoption of legal instruments and interventions.
A measure of the challenge to accomplish a harmonised framework of polices and
strategies for the integration of refugees is illustrated in the case studies.

Citizenship and integration

Whilst citizenship is not integration the latter being dependent on a complex range of socioeconomic processes and policies it is an important staging post. The rites of passage
conferred by citizenship provide certainty of residence and guarantee key rights: these are
significant variables on which successful integration depends.
The coupling of measures conferring citizenship with the process of integration takes


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different forms across EUMS broadly polarised between assimilation and multi-culturalism.
Germany exemplifies differentiated integration programmes according to status,
although the 2002 Immigration Act introduces an integration strategy which applies to all
those pursuing citizenship. There is an enduring resistance to the integration of non-nationals,
apart from ethnic Germans. The principle of ius consanguinis remains firmly part of
citizenship modalities of Germany. The debates around the 1992 constitutional change made
clear the distinction between basic rights and restricted access to citizenship for refugees and
residents who did not have German ethnic affiliation.
Germany, despite easing conditions for the acquisition of citizenship, is not (in
constitutional terms at least) a multicultural society and continues to resist recognising itself
as a country of immigration. Thus, for those refugees seeking to integrate, an assimilationist
model exists with expectations of conformity to citizenship norms. Largely reactive until
recently, legislative changes have introduced a more proactive model of the kind utilised in
Sweden with for example compulsory language training and mentoring.
In the case of the UK, the contours of integration policy for refugees are defined by
the countrys lengthy history as a destination for immigration from diverse origins; the
discourse on citizenship and integration is essentially informed by questions of race relations,
cultural dilution versus plurality, and labour market needs. Lacking the instrumentality of
policies elsewhere in the EU, the UKs somewhat pragmatic model of citizenship is consistent
with the multi-cultural modalities of integration. There remains a mix of ius soli and ius
consanguinis principles of citizenship with the balance tipping away from the former over the
last thirty years, which assumes importance where the labour market case for immigration is
prioritised. The latter comes to the foreground where issues of cultural security and race
relations dominate the political agenda. These factors impact on refugee citizenship and
integration because, Britain represents a tendency found in rather few other EUMS. Its model
of citizenship and integrationism involves the functional adaptation of immigrants (in
economic, social and political spheres) as in other countries, whilst significantly, encouraging
them to retain distinctive cultural values and identity in the private sphere rather than
absorption into the dominant national culture. A substantial body of statute law facilitates this
multi-ethnic model of citizenship. In this context however, citizenship for refugees is
predicated on the twin tracks the liberal integration for those eligible for citizenship with
restrictionism (which of course is now stringent) with regard to entry for putative refugees.
There is a marked contrast with Italy and Germany, and a number of other EUMS where
functional adaptation is paralleled by cultural assimilation.
Italy is new to the field of immigration and refugees. Lacking the backcloth of the
immigration histories and the consequential citizenship and integration experiences of the
other two case studies, it is distinctive in a number of respects in comparison with the more
established policy environments of Germany and the UK. At the same time there are parallels
with other southern EUMS in relation to geographical location and an enduring history of
emigration. The lack of a well-established and coherent framework of citizenship,
immigration and integration policies defines the political problematique for Italy at the
present time: this is in marked contrast to Germany and the UK of course. Compounding the
challenge are the following factors: adjustment to the concept of immigration (as opposed to
the Italys profoundly embedded concept of itself as a country of emigration); the complex
social dynamics provoked by large scale and often illegal immigration; the context of a


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restrictionist Europe.
In Italy, ethnic affiliation and thus the principle of ius consanguinis, enshrining
inherited culture and language, are the critical variables in determining citizenship and thus
the potential capacity for integration. These attributes are typically found in other countries of
emigration and, like Germany, also perhaps reflect Italys relatively recent history as a united
country. The significant increase in Italy of return migration in recent years, though not rooted
in the protracted experiences of war and ethnic displacement as is the case of Germany,
reinforces these principles of citizenship. Against these conventional benchmarks, Italys
response to the citizenship demands and integrationist aspirations of non-ethnic immigrants,
has been notably pragmatic compared to the other two countries where periodically incisive
legislative or constitutional interventions (in the case of Germany) punctuate periods of
incremental adjustment. Like Germany, Italys model of integration can be defined as a
reactive assimilationist model. Thus, the integrationist interests of long settled immigrants,
particularly the second generation have been neglected and are increasingly subsumed by
successive governments preoccupation with the escalating volume of asylum seekers and
new immigrants.

Strategies for settlement and integration

There are distinctive contrasts with regard to integration strategies in the three countries,
although there are common denominators such as the impetus given to both functional and
socio-cultural integration, and the tendency to adopt a reasonably consistent residence period
prior to citizenship application usually around 5 years.
Consistent with its assimilationist model, only Germany of the three case study
countries, has adopted an explicit national strategy to co-ordinate programmes for integration
in the 2002 Immigration Act. This stresses both functional and socio-cultural integration as
we have seen above. Administrative reform accompanies this new departure: BAFl, whose
previous remit was only for asylum claims, now has a substantially expanded responsibility
for co-ordinating integration programmes for all foreigners. This strategy marks a significant
shift from an essentially reactive to a more proactive approach to the process of integration,
albeit a destination which is still restricted for many who have lived in Germany for long
periods of time. Germanys integration strategy (see section 2.3.2), brings together a number
of compulsory and discretionary dimensions such as language and vocational training,
economic and social/welfare programmes dimensions. Important to note is the fact that
refugees are incorporated into these measures and entitlements as individuals with permanent
residents rights and there is no practical distinction between refugees and other immigrants
eligible for citizenship, as was effectively the case in practice in the past.
It is of course too early to judge the impact of Germanys strategic innovation in the
field of integration policies and much will depend on the fact that the balance of power for
developing and implementing domestic policy in Germany lies with the Lnder, rather than
the Federal administration. In this regard, it is to be expected that drive to achieve programme
uniformity will remain an enduring challenge.
In contrast, neither the UK nor Italy has a co-ordinated integration strategy, although
there is an extensive range of initiatives, certainly in the case of the UK. The UK has a large
portfolio of legal instruments and norms built up incrementally over recent decades, to


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promote equality of opportunity in the main spheres of economic social and welfare rights. In
principle, these apply regardless of the status of the citizenship claim, whether from refugees
or other eligible categories. However, in recent years, the effect of British legislation and
policy with regard to asylum seekers and refugees has diverged, in practice at least, between
this group and other categories of non-forced migrants claiming citizenship. This is reflected
in the political preoccupation with the issue of asylum seekers, increasingly restrictive
conditions of access to rights and welfare benefits applying to this group and a growing
resistance to affording the option of long term settlement and citizenship. More precarious
short-term livelihood combined with uncertainty over long term residence impair the
prospects for integration.
Whereas countries like Germany and Sweden, with obligations to complete
compulsory citizenship programmes, the measures remain laissez-faire in the UK, an ad hoc
approach consistent with the multi-culturalist and liberalist stance of UK integration policy.
The recently approved 2002 Immigration and Asylum Act does however introduce, for the
first time, an embryonic citizenship strategy. It introduces, somewhat contentiously,
instruments of citizenship (language competence, awareness of majority cultural attributes),
which are taken as read elsewhere in Europe where ius consanguinis is the determinant of
citizenship. In the case of the UK this may be a defining moment of departure from a multicultural to an assimilationist model of citizenship.
The UKs multi-cultural stance on integration leaves much to the market place.
Devoid of coherent reception and settlement strategies with the exception of quota refugees
integration is notably dependent on processes of secondary migration, and it is predicated
on the absorptive capacity of co-ethnic networks and communities. This has influenced the
pattern of settlement with a marked concentration of refugees settling in London and the
south-east. A distinctive feature of the UK since 1999 is the dispersal of asylum seekers to
language-based clusters, one objective of which is to build up local community formation
which at the same time provides a vehicle to facilitate local integration should a successful
claim for refugee status be made. Other countries have adopted dispersal policies, as in the
UK, to relieve pressure on housing and welfare services in localities where asylum seekers
would freely settle. These policies are driven by the need to manage numbers, whereas in
the UK the policy contrives to link number management with some appreciation of the
ultimate integrationist needs of those afforded citizenship. Although a basis for community
formation and integration, early evidence 68 highlights the lack of coherent regionally-based
strategies for integration and suggests that the articulation between the dispersal policy and
integration strategies at the local level remains very poorly conceived. Thus the increasing
incidence of secondary migration has been identified, a feature which typified the UK
experience of dispersal of quota refugees.
Italys recent entry to the field of immigration and integration leaves it with a
patchwork of local initiatives which lack co-ordination or strategic direction at the national
level. For the most part Italy reveals pragmatic interventions with legal instruments which,
though short of conferring citizenship, regularised the status of different categories of
migrants. The longer term implications of these interventions for the subsequent claims for
citizenship are now being faced. Equally, the preoccupation with emergency conditions of the

Zetter et al 2002 Dispersal: Facilitating Efficiency and Effectiveness, a research study commissioned by the
UK Home Office.


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last decade has left the matter of second phase support and integration strategies relatively
neglected. Furthermore, the legacy of a heavy reliance on NGOs, rather than government, in
promoting the welfare interests of immigrants including refugees and asylum seekers,
increases the challenge the government faces in developing a coherent strategy.

