Abstracts – Africa e Mediterraneo n. 88/2018

Alessio J. G. Brown, Labour Market Integration of Migrants in the European Union

An aging population, a decrease in the workforce, and lack of human capital: European countries are facing some demographic and economic challenges. Most of the studies do not find that refugees have significant impacts on the native labour force. A lack of legal employment possibilities and the existence of informal markets, in which there is high substitutability, can have negative impacts for the native workforce. International labour migration is typically circular and the restriction of labour mobility and migration usually backfires and comes at a huge economic and social cost in the long-run. As the article argues, successful integration of migrants into the labour market has positive effects on the domestic workers and scientific evidence continuously falsifies prejudices and common misconceptions.

Bernd Parusel, The European Migration Policy Crisis and the Need for Circular Migration and Immigration Status Changes

The EU has still not found a credible solution to deal with irregular migration and asylum and there is no sign of a possible easing of this phenomenon in the near future. While agreements and cooperation between the EU and transit and origin countries of migrants are not generally wrong, they are biased towards obstructing and preventing migration instead of channelling it towards safe and well-organised systems. What is needed is an approach that also reflects the positive implications of human migration. As the article argues, to address the problem of unsafe migration and to transform pressures on migrants’ sending and transit countries into real “partnerships”, the EU needs to establish legal pathways for migrants to reach Europe for protection, work or studies, and encourage temporary and circular cross-border mobility to and from Europe.

Chiara Monti, Promising Developments in the Labour Market Integration of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in the EU

Third country nationals face significant obstacles in the European labour markets. The situation is particularly difficult for refugees and family migrants, who are the most vulnerable groups of non-EU born in the labour market. Recent estimates suggest that successfully integrating into the labour market the refugees who arrived in Europe since 2015 could add roughly € 70-80 billion to annual GDP by 2025. The article is organised as follows: first, it describes the existing legislative framework; second, it discusses recent evidence concerning socio-economic outcomes of refugees in the EU; third, it presents some of the latest integration policy developments; finally, it concludes by looking at the broader and longer-term perspective.

Ojeaku Nwabuzo, Labour Market Integration/ Discrimination in the EU with a Focus on Migrant Women

Various research and reports show the structural exclusion of some migrant groups from the European labour market, in spite of a multitude of integration plans, projects and approaches focused on improving the access of migrants to employment. Data available in some Member States reveal that there is differentiated labour market integration performance by nationality. In most Member States, foreign or non-EU citizens have lower rates of employment than EU nationals. Moreover, EU Member States provided evidence of distinct disparity between the employment rate of women who were born abroad and those not. Consequently, migrant women’s experiences in the labour market conform to the gendered roles, attributes and behaviour that society deems socially appropriate for women and men. The vulnerability of migrant women to discrimination, exploitation and abuse is also reported to be on the increase in some Member States due to hardened attitudes towards migrants in general and because gender-based attitudes and perceptions are slow in changing.

Alessia Lefebure, The Recognition of Qualifications, Diplomas and Skills in Europe: an Important Step towards the Socio-Economic Integration of Refugees

These days various obstacles prevent migrants from obtaining recognition of their pre-migration education assets and therefore from integrating into the labour market at the right level. A number of local experiences in different parts of Europe have been successful in identifying and tackling the major statutory, legal, linguistic, economic and psychological barriers for migrants to access further studies and for their skills to be recognised. The Refugees Welcome Map, for, example, is an interactive map created by the European University Association (EUA), which aims to identify, document and update all initiatives. Yet, the lack of a common EU regulation and the heterogeneity of policies and practices across countries and cities create an additional obstacle by preventing awareness and capacity to act, even for highly skilled migrants. The access to higher education is still a primary step towards socio-economic integration and the empowerment of migrants.

