Thursday, August 14, 2014
Report: Coordinating immigrant integration in Germany: Mainstreaming at the federal and local levels
"Mainstreaming," the practice of reaching people with a migration background through social programming and policies that address the needs of the general population, is gaining policy traction in Europe. Interestingly, however, the concept of embedding immigrant integration into mainstream policy areas such as education, employment, housing, and social cohesion has yet to become part of the discourse in Germany.
A new Migration Policy Institute Europe report, Coordinating immigrant integration in Germany: Mainstreaming at the federal and local levels, assesses the effect of immigrant-focused educational, employment, and youth policies and programmes that Germany has implemented at federal and länder levels.
The report, by Prof. Dr. Petra Bendel of the Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen in Nuremberg, finds that while Germany has embraced integration policies since 2005, the country's complex political and administration system, together with its culture, make the development, implementation, and coordination of such policymaking particularly challenging.
"Autonomy at länder and local levels often still leads to fragmented integration policies, especially when combined with highly decentralised competences on education (purview of the länder), making top-down coordination impossible," she writes.
While immigrant integration policymaking has become increasingly coordinated, the report finds that programmes and responsibilities are intertwined, blurred, and often divided across at least four different ministries.
The report, supported by a research grant from the Dutch Ministry for Social Affairs and Employment, is part of a comparative research project conducted in collaboration with the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford and Erasmus University in Rotterdam. It follows the publication of a recent case study of the United Kingdom, as well as an overview report offering principles of good practice in the design of mainstreaming strategies and initiatives. In-depth studies of Denmark and France will be released over the coming weeks. Read the studies here.