Governance and administration

Governance and the distribution of administrative responsibility between different levels of

government play a significant role in the processes and mechanisms of integration. These
variables contrast markedly between the case studies, outcomes which again relate to differing
legislative, constitutional and political histories. They highlight the challenge of
In Germany, as we have seen, the Lnder are the key variable, performing the vast
majority of integration work with refugees and defining the parameters of the nationally
formulated integration policy. This is a stable state set of affairs which contrasts with the
picture in the UK and Italy. On the other hand, given the relative autonomy of the Lnder, the
degree to which integration policies and multicultural programmes have been introduced
varies significantly across the country. Part of the rationale for the national integration
strategy envisaged in the 2002 Immigration Act is to instil a measure of uniformity in the
integration instruments associated with the citizenship process. At the same time, given the
sensitivity of the relationship between the Federal and Lnder levels of government, it seems
likely that local initiatives on refugee integration, as on other matters in this policy sector, will
tend to predominate for some time to come with an essentially enabling role being conducted
by federal government.
Concerning the balance of administrative power and responsibility for integration in
the UK, the picture is more confused. A centre-periphery model characterises the UK
administrative picture, with the balance shifting between central and local government
interests at different times. Against the background of nationally determined norms and
principles for integration based on a multi-cultural model, the local administrative level
enjoyed substantial discretion to develop and implement policies, often in partnership with the
voluntary sector and local ethnically-based community groups. The concentration of refugees
settling in London and the south-east is attributed to the benign attitude towards directing
the settlement locations of refugees. In contrast to spontaneous refugee arrivals, the UK
government played the major role in managing quota refugees in the past, but this was the
exception, and even in here this was articulated with local authorities who were responsible
for implementing integrationist policies and supported by the voluntary and community
Since the mid-1990s there has been growing tension between central and local
government responsibility and a marked shift to centralised control in the UK. Driving this
change has been the governments objective to restrict and regulate the rights of asylum
seekers in order to counter the rapid rise in the numbers entering the country. A new
government agency, the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) was established under the
1999 Immigration and Asylum Act. Centrally controlled management and finance of asylum
seeker policies in which the dispersal of asylum seekers is the main instrument places
local authorities in a more subservient role, in terms of policy determination, but an explicitly
contractual role with central government in the implementation of housing and other social

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and welfare services for dispersed asylum seekers. Major new contractual responsibilities
have been delivered to the private sector for accommodating asylum seekers a significant
departure from most other EUMS. In sum, these are significant changes which will inevitably
impact on the capacity to integrate of those eventually receiving full refugee and citizenship
status. Moreover the shift of power to the centre has also had a destabilising impact on an
already vulnerable NGO and community group sector. These agencies have had to adapt
rapidly to new roles and to develop new capacities to cover the inadequacies in the dispersal
programme; this has tended to inhibit, at least in the short term, their role in facilitating the
integration process.
As regards Italy, the contours of administrative responsibility for refugee integration
are, as we have seen, ill-defined at the present time. To the extent that there are active policies
in this field, then the default position tends to favour the national centralised management but
the role is unassertive. However, the lack of an assertive or coherent role at the central
government level induces a patchwork of barely sustainable responses by local
administrations and NGOs. This contrasts with the clearly ascribed powers of the German
Lnder, for example, but falls rather short of the complex centralised administrative
responsibility for policy in the UK with a well-developed substructure for policy
implementation by local administration.


The data in the main case studies illustrates the key role played by NGOs in the reception,
settlement and integration of refugees. Nevertheless there are distinctive variations in how
this role is enacted and the impact it has on the process of integration. These outcomes are
accounted for by the different political and historical features of the formation of these states
and the presence of NGOs within these processes.
In Germany the prominent role of large NGOs in the integration of migrant groups,
not just refugees and asylum seekers, is striking. This gives a significant presence to refugee
issues at the national level and a level of partnership exists between government and NGOs in
Germany which is perhaps only found in Denmark amongst EUMS. By and large the
mainstreaming of refugees within the broader framework of NGO activities for other migrant
groups provides the basis for beneficial outcomes. But the restricted access to citizenship and
limited programme finance impose constraints on integration policies in practice. Moreover,
the dominant role of large NGOs, appears to inhibit local level community-based initiatives
for and by asylum seekers and refugees. In general it appears that it may be harder to mobilise
this level in Germany.
For notably different reasons, Italy offers a similar picture of a few nationally active
NGOs. Even more than is the case in Germany, these are religiously-based organisations
embedded in the culture and history of the country. But there are points of contrast with the
German situation. In the first place, Italian NGOs play a substitutional role, given the limited
capacity of the government, compared to the greater complementarity between NGOs and
government agency in Germany. At the same time, and in contrast with the Germany and the
UK, the comparatively recent experience of large-scale influxes of refugees and asylum
seekers in Italy contribute to a relatively undeveloped NGO sector. Despite the national
presence of these NGOs, the absence to date of a co-ordinated national policy framework and
the lack of government presence in the landscape of immigration and integration, limits the

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impact which they have on national discourse and policy. Equally, government absence from
the field at the operational level and the unregulated distribution of the asylum seekers and
refugees has resulted in spontaneous and widespread demand for support, mainly in the larger
cities. Together with limited public resources to support refugees, this places enormous
burdens on the local capacity of the NGO sector. Concentrating limited resources on
emergency and medium term care and subsistence needs, these activities tend to dissipate
their overall ability to co-ordinate, to identify clear impacts and to focus on longer term
priorities such as integration.
As regards the UK NGO sector, there are distinctive points of contrast with Germany
and Italy. The dominance of church-based NGOs found in Germany and Italy is not evident in
the UK: the vast majority of NGOs working with refugees are secular and, at the local level,
they may often be ethnically based. The dominance of secular NGOs at the national level is a
particular point of contrast. The concentration of NGO resources and personnel in the capital
exists, but is perhaps less marked than is the case in the other two countries. On the other
hand, while Germanys federal structure promotes both equality and significant differences in
NGO activities between the 16 Lnder, and in Italy diversity is the product of a weak policy
sector, the UK is characterised by a simpler division between London, the south-east and the
Furthermore, in distinction to the few large NGOs dominating integration work in
Germany across the different Lnder, the UK is characterised by a proliferation of smaller,
specialist NGOs which support asylum seekers and refugees. Consistent with the multicultural and laissez-faire stance to integration adopted in the UK, there is a notable growth in
refugee community-based organisations (RCOs) compared with a minimal role in Germany
and Italy where national agencies and the assimilationist model of integration have tended to
inhibit grass roots initiatives. This is not to say that these local agencies in the UK have
sufficient capacity or make a major contribution to integration at the present time. On the
other hand, given the emerging research evidence which highlights the role of social networks
in the reception and settlement of refugees, the existence of RCOs ensures that a critical
resource is in place to support the different modalities of integration.

Reception, Status Determination and the Timing of Integration

There are significant points of connection, in both policy and practice, between reception,
recognition and integration. However, their disarticulation across EUMS and the deployment
of practical integration measures for recognised refugees only, creates a number of problems
for effective integration.
The stance adopted in most EUMS is that asylum seekers (and possibly refugees) will
return home and thus integration begins at the point of positive status determination. Whilst
the political rationale for this clear-cut demarcation is understandable, ample research
evidence shows that such a fine line is unsustainable in practice and that the resistance to the
introduction of positive integration measures in the asylum determination phase is
counterproductive. Rather, integration is a continuous process which, depending on the mix of
individual, community and legal variables, may commence very early after arrival. Driven by
the hard line view which EUMS adopt towards permanent immigration, there are several
respects in which the restrictive character of reception polices and practices in each of the
countries thus cut across effective integration.

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Freedom of movement is a key factor in integration. Yet compulsory geographical

dispersal and prohibition on movement are gaining momentum. Evidence of dispersal impacts
in this report, whether quota-based as in Germany and planned as in the UK (since 1999),
shows how this process undercuts ethnic community formation and the role of independent
networks in promoting the long-term settlement of refugees and fostering their integration.
Conversely unconstrained geographical mobility or, as in the case of Italy the lack of a
nationally directed settlement strategy, appear to promote integration by enabling
refugee/ethnic support networks to consolidate and by facilitating labour market access and
social mobility.
Evidence from a study of reception policies in other EUMS 69 indicates the negative
impact of reception centres, in countries such as the Netherlands, on the longer term capacity
of asylum seekers to integrate when they receive permanent status. Isolation from the
economic and social mainstreams of the country, the often inadequate level of language
training, and limited access to skills training, inhibit the development of life experience in the
country of settlement. This militates against effective integration.
Of equal significance are the disjunctive impacts of protracted decision-making on
status determination. In a similar vein to reception centres, prolonged uncertainty of status is
shown to be highly de-motivating in the short term and by deferring access to key elements of
integration such as employment, amongst other rights, inhibits the longer term aspirations of
In respect of all these facets of reception dispersal, reception centres, protracted
decision making the failure to design effective exit strategies for those receiving positive
refugee status is a particular stumbling block to successful integration. Poor articulation
between reception and full status determination, notably with regard to access to the full range
of welfare benefits, skills training programmes and to housing provision (especially for single
refugees), produce substantial lacunae in the process of integration.
The timing of integration measures upon arrival, at intermediate stages during
reception and upon final decision - thus becomes critical to the process. There are major gaps
in policy and practice at all these stages irrespective of the country.

The Meaning of Integration

Whilst there is some measure of convergence surrounding the instruments and processes of
accessing citizenship and the practices to support integration for example both the German
and the UK legislation in 2002 address these issues amongst other factors the fact remains
that there is only limited consensus over the meaning of integration. Variables such as the
means and form of integration, the degree of independence afforded to refugees, the timing of
integration measures, eligibility for support, mediate the process in significant ways. In
respect of these variables, as the study indicates, there are both similarities but also marked
differences between EUMS. Thus for some, integration is about promoting social and
economic cohesion, for others it is overcoming the barriers of social marginalisation and
exclusion which are endemic experiences amongst refugee and ethnic minority groups. That it
might be a two way process, involving key variables in thesocial and economic life of hosts
and refugees, points to the core of the political and cultural factors and tensions on which
integration is contingent.


