The collection of best practices related to policymaking in the integration of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers is based on the research undergone by the SIRIUS project partners for Work Package 3. The examples do not provide an exhaustive list, and the list remains open for all stakeholders to provide more content by using this form.
The aim is to ensure that this remains a living community in which stakeholders can make each other aware of innovative policymaking solutions that can be adapted to various contexts to ensure a successful integration of newcomers on European labour markets. Keenly aware of the contextual differences, the SIRIUS project partners urge stakeholders to always consider the specificity of their situation before resorting to implementing any of the tried and tested practices from below.
1. The Active Employment Measures programme
The programme assists unemployed individuals with their job search and help upgrade their skills. It represents a measure that intends on building up the skills of newcomers and preparing them to access employment aligned with their ambitions rather than to focus simply on low-skilled jobs. Rather than a single policy measure, it entails three constituent measures:
a) Job Rotation Scheme
b) Adult Apprenticeship Scheme
c) Upgrading of skills through employment
2. Subsidised employment programmes
These have had the greatest impact on non-western immigrants labour market outcomes based on the SIRIUS research. Wage subsidies are found to have a positive effect on labour market outcomes when looking more specifically at newly arrived refugees and family reunified migrants. Furthermore, studies show that wage subsidies help immigrants get into employment faster than other forms of activation programmes. Financial incentives for employers in the form of wage subsidies have thus proven to be a powerful tool for getting non-western immigrants into employment.
3. Financial incentives for municipalities
If provided in the form of an increase in the basic grant together with a cash reward per refugee in job or education, as included in the 2016 two-party agreement on integration between the Government and Local Government Denmark, it can embolden more support from the public authorities in ensuring that the newcomers are well-supported in their integration process. Since municipalities are responsible for 'matching' migrants, refugees and asylum seekers with appropriate jobs, this initiative could ostensibly be considered an enabler. However, it does encourage municipal authorities to 'push' refugees to take on any job, rather than the right job.
4. Mentorship programmes
In 2015, five municipalities received funding from the state to establish a mentor corps to help refugees secure jobs, and as part of the tripartite agreement, employers and employees' organizations must contribute to recruiting mentors among their members. As the research interviews revealed, obstacles related to participation in the social life due to language barriers, different conceptualisation and expectations related to workplaces and timing, exist and simply highlight the complex process of integrating in a different country.
While the best practice of mentorships in Denmark is acknowledged, there is a need to scale up this programme and to adequately implement it to ensure that the migrants, refugees and asylum seekers receive a holistic preparation of what it means, culturally as well, to join a Danish work place. Presently, such initiatives are often geared towards assisting MRAs with bureaucratic challenges like setting up a bank account or securing a social security number. Mentorship programmes should also familiarize MRAs with often unsaid/subtle social and cultural norms in a Danish workplace in order to assist them in better understanding and navigating their professional environment.