Sweden and Portugal are the best country for integrating migrants according to the latest Migration Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) 2015 report.
The MIPEX report was first published in 2004 and looks at the integration policies of 38 countries which includes all EU members and, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and the USA. It examines a swathe of policy indicators such as health, education, anti-discrimination, access to citizenship, opportunities for permanent residence, political participation, labour market mobility and opportunity for family reunification among others.
Migrant Report have provided a map and an overview of the biggest movers on the 2014 MIPEX, explaining their ranking and what each nation can to improve
Sweden is the number one country in regards to MIPEX’s policy index by having the ”more responsive and evidence-based, more ambitious, better supported” policies. MIPEX credits Sweden’s policy makers careful analysis of roadblocks to rights for both migrants and residents. Migrants in Sweden have access to very high standards of education, enforcement of strong anti-discrimination laws and fair access to citizenship.
MIPEX Recommendations: Despite being the leader on MIPEX, the challenge for high-scoring countries like Sweden is to expand upon policies to reach those who are migrants who are most disadvantaged.
Despite a struggling economy, Portugal continues to commit to integration with strong access to citizenship and anti discrimination laws, along with the introduction of effective new policies. These policies have provided migrants with more support to find jobs and receive training, in addition to making it easier for migrant families to reunite.
MIPEX Recommendations: While Portugal has committed to integration, there are areas where the country could improve. The country needs stronger policies to deal with migrants in disadvantaged areas such as former labourers, while recognising that this will require more resources.
The UK fell 6 places on the MIPEX table to 15th place, due to the UK government’s desire to cap migration. The UK government introduced policies between 2011-2014 that make it increasingly difficult for immigrants to integrate into British society, in particular ability to gain citizenship, access to benefits and the ease at which families can reunite.
MIPEX also suggest the UK government’s austerity measures affected integration, funding to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) was cut by 55%, and British schools are no longer required to report underachieving ethnic minority pupils.
MIPEX Recommendations: MIPEX suggest the UK’s policy become more lenient towards family reunification and also question the effectiveness of the cut in funding to equality institutions .
Similarly to the UK, introduction of anti-immigrant policies have caused the Netherlands to drop 8 places. MIPEX suggest that Netherland’s change in policy is due to pressure from the right wing. Immigrants in Netherlands are instructed to learn Dutch, however they are given no support in doing so. The country’s government expects migrants to be active within civil society, however there are no provisions made for those who might find it difficult to do so.
MIPEX Recommendations: The Netherlands’ ‘policy of no policy’ approach to immigration is insufficient; issues concerning family reunion, long term residence and dual nationality are far more restrictive than they are in the rest of western Europe.
Poland saw a big increase in regards to their MIPEX ranking, moving up 5 places to 32nd. MIPEX attributes this improvement to the implementation of a 2012 citizenship law which granted allowance for dual nationality and eased the pathway to citizenship. Additionally the country passed a new anti discrimination law.
MIPEX Recommendations: Despite improvements Poland still lags behind other countries on the MIPEX, currently sitting 32 out 38, due to poor schemes for migrant training, mostly weak discrimination laws and a lower than European average for naturalisation.
Germany has gained 3 places, moving up to 10th place through a combination of improving rights, increased support and providing new schemes for migrants. According to MIPEX this was due to Germany having ”the right political, economic and social conditions in Germany to experiment, evaluate and expand new ambitious integration policies.”
MIPEX Recommendations: Despite improvements, Germany can still improve in regards to equality rights, ”anti-discrimination policies and commitment against racism must be considered as integration policy and must be funded accordingly.”
Despite moving up 3 places to 20th place, there are still many policy areas where the country lags behind: access to public sector work, citizenship, language requirements and the ability for immigrants to reside in Austria. The labour market policy area is where Austria has improved the most in regards to integration, creating far more opportunities for migrants to remain competitive.
MIPEX Recommendations: The situation for 2nd generation immigrants is one problem area, they have difficulty in gaining citizenship. MIPEX calls for the allowance of dual citizenship for all citizens and an increase in courses for both low and high educated migrants.