pic_consultation_processOn 21 March, the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission presented its plan to launch a comprehensive ‘EU Action Plan on the Integration of Third-Country Nationals’. Rather than focusing only on refugees, the Action Plan aims to improve the integration prospects for third-country nationals (who are legal residents) in general. As such, it does not pertain to EU mobile citizens. It also doesn’t apply to undocumented migrants.

The urgency of an overarching action plan has been recognised in the face of the ongoing refugee crisis, in combination with the structural challenges related to enabling long-term integration. Third country nationals face a higher risk of poverty and social exclusion and have a more restricted access to the labour market.

What does the EU Action Plan say?

Whilst a draft version of the Action Plan is not yet available, it’s already possible for Eurodiaconia members to comment on the draft structure of the document by 4 April 2016.

The document is currently structured into 5 key integration phases and seeks to formulate concrete objectives and actions per phase:

1)      Pre-departure stage

2)      Arrival/early integration

3)      Integration into education and vocational training

4)      Labour market integration

5)      Active participation and social inclusion

Please note that these phases are not necessarily seen as being linear, so that ‘active participation and social inclusion’ initiatives would only follow towards the very end of the integration chain.

More information on the Action Plan can be found here (EN).

What can you do?

The Commission would be very interested in your feedback on:

  1. a) the scope of the document (does it make sense to incorporate the integration of refugees into a larger document on the integration of third-country nationals, rather than addressing it separately?)
  2. b) the structure of the document (do you agree the document should focus on the 5 phases as outlined above?)
  3. c) any proposals for concrete actions, or positive practices, which should be mentioned for the individual phases

Please send any comments, questions or suggestions you might have to Stephan Burger at stephan.burger@eurodiaconia.org.