Integration in rural areas

The Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography has published a brochure with guidelines for the effective integration of non-EU migrants in rural regions of Central Europe.

04/26/2022 · News · Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde · Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Raumwissenschaften · Forschungsergebnis

The Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography has published a brochure with guidelines for the effective integration of non-EU migrants in rural regions of Central Europe. It summarises the central findings from the EU funded „Arrival Regions“ project.

The brochure entitled „Tool Box“ presents nine effective, easy-to-implement and practical instruments. They are intended to help actors in rural areas to support the social and economic integration of migrants and to establish local welcoming cultures. „Rural regions in particular need effective support systems and tailor-made integration approaches,“ explains population geographer Tim Leibert of the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography. Otherwise, says Leibert, the newly arrived migrants would quickly migrate to urban regions. 

The toolkit includes modules on language learning, legal counselling, contact points, plan and organise the arrival, encourage intergenerational multicultural learning, navigating bureaucracy, involvment of locals in the integration process, support of one´s personal development, and empowerment of local stakeholders and networks. On two double pages each, the importance of the measure is first described according to a uniform scheme. This is followed by concrete implementation steps and supplementary recommendations. 

Each tool is rounded off by a short portrait of a pilot action in one of the nine European regions studied in the Arrival Regions project. With a view to the importance of the local population in the integration process, for example, the project „EMI BLK“ in the Burgenlandkreis in Saxony-Anhalt is presented. It uses the approach of social innovation and brings together young people with a migration history and German young people in team-building camps, among other things. Further projects were carried out in rural regions in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland and Slovenia. In total, more than 900 immigrants have actively participated in the pilot projects.

Recommendations to policy-makers form the final section of the guide. They are addressed to local, regional and national stakeholders and aim to successfully plan, implement and sustain socially innovative approaches to support migrant integration. „The local governments might not have direct influence on immigration legislation,“ the brochure says. But they play an important role „in fostering a welcoming and open environment by developing a local integration strategy, setting legislative and planning frameworks and providing funding to support capacity building activities in receiving communities.“ 

The toolkit and policy recommendations, according to the authors, identify tools and measures to prevent social and economic marginalisation of the newly arrived migrants and build a socially cohesive and harmonious society residing on mutual understanding and respect between the resident society and migrants.

Original publication

Leibert, Tim; Mikhaylov, Roman; Mrazova, Lucia; Svynarets, Serhii (2022): Tool Box – Interreg Central Europe Arrival Regions, Leipzig: Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde. 

Further information and contact

Press release - Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL)