Making migration work: the role of employers in migrant integration
22 May 2008
This publication, which is the culmination of more than a year’s work by a European Policy Centre Task Force – run in collaboration with the King Baudouin Foundation and made up of company, trade union and civil society representatives, experts and EU policy-makers - aims to help fill that gap by considering what role employers can play in integrating migrant workers in the workplace and the wider community.
It identifies the needs of these employees at work and highlights critical areas where employers can contribute to fulfilling them. It draws upon a number of initiatives discussed during Task Force meetings, and sets out a framework for considering how public, private and civil society actors can work together in this area. It also looks at how and where responsibility for providing ‘integration services’ can be shared between the private and public sector, and highlights the benefits employers can derive from investing in migrant integration.
The paper identifies five basic tools which can and should be used to develop a comprehensive and effective integration strategy for migrant workers:
* Coordination: all levels of governance, from the European to the local, should coordinate their efforts. It is crucial to develop local-level coordination alongside national policy frameworks, and to monitor and evaluate initiatives effectively.
* Guidelines: raising awareness among employers of the need to - and benefits of - promoting migrant integration is vital. Consideration should be given to drawing up Europe-wide guidelines to highlight what can be done and how.
* Standard-setting: in addition to promoting, facilitating and encouraging the private sector to become more proactive, the state should capitalise on its role as a standard setter and as an employer of migrant workers itself.
* Clear policies and goals: mixed messages on integration policy, and complicated and bureaucratic processes, can make it difficult for employers to act in their migrant workers’ best interests. Clear, concise legislation and guidance on meeting the obligations this imposes are crucial to support compliance and reduce illegal working.
* Partnerships and funding: partnerships between different actors (whether in the public or private sector, civil society or migrant networks) can foster an effective division of expertise, knowledge and resources. EU and national funding can help to support such initiatives and ensure that they are sustainable.
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