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Spains Forum for the Social Integration of Immigrants Joaquín Arango Complutense University of Madrid Riga, June 2012 The conference takes place in the.

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Presentation on theme: "Spains Forum for the Social Integration of Immigrants Joaquín Arango Complutense University of Madrid Riga, June 2012 The conference takes place in the."— Presentation transcript:

1 Spains Forum for the Social Integration of Immigrants Joaquín Arango Complutense University of Madrid Riga, June 2012 The conference takes place in the framework of the Project Capacity building of NGOs representing third country nationals that is financed by the European Fund for Third Country nationals (with 75% of funding coming from the Fund, and 25% from Latvian state budget).

2 Immigration in Spain in a nutshell A still young country of immigration A very rapid increase between 2000 and 2009 A sizeable immigrant population (over 6 m. foreign- born, 13% of total population) From four continents and dozens of countries Overwhelming preponderance of labor migration Increasing family migration, little asylum

3 Foreign Population, Municipal Registers, by Region of Origin,

4 An immigrant-friendly country (in the European context) Immigration has met with a generally calm, quiet reception Rather liberal immigration policies A low level of politicization Practical absence of populist, xenophobic right-wing parties A strong commitment to integration at all levels A vigorous third sector Migrants have a large endowment of rights Good scores in MIPEX

5 The Forum for the Social Integration of Immigrants It is the official consultative body of immigrant population representatives at the national level It was established in 1994 in the then Ministry of Social Affairs, as a piece of the first national Integration Plan It is legally defined as tripartite and balanced Functions of consultation, information and advice (widened in 2006, including mandatory consultation)

6 Composition 30 members, plus a President and a secretary 10 members from immigrant and refugees associations 10 members from major NGOs (6), employers federations (2) and trade unions (2) 10 from public administrations (6 appointed by ministries of the national government, 2 from the regions, 2 from municipalities) Members are appointed for three years 2 Vice-Presidents

7 Composition A Steering Committee takes care of ordinary matters and prepares the plenary sessions Four Working Groups, dealing respectively with: a) legal matters, EU and international affairs; b) employment and vocational training; c) education and advocacy; d) integration, participation and interculturality Funding and administrative support is provided by the Ministry (including two full-time civil servants)

8 Selection and appointment The ten members from immigrant and refugees associations should adequately represent the diversity of the immigrant population in the country Appointed by the Ministry among the entities which respond to a public call and after a selection process based on the following strict criteria: a) statutory objectives; b) a sizable presence in the whole country; c) experience with projects in matters of integration; d) efficacy and evidence of good management; e) adequate structure and management capacity Same for NGOs representatives

9 Major capacities Mandatory consultation on any bill, decree, order, or norm that has to do with immigration, integration or related matters Putting forth, or channeling, proposals and recommendations Producing reports and assessments for all sorts of proposals and plans concerning integration Producing a yearly report on the state of social integration Receiving information on all of the above

10 Influence Difficult to assess It is a respected body Public authorities are not required to respond to its recommendations or appeals, but they usually listen to them and take them into consideration The Forum provides a valuable framework and space for frequent and close interaction and cooperation among public authorities, immigrant associations and NGOs

11 Influence Its influence is diffuse rather than highly focused on specific issues or events But, as an example, it was very influential in facilitating the participation non-EU nationals in the 2011 local elections, both by promoting solutions to remove administrative obstacles and by spreading information It is the foremost reference, as well as an asset, for the host of similar institutions that exist in many regions and cities

12 Advantages for the associations Being part of the Forum enhances the policy influencing capacity of its members It increases their visibility and prestige, contributes to their social capital, opens the doors of other consultative bodies for them, and offers them an array of contacts and opportunities It promotes mutual knowledge and facilitates informal negotiation

13 A final caveat As attested by the experience so far, the effectiveness of the Forum depends too much on the stance of the government towards it, which in turn very much correlates with its stance towards immigration at large There are signs pointing towards a less favorable stance than the one which prevailed between 2004 and 2011

14 Thank you for your attention!


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