Beyond Crisis: Integrating Europe’s Migrants

Between 2015 and 2016, 2.5 million people sought asylum in Europe, the largest mass migration since World War II, leaving Europe to absorb a population the size of Rome.

The report, by Uuriintuya Batsaikhan, Zsolt Darvas and Inês Gonçalves Raposo of the Bruegel Institute, offers a comprehensive survey of European migration, including the gap between perception and reality on the ground and barriers and progress in integrating immigrants into European societies.

Some countries are more accepting than others. Hungary, Poland and Croatia accepted only 20 percent of its asylum applicants, while Malta accepted 80 percent and Slovakia more than 60 percent. In total numbers, Germany has accepted the most asylum applicants, followed by Sweden and Austria.

In most countries, the second generation is less likely to be employed, has less education and earns lower incomes than the first generation. Sweden, UK and France are exceptions. Sweden, for example, has a policy of internships and language classes for recent immigrants and is quick to resolve residency issues. Sweden, in fact, ranks first in the Migrant Integration Policy Index, a ranking of a country’s integration policies in education, the labor force, health, housing and others.

Access to banks and credit is another signal of integration. Research in the U.S., for example, shows that low-income families with bank accounts are more likely to save money, have a mortgage and vote. Coordinated policies can also help speed integration. Currently, European member states are adopting different policies for financial institutions with respect to migrants. Thus, the policies for France, Poland or Italy vary significantly in the level of identification required for a refugee to secure financial access. The report suggests national authorities and the European Commission should unify their approach.

Read the full article about migrant integration at MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth.