Ad-hoc query on civic integration policy in relation to recognised refugees
25 (Member) States provided information on inter alia the existence of civic integration policies, whether or not participation in a civic integration programme is compulsory for recognised refugees, and possible sanctions for refusing to follow such a programme.
The Dutch Contact Point of the EMN launched this ad-hoc query, because the civic integration system in the Netherlands has been topic of extensive debate in the Netherlands for a number of years. Many organisations have voiced concerns on whether the system is reaching the goal of helping newcomers integrate in the Dutch society. An evaluation of the current system showed that there are several obstacles for an effective integration.
No less than 25 (Member) States provided an answer, including Belgium. Some of the main findings of this ad-hoc query:
- Most Member States (AT, BE, CZ, DE, EE, ES, FI, FR, IT, LT, LU, LV, MT, NL, NO, SK, UK) have a civic integration policy, which encompasses specific regulations for recognised refugees, with the exception of BE, FI, FR, LU and MT);
- Participation in civic integration programmes is in the majority of these Member States not a legal obligation for refugees (BE, CZ, ES, FI, FR, IT, LT, LU, LV, MT, SK, UK);
- AT, DE, NL and NO impose sanctions in case of infringement of civic integration requirements. AT reduces the granted minimum benefits, DE and NO limit the duration of the residence permit and NL imposes fines;
- In MT, NL and NO participation in the civic integration programme is required to obtain a long term residence permit and naturalisation.
More detailed information can be found in the attached summary and compilation of the answers.