Since the 1950s IOM has implemented programmes that assist Member States with the integration of migrants as a key component of effective and comprehensive migration management. Integration is defined as the two-way process of mutual adaptation between migrants and host societies in which migrants are included into the social, economic, cultural and political life of the receiving community. As such, integration entails a set of joint responsibilities for migrants and host communities, and, in this broad understanding, incorporates other related notions such as social inclusion and social cohesion. Integration is a cross-cutting and multi-sectoral issue that pertains to policy areas that address the economic, social, legal, cultural, and civic spheres and impacts all aspects of migrants’ lives and their communities. Integration is essential for all stakeholders, not only as a way of providing economic and cultural benefits but also for ensuring the security and stability of societies as a whole.
One of the main challenges of creating an effective integration policy is to make sure that it intersects with other major policy areas, including the protection of migrants’ human rights and equal opportunities, employment and labour market issues, regional development, national security, social cohesion, public health, education, and naturalization and citizenship issues. IOM works with government, non-government and private sector stakeholders in countries of destination and countries of origin to address specific integration challenges, and to develop joint policy strategies and identify concrete support measures.
IOM's Global Approach
IOM supports policies that promote the social, economic and cultural inclusion of migrants within existing legal frameworks in countries of destination. Its focus is on the development of strategies that help migrants to better integrate into new communities as well as on assisting receiving communities to recognize the positive contributions that migrants can make. This two-way integration process is essential for the existence of thriving, multicultural communities.
Integration in Austria
Even though integration approaches vary in purpose and scope across countries and regions, IOM Austria supports this two-way integration process through a number of promising and well-established actions:
- Pre-departure and post-arrival orientation programmes: designed to prepare migrants for their arrival and facilitate their integration into host communities by managing their expectations and providing information about their rights and responsibilities, the country’s culture and customs, as well as information about education, health care and employment.
- Engagement with receiving communities and local authorities: capacity building programmes for local communities consist of training and information sessions on topics such as the cultural profiles of migrants as well as intercultural communication and conflict management; also, promote awareness raising activities in schools and various state authorities
- Engagement with migrants and the media: highlight the positive contributions of migrants, address negative perceptions of migrants and offer a platform for migrants to tell their own stories by helping them develop skills such as film making and digital storytelling.
- Empowerment of migrants regarding civic participation: provide civic education through greater engagement with local authorities, linguistic and cross-cultural mediators and migrant organizations and improve knowledge regarding protection against discrimination
- Support of integration of vulnerable groups: supporting the development of family-based care for unaccompanied and separated migrant children and building capacity of actors engaged in such reception programs to ensure the best quality of care for these children and youth, including regarding their education, language acquisition and socio-development opportunities
IOM Austria, Integration Unit
+43 (0)1 585 33 22 / 24, 14 or 19
Banner image: © Nick Mangafas