Council of Europe: Integration policies should not pursue migration-control goals

The Council of Europe’s special representative for migration and refugees Tomáš Boček has called on member states to improve their integration policies.

In a report published on April 16, Mr Boček focuses on specific integration policies such as learning the language or acquiring knowledge about the political institutions, society and democratic values of the receiving country as well as residency requirements, income thresholds or housing requirements in the context of family reunification.

“Integration policies should not pursue migration-control goals but facilitate the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants and refugees. A voluntary and individually-tailored approach is essential for their successful integration,” said Mr Boček.

The report calls for mandatory language and civic integration policies which should take into account the specific needs of migrants and refugees and vulnerable groups in order to avoid risks of discrimination. Other policy conditions such as excessively high income thresholds, long waiting periods, restrictive housing requirements and reduced financial benefits may have an adverse impact on family reunification, which is an important element of integration.