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On the means of integration there is some degree of convergence, but rather less
agreement on the end state. Much reliance is placed by EUMS on measurable factors and
output indicators related to functional integration - for example employment take up, levels of
language proficiency, up-take of skills training programmes. This emphasis inevitably
highlights bureaucratic procedures and instrumental means to integration. More significantly
with respect to form of integration, cultural indicators of integration such as levels of
community development, ethnic cohesion and identity, intergenerational measures of
assimilation are far less evident in the integrationist modalities across EUMS. Differences
between assimilationist and multi-cultural models have been highlighted. These variables are
the more profound determinants of the effectiveness and success of the refugee integration,
yet they are largely neglected in the search for convergence by EUMS at the present time.
These differences also bring to the fore the processes for supporting integration. The
evidence suggests that: the integration process should start as soon as possible after arrival;
integration should be based upon active partnership between migrants and the host society;
economic mobility is a key variable in integration; and integration must be supported by
coherent settlement packages at different administrative levels. In all these respects, EUMS
have a major challenge in harmonising the meaning of and the practices for supporting
integration. Moreover the timing of integration measures, for the most part these apply only to
recognised refugees in EUMS, creates artificial barriers to the long term effectiveness of
programmes. This is a major issue still to be addressed.
On the degree of independence afforded to refugees and the role of different
administrative arrangements, convergence is less evident but is emerging. In general terms,
current practice across EUMS indicates a controlled, managerialist and closely demarcated
framework of measures. Germanys corporate approach, an increasingly similar picture in
the UK, and Italys preliminary stages in developing refugee integration policy, all
demonstrate that refugees tend to be administered to, rather than being enabled to organise the
processes of integration for themselves. Nevertheless, convergence at a general level conceals
significant differences in practice. For example, the fieldwork evidence of a small number of
RCOs in Germany and Italy compared to the case of the UK, strikingly illustrates differences
in institutional arrangements for refugees which have important implications for the
comparative analysis of refugee integration policy across EU Member States.

Citizenship, integration and policy harmonisation

The comparative discussion of citizenship and integration strategies raises important

implications for the long-term development of a harmonised immigration policy and
specifically the approach adopted for the integration of refugees. There are three key factors
First, in the case of Italy and the UK the initiatives and practices do not add up to a
coherent integration strategy. Whether or not there is an explicit strategy is perhaps less
important than the coherence and fit of the policies and practices. Moreover the need to
mainstream refugees with other groups seeking citizenship and integration is an important
proviso here. Thus, whilst the lack of a clear national integration strategy for each country
might make it more difficult to achieve trans-national baseline for EU harmonisation of
integration, with regard to the refugees themselves what matters more is the effectiveness of
the polices and practices within the country of residence in meeting their needs.

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Second, whereas in the past the integrationist policies and practices of most EUMS did
not readily distinguish between asylum seekers/refugees and other migrant groups claiming
citizenship, now the impact of legislation for the reception of asylum seekers is, in practice,
enforcing discernable distinctions between these two groups. More restricted engagement
with the instruments of settlement and integration whilst awaiting refugee status
determination for example housing, employment, welfare benefits impedes the medium
and longer term capacity of refugees to adapt and assimilate/integrate. The evidence suggests
that the mainstreaming of refugees within the general framework of integration polices and
practices, a significant element in the past, is beginning to break down. The danger here, with
regard to the national political discourse on refugees, is that immigration and refugeehood
have become conflated in recent years. This, according to many commentators and advocacy
groups, begins to erode the fundamental principle of protection. At the same time within the
country, treating refugees as a special case with regard to integration policies runs the risk of
ghettoising them rather than managing diversity in the way refugees and other groups
integrate into the host society.
Third, the lack of national strategies is symptomatic of a more significant conclusion.
The data highlight markedly different conceptualisations, between the EUMS, of the
processes and instruments which underpin the pursuit of citizenship and integration, and
distinctive variations in the strategies for social inclusion and the connections which refugees
make to their host society. The contrasting histories of immigration and how these have
informed the processes and practices of integration in different member states, establish
marked distinctions and clearly imply that, beyond mechanistic and procedural harmonisation,
elaborating an EU-wide framework for refugee integration remains a formidable challenge.


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7 Concepts and Typologies of Integration

Building on the comparative assessment of issues for refugee integration revealed in the case
study evidence, this chapter assesses a number of conceptual typologies of integration and
their relevance to the present study. Four conceptual frameworks of integration are
considered: integration, agency and modes of inclusion (7.2.); integration and state formation
(7.3.); integration and rights-based access (7.4.); refugee acculturation and integration (7.5).
The empirical evidence of the previous chapter and the conceptual discussion of this
chapter are brought together in the final chapter (Chapter 8) which develops a series of
indicators of integration, assesses the challenges in operationalising them, and examines the
prospects for harmonising integration policies and practices in the EU.

Concepts and Typologies of Integration

By examining the data on integration within a comparative framework, the last section
highlighted both convergent and divergent policies and practices within EUMS. Specific
emphasis was given to the differing conceptualisations of integration essentially the
distinctive models of assimilation and multi-culturalism - and the important implications these
contrasting conceptualisations have both for refugees themselves and for harmonising policy
and practice amongst EUMS. Building on these conclusions, this section elaborates in more
detail the concept of integration by reviewing some of the main typologies of integration and
by exploring their relevance to the present study in terms of developing indicators which are
considered in the next section.
Needless to say there is a substantial generic literature on migration and the
consequent processes of citizenship and integration which migrants engage, let alone the
enormous volume of empirical investigation of these variables in many specific communities
and many countries. Research on the particular characteristics of refugee integration tends to
track the concepts and methods deployed in the broader field of migration. The key difference
lies in the involuntary and therefore essentially reactive impetus to refugee migration in
contrast to the proactive role migrants play in more orthodox circumstances.
We draw on four authors work which capture the main contours of the discourse on
integration which, at the same time, offer relevant insights into the specific case of refugees.

Integration: agency and modes of inclusion

For Soysal (1994) the modes of inclusion exercised by nation states in relation to foreign
populations holds the key to understanding the processes of citizenship and integration. The
argument here is that the way states incorporate foreigners (for example through participation
in social institutions in the host country) reveal the structure and function of membership
systems or incorporation regimes. These regimes comprise legal rules (for example in the
case studies duration of residence, ancestry, place of birth), policy frameworks (for example,


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case study evidence of reception practices and dispersal), and administrative and
organisational structures (for example the role of Lnder in Germany or NGOs).
Incorporation regimes are historically encoded outcomes of the divergent and contrasting
ways in which states have come to define their understanding of membership and belonging.
These regimes, amongst other impacts, define the relationship between the receiving state and
foreigners and thus the modes of inclusion.
Operationalising this concept Soysal develops a fourfold typology of membership
models which elaborates the ways in which foreigners are incorporated. There are two key
parameters in the construction of the typology: first the locus of governance and action in
relation to membership (for example the state, civil society or social groups which organise
membership); and second the degree to which the administrative organisation of membership
is centralised or decentralised.
Summarising Soysals analysis, the typology of membership models is as follows:
Table 7: Soysals Typology of Membership Models



Locus of
Social group
Social group



Germany, Denmark, Sweden

UK + 1, the Netherlands
France, Austria?

Source: based on Soysal 1994

* Examples derived from current research

In relation to this study the specific character of refugee as opposed to non-forced

immigrant integration there are some limitations in pressing the applicability of the model
too far. Nonetheless, the general utility of the typology resonates closely with the case study,
supported by the fact that the UK and Germany are two cases which Soysal discusses.
Soysal suggests that the UK conforms to the Liberal (2) model of incorporation,
notable for the paucity of state sponsored modes and instruments of incorporation. Given the
absence of a clearly demarcated national policy for integration in the UK, the corollary,
Soysal suggests, is the emphasis on decentralised enactment of the modalities and
individualistic strategies to gain membership. Contingent here are factors such as labour
market mobility and above all, as the case study revealed, the locus of governance wresting
with social group capabilities. In this respect, the main contours of the incorporation regime
are demarcated by the proliferation of voluntary sector agencies in the UK often drawing on
local authority financial support, the multi-cultural race relations framework combined with
anti-discriminatory measures and fostered by measures to attain equality of opportunity in
employment and housing. demarcate the main contours of the. Rather than a proactive,
national and centralised policy to foster Corporate (1) ethnic identities and groups the case
for example in Denmark and Sweden although in the latter case integration is managed
through a local contract with each individual the UK instead provides a framework which
protects and enables groups and individuals to claim their rights of access to the modes of
inclusion. The evidence from the case study of refugee integration in the UK closely echoes
these characteristics. The citizenship regime in the Netherlands parallels the picture in the


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For Soysal, Germanys position within the typology is less clear cut then the UK,
occupying an intermediate position which incorporates elements of the Corporate (1) and the
Statist (3) membership models. Whilst from its assimilationist standpoint Germany makes
minimal or no provision for ethnic minorities in the sense required in the Corporatist model,
from a governance perspective it is centralist and corporate in its reliance on intermediary
groups, in this case the large NGOs (church-based or linked to political parties), for the
incorporation of foreigners. At the same time, whilst the Lnder are the most significant
actors in terms of implementing incorporation policies, and there are distinct variations in
practice between them, the Federal framework within which they operate is clearly Statist, in
terms of a unified and commonly held view of integration as assimilation. Though falling
short of a fully articulated Statist model, the German approach is sustained through, for
example: centrally funded language classes; the agency of the NGOs, the Ministry of Labour
and Social Affairs; and BAFls enhanced responsibilities for all integration matters under the
2002 legislation.
Applying Soysals typology to the Italian case again reveals a combination of models:
in this instance embracing both the Fragmental and Corporate models. In contrast to the
German case however, where the combination of models underscored an essentially
complementary picture of locus and responsibility, the Italy experience discloses a rather
more antagonistic and confusing tension between the models. The Fragmental model
encompasses the defining characteristics of Italy at the present time, in so far as the state
occupies a major legal and policy vacuum at national level and possesses a disparate but weak
array of legal apparatus. The lack of both a comprehensive set of policy instruments for the
reception of refugees and a national integration framework have been noted. But by
abdicating its responsibilities for the practical task of incorporating foreigners in general and
refugees in particular, the state creates the space for what appears to be a patchwork of civil
society agencies - NGOs (predominantly church-based), local authorities and informal
networks - operating in a decentralised mode. Closer inspection shows that, from this
perspective, a Corporate locus of governance defines the position of these agencies, in the
sense that the NGOs are nationally-based social institutions and fulfil the role of key
providers of support for integration. This locus of power in a fragmental polity accordingly
empowers these agencies to shape the modalities of incorporation. Whilst conflicting attitudes
and ideologies exist between the social agencies in Italy, the dominant position of churchbased NGOs and the commensurately marginalised situation of agencies from within the
refugee and ethnic minority communities, reinforces the Corporate power of these well
established interests.

