Nordic collaboration for integration of refugees and migrants

In June 2016, the Ministers for Nordic Collaboration decided to establish a new collaboration programme for effective integration and inclusion of refugees and immigrants in the Nordic countries.

This decision was made as a response to the increasing numbers of asylum seekers to the countries in 2015, which posed certain challenges to the welfare systems – but also implied a clear potential to our ageing societies – especially in the more sparsely populated parts of the Nordics.

The aim of the programme is to increase the efficiency of Nordic integration practices.

Nordregio’s role in the programme is to develop and present current data, comparative analyses, maps and “good practice” examples from Nordic regions and municipalities on a new “clearing-central” or website, managed by the Nordic Welfare Centre. The clearing-central will become a hub for knowledge exchange, capacity building and networking between key actors working hands on with the inclusion of newcomers into the Nordic labour markets and communities. It can be public sector actors, such as national agencies and local integration coordinators, but also businesses and civil society organisations.

The integration programme, including the assignment for Nordregio and the Nordic Welfare Centre will continue through 2018, in close collaboration with the Nordic Council of Ministers. Activities include thematic seminars for relevant actors as well as the forming of two expert groups, one targeting labour market integration, and one targeting social integration in a broader sense. Main themes for the first year will be:

-          The potential of immigration in shrinking communities – how to make newcomers stay?

-          Faster integration into Nordic labour markets – competence building and matchmaking

-          Segregated cities – housing and planning for more inclusive urban areas

-          Kids and young adults in the integration process – the role of schools and social networks

Nordregio has already conducted a number of studies under these themes, which will form the basis for the knowledge hub. See list below: