Catalan government works on program to help migrants integrate
CATALAN NEWS AGENCY – Scheme aims to provide legal, labour and social information for migrants
The Catalan government is working on a program that aims to provide migrants with legal, labour and social information to help them integrate. The executive’s idea is take advantage of the processes of family reunification and registering residency to communicate with the applicants and provide them with relevant information regarding legal or labour issues, for instance. The programme will be implemented in the coming months.
Catalonia is hosting 877 refugees from the state program, with applications for international protection multiplying in recent years. While the EU has published a report showing that member states have only relocated 16% of the refugee numbers they committed to taking, in the first half of the year, the Ministry of Equality, Migration and Citizenship has processed 4.990 family reunification requests, some 13.25% over the same period last year.
The new program wants the arrival of families to be “an opportunity”, stated Oriol Amorós, the head of the Ministry of Equality, Migration and Citizenship. Amorós pointed out that the “small but constant increase of family reunification requests” shows that “the great migratory movement of the first decade of the 20th century is being consolidated.”
“When someone brings over their family, they are saying that their migratory project is long-sighted. That fact is changing the idea that many migrants come to work just for a short time,” said Amorós. The secretary also pointed out that requesting family reunification generates “elation” and “hope” because being apart from the family is very hard.
“For instance, personal contact with women going through family reunification is very important,” said Amorós. The secretary stressed that “although Catalan society has not achieved gender equality,” it is something society is aiming for and it is important to tell them all. “The city registration process is a good moment to communicate a message of equality,” stated Amorós.
Catalan Refugee Program
Catalonia is hosting 877 refugees from the state program. So far, 1,093 refugees have been relocated by Spain, which is only 12% of the refugees that Spain made a commitment to take. As applications for international protection have multiplied in recent years, the Ministry of Equality, Migration and Citizenship launched the Catalan Refugee Program in January. The program is aimed at refugees who have completed the state programme without having reached sufficient personal independence.
In contrast to state programs, the Catalan Refugee Program primarily provides for the basic needs of the refugees. It then helps them to achieve social and financial independence. Moreover, the program is carried out with civil society and local authorities. Refugees receive the support of a group of three to five mentors. More than 2,500 volunteers have registered to be mentors, most of whom are educated women that speak several languages.