Integration and State Formation

Castles work on states response to immigration and ethnic diversity (1994) also introduces a
number of models to explain the processes for incorporating immigrants into receiving states.
With provisos, his findings hold in the case of refugee integration as well. Castles typology
resonates, in general terms, with Soysal and other researchers; but it complements Soysals
interpretation in that for Castles, the key factor is the impact of different processes of state
formation. In this sense Castles explains why variation in incorporation and integration exist,
in terms of historical processes and experiences, whereas Soyals concern is to explain how
different structures and functions of membership systems impact on incorporation.


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The case study analysis in Chapters 2-5 adopted a twofold typology of citizenship and
integration distinguishing between assimilationist and multi-culturalist tendencies. Castles
typology refines and extends this rather polarised framework by proposing four models. As
with Soysal these models are not discrete representations, but ideal types. By highlighting
distinctive features of citizenship and incorporation in terms of progressively more intensive
forms of incorporation, Castles typology helps to identify the key variables and indicators of
integration as well as drawing attention to key dimensions in the process of harmonising EU
immigration and asylum policy.
Table 8: Castles Models of Incorporation
Total Exclusion


not relevant to EU
partial inclusion with restricted and differential rights to
citizenship and resistance to permanent settlement
absorption into the mainstream by subsuming cultural
recognising multi-cultural diversity and equality of rights


Germany, Italy
Sweden, Denmark, UK
+ model 4
UK +model 3, the

Source: based from Castles1994 *Examples added: derived from current research project

Germany, a belated state with extensive borders and a vulnerable geographical

location reveals, as we have seen in the case study (Chapter 2), a plausible example of
differential citizenship and incorporation/exclusion (model 2) with citizenship for the
Aussiedler emphasis on ius consanguinis, and extremely low naturalisation rates for other
foreigners, notably refugees. Italy, too, fits the prototype of differential exclusion. It is a
belated state like Germany and with even more vulnerable borders, it offers more lenient
measures for conferring citizenship on the basis of ius consanguinis notably for the
descendants of emigrants from earlier generations, but an ill-formed position with regard to
new forms of immigration, particularly refugees. The UK with a long standing history of civil
society, avowed multi-culturalism from the 1970s, and political liberality conforms to
Castles pluralist model with some assimilationist characteristics. Yet even here, there is a
growing ambiguity in the differentiation of refugees, at least prior to status determination
from the incorporation of other foreigners so that for the former group model 2 may better
reflect their experience.
France, Sweden and Denmark, though not part of the study, illustrate Castles third
category of assimilationist states. Interestingly the current debate on integration of immigrants
in France is beginning to challenge the long-standing assimilationist stance adopted with
respect to the integration of ethnic minorities. Following the presidential elections in mid
2002, in which the extreme right achieved a significant if short-lived profile specifically on
the issue of immigration, the question now being asked is whether assimilation, premised on
the republican and constitutional defence of rights-based equality for all citizens regardless of
ethnicity, has created an adequate basis for social, economic and cultural relations between
different ethnic groups. A shift is emerging from this dominant paradigm of citizenship rights
and assimilation to a model of integration which is more pluralistic in character.

Integration and rights-based access

In a number of recent papers Penninx (1999, 2000, 2000a) offers a typology which, though


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still evolving, embraces and elaborates many of the variables already discussed. Whereas
Soysals remit is with the structures and agency of membership, and Castles concern is with
differentiating the degree and characteristics of incorporation with respect to processes of
state formation, Penninxs perspective on citizenship and integration adopts a rights-based
analysis and how access to these rights is the determinants of incorporation. To the why of
Castles and the how of Soysal, Penninx adds the what - what are the distinctive features of
citizenship and, more particularly, what are the channels of mobilisation available to
immigrants in a receiving state. Dwelling on the key benchmark of citizenship, he suggests
that this can be differentiated in terms of three rights-based spheres:

Juridicial and political rights: eg formal rights of citizenship

Socio-economic rights: eg employment rights, welfare entitlements

Cultural and religious rights: eg inclusion of migrant organisations, multi-cultural


Defining citizenship in terms of these three distinct spheres of rights enhances the
discussion considerably. It makes clear the modalities, by which citizenship and incorporation
are enacted, whilst simultaneously indicating the policy environments within which these
rights should be developed and protected. These different aspects of citizenship operate at
different levels at the same time, perhaps top down or bottom up as opposed to Soysals
categorical centralised or decentralised model. Moreover the three spheres are mutually
reinforcing in their impact.
From the perspective of refugee integration, Penninxs approach highlights the fact
that almost exclusively, the policy focus is on the first two categories, and particularly on the
first whether at the national government (in respect of the three case studies) or at the
communitarian level. Gradual convergence by EUMS is accompanying a curtailment of rights
for putative refugees in the form of increasing deterrence to arrival and in-country
restrictionism. Socio-economic rights for asylum seekers are being curtailed at crucial stages
of reception and status determination: this subsequently has negative impacts on settlement
processes. Cultural and religious rights are not addressed proactively or systematically. Given
the assimilationist stance on citizenship operated across a number of EUMS, such
indifference is set to continue.
Penninxs conceptualisation is less clear on measuring the extent to which these rights
are provided. Clearly some rights are granted, some are not, and the availability of rights is
not fixed. This indicates the role of state agency in conferring rights and opening up the
channels and structures to mobilise rights.
Penninxs citizenship typology has five categories which overlap with earlier models.


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Table 9 Penninx: Typology of Citizenship


Liberal Neutrality
Cultural Pluralism

Some tolerance of other cultures but retention of national model of belonging and inclusion
survival of national culture paramount. Integration occurs at juridicial/political level, cultural
differences relegated to private sphere
Indifference to cultural identity: again integration occurs at juridicial/political level, with no
account of cultural differences or state recognition
Cultural differences are recognised in the public domain, attempts to forge greater equality;
integration through partial inclusion of migrant organisations
Progress to complete equality in public domain; integration at all levels, focus on ethnocultural differences
Equality between groups but minimal interaction

Based on Penninx 2000

Penninxs conceptualisation of citizenship is developed further in terms of the ranking

of integration polices according to the degree of inclusionary or exclusionary practice.
Endorsing the twofold distinction adopted in this research report, to the extent that integration
occurs, then Penninx suggests a progression in Europe from assimilationist (ie Liberal
Nationalism) to multicultural regimes. Thus he argues that although many EUMS are
exclusionary in relation to citizenship at the current time, nevertheless he detects convergence
in several northern European states around multicultural practices. These polarities are further
reflected in the institutionalisation of citizenship and integration processes. Thus Peninnx
contrasts countries which have an explicit formulation of immigration policies linked to
integration and those which more reluctantly acknowledge immigration and are thus likely to
lack a coherent policy and institutional framework for integration. On this basis in terms of
the categories in his typology the UKs regime (alongside the Netherlands for example) might
be termed Liberal Multiculturalism, with some evidence of Cultural Pluralism, whilst Italy
and Germany (alongside the Nordic EUMS) span the Liberal Nationalism/Liberal Neutrality
categories. Deploying Penninxs typology, countries like France also fit the Liberal Neutrality
category with strong constitutional/juridicial protection of equal (in effect natural) rights of
citizenship; but the commitment to social, economic membership and cultural diversity is
only weakly evident. As discussed above, the debate is opening up as to whether this
approach has created divisive social and economic outcomes.

Refugee acculturation and integration

In the review so far, models of refugee integration have been subsumed within the wider
framework of migrants as a whole. Whilst extensive empirical research on refugees illustrates
many points of contact between the experiences of this group and the wider processes of
migrant membership and incorporation in a receiving society, a number of critical factors
distinguish the experience of forced migration for refugees compared to other forms of
voluntary migration and thus the implications for integration. Amongst the key variables are:
the forced removal (either directly or indirectly expelled) from membership of the former
ascriptive group; the limited choice of receiving state; the predominance of political rather
than economic imperatives to migrate; the potential temporariness of migration; the overlay of
additional entry and membership criteria - not just as migrants but as refugees as well.
Developing these distinctive variables, only a small cadre of researchers in the field of

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refugee studies have conceptualised the specific characteristics of the integration process for
this particular group of migrants.
Richmonds multivariate model of migration (1988, 1994:56-70), introduces two
additional perspectives to the integration process. First, he captures the essential contrast
between refugees and other forms of migration in terms of degrees of autonomy in the
migratory process refugees are reactive migrants as opposed to proactive in the latter case.
This critical distinction impacts most obviously on the propensity to migrate and the
predisposing factors. But the significance of Richmonds analysis is to show how the
variables creating the impetus for migration also condition subsequent reaction to protracted
exile and the processes of integration. Whereas the models considered so far have stressed the
significance of entry - the role of the receiving state in terms of reception and membership - as
the critical variables in the integration process, Richmond argues that exit, notably the
reactive mode of refugee migration and the coercive nature of exile, are salient factors
impinging on the integration process.
The further significance of Richmonds model in the present context is to place the
refugee/migrant at centre of the process counterbalancing the instrumentality and agency of
the receiving state which are the key variables of the earlier models. Reinforcing and
developing this point, Berry in a number of publications (eg 1980, 1997, 1999) also locates
the migrant/refugee at the centre of the analysis. Whereas Richmonds focus is largely on how
migrants engage and then respond to the process of exit, the distinctive feature of Berrys
work puts the spotlight on migrants in the receiving country at the integration stage. His work
thus has particular currency in this study. The experience of refugees is set within the broader
praxis of the integration of migrants as a whole.
Berry has developed a conceptualisation of acculturation from a psychological
perspective in which migrants pursue a range of possible strategies. Berry suggests that these
strategies are conditioned by the response which migrants adopt to the two critical choices
they confront. These are summarised in the following table. Whereas the strategic outcomes
and terminology resonate with those identified in the earlier models, the key point to
emphasise in Berrys model is the locus of control. It is the refugee/migrant her/himself who
determines which of these strategies to adopt.
Table 10: Berrys Acculturation Strategies
Is my cultural identity
of value and to be