Eloïse Chopin, Antoine Inglebert-Frydman, Lionel Pourtau, Reconciling Cultural Integration and Professional Integration of Refugees Thanks to the Cultural and Creative Industries: a Comparison between France, Germany and Italy

The professional integration of refugees is described by many researchers as the key to refugee integration in Europe. The Cultural and Creative Industries sector is the second largest employment sector in Europe. However, the occupational integration schemes set up by Germany, Italy and France for refugees are yet to be studied. This study, conducted through interviews with government officials, as well as representatives from the cultural industries and researchers, has allowed several mechanisms to be identified: identification, diffusion and financing, mentoring, tutoring and networking.

Giorgia Gruppioni, The Recognition of Foreign Qualifications in Italy: an Obstacle Course?

The recognition of foreign qualifications and professional titles is an increasing need closely linked to migratory movements that affect Italy and Europe as a whole. As the mobility phenomena develops, so do the necessity and the right to share knowledge and skills outside of the country of origin. However, in order to do this, legislation must respond effectively to the growing demand for qualifications to be recognised. This is still a big problem in Italy, where the recognition process is characterised by complex, lengthy and expensive procedures which prevent the full valorization of the knowledge and skills of immigrant workers.

Caroline Tovatt, The Integration of Migrants and Asylum Seekers into the Labour Market: the Case of Sweden

In 2015, Sweden was the European country with the largest number of asylum seekers per capita. Besides being a large receiver of asylum seekers and having a liberal regulation for labour market immigration, Sweden also has a highly regulated labour market, which is characterised by a consensus between the labour unions and employer’s organizations. These two factors make the organisation and the process of the integration of migrants and asylum seekers a highly contested political and policy issue. In the article it is presented the organization of the Swedish labour market, the organization of the asylum process, the introduction programme for refugees. Finally, it describes some of the main measures in the labour market policy targeting immigrants: the “fast tracks” program for academics, validation of vocational training and work experience as well as subsidised employment schemes. A model in progress.

Sofia Vilarinho, African Immigrant Tailors in Lisbon – An Approach To (Co)learning

The article identifies the issues concerning the community of African immigrant tailors in Lisbon, their role, practices and working conditions. Aiming to answer the question “how can tailors’ technical knowledge and skills be empowered, in order to promote professional integration of these migrants?”, a pedagogical approach is proposed as case study. In methodological terms, it privileges an interdisciplinary perspective that combines grounded theory with action-research. The findings show that the implementation of a co-learning training program can empower tailors with a more accurate knowledge about tailoring. The certification of skills promoted access to labour market thus professional integration.

Annavittoria Sarli, Pierre Georges Van Wolleghem, The Integration of Migrants and Asylum Seekers into the Labour Market: the Case of Italy

The most recent data in European countries shows that migrants are over-represented amongst the unemployed and are often overqualified for their job. As the so-called “refugee crisis” dissipates, this paper proposes to highlight the features that are likely to weigh on the labour integration of economic and forced migrants in Italy. It starts by highlighting the structural characteristics which make Italy a particular case. A recent immigration country, Italy displays a reluctant approach to migration which translates into limited opportunities for both economic and forced migrants. Placing emphasis on policies targeted at forced migrants, it proposes a reflection on Italy’s response to the challenges of labour integration and provides a succinct outline of the policies and practices in place to favour migrant’s integration in the economic sphere.

Anna Lodeserto, The Skills of Citizens with a Migration Background as a Way to Inclusion: European Tools and Good Local Practices

In 2017 the EU Skills Profile Tool for Third Country Nationals was launched in Brussels. It is a multilingual European tool used to determinate and classify the skills of third country nationals. Framed by the New Global Agenda for Europe’s Skills, its aim is not to directly validate the skills of migrant citizens, but to facilitate the inclusion, transparency and enhancement of their working skills, and in this way look forward to a more competitive Europe.

