Immigrants face slightly more obstacles than opportunities for societal integration in North Macedonia, which scores 42 on the 100-point MIPEX scale. North Macedonia’s score is lower than the average MIPEX country score of 49/100. Major obstacles emerge on the labour market, education (like Albania and Croatia), political participation, health (like in Albania, Croatia, and Serbia), and access to nationality (like Croatia and Serbia).
North Macedonia’s approach to integration is classified by MIPEX as ‘equality on paper’ only. Immigrants in North Macedonia enjoy basic rights and some security, but do not enjoy equal opportunities.
A country’s approach to integration matters because policies influence whether or not integration works as a two-way process. The way that governments treat immigrants strongly influences how well immigrants and the public interact and think of each other. Drawing on 130 independent scientific studies using MIPEX, integration policies emerge as one of the strongest factors shaping not only the public’s willingness to accept and interact with immigrants, but also immigrants’ own attitudes, belonging, participation and even health in their new home country.
North Macedonia’s current policies encourage the public to see immigrants as equals. Internationally, the ‘Top Ten’ MIPEX countries treat immigrants not only as equals, but also as neighbours and potential citizens, and invest in integration as a two-way process for society.
North Macedonia’s integration policies are below average in Europe. North Macedonia’s’s policies seem similar to policies in neighbouring Albania.
- Labour market mobility: Slightly unfavourable: Immigrants face several restrictions to enter the labour market and receive little general or targeted support to improve their skills and job prospects in the country.
- Family reunification: Halfway favourable: Foreign citizens who can meet the economic requirements can immediately apply for some but not all dependent family members, who are then insecure for their first four years, until they can become autonomous residents.
- Education: Slightly unfavourable: Immigrants in North Macedonia have access to compulsory education, but schools receive little-to-no support to address diversity or immigrant pupils’ academic, language and other learning needs.
- Health: Slightly unfavourable: Only documented migrants and asylum seekers have unconditional access to health services and even they enjoy little-to-no targeted information or support to access health services.
- Political participation: Critically unfavourable: Together with Bulgaria, China, Indonesia, and India, North Macedonia provides the most unfavourable conditions for political participation. Foreign citizens are not informed, consulted, supported or allowed to vote or join political parties.
- Permanent residence: Slightly favourable: After five years, immigrants who can meet the economic requirements can become permanent residents with full access to social security and assistance.
- Access to nationality: Slightly unfavourable: North Macedonia ranks in the international bottom 10, as immigrants who want to naturalise as citizens face a13-year-wait, and demanding language and economic resource requirements.
- Anti-discrimination: Favourable: North Macedonia’s strongest area for integration, immigrants are protected by laws that cover positive action measures and all forms of discrimination on all grounds and fields of applications. Victims have access to strong enforcement mechanisms and support from the equality body.