Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth | Promoting integration throughout Ireland
To ask the Minister for Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth the extent to which he continues to promote integration in all circumstances throughout Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Migrant Integration Strategy was launched by my Department in 2017 and concluded at the end of 2021. The Strategy forms the central policy framework adopted by the Government to promote the integration of all migrants and their Irish-born children across ten areas of public policy. The Strategy aimed to enhance diversity, inclusion and equity for migrants across all aspects of Irish society. Additionally, the Strategy focused on social inclusion measures, improved access to public services and aimed to address racism and xenophobia and support integration and social cohesion at a local level.
My Department has commissioned a study to evaluate the processes for implementation of three equality strategies, the Migrant Integration Strategy as well as the National Strategy for Women and Girls and the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy. The study is expected to be published in 2023, with work to build the new Strategies taking place thereafter.
The Programme for Government includes a commitment that the Government will develop and implement a new Migrant Integration Strategy. The successor strategy will build on the momentum of the previous strategy and the scope has been expanded to ensure the challenges faced by all migrants are addressed. The consultations to develop a successor to the Migrant Integration Strategy will begin this year and will seek input from a wide range of migrants including second and third generation migrants.
A range of funding programmes have been made available in order to support integration within Ireland.
The National Integration Fund promotes the effective integration of migrants and Irish citizens with a migrant background into wider communities with measures targeting areas such as increasing mutual understanding between host communities and migrants; combating racism and xenophobia; and providing training to public and private sector organisations on equality and integration. Grants are provided through a competitive funding process to national and larger-scale initiatives for integration projects. In 2017, grants totalling €1.9 million were made available to 15 projects over a three-year period, and in 2020 approximately €750,000 in funding was made available to 14 projects, with almost €2.3 million in total funding being committed to the programme over a three-year period.
The Communities Integration Fund provides small grant funding to local community-based projects to support the integration of migrants and host communities. Projects take an inclusive approach aiming to bring migrants and host communities together. Each year local community based groups and centres can apply through a competitive funding process for grant funding of between €1,000 and €5,000. Since its inception in 2017, the Communities Integration Fund has supported over 710 projects with grant funding totalling €3.32m.
The Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) supports national and EU initiatives that promote the efficient management of migration flows and the implementation, strengthening and development of a common Union approach to asylum, migration and integration. One of the objectives of the AMIF 2014-2020 national programme is promoting and contributing to the effective integration and social inclusion of third-country nationals.
Ireland’s AMIF funding is distributed in a number of ways in order to help Ireland meet these objectives in the 2014-2020 national programme:
- ‘Open Calls’ for proposals provided €8.2m of grant funding to approximately 30 successful non-governmental organisations.
- ‘Direct Awards’ provided €4.9m of grant funding to public bodies that provide specific integration measures.
In response to the arrival of refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, the EU agreed to extend the AMIF 2014-2020 programme, bringing the effective programme end-date to June 2024
Additionally, under the European Social Fund+ 2021-2027: Employment, Inclusion, Skills and Training (‘EIST’) Programme grants totalling €2.7 million to promote and provide employment support for migrants were announced by my Department in 2022. Seven projects will be delivered across Ireland over the next three years to increase the employability of migrants who may be experiencing barriers to entering the Irish labour market. Projects will provide a range of practical supports including English language classes, individual actions plans and work experience.
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