Quality contact between migrants and long-term residents is essential for integration, but still rare

Survey conducted EU-funded FOCUS projects in Jordan, Croatia, Germany and Sweden show that the migrant and long-term resident communities are spending too little quality time together for the integration to actually take place. I am.

FOCUS, an international consortium funded by the European Commission (2019-2022), is an extensive group of more than 5,000 participants who first investigated both the socio-economic and psycho-psychological aspects of integration in the European context. We conducted a thorough survey and focus group.

“As millions of people around the world are now out of their homes and fleeing, FOCUS conveys the important message of fostering trust, reciprocity and relationships between groups of arriving and receiving communities. I am. ” Sabina Dziadecka GråbækHe works at the IFRC’s Psychosocial Support Reference Center in Copenhagen and coordinates the project.

The good news is: The need for integration (rather than assimilation) is generally accepted among the population. And there are many positive signs in contrast to the pessimistic predictions made since 2015. However, while the arriving community (immigrants) recognizes an active responsibility in the integration process, the receiving community (long-term residents) tends to impose this responsibility on the facility.

FOCUS shows that core socio-economic and legal barriers to integration remain important. Legal status and employment rights, qualification approval, family reunion, housing quality, and support beyond acceptance.

But FOCUS also has a social psychological factor of integration, the relationship between immigrants and long-term residents, that is, how they think and feel about each other, how they behave towards each other, and how much they behave. I also checked if I met often. According to a FOCUS survey, for example, immigrants have clearly shown a positive attitude towards long-term residents, while long-term residents tend to have a more neutral or moderately positive attitude towards immigrants. bottom.

Although superficial contact at work and school exists, quality social interactions between communities are still rare, but essential for integration. Yana Kiraruji A researcher at the University of Zagreb, one of FOCUS’s research partners, explains: Accepting community members who have more direct contact with immigrants has a fairly differentiated view of them. “

Receiving communities also tend to misunderstand the socio-economic status of immigrants. They underestimate the level of education and employment and overestimate the number of people receiving welfare assistance. Therefore, actively promoting engagement between the arriving and receiving communities and disseminating information that shows both the actual situation of the arriving community and the progress of the integration is a central priority of the integration work. Must be.

With the help of various partners of civil society organizations, FOCUS has proposed a structured framework. FOCUS approach to dynamic integration4 core elements:

  • Incorporating mental health and psychosocial support, we will significantly reduce the worries of society as a whole and improve happiness.
  • Establish and strengthen quality intergroup communication between the arrival and acceptance of community members, including through volunteer activities.
  • Through a co-creative and participatory approach, we are actively involved in both the arrival and reception of the community.
  • Coordinate institutions, NGOs and communities through partnerships and coordination of multiple stakeholders.
  • “A framework that is basically related to dynamic integration that can be easily transferred and used in other global contexts,” explains Gråbæk. FOCUS suggests that the funding and valuation criteria for the integration program need to be adjusted to reflect these key factors.

Please join us FOCUS Final Conference – By living together on June 1-2, 2022, we will learn more about our findings and how they can be implemented in policies and practices.

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Source: FOCUS project Quality contact between migrants and long-term residents is essential for integration, but still rare

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