7 February 2017
The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD today launched the Migrant Integration Strategy which provides the framework for Government action on migrant integration from 2017 until 2020.
The Minister with special responsibility for Equality, Integration and Immigration, David Stanton TD launched the Communities Integration Fund which will provide funding for community-based organisations to promote integration at local level.
The Tánaiste said: “Ireland is increasingly diverse. Integration has to become part of our DNA so that its benefits can be felt by migrants, refugees and by society as a whole.”
The Tánaiste added: “The Migrant Integration Strategy provides a framework for action on integration for the next four years. It will stimulate action on integration by Government Departments, public sector bodies, the business sector, local authorities, and by civil society organisations.”
The Tánaiste continued: “The Strategy’s aim is to enable all to participate actively and constructively in Irish society. Measures are proposed to encourage greater participation in public sector employment, including in the civil service, on State boards and in politics. Networks will be used to communicate information to hard-to-reach groups and to enable their voices to be heard.”
“The Strategy has, as a priority, to ensure that mainstream services, such as in health, education, social protection and employment, are responsive to the needs of migrants. Targeted measures will also be developed to address particular issues.”
The Tánaiste added: “Migrant integration in the workplace has been a success story over the past decade. Businesses can play their part in ensuring that integration becomes a fact of life in their areas and sectors.”
Minister Stanton said: “Communities play a key role in promoting integration and in making migrants and refugees feel welcome. I have been struck by the level of good will among communities towards refugees and migrants. I want to build on that good will and to equip communities to take practical action to support integration.”
Minister Stanton added: “The Communities Integration Fund will provide small grants to community organisations across the country to take concrete actions to support integration and to reach out to migrants and refugees in their areas.”
The Tánaiste concluded: “This is a job for all of us. It is in our interests that we get this right, that migrants truly consider Ireland to be their home. Their talent and energy can help to build a better future for us all.”
Teresa Buczkowska provided a migrant perspective when speaking at today’s launch.
Notes for Editors
The Migrant Integration Strategy will run from 2017 until 2020. It is targeted at migrants, refugees and persons of migrant origin.
The Migrant Integration Strategy foresees actions applicable to all Government Departments and specific actions to address particular issues.
Actions applicable to all Government Departments
The actions applicable to all Government Departments include the provision of:
· information to migrants in language-appropriate formats;
· ongoing intercultural awareness training for all front-line staff,
· signage in public offices indicating where interpretation is available;
· clear information on how to make a complaint about racist behaviour by staff or another customer.
The Strategy also foresees that integration issues will continue to be mainstreamed into strategic statements and annual reports and into the general work of Departments.
Specific actions are set out which are intended to address particular issues. The organisation responsible for implementing such actions has also been identified. They include:
· the inclusion of a target of 1% for the employment of EEA migrants and people from minority ethnic communities in the civil service (in most cases civil service employment is not open to non-EEA nationals). This issue is important in terms of beginning the process of making the civil service representative of the broader population.
· Schools outside the established education system will be encouraged to network with the aim of providing information on child protection and health and safety regulations to them and of developing relationships with them.
· the establishment by local authorities of networks aimed at reaching out to hard-to-reach migrant groups so to help them to engage with Government Departments and to provide information on their needs.
· the development of the second National Intercultural Health Strategy.
· the establishment of a Communities Integration Fund intended to support organisations in local communities (sports organisations, faith organisations etc.) to undertake actions to promote the integration of migrants into their communities.
· the monitoring of current school enrolment policies over time to assess their impact on the enrolment of migrant students.
· the inclusion of a language component in education and training programmes for unemployed migrants with poor English proficiency.
· initiatives to ensure that migrant needs in relation to skills acquisition and labour market activation are addressed.
· initiatives to encourage the business sector to play a role in promoting integration.
· the establishment of a working group to examine data gaps in relation to migrant needs and experience.
Communities Integration Fund
The Communities Integration Fund will fund actions by community organisations to promote integration in their local communities.
The intention is to provide funding and support for communities across Ireland to play a greater role in promoting integration by providing practical support to facilitate social inclusion among the migrant population.
A total amount of €500,000 will be made available in 2017 to local community based groups to promote integration in their area e.g. local sporting clubs, faith-based groups, theatrical and cultural organisations.
Grants/funding may be provided up to a maximum of €5,000 depending on the size and nature of the project.
Activities may include, for example:-
· activities aimed at introducing newly arrived migrants to the community
· measures to encourage migrant participation in local civil and cultural activities (and complement existing programmes and activities)
· measures to encourage involvement in local sports clubs, theatre groups, youth clubs, after school clubs, scouts, dancing troupes, choirs, drama/theatre groups, parent& child groups, etc.
· measures to link migrants with opportunities in the community (including employment)
Details of how to apply for funding are available on the website of the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration – www.integration.ie.
The Migrant Integration Strategy is available on the website of the Department of Justice -http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Migrant_Integration_Strategy_-_A_Blueprint_for_the_Future