Are positive relations with larger

(dominant) society to be



Adapted from Berry 1980

Although not altogether surprising, a key finding in Berrys work is that the strategies
of assimilation and integration are generally less individually stressful than where migrants
pursue strategies of separation or marginalisation.
In later work Berry (1997) develops the multidimensional character of acculturation.
He points to: the significance of mediating variables at both individual and group levels; the
differential pressures for change emanating from the dominant group level (ie receiving

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society) and the non-dominant group level (group of origin); and he distinguishes between the
way these two levels moderate the process prior to and during the acculturation process.
Table 11: Berry's Framework of Acculturation
Prior Factors
[society of



political context
economic situation

During Factors
[society of

social support from hosts and co-ethnics

migration impetus
phase of resettlement
acculturation strategies
coping mechanisms
social support
societal attitudes

Adapted from Berry 1997

The significance of Berrys work, in contrast to the other typologies, lies in his
emphasis on the proactive capacity of migrants, individually and in groups to confront the
process of integration. Although encompassing the impact of internal and external variables
on the process of integration, the key to his approach is to invest the migrant in the centre of
the psychological process of acculturation in terms of overt and covert patterns of behaviour.
An iterative but dynamic progression of stress, coping and adaptation (the example of
language acquisition best illustrates these stages and the paradoxes inherent in the
progression) underpins the adoption of acculturation strategies which lead to different levels
of acculturation.
Because the current research has not investigated integration and membership from
the refugees perspective it is not possible to relate Berrys typology directly to the case
studies. Moreover, another important implication of Berrys approach is to indicate that
different groups may well adopt different strategies within the same country of settlement. In
any case the key factor here, in comparison with models of state instrumentality, is to resist
categorising a countrys regime. In this respect Berrys work is the counterpoint to the other
models based on the agency of the host society
The limitation of Berrys approach is that, by internalising the instrumentality of the
state and the dominant society as a strategic issue for the refugee/migrant to resolve, the
typology does not allow sufficient weight to these factors. Thus even if positive relations
with larger (dominant) society {are] sought, the refugee may well be rebuffed by that society.
In general terms the experience of refugees in the UK might be said to fit quite well with
Berrys integrationist strategy. Conversely, amongst many refugee groups in Italy and
Germany cultural value and identity is to be retained, and positive relations with the dominant
society are sought, but the refugee populations still display many of the characteristics of
marginalised and separate communities. In Sweden and Denmark, again generalising, many
refugee groups have assimilated but this does not necessarily mean they have devalued, in
Berrys terms their own cultural identity.


With respect to the integration of refugees in EUMS this review of the typologies highlights a

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number of significant conclusions. The paradoxical, and in some respects the contradictory,
nature of these conclusions underscores many of the broader tensions and challenges to the
harmonisation of immigration and integration polices.
First, and most obviously, integration and citizenship are contested concepts. Because
states adopt contrasting conceptualisations of, and regimes for the integration of foreigners,
this produces great difficulty in agreeing clear definitions and indicators. This in turn
compounds the challenge of harmonising policy and practice. Especially in a climate of
restrictionism towards refugees, where exclusion dominates the political agenda, narrowing
down the criteria of belonging inevitably brings to the fore the unique national variables
which define membership rather than collectively held or convergent characteristics. On the
other hand, the important point to make is that within states citizenship and integration are
malleable commodities. France is a powerful and current example where traditionally
accepted concepts of citizenship and membership are not necessarily static, although
inevitably change is slow. Changes in citizenship rules and in social perceptions in the
Netherlands suggest that this country has become progressively more multicultural in its
stance on integration. Conversely, the tendency of some EUMS such as Denmark and Austria
is to move in the other direction towards more rigid models of membership and citizenship.
Second, although the typologies and models demonstrate the absence of a
comprehensive definition of integration, integration is not a chaotic concept. The typologies
are notable for the remarkably similar terms they adopt, although the meaning of the terms
may differ in detail. The key factor here in, an essentially post-modernist perspective, is the
nature of the framework of statutes, policies, and institutions to manage and enable these
processes. For the most part in the models we have explored, the modalities for managing
membership dwell on procedural and juridicial components ie citizenship. Socio-economic
and cultural processes of inclusion ie integration are notably subservient by comparison.
Yet, interaction between cultures and ethnicities lies at the heart of models of citizenship and
integration. Social participation within the host community, combine with material conditions
and opportunities as well as the psychological adjustment to new circumstances a
perspective captured in Berry work. Thus the largest differences between EUMS in
conceptualising integration and developing policy frameworks remain in the cultural sphere.
This is where the challenge to membership and national identity seems greatest. In this
respect, Berrys term acculturation offers perhaps a more neutral description of the process.
Arguably, it is the relative character of integration which is paramount: relative in the sense of
the attributes of the refugees and relative to the norms and values of the receiving society.
Focusing on refugees as proactive agents in the process of integration, Berrys approach
provides a significant counterpoint to the instrumentality of receiving state regimes which
form the analytical foundation for the majority of conceptualisations.
Third, and notwithstanding the challenges to convergence which these models present,
some evidence from the case studies indicates a process of informal convergence, at a general
level, in relation to the ways in which states incorporate foreigners the regimes and modes
of inclusion. Soysal for one, on the basis of her examination of some of the same countries as
the current study, argues for such convergence. The process of convergence, as discussed in
this study (Chapter 1), is given momentum by the communitarian project progressively
articulated from 1997 onwards by the Treaty of Amsterdam, The Vienna Action Plan and
European Council Meeting in Tampere. Despite this, as the detailed analysis of Germany, the
UK and Italy illustrated, substantial variations remain in the details of incorporation, notably


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with regard to refugees. The various models presented in this chapter highlight the way in
which contrasting national histories and traditions, and modes of belonging and membership
vividly colour the incorporation regimes and the instruments by which foreigners are
integrated. The value of deploying the typologies is that they throw into sharp relief the
tensions balance between convergence and divergence with respect to the ways in which
EUMS integrate foreigners. These tensions remain at the heart of the EU project and reveal
the size of the challenge set out set out in the Treaty of Amsterdam.
Fourth, as the current study has concluded, it is still the case that ambivalence and
tension are the dominant characteristic of EUMS migration policy with respect to TCNs. On
the one hand there is policy convergence as Member States face common challenges in
responding to globalised patterns and processes of international migration, notably with
regard to refugees. Policy convergence is gradually eroding the distinctive citizenship and
integration regimes of individual states, notably with respect of naturalisation rules and labour
market entitlements. On the other hand, states are resisting this convergence predominantly in
the cultural sphere, seeking to retain the national differences in the conceptualisations of
citizenship and membership which are deeply embedded in their sense of identity and their
policy regimes. But even at a national level, preliminary shifts in policy to multi-culturalism
can be detected amongst some northern European states. Convergence and respect for national
differences go hand in hand.
The fifth conclusion, as the models imply, is to question the significance of national
citizenship per se as a gateway to integration as foreigners are increasingly able to enjoy
social, economic and political rights without the acquisition of citizenship. Despite growing
restrictionism, and the understandable wish of EUMS to eradicate clandestine entry and
especially human trafficking, the fact remains that large numbers of asylum seekers and other
migrants remain in EUMS for protracted periods without full citizenship. Post-national forms
of belonging and modes of inclusion, through a variety of social processes, are increasingly
taking precedence over national citizenship such that integration is mediated by modes of
inclusion with are much more profound than legal status. Yet, as the case studies show,
refugees are perhaps a special case in this respect and invite more intense political resistance.
To the extent that these tendencies hold, then the individual and the collective interests of
EUMS policy making should be refocused on modes of refugee inclusion rather than on the
restrictive instruments of the incorporation regimes: the latter, of course, remain the major
preoccupation. Specifically with regard to refugees, the case studies show how the reception
and incorporation regimes (deterrence, protracted decision making on status, explicit forms of
social exclusion, and curtailed rights) are antithetical to modes of inclusion. Whether such a
shift of focus for refugees, or other foreigners, can be politically accomplished at the present
time, with continuing high rates of asylum applications and illegal in-migration, together with
uncertainty over the intra-European migration impacts of enlargement and the longer term
challenge of tackling Europes growing labour shortage, remains to be seen.
Finally, many of the instruments and policy interventions to promote integration tend
to focus on outputs - for example measures to prevent discrimination, and to promote equal
take-up of employment or welfare rights or training and education. However, the extent to
which membership and integration are achieved in terms of these variables is crucially
dependent on key inputs such as the type of education provided, the form and appropriateness
of training and language skills, the characteristics of self reliance and how it is promoted, and
the value given to cultural diversity: in other words the social and cultural relevance and


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efficacy of vital resources of membership. Significantly a number of countries, for example

the UK and, at an earlier stage of policy formulation Germany and France, are now exploring
these more profound modalities of integration. In effect most measures designed to promote
integration deal with proxy measures - impacts and consequences rather than issues which
may challenge the national histories and perceptions of belonging.
These tensions and ambiguities impact directly on the design of indicators and they
have profound implications for the harmonisation of integration policies of refugees and
TCNs at a supranational level within the EU, especially under conditions of restrictionism.
These factors are considered in the next chapter.


