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Migration Policy Institute Podcasts

MPI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to the study of the movement of people worldwide.

Legal Migration Pathways to Europe for Low- and Middle-Skilled Migrants

Against a backdrop of large-scale spontaneous migration flows towards Europe, facilitating legal migration is often called for as an alternative to irregular migration for individuals and groups not in need of international protection. Moreover, with populations aging and workforces slated to shrink over the next few decades in many European countries, policies that can efficiently recruit migrants to meet labor and skills shortages will be at a premium. While the conversation to date has focused on high-skilled migrants, short-to-medium term projections suggest that demand may also grow for low- and middle-skilled workers in sectors such as health and elder care, manufacturing, and construction. But the changing political environment around migration means that the space for reforms to legal migration policies has narrowed in many countries. At the national level, for example, policymakers must strike a fine balance between accommodating employer demand for more flexible and responsive selection policies and meeting their obligations to protect and promote the labor market participation of local populations. And while expanding legal migration pathways is a common theme of negotiations with third countries, both political and practical considerations (such as how to test demand and scale up initiatives) have stymied efforts to deliver on this pledge.

This event hosted by MPI Europe and the Research Unit of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration includes a discussion of research into legal migration pathways for work and training for low- and middle-skilled migrants not in need of protection.

Speakers consider several questions:
• What opportunities for work or training in Europe can low- and middle-skilled third-country nationals access? What policies and programs have been tried and tested at EU and Member State levels and how successful have they been?
• What practical reforms can governments consider to their selection policies to ensure they are primed to assess and respond to fast-changing labor market needs? What lessons can we learn from bilateral partnerships on legal migration in this regard?
• What role can the European Union play in supporting efforts by Member States to reform or expand their legal migration channels? Where is the European Union’s added value most keenly felt?

“Legal migration for work and training: Mobility options to Europe for those not in need of protection” is a project of the Research Unit of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration in cooperation with MPI Europe, and is funded by Stiftung Mercator.

Embarking on the Next Journey: Innovations in Predeparture Orientation Programs for Refugees

As the number of resettlement countries grows across Europe, Latin America, and Asia, the question of how to better prepare resettling refugees, as well as receiving communities, for what lies ahead is more pressing than ever. For resettling refugees, adjusting to their new lives can be particularly difficult. Often, they have lived for long periods in remote regions or refugee camps, with no or little formal education and limited knowledge of how to navigate bureaucracies. Equally, receiving communities may lack the information and support they need to welcome new neighbors. While predeparture orientation alone can neither guarantee a smooth transition nor expedite integration, it holds the potential to increase refugees’ confidence in their decision to resettle and to improve their ability to start life anew in an unfamiliar place. If done effectively, orientation can make a difference for refugees’ well-being and be an investment in receiving-community social cohesion.

While the potential benefits of such preparation are clear, it is far less obvious how exactly to make the most out of the limited time at hand before refugees depart. It can be challenging to strike a delicate balance between conveying key messages and skills for the next steps ahead while meeting refugees’ own information needs. What do resettling refugees need to learn before departure, and what information can wait until after arrival? Who is best placed to deliver predeparture orientation, and how can information be shared in the most accessible and credible way? And how can receiving communities best be supported in welcoming newcomers? To answer these questions, this Migration Policy Institute Europe webinar examines concrete and innovative practices of how to better design and implement predeparture orientation programs from the perspective of a diverse range of actors.

This webinar draws from the report, Preparing for the Unknown: Designing Effective Predeparture Orientation for Resettling Refugees and features remarks from the report authors, a refugee who went through resettlement process and now serves as a mentor for those being resettled in The Netherlands, and the head of the resettlement and integration support unit at IOM Norway. The report was produced in the framework of the European Union Action on Facilitating Resettlement and Refugee Admission through New Knowledge (EU-FRANK) project and lays out guiding principles for effective orientation programs for Member States as they decide or rethink what support they offer to refugees before arrival.

Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion Conference: A Sense of Home - Reflection on Key Themes, Next Steps

Drawing on the expertise of housing experts, refugee and migrant organisations, social enterprises, and urban designers, this final session of the MPI Europe conference, ‘Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion: A Sense of Home,' reflects on the key themes and next steps identified in the two-day conference such as the potential of co-housing for community building; the role of urban planning for more inclusive cities; building innovative cross-sectoral partnerships; and novel approaches to measuring and communicating success in social innovation.

Moderator: Elizabeth Collett, Director, MPI Europe (on leave of absence); Special Adviser to the Director General, International Organization for Migration

Speakers

  • David Manicom, Assistant Deputy Minister, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada
  • Laura Corrado, Head of Unit, Legal Migration and Integration, DG Home, European Commission
  • Sorcha Edwards, Secretary General, Housing Europe

“Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion: A Sense of Home.” European Economic and Social Committee. 25 April, 2019. © 2019 EU.

Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion Conference: A Sense of Home - Breakout Session: Innovative Partnerships

What types of partnerships best generate innovative ideas for refugee inclusion, what types of organizations should governments should partner with, and what are the challenges and opportunities of public-private partnerships? During this panel from the MPI Europe event, ‘Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion: A Sense of Home,' panelists answer these and other questions.

Moderator: Kenny Clewett, Director, Hello Europe Initiative, Ashoka, Spain

Speakers

  • Antigone Kotanidis, Project Coordinator on behalf of the Municipality of Athens, Curing the Limbo, Greece
  • Hugo Ortiz Dubon, Co-Founder and Diversity Strategist, We Link Sweden, Sweden
  • Viola Zabeti, Press and Opinion (Public Affairs), Union of Sweden, Stockholm

“Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion: A Sense of Home.” European Economic and Social Committee. 25 April, 2019. © 2019 EU.

Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion Conference: A Sense of Home - Parallel Panel: ‘Innovative Cities and Rural Communities’

Discussants at this panel from an MPI Europe event, ‘Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion: A Sense of Home,' examine the innovative approaches of cities and rural areas when it comes to refugee inclusion.

Moderator: Haroon Saad, Lead Expert, Local Urban Development European Network, Belgium

Speakers

  • Eleftherios Papagiannakis, Vice Mayor for Migrants, Refugees, and Municipal Decentralization, Municipality of Athens, Greece
  • Mari Bjerck, Researcher, Eastern Norway Research Institute, Project SIMRA (Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas), Norway
  • Antoine Savary, Deputy Head of Unit, Legal Migration and Integration, DG Home, European Commission

“Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion: A Sense of Home.” European Economic and Social Committee. 25 April, 2019. © 2019 EU.

Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion Conference: A Sense of Home - Breakout Session: ‘Beyond Employment: Social Inclusion Through Professional Life’

This panel examines the role of employment in creating a sense of home, including the role of professional mentoring in promoting social inclusion and access to the labour market. It was one of several panels at the MPI Europe event, ‘Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion: A Sense of Home'.

Moderator: Ben Mason, Researcher and project lead, Betterplace lab, Germany

Speakers

  • Julie Bodson, Advocacy Coordinator, DUO for a JOB, Belgium
  • Hugo Ortiz Dubon, Co-founder and diversity strategist, We Link Sweden, Sweden
  • Tariq Tarey, Director of Refugee Social Services, Jewish Family Services, United States

“Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion: A Sense of Home.” European Economic and Social Committee. 24 April, 2019. © 2019 EU.

Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion Conference: A Sense of Home - Panel I: ‘Creating Home? Housing as a Gateway to Integration’

This panel from the MPI Europe conference, ‘Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion: A Sense of Home,' looks at housing as a gateway to integration and examines the role of a home in shaping opportunities for newcomers, what needs should be factored in, and how to reduce receiving communities’ anxieties concerning social change.