Angela Laconi, The Challenge of Finding the Right Skills for Integration of International Asylum Seekers. The Experience of the Social Cooperative SDP Servizi

This article is about the experience of SDP Servizi in North Sardinia. Focusing on participatory curriculum vitae construction, individually tailored volunteering and training programs, and a strong synergy with the surrounding social and economic environment, the cooperative aims to improve the prospects of the guests in its welcoming centres. It also seeks to promote general development in an attempt to remove the association between social origins, level of training and socio-economic mobility.

Nicola Pedrazzi, Made in Italy, Met in Lama di Reno: When Hospitality Becomes a Job

The article retells the story and the vision behind the Lama di Reno Training and Production Centre, located near Bologna in Italy. By combining labour integration, training, global vision, territory redevelopment and ethical enterprise, the Lai-momo cooperative has set up a center for training asylum seekers in leather manufacturing. On leaving the center, they are directed towards a job in Italy or in their countries of origin, thanks to the collaboration with EFI (Ethical Fashion Initiative) and funding from the European Commission.

The Editorial Board, Orienta, the Animated Video that Helps Asylum Seekers to Find a Job

Carried out by the cooperative Abantu and funded by the Evangelical Church, Orienta is a six-minute-long animated video created to help asylum seekers to find a job and as a form of support for specialist operators during orientation interviews. The video is characterised by blunt and straight-to-the-point language and animation, and is available to watch in Italian and nine other languages.

Laura Budriesi, Hadrasof Possession in the Wollo

The author describes one of the various healing sessions or hadras, which she attended, filmed and photographed during her fieldwork in Ethiopia. In this case the ritual took place in a village some distance from Dessie (Wollo). The healer Teshome Feleke assumes the name of Alì and acts as “Allah representative”. Hadras are the night sessions dedicated to healing and discussing different questions, not necessarily linked to physical health: mostly family controversies which he resolves with the consent of local authorities. Alì is a “great possessed”, he speaks behind a small curtained window, and heals even those affected by buda, sheitan or zar by means of a “drum treatment” with help from some loyal assistants.

Mary Angela Schroth, Major Themes of Africa and Immigration in the Exhibitions, Manifesta12 in Palermo and MAXXI in Rome

20 different venues, 35 new specially commissioned works, and 50 artists: various themes and artistic contexts bring to life the extraordinary 12th edition of Manifesta, the European nomadic biennial of contemporary art and culture founded in 1993 by Hedwig Fijen. African Metropolis – an Imaginary City also deserves attention. It is the largest exhibition of African contemporary art ever organised in Italy, conceived for MAXXI in Rome by star art curator Simon Njami.

Paola Lacarpia, The Frontiers of the Body: the Veil and the Female Identity of the Younger Generations

Hijab can be regarded as a strong symbol of cultural identity, while taking on a wide range of meanings for young Muslim women in western countries. The headscarf issue is a big deal in the media, which too often misrepresents women’s issues in the Muslim world. Research, conducted among some female students from high schools in Bologna, shows that references should be made to a number of factors. Women make everyday choices depending on the areas, circumstances, and goals in question: the veil is the external symbol of cultural values, since it reveals fluid, creole, and self-transforming identities in a globalised world.

Piergiorgio Degli Esposti, Giuseppe Losacco, The Boys of the “Nativi Musicali” Choir

The “Nativi Musicali” project is an interscholastic choir from the metropolitan area of Bologna which involves dozens of students, some with immigrant background, who love music and want to practice it. The main purpose is the dissemination and promotion of culture and the arts, especially music, with the belief that its “transformative power” is one of the most effective engines for the social development of the territory and the well-being of the individual and of the community. The theoretical model is “El Sistema”, a music-education program, founded by the musician and activist José Antonio Abreu.

Marwa Hagi, This is America by Childish Gambino: What it Means to Be African American

The This is America video, by the American rapper Childish Gambino, offers a disturbing but incisive representation of what it means to be an African American in the USA today. Its accurate symbolism and explicit violent images, which refer to elements of black history and denounce the current addiction to violence, have prompted an intense debate among both the public and the media.