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8. Indicators of Integration, Harmonisation and

Based on the comparative findings from the case studies and the criteria offered by the
typologies of integration examined in the last chapter, this chapter develops a framework of
integration indicators (8.2) and assesses the challenges in operationalising them (8.3). The
chapter also concludes with an assessment of the prospects for harmonising EU immigration
policy with respect to refugee integration; this examines the limits to convergence, given the
divergencies in policy between Member States, and assesses the disjunctive effects of
differentiating refugees from the wider task of integrating minority communities at regional,
national and communitarian levels (8.4).

The Problem stated

At the outset there are four points which underscore the problematique.
First, integration is a contested and relative concept which varies in context, time and
place which directly impacts on the policies and practices of integration found in EUMS.
These are the core themes of the preceding chapters. Developing a portfolio of indicators of
integration is contingent on reconciling some of these conceptual and definitional differences
in itself a key challenge for policy makers in the EUMS. The methodology used in the case
studies, the comparative analysis of Chapter 5 and the conceptual discussion in Chapter 6,
provide some resolution of these tensions and form the basis for an approach to defining
indicators below (7.3).
Second, neither within the refugee population as a whole, nor even within the same
national/ethnic group of refugees is integration an homogenous experience - a point which the
case study chapters dramatically illustrated. The propensity to integrate may differ
substantially between different ethnic groups within the same host community and thus in
relation to identical prevailing conditions. Even within the same ethnic group, the patterns of
integration may show marked variations related to duration of residence, location of
settlement and the response of the local host community. Indicators are needed which
accommodate these often latent variations in how groups have acculturated with the majority
host. The tendency for this diversity to be glossed over in the models of integration should not
conceal the fact that measurement thus remains a major challenge in research and policy
development with respect to refugee integration.
A third key point to emerge from the analysis is that the present format of policies and
instruments to promote and stimulate integration in EUMS tends to emphasise outcomes
rather than inputs and processes. Consequently, indicators of integration reflect this tendency.
In other words the objective has been to measure the extent to which integration appears to
have been achieved in terms of variables such as participation rates in employment or skills
training programmes, the incidence of racial harassment and discriminatory practices, the
formation of refugee community-based organisations. This stance is also reflected in our


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proposals set out below.

For EUMS the more complex policy challenge is to tackle policy inputs. Input-driven
policies and programmes for integration of refugees and other minority groups would instead
focus on, for example, in the case of labour market participation on: the design of education,
language and skills training programmes to enhance the skill sets possessed by refugees; the
sensitivity of the programmes to the background of the client group; the nature of
discriminatory practices in recruitment; and the barriers to access. For housing, an inputs
approach would focus on the behaviour of the different sectors of the of the housing market
with regard to refugees, the extent to which access to different tenure forms is constrained, the
sensitivity of access and housing management criteria to the needs of refugee households.
Indicators of integration need to be reflected in a distinction between these input and output
Fourth, even if some of definitional and conceptual challenges can be overcome,
significant methodological challenges remain in operationalising a framework of indicators.
Analysing and verifying as complex and dynamic a concept as integration in practice is
methodologically problematic. Determining what data to collect and the appropriate field
methods to collect them also pose major challenges to the field researcher and policy maker.
Absolute levels of measurement of a social phenomenon such as integration are clearly
unsustainable and the extent to which integration is revealed crucially depends on the
methods of assessment, types of data and the form of indicators adopted. Section 7.4
elaborates some of these methodological problems.
Taking these constraints into account, Robinson provides valuable advice in the search
for indicators, stating that:
The pursuit of successful integration ceases to be the search for absolute levels of measurable
variables (eg economic participation or income levels) beyond which we assume integration to
have been achieved. Rather it becomes the analysis of a relative and contested process shaped
by a clash of norms in particular time periods, places and contexts. (Robinson1998:120).

Thus from the perspective of policy makers in EUMS, harmonising integration

policies across EUMS goes hand in hand with harmonising concepts and the methods of data
collection and analysis. Convergence of concepts, policies and the measurement of the
processes and levels of integration are essential so that comparisons can be made across
EUMS. In short indicators cannot be divorced from the conceptual and political framework
within which integration policies are located.

Indicators of integration

The comparative experience of integration in the three case study countries and the discussion
of the research literature highlight both the challenge and the way forward in developing
indicators. At this stage, we are sceptical of both the feasibility and the value of designing a
detailed and comprehensive check-list format of indicators. The study has profiled the
substantial conceptual and practical differences between EUMS with respect to integration
which limit the extent to which a detailed template of this kind could be designed. Rather, the
research evidence points to four main clusters of indicators built around key policy variables
which constrain and facilitate (often simultaneously) the process of integration. In general
terms, formulating indicators becomes progressively more complex through the series of four


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In elaborating a range of indicators within these four clusters, we focus on two sides of
the equation. In the main we address the performance of policies, structures, instruments and
frameworks what might be termed the stance of the host country. Broadly speaking the first
two clusters define the contours of integration from the perspective of the host country.
At the same time we recognise the need to develop measures of the actual
performance and experience of the refugee client groups indicators which may define the
extent to which individual refugees or specific groups of refugees have faired in the process
of integration. The latter two clusters tend to emphasise these conditions. However it should
be stressed that a specific cluster does not exclusively reflect just one perspective.
8.2.1 The citizenship domain - processes and instruments of citizenship
As we have argued, whilst legal conferment of citizenship is not, per se, a definitive indicator
of integration, it is invariably a necessary if not sufficient condition for achieving this broader
objective. Recalling the discussion on citizenship and integration (5.2), the practical starting
point for determining indicators must be the operational framework of national policies to
promote integration and the legislative instruments which support these policies - the design,
scope and reach of juridicial provisions and citizenship law. National frameworks of policy
and process define the contours of integration in terms of certain stated public outcomes
and/or procedures which demarcate defined entitlements and rights of citizenship.
In this respect, a map of the relevant indicators of citizenship might include: the legal
frameworks and procedural obligations for acquiring citizenship; the different statuses
available to asylum seekers as they progress through the stages to full refugee status and then
citizenship; the defined time period for this journey; and the differential rights of access to
social economic and welfare rights accorded to the different stage of refugee status and
citizenship determination.
The point to emphasise here is the interrelationship between the components of
citizenship, which are the essential pre-requisites of integration, and their modalities. Both
have significant impacts on the extent to which integration is achieved: it is the interplay
between them which is critical. In other words, in defining relevant indicators the task is both
to map the components of citizenship and to identify the manifest and latent processes which
a refugee has to negotiate to achieve citizenship. The three case studies have illustrated the
validity of this approach in which indicators were used to map out the component elements of
the citizenship regime in each country and the negotiative processes of acquiring citizenship.
Whilst indicators which explore and measure the instrumentality of juridicial and
procedural practices offer a necessary perspective on the extent to which integration might
occur, they reveal only part of the picture. The essential point to recall here is that policies and
legislation on integration found across EUMS are informed by contrasting paradigms of
citizenship deeply rooted in the particular histories of the individual states and norms of
belonging. The challenge, in developing the framework of indicators, is to capture and
highlight these contrasting conceptualisations, not just the practices which they support. For
example such a framework should accommodate the contrasts between constitutional, rightsbased discourse which at least in principle disregards a citizens provenance (whether refugee
or indigenous descendant) in a country like France, the assimilationist stance and practices of


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German citizenship, and what is perceived to be a multi-cultural mode of citizenship in

countries like the UK and the Netherlands which gives rise to positive discriminatory
procedures designed to benefit minority ethnic groups (whether refugees or not).
The case studies demonstrate a methodology using indicators which detail the
conjuncture between legislative frameworks, citizenship processes, state practices and the
differing conceptualisations of citizenship and incorporation. These indicators reveal the
impact of the various models of membership on the form and extent to which integration of
refugees and other minorities takes place. In this respect, the models of citizenship explored in
Chapter 6 further nuance the indicators by which to measure the conceptual stance and the
practices of EUMS with regard to integration.
Most conceptual models of citizenship and integration relate to migrant communities
as a whole, neglecting the distinctive features of the refugee experience. But as the research
has indicated, deterrence and restrictionism has infused legislative and policy agendas of
EUMS over the last decade with regard to the rights of entry and citizenship claims of asylum
seekers and refugees, compared to other immigrant groups with regard. This apparatus and
the demarcation between refugees and other migrants have significant implications for the
subsequent processes of membership of the host country. Thus the indicators used to define
these processes and impacts should be sufficiently fine-grained to distinguish the
refugee/asylum seeker experience from the generic experience of access. Again, the approach
adopted in this report has illustrated how indicators such as reception practices, status
determination procedures, duration of residence can be used to highlight the differential
8.2.2 The governance domain governance, administration and civil society
Governance is the platform on which integration policies are implemented. The study has
emphasised the significance of governance in promoting or constraining the effectiveness of
measures for integration sections 5.3, 5.4 and 5.5, respectively dealing with strategies for
settlement and integration, governance and administration and NGOs, have highlighted the
formative role of these criteria.
Thus a framework of indicators should: map the stakeholders involved in the process
of integration; define the distribution and articulation of powers, resources and responsibilities
between them; map the distribution of responsibility between different levels of government
and also between the agencies of state and civil society; explore the mediating role of these
factors and their impact on the process of integration. The case study chapters highlighted a
methodology which indicated the mediating role of the structures of governance on the
process of integration.
Significant in the German and UK case studies is the impact which the distribution of
powers between central government and sub-national levels has on the modalities of
integration. To this extent, key indicators here concern criteria such as: policies and practices
for the dispersal of asylum seekers and refugees; and the powers and resources which the
different levels of government possess to develop and implement programmes of support for
refugees and their host communities.
In all three case studies attention is drawn to the critical role played by NGOs in the
governance of reception, settlement and integration. Indicators which map the locus of their


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activity, the roles they perform vis vis other (mainly public stakeholders), as well as the
relative weight of their contribution, reveal insights into their impact on the integration
Of the challenges which EUMS face in their approaches to integration of refugees and
other migrants, one of the most important is the need for effective co-ordination of strategies,
actors and programmes. The case studies illustrated a spectrum of performance in this respect.
Whilst a formal process of coordination is not of itself a key indicator, the fact remains that
more positive progress towards integration is predicated on better co-ordination of policy and
practice at all levels. Assessing the processes, structures and capacity for co-ordination
provides, as we have seen, powerful indicators of the effectiveness of integration policies and
programmes. And some indication of the extent to which effective co-ordination is achieved,
provides insights into the overall stance of government towards the challenge of integration.
8.2.3 Functional domain - social and economic participation
As the study has noted, EUMS place most emphasis on functional integration: that is the
extent to which refugees and other migrants achieve access to, or parity with hosts in terms of,
employment take up, access to welfare benefits, levels of educational participation, housing
provision. The objective here is to ascertain if refugees are represented in a range of key baseline socio-economic indicators proportional to the host population. Indicators such as these
are very much in line with the UNHCRs approach to the measurement of integration and
they underpin the Council of Europes definition of integration in terms of social and
economic cohesion between hosts and migrants.
There is an extensive portfolio of indicators to reveal levels of integration and these
are widely used in social policy research. Amongst the main indicators of functional
integration which we have used in this report are the following.

Language skills levels of performance and hence the emphasis, in countries like
Germany, on obligatory language training as a precondition of citizenship

Labour market participation eg eligibility for training, employment and unemployment

rates, skills level. In this respect labour market mobility is cited as a key variable in
refugee (and economic migrant) settlement and integration. Yet constraints on access to
labour markets and labour mobility reinforce the marginality and exclusion which
refugees confront.

Housing eg access to social and public housing by special client groups such as

Education and skills training eg scope and scale of programmes, participation rates

But there are some critical problems too. One issue, as the next section discusses (7.4),
is the nature of the survey instruments to measure the extent of functional integration. A
further issue, noted above in 7.2 is that these indicators tend to measure public outcomes but
are less effective in assessing input variables and the barriers which refugees confront in
accessing the socio-economic fabric of the host country. An example here is the limited value
which is often placed on supply-side skills and qualifications which refugees bring with them
because of the discriminatory practices in labour recruitment, however inadvertent these may


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8.2.4 Social domain - ethnicity, cultural identity, social networks and social capital
So far these clusters of variables provide a range of indicators to assess the effectiveness of
public policy frameworks for the integration of refugees. These policy frameworks set the
boundaries for specific social and economic interventions and outcomes. However these
policy frameworks are themselves determined by, and a reflection of, more profound social
dynamics which prevail in the host country and which demarcate levels of social inclusion,
participation and connectivity by minority groups such as refugees in the majority
community. Social participation is also determined by the expectations and experiences of
both the host society and especially the refugees, a point stressed by Berry in his analysis of
how refugees assess the value of their cultural identity (Chapter 6.5).
The case studies in Chapters 2-4 and the conceptual analysis in Chapter 6 have
reinforced the weight which should be placed on the social domain in any measurement of
integration. The emphasis here is less on measuring the role and impact of state organisation
more on the social processes of refugees and their hosts. These findings resonate with
ECREs conceptualisation of integration in terms of a dynamic process between hosts and
refugees which impacts on many dimensions of social life of both communities. Here the key
to integration is the extent to which refugees are active participants in the receiving societies.
ECREs approach provides the clue to the kind of indicators which are appropriate here and
which the research has highlighted.
The quest here is for indicators of integration which capture the processes of
membership and social participation in the host society. We propose indicators which reveal
the extent to which the cultural and social networks flourish and support refugees alongside
the instruments and resources of the host society. Indicators which might disclose how
refugee groups perceive and exert their rights as members of the host community or which
appraise the extent to which they balance the retention of cultural identity with processes of
social inclusion in the mainstream are more likely to demonstrate whether integration is
successful or not. In this sense integration is subjective and suggests that social compatibility
and adaptability are as significant for the sense of inclusion as structured measures to make
The case study evidence has underscored the role of social networks and the social
capital of refugee communities in providing the foundations for integration. As we have seen
these resources tend to be more flexible and adaptable whereas formal processes of reception
and integration may paradoxically work against participation. In terms of indicators then we
are looking at measurements such as the formation of refugee community groups (including
their coverage and functions), their access to resources similarly available to host groups, how
the physical and social resources within the communities are mobilised and empowered, and
the proactive capacities of the refugees at the individual level.
Data collection and methodological issues in developing Integration
An effective framework of appropriate and meaningful indicators of integration is contingent
on resolving a number of methodological problems, data collection issues and the appropriate
units of measurement. These are now discussed.
Data Collection and Demographic Characteristics. Whilst EUMS hold substantial and


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increasingly complex data sets on asylum seekers, few if any EUMS retain detailed up to date
demographic data on refugees numbers, characteristics, ethnic and national identities
distribution. Factors such as age, gender roles, social status prior to exile, pre-existing
language competency will all have an impact and may not be effectively measured. As with
asylum seeker data, so with data on refugees, a consistently difficult situation exists in
reconciling different data sets because of different terminologies, time series, and survey
instruments. Data coverage and collection are fragmentary and diffuse: this severely
compromises the levels of standardisation needed for comparative analysis.
The politics of data collection are perhaps the most revealing of the stance which
different EUMS adopt for integration of refugees and immigrant populations. Thus, almost
inconceivable in France is the availability and depth of government baseline data which
policy makers can access in the UK with regard to, for example, educational performance or
employment take-up by ethnic minorities (although refugee-specific data is unavailable). In
France these factors of social and economic life are the substance of a citizens universal right
of equality, not matters of ethnic or racial discrimination or preference. These contrasting
philosophical positions clearly impact in a very direct way on the practical task of developing
common indicators and measurement between EUMS, let alone for the political task of
harmonising policy.
Scale of Analysis. What is the appropriate scale and unit of analysis to assess integration? As
the models of integration demonstrated, the phenomenon can be measured at the level of the
individual, the household and the wider migrant community. Whilst Berrys model of
acculturation focused on the individual, aggregate social and cultural variables provide the
core interest of politicians, governments, policy makers and NGOs. Thus the household is a
conventional unit of measurement for much social research and policy making, including
refugees; but it presents particular challenges with respect to data collection and measurement
of integration. First, membership of migrant households is mediated by immigration
regulations, notably the controls on family reunification according to different levels of status
determination in the case of refugees the stages of asylum seeker, more extended rights to
remain which exist in EUMS and then full refugee status. Clearly the immigration status of a
household at any particular time will impact on both the aspirations for integration and the
capacity to integrate. Equally pertinent, household is a socially and culturally constructed
concept. Methodologically the variety of definitions is problematic, because households are
simultaneously a unit of measurement and also an indicator of the level and form of
integration. One would expect assimilated households to reflect the characteristics of the
receiving society whilst a multicultural model of integration would be evident where a variety
of household configurations were identified.
The scale of analysis also presents challenges at the group and community level. There
is much evidence of markedly contrasting experiences between refugee groups from the same
ethnic/national provenance. Local factors are the key here such as access to housing,
education and employment and the capacity of existing social networks to support the process
of integration are all material here, highlighting the significance of differential experiences.
Time period. What is the relevant time period over which to measure integration given that it
is an incremental process? Substantial variations are to be expected between individuals,
households and groups even within the same ethnic/national community. Time series analysis
could play a useful role here although little research has been conducted on this basis with


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refugees. Moreover the variables to measure integration impact over different time scales.
Thus employment invariably occurs at an early stage of integration, language competency as
an indicator of integration may develop over a longer time period whilst membership of social
and civil structures of the dominant society may take much longer.
Choice of Variables. An assessment of integration is largely conditioned by the choice of
variables. As we have seen already, the importance of time period is predicated on the range
and type of variables used to determine the extent of integration the indicators. The furthest
extent of integration might be measured by active political participation in the main stream,
whereas lower level indicators might include factors such as the existence and efficacy of
refugee community groups.
Apart from the general point that the choice of variables will inevitably condition the
extent to which integration is evident, there are two critical factors. First is the need to
prioritise the variables having the greatest impact again these may vary from community to
community. Second there is the need to separate out the factors which differentially impact on
refugees as opposed to other migrants or the host community as a whole. For example, access
to different modes of housing is often taken as a measure of integration. The issue here is
whether there are access and eligibility criteria eg length of time on waiting lists residence,
household size which uniquely impact on refugees?
Basis of Comparison. For the extent and effectiveness of integration to be verified, and
comparisons made between different refugee groups, control groups or benchmarks need to
be established. But what are the comparators to gauge the level of success? Here the data and
analysis will need to reflect conditions in the host society, discussed below.
Host Society Response. As the models of integration examined in the last chapter clearly
illustrated, the principal determinant of integration is the agency of the receiving society.
Instrumental are the judicial and political rights which refugees enjoy, the conditions of civil
society, the agency of social and welfare entitlements as well as the extent to which cultural
assimilation or multicultural identities are engaged. These variables need to be evaluated and
this demands appropriate tool of measurement and data collection sensitive to the fact that the
impact of these factors will occur at different levels of analysis and it will differ between
refugee groups.
Appropriate methods. The choice of methods also presents a challenge. Quantitative
measurement is essential for policy makers and governments in determining trends and
impacts, although as noted above the lack of standardisation militates against effective
comparison. But with respect to the complex and interconnected variables which condition
the modalities of integration, methods of data collection and analysis are needed which
facilitate interpretative understanding of the process.

Implications and Conclusions

A number of implications and conclusions draw the research to a close.

There is marked variation in models of citizenship and the meaning of citizenship
across EUMS. The historical and political encoding of membership profoundly affects the
processes and objectives of integration broadly the polarity between assimilation and
multiculturalism. The embedded nature of these national models defines the challenge of


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convergence and indicates that functional measures will dominate the process of harmonising
EU policies on integration for the foreseeable future.
Accordingly, there is considerable difficulty in elaborating a cross-national set of
integration indicators given the variations in national policy frameworks, in the intended
outcomes of these policies, and the contrasting definitions of social inclusion and membership
which characterise the EUMS.
Of themselves citizenship and functional measure of integration are necessary but
insufficient indicators, because integration is more than a functional process of adaptation and
it is not easily susceptible to objective measures. Rather, integration is conceptualised in this
study in terms of social inclusion, the extent to which refugees are able to retain and develop
their ethnic and cultural identity, the capacity to sustain and empower their own internal
networks and support systems balanced against the structure of social relationships between
hosts and refugees, access and equality of opportunity and rights. These are the crucial social
commodities of integration. From these perspectives, measuring the degree of integration
depends on assessing the social and cultural domains of refugees and the mediating role of the
instruments of membership of the host community.
Policy frameworks and instruments play a formative and potentially empowering role
in the integration process. And much of the evidence tends to highlight the instrumentality of
agencies and institutions in the integration of refugees However, the key variables of
integration concern the types of social connection made by refugees with their host society,
and within their own communities, the levels of participation with the host society and the
opportunities which the state apparatus offers for integration. This suggests a move away
from a purely objective set of indicators which can be applied in a standardised form across
EUMS to a context specific and interpretative set of measures. Thus, although measures for
integration should address the domains of citizenship, governance and functional
performance, the process of integration has to be validated in terms of the refugees own
perceptions and experience of the process and the success to which their aspirations have been
On behalf of refugees, the stance adopted by representative agencies has underscored
many dimensions of this research, emphasising the varying objectives of: combating social
marginalisation (for example, the Refugee Council UK); promoting social and economic
cohesion (ECRE); and recognising the role and dynamics of social agency by empowering
refugees to engage in and participate in the multiple dimensions of social life of the receiving
country (Council of Europe). The relationship between the objectives of protecting rights,
promoting opportunity and facilitating proactive engagement underscore both the tensions and
challenges which EUMS face in the quest for integration.
Of the shortcomings amongst EUMS which the report has identified, one of the most
important is the lack of effective co-ordination of the strategies, actors and programmes for
integration of refugees and other migrants. It is debatable whether or not a formally coordinated strategy is essential in this regard only Germany has explicitly recognised the
need and has commenced the process of developing a nationally co-ordinated strategy. The
fact remains that more positive progress towards integration is predicated on better coordination at national and regional levels. The concept of end-to-end policy which recognises
the interplay between the various stages and processes of refugee status determination and
settlement, and integration is critical.


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De-linking the process and politics of refugee migration and entry from the more
general issue of immigration would improve the effectiveness of integration strategies and
instruments. In the context of entry, reception and determination stages, EUMS have
increasingly conflated refugee and immigration policies by their political response to the
escalating flow of asylum seekers. Thus policies of restriction and deterrence have: shifted the
emphasis of reception from settlement to regulation; have sought to resist settlement in the
determination stage; and consequently have accentuated the marginalisation of refugees.
These changes have significantly harmed the prospects for refugee integration.
On the other hand, with respect to in-country policies, there is ambiguity as to whether
refugees are better served by state-led, top down measures to support their integration or by
incorporation into the mainstream of policy for migrant and minority groups. A powerful case
can be made for mainstreaming refugees in all aspects of social policy and provision in which
diversity is managed to include refugees and other marginalised groups in the social and
economic life of the host country and thus avoiding ghettoisation.
In this respect there is active debate about the whether the presence of state policy is
always beneficial. There is some evidence from Italy, for example, that the lack of state
engagement with the refugees promotes independence and self-reliance and places the onus
on the refugees own resourcefulness, networks and support systems. In this context,
integration can be portrayed as a negotiated process involving refugees and hosts with the
state playing only a limited mediating role. Conversely, the instrumentality of formal
procedures associated with an assimilationist stance, notably in Germany and perhaps to a
lesser extent in the Netherlands, may militate against effective integration. By formalising
relationships, by embodying an element of compulsion and by regulating expectations of
conformity with the norms of membership which refugees are expected to display, state
intervention may not achieve the intended objectives for integration. In the case of the UKs
pluralistic picture, the question raised here is whether it is the structured nature of state
intervention which has brought about the multicultural outcomes in which integration is
measured in terms of social diversity, or whether the process involves a substantial degree of
spontaneous interaction between refugees and the host community and civil society.
Interestingly in Italy, as we have seen, mediation by state intervention has been insignificant
to emerging models of interaction and integration. Overregulation elsewhere in Europe can
promote counterproductive outcomes.


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APPENDIX 1: Individuals and organisations contacted for

the research
Interviewees: Nrnberg, Berlin, Brandenburg
Daniela Spendla, Psychosocial centre for refugees, Nrnberg
Frau Geger, Psychosocial centre for refugees, Nrnberg
Manfred Kohlmeier, BAFl, Nrnberg
Wolfgang Bosswick, European Forum for Migration Studies, Bamberg
Rathi Sugamar, Tamil Association, Nrnberg
Helge Margaret Knipping, BAFl, Nrnberg
Romi Bartels, BAFl, Nrnberg
Alfred Schamberger, BAFl, Nrnberg
Director and staff of Zirndorf reception centre, near Nrnberg
Director and staff, accommodation centres, Nrnberg
Uta Saumweber-Meyer, BAFl, Nrnberg
The Offices of Diakonie, Nrnberg
Georg Classen, Berlin Refugee Council
Hamid Nowtari, Iranian refugee association, Berlin
Ingrid Luhr, Diakonisches Werk, Berlin
Wolfgang Meier, BAFl, Berlin
Roland Schilling, UNHCR, Berlin
Joachim Rueffer, Red Cross, Berlin
Director and staff of Motardstrasse reception centre, Spandau, Berlin
Director and staff of Kormandalweg accommodation centre, Berlin
Steffen Angenendt, German Association for Foreign Affairs, Berlin
The Office of Barbara John, Federal Commissioner for Foreigners Affairs, Berlin
Thomas Schwarz, Berlin Institute for Comparative Social Research, Berlin
Staff at Diakonie, Potsdam, Brandenburg
Beate Danlowski, Caritas, Berlin
Director and staff at Al Muntada, Neuklln, Berlin
Director and staff at the Foreigner and Refugee Counselling centre, Cottbus, Brandenburg
Director and staff, the Refugee Council, Brandenburg
Almuth Berger, Commissioner for Foreigners Affairs, Brandenburg


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Interviewees: London: Newham and Haringay; Birmingham
David Hudson, the Refugee Council, London
Alison Fenney, the Refugee Council, London
Alaistair Ager, Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh
Mulat Tadesse Haregot, Coordinators Training and Support Scheme, London
RCO Development Project, London
Patrick Wintour, Employability Forum, London
Adrian Gray, Police Liason, IND NASS, Home Office, Croydon
Simko Brooska, Refugee and Asylum seeker action research project, London
Nadine Walsh, Refugee integration unit, AAPD, Home Office, London
Newham Somali Association
Haringay Refugee Consortium
Newham Educational Services
Somali Education and Employment Project, Newham
College of North East London, Haringay
Kurdish Advice Centre, Haringay
Kurdish Community Centre, Haringay
Refugee Education training advisory service (RETAS)
Dritan Dema, Midlands Ethnic Albanian Association, Birmingham
Philip Williams, Refugee Council, Birmingham
Juliet Olivo, Refugee Council, Birmingham
Staff and refugees of the Afghan Association, Birmingham
Staff and refugees of the Kurdish Development Foundation, Birmingham
Staff and refugees of the Sudanese Midlands Refugee Community Association, Birmingham
David Forbes, Midlands Refugee Council, Birmingham
David Barnes, West Midlands Consortium for asylum seekers and Refugees, Birmingham
Farhana Shiekh, West Midlands Consortium for asylum seekers and Refugees, Birmingham
Adrian Randell, Housing Team, Birmingham City Council, Birmingham
Sarah Giles, Refugee Action, Birmingham


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Interviewees: Naples, Rome, Florence, Venice
Dr Enrica Rigo, legal expert, Naples
Giovanni Zoppoli, (Pro-Roma associations) - Naples
Manfred Bergman, Casa dei Diritti Sociali - Rome
Prof. Ettore Zerbino, neuropsychiatrist, Medici Contro la Tortura, Rome
Carlo Bracci, mediacal doctor, Medici Contro la Tortura - Rome
Daniela di Capua, Italian Refugee Council (CIR), Rome
Marilisa Fantacci, Piano Nazionale Asilo (PNA), Rome
Stella Deiana, PNA, Rome
Prof. Claudio Marta, Istituto Universitario Orientale - Naples
Vaifra Palanca, ex-Commissione per lIntegrazione degli Immigrati
Prof. Leonardo Piasere, University of Florence
Prof. Paolo Bonetti, University of Milan Bicocca
Pierangelo Bertoli, asylum caseworker, Venice
Iole Pinto, volunteer, Siena
Piero Colacicchi, Associazione per i Diritti delle Minoranze (ADM), Florence
A. B., Kosovo Roma refugee, Masinis camp, Florence
D. B., Kosovo Roma refugee, Masinis camp, Florence
Sale, Kurdish refugee and cultural mediator, Rome
Jurgen Humburg, UNHCR, Rome
Laura Boldrini, UNHCR
Beppe Caccia, assessore alle politiche sociali, Venice City Council
Gianfranco Bettin, vice-mayor of Venice
Rosanna Marcato, Ufficio Rifugiati, Venice
Reception centres manager and caseworkers, Borgo San Lorenzo, Tuscany
Demir Mustaf, Macedonia Roma refugee and cultural mediator, Florence
Liza Schuster, London School of Economics, London
Moreno Biaggioni, ANCI Tuscany, Cecina
Saleh Zaghloul, CGIL trade unionist, Genoa
Gianfranco Schiavone, Italian Consortium of Solidarity (ICS)
Annette Elkman, reception centre manager, Volterra
Mr Hassan, Psychiatrist Fatebenefratelli Hospital, Rome
Masom, Iranian refugee, Rome
Prof Marco Martiniello, University of Liege

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Stefano Vincenzi, Ministry of Interior, Italy

Maria Silvia Olivieri, Italian Consortium of Solidarity, Rome.


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