Welcoming Remarks

  • Stéphane Dion, Canadian Ambassador to Germany and Special Envoy to the European Union and Europe
  • Carlos Trindade, President, EESC Group on Immigration and Integration
  • Meghan Benton, Senior Policy Analyst and Assistant Director for Research, International Programme, Migration Policy Institute

Speakers

  • Anila Noor, Member of the European Migrant Advisory Board, Netherlands
  • Tariq Tarey, Director of Refugee Social Services, Jewish Family Services, United States
  • Doug Saunders, journalist and author, Canada/UK
  • Fuad Mahamed, Founder, Ashley Community Housing, United Kingdom
  • Moderator: Meghan Benton, MPI

“Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion: A Sense of Home.” European Economic and Social Committee. 24 April, 2019. © 2019 EU.

The Next Frontier in Immigrant Integration Policy? Using Behavioral Insights to Foster Social Cohesion

Posted in International Migration, European Migration, Migration Policy Institute Europe by migrationpolicy on October 16th, 2018

Can tiny tweaks in how public policy is designed and how services work really “nudge” us to become better citizens? An increasing number of governments think so. Policymakers have used behavioral insights—an interdisciplinary, research-based approach to policy design grounded in understanding how people make choices in practice—to great effect to inspire people to become organ donors, encourage them to pay their taxes on time, and more. 

But while behavioral insights have been adopted in everything from education to health policy, their application in the field of immigrant integration has so far been limited. Could this method be used to promote social mixing and reduce inequality between those with and without a migrant background? Emerging experimental and real-world evidence suggests a range of ways a behavioral lens could to help policymakers reach their integration goals, from fostering open-mindedness among young people and reducing classroom segregation to encouraging immigrants to become citizens. 

On this webinar, speakers—Meghan Benton, MPI Assistant Director for Research in the International Programme; Antonio Silva, Behavioural Insights Team Senior Advisor; Laura Gonzalez-Murphy, New York State Department of State Director of Immigration Policy and Research; and Will Somerville, Unbound Philanthropy UK Programme Director and MPI UK Senior Fellow—explored what untapped potential behavioral insights may hold for integration policy, and how policymakers can start fitting this approach into their work. The webinar marked the release of an MPI Europe-Behavioural Insights Team report, Applying Behavioural Insights to Support Immigrant Integration and Social Cohesion, produced under the framework of MPI Europe's Integration Futures Working Group. 

Preparing Newcomers for the Jobs of Today and the Labor Markets of Tomorrow

Getting recently arrived immigrants and refugees into work has long been considered the lynchpin of successful integration, with the legitimacy of migration and asylum systems often linked to positive economic outcomes. Spurred in part by the European migration crisis, significant social innovations and public-sector investments have focused on assessing newcomers’ existing skills, matching them with available jobs, and providing training to those in need. But with labour markets increasingly characterized by technological disruption and the flexible but precarious "gig economy," this model risks being severely upended.

This Migration Policy Institute Europe webinar marks the release of two publications produced in the framework of its Integration Futures Working Group. Jobs in 2028: How Will Changing Labor Markets Affect Immigrant Integration in Europe? examines possible scenarios for how social, economic, and technological trends could affect jobs, labor market policy, education and social policies, and migrant integration. The second report, Tech Jobs for Refugees: Assessing the Potential of Coding Schools for Refugee Integration in Germany, explores the potential of coding schools for refugees to help alleviate skills shortages and provide a pathway to work—for more than only a high-skilled minority. Join the experts for a discussion of key questions: How can governments equip newcomers—and indeed citizens—with the skills to thrive in the job markets of the future? How can governments prepare public services and contribution-based benefit schemes for a changing world of work? And for those unable to find work, what are the alternative ways that newcomers can meaningfully and measurably contribute to society?

The State of the World on Migration – Vitorino & Papademetriou Discuss Challenges, Opportunities Ahead

Posted in International Migration, European Migration, Migration Policy Institute Europe by migrationpolicy on January 18th, 2018

Across the globe, the mobility of people has become a complex, multilayered phenomenon that no government can manage effectively in isolation. This is no more starkly evident than in Europe. But even as nativism and various forms of nationalism have become seemingly permanent features of European electoral politics, EU Member States are attempting to intensify cooperation on migration matters within Europe, as well as with key countries in Africa and beyond. Europe is not alone in the search for practical answers to migration and its many consequences. Every region of the world is undergoing rapid change and seeking to create governance structures capable of responding effectively to the challenges and opportunities presented by migration. While contexts and priorities differ vastly, the need for some common understanding amongst states as to how migration should be managed in the future is now a top item on the political agenda.

 

This MPI Europe discussion brings together two of the most experienced thinkers on migration policy— António Vitorino and Demetrios G. Papademetriou—to discuss these matters and explore what will be needed over the next years to ensure that the properly managed movement of people remains an integral, positive force in the world.

 

Vitorino, former Deputy Prime Minister of Portugal and former European Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs, was a key architect of European collaboration on migration. He is now the Portuguese candidate to become Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Papademetriou is the founder of MPI Europe and served as its President until the end of 2017. He has also served as Chair of the World Economic Forum’s global migration task force and the migration group for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and has written extensively and advised senior policymakers in dozens of countries. This timely discussion is introduced by MPI Europe Director Elizabeth Collett.

Conference - Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion Final Session - From Niche to Mainstream: Unlocking the Potential of Innovation for Lasting Change

Following the arrival of large numbers of migrants and asylum seekers in Europe from 2015 onwards, many non-traditional actors—from tech start-ups to social enterprises—have pioneered innovative solutions to foster the social and economic inclusion of newcomers. In the context of this experimentation, business has played a fundamental role, with companies on both sides of the Atlantic leveraging their potential as employers, donors, and partners in innovative alliances. This two-day conference reflected on how innovative initiatives for refugee inclusion can grow beyond pockets of good practice and inspire large-scale, long-term change. The event brought together a diverse group of public officials, business leaders, service designers, social entrepreneurs, civil society organisations, and refugee initiatives from Europe, the United States, and Canada.

The final interactive panel session “From Niche to Mainstream: Unlocking the Potential of Innovation for Lasting Change” included contributions from:

  • Chair: Elizabeth Collett, Director, Migration Policy Institute Europe
  • Louisa Taylor, Director, Refugee 613, Canada 
  • Ben Mason, Project lead on digital innovation around refugees and migration, Betterplace lab, Germany
  • David Manicom, Assistant Deputy Minister, Settlement and Integration Sector, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • Laura Corrado, Head of Unit Legal Migration and Integration, DG HOME, European Commission

Conference - Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion Workshop - Employer Engagement: Innovative Approaches to Training and Hiring Refugees

Following the arrival of large numbers of migrants and asylum seekers in Europe from 2015 onwards, many non-traditional actors—from tech start-ups to social enterprises—have pioneered innovative solutions to foster the social and economic inclusion of newcomers. In the context of this experimentation, business has played a fundamental role, with companies on both sides of the Atlantic leveraging their potential as employers, donors, and partners in innovative alliances. This two-day conference reflected on how innovative initiatives for refugee inclusion can grow beyond pockets of good practice and inspire large-scale, long-term change. The event brought together a diverse group of public officials, business leaders, service designers, social entrepreneurs, civil society organisations, and refugee initiatives from Europe, the United States, and Canada.

This workshop on Employer Engagement: Innovative Approaches to Training and Hiring Refugees featured:  

  • Chair: Laurent Aujean, Policy Officer, Unit Legal Migration and Integration, DG Home, European Commission
  • Sayre Nyce, Executive Director, Talent Beyond Boundaries, United States
  • Peter O’Sullivan, Resettlement Officer, UNHCR, Bureau for Europe
  • Mustafa Alroomi, Web Developer & Askim Kintziger, Innovation Consultant, Cronos Groep, Belgium

Legal Channels for Refugee Protection in Europe: A Pivotal Moment for Strategic Thinking

The European Union has long acknowledged the crucial role for new and expanded legal pathways in creating a well-managed migration system. Yet to date, there has been a lack of common understanding among Member States on how legal pathways can and should be used, how different channels fit together to achieve migration objectives, or what is meant by commonly used concepts, such as humanitarian visas. The refugee and migration crisis thrust the issue of legal pathways to the top of EU and national government agendas, bringing with it new energy for innovation and action; but progress has so far suffered from a lack of strategic thinking on how legal channels can work together and how to overcome the design and implementation challenges Member States have faced.

 

Following the recently released mid-term review of the European Agenda on Migration, this timely webinar offers insights from EU Member States on how existing, new, and untapped legal pathways—such as resettlement, community-based sponsorship, and family reunification—can interact with other humanitarian policies and fit into a larger protection strategy.

 

The publications discussed in this webinar are:

Tracing the channels refugees use to seek protection in Europe: http://bit.ly/2w3YMId

Engaging communities in refugee protection: The potential of private sponsorship in Europe: http://bit.ly/2xs188Y

Building an Evidence Base to Support Refugee Resettlement

The scale of the global refugee crisis has ratcheted up the pressure on governments and their international partners to find sustainable avenues for protection of the displaced. Successive international conferences, including the September 2016 UN summit for refugees and migrants, have highlighted the need for more resettlement places as an integral part of the international response to the crisis. At the EU level, Member State governments are under increasing pressure to open more legal channels to protection as part of a larger effort to reduce the demands on national asylum systems. Yet governments seeking to expand their resettlement program—or engage in resettlement for the first time—face a dearth of solid evidence on what resettlement practices work and why.

This webinar highlights the findings of an MPI Europe report on critical gaps in research and evaluation of resettlement programs, and recommendations for improving evidence gathering and knowledge sharing between resettlement countries. The discussion also includes insights from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and national resettlement actors on the knowledge and support needs that new and expanding resettlement countries face, and what role international initiatives such as the Emerging Resettlement Countries Joint Support Mechanism (ERCM) and the European Action on Facilitating Resettlement and Refugee Admission through New Knowledge (EU-FRANK) can play in filling these gaps.

This webinar is part of the European Action on Facilitating Resettlement and Refugee Admission through New Knowledge (EU-FRANK) project. The project is funded by the European Asylum, Migration, and Integration Fund (AMIF).

European Union Third-Country Partnerships: Where Do We Go From Here?

As European leaders prepare to meet in Malta early next month, their search for means to reduce the number of boats departing the Libyan coast is becoming ever more desperate. In the year since the Valletta Summit, the European Union and Member State governments have ramped up cooperation with origin, transit, and hosting countries, yet questions remain over how effective these partnerships have been and how far they can be reasonably be pursued. Faced with mixed results thus far, there is a growing chorus calling for offshore processing for asylum seekers and greater efforts to bolster Libyan capacities in "pulling back" boats headed towards Europe. 

 

In this context, discussions around longer-term interventions —notably the ability of humanitarian and development support to affect migration drivers— are less prominent. While policymakers discuss the pros and cons of making development aid conditional on third-country cooperation, less focus has been placed on effectively forecasting humanitarian and development needs, shaping successful policy interventions, and filling gaps in our existing knowledge about who, why, and when individuals decide to move.  

 

In this webinar, experts assess how policymakers can best reflect on the lessons learned over the past year, align their objectives with the realities on the ground, and shape a longer-term agenda going forward. 

Will Britain Leave the EU? The Role of Immigration in Brexit

Posted in International Migration, European Migration, Migration Policy Institute Europe by migrationpolicy on May 25th, 2016

On June 23, 2016, in what polling suggests will be a very close decision, UK citizens will decide whether the United Kingdom will remain part of the European Union (EU) or exit. The decision on the “Brexit” referendum will have enormous ramifications, in terms of trade, policy, and for the free movement of people and labor. 
 
