Migrants here to stay in Europe, now integrate them, OECD says

Updated 29 June 2017
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Migrants here to stay in Europe, now integrate them, OECD says

PARIS: The peak of the migrant crisis in Europe has passed, but many of those who came are here to stay, and governments must focus on helping them integrate, the OECD said Thursday.
In the first six months of this year, about 72,000 migrants landed on Europe’s shores, around 12 times fewer than in the second half of 2015 when the crisis peaked, the Paris-based body said in its annual report on international migration.
But many of those who came, fleeing war or persecution, “are likely to stay for some time, at least until their home countries are safe again,” said Stefano Scarpetta, OECD Director for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, in the report.
The countries who took in migrants “should focus on helping refugees who are likely to stay in the host country settle and integrate in the labor market and society,” he said.
“This calls for a rethinking of both domestic policies and international cooperation,” Scarpetta added.
Despite numbers coming to Europe tailing off, in 2016, around 5 million people still migrated to OECD countries, mainly fleeing war in three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The figure compared to 4.7 million entries in 2015, making in the third successive year of rising arrivals.
Turkey alone is currently providing temporary protection for 3 million Syrians.
OECD countries registered more than 1.6 million asylum requests, with at least two-thirds in European states, and 1.5 million were granted.
For the fourth year running, Germany received most of the applications in 2016 with 675,000 requests, even though most of those lodging the applications had arrived in the waves of migrants of 2015.
Around 260,000 people arrived in the US and requested asylum, 120,000 in Italy, and France and Turkey each took in around 80,000, the OECD said.
Around half of the requests came from migrants who left Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The OECD found that different nationalities were concentrated in specific countries. Gambians and Nigerians, for example, tended to remain in Italy, their first port of call in Europe, while Sudanese nationals moved on to France and Iranians headed for Britain.
Presenting the report, OECD Secretary-General Jose Angel Gurria said international efforts were needed to address “negative perceptions” about migration, “which are often rooted in a misconception of the benefit that migrants can bring to recipient countries.”
The report said some countries had stepped up their integration efforts, praising the examples of the fast-track integration program introduced in Sweden and the adoption of the first-ever law on integration in Germany.
But it said integration policies were falling short in other countries.


Thousands of British families homeless despite being in work

Updated 47 min 4 sec ago
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Thousands of British families homeless despite being in work

  • More than 33,000 working families do not have a stable place to live, a 73 percent rise from 2013
  • Overall, homelessness has risen in England for more than six years, with 80,000 families in temporary accommodation including more than 120,000 children

LONDON: More than half of homeless families in Britain now have at least one adult in work after a sharp rise in the number of employed people unable to afford a secure home, a leading homelessness charity said on Monday.

More than 33,000 working families do not have a stable place to live, a 73 percent rise from 2013, according to a study by Shelter’s social housing commission that blamed rising private rents, a freeze on benefits and a shortage of social housing.

“It’s disgraceful that even when families are working every hour they can, they’re still forced to live through the grim reality of homelessness,” said Shelter CEO Polly Neate in a statement.

“In many cases, these are parents who work all day or night before returning to a cramped hostel or B&B (bed and breakfast) where their whole family is forced to share a room.

“A room with no space for normal family life like cooking, playing or doing homework.”

Mary Smith, 47, works full time in retail and lives in a hostel near London with her three sons after she was evicted by her landlord and became unable to afford private rent.

“I was brought up by a very proud Irish woman, and taught that you don’t discuss things like your finances - so letting my colleagues at work know what’s happening is very hard,” said Smith in a statement.

“I’m not hopeful for our future. I think it’s going to be this constant, vicious circle of moving from temporary place to temporary place, when all my family want is to settle down.”

Overall, homelessness has risen in England for more than six years, with 80,000 families in temporary accommodation including more than 120,000 children, government data shows.

Losing a tenancy is now the single biggest cause of homelessness in Britain, accounting for 27 percent of all households accepted as homeless in the last year, said Shelter.

The proportion of working homeless families, from security guards to hotel workers, has increased at different rates across Britain, with the East Midlands and North West England faring the worst, the report found.

It defines working families as those where at least one adult is in work.

Despite this, homeless charity Crisis said last month that Britain could end homelessness within a decade if it invested more in social housing and welfare benefits.

Britain’s parliament last year passed the Homelessness Reduction Act, which was designed to ensure that local councils increased obligations towards homeless people.

The government has also set an ambitious target of building 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s.