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

The new integration programme was initiated in response to the increasing numbers of asylum seekers to the Nordic 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.

The programme, including a new website: www.integrationnorden.org, managed by the Nordic Welfare Centre, will be a hub for knowledge exchange, capacity building and networking between key actors working hands on with the inclusion of newcomers into Nordic labour markets and communities. It can be national agencies and local integration coordinators, but also businesses and civil society organisations.

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? See documentation from the thematic seminar 4 May 2017 here!

-          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’s role in the programme is to develop and present current data, comparative analyses and studies of integration practices, maps and “good practice” examples from Nordic regions and municipalities on the website, and contribute to thematic seminars.

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.

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