While there have been referenda on key issues in EU countries before, this is the first time that a major Member State has put full membership to the test. Yet for many European governments, Brexit is a second-tier issue, behind the refugee crisis, the rise of the populist far right, the aftermath of the 2008-09 recession, and security on the Eastern border. Nonetheless, if the United Kingdom decides to exit, it is highly likely that the broader European project will suffer, boosting Euroskepticism and spurring debates over EU membership in other countries.
 
MPI hosts a discussion exploring how the migration politics and policies of the UK government influenced the decision to hold the referendum, how it might influence the result, and how the referendum’s outcome could impact migration policy in the United Kingdom and the European Union more broadly.

Asylum Reception in the European Union: A Flexible Model for the Future?

The pressure brought by the recent mass influx of migrants and refugees to Europe has drawn attention to the need for systems to receive and house new arrivals that can adapt to unpredictable numbers, remain cost-efficient, and meet national and EU standards. But what does it take to set up and manage a reception system that can simultaneously meet the demands of flexibility, quality, and efficiency?


Michael Kegels, Fedasil Belgium’s Director of Operational Services and author of the recent MPI Europe report, Getting the Balance Right: Strengthening Asylum Reception Capacity at National and EU Levels, discusses how to devise a more responsive asylum reception system at national and EU levels that upholds common standards. He is joined by representatives from the Austrian Ministry of Interior and EASO to reflect on the practical challenges of meeting asylum-seeker reception demand, the prospects of greater cooperation, and the place of asylum reception policy at the heart of the Common European Asylum System.  

Resettlement Plus: Clearing the Path to Safety and Opportunity for Refugees

Following the March 30, 2016 meeting of global leaders hosted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), MPI Europe convened a discussion to examine the outcomes of the conference, and provide an analysis of how states and civil society can work together to realize the intensifying calls for new pathways to support the safe and legal migration—and successful integration—of refugees in practice. Speakers consider what initiatives already exist to facilitate the legal mobility of refugee groups, and critically assess the potential and pitfalls that come with each. The discussion also examines new and creative ideas that have emerged in the wake of the Syria crisis.

Europe’s Migration Crisis: A Status Report and the Way Forward

As the migration crisis in Europe continues unabated and a deepening crisis in Syria unfolds, European policymakers are struggling to come to terms with two of the most urgent elements: making certain that 2016 is not just a repetition of 2015 (or worse) and finding the key to incorporating those among the 1.5 million migrants who will be allowed to stay (whether under some form of protection or simply because EU Member States find deportations “difficult”).


Freshly returned from several months working on the crisis from MPI Europe’s offices in Brussels, Demetrios G. Papademetriou provides a briefing on how the policy response to the crisis has unfolded at EU and national levels, and sketches an affirmative vision for what the short-, mid-, and long-term responses must be if Europe is to respond more effectively to the crisis and tackle the longer-term integration challenges. 

Scaling Up Resettlement: The Role of Private Sponsorship Programs in Addressing the Refugee Crisis

Posted in International Migration, European Migration, Migration Policy Institute Europe by migrationpolicy on February 8th, 2016

As the European Union considers scaling up plans to resettle refugees from Turkey and other countries of first asylum to improve protection, as well as reduce pressures to travel illicitly, limit the power of criminal networks and develop more equitable responsibility sharing among EU Member States, speakers, including the author of a recent MPI report, will discuss their analysis on how private sponsorship programs for refugees could possibly enhance outcomes and spread costs. 

Used by Canada, Australia, and a handful of other countries, as well as 15 of the 16 German länder, these programs permit private individuals, groups, corporations, and other entities to sponsor individual refugees for resettlement and accept financial responsibility for them for a period of time. Panelists explore how these programs, if implemented or expanded in EU countries, might provide an additional safe and orderly channel for refugees to gain protection and become one part of the broader solution that policymakers are seeking in response to the current crisis. 

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