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EMN study on the integration of migrant women

12 September 2022

To what extent do Member States consider the distinct situation of migrant women in their integration policies? The European Migration Network published a new study on the integration of migrant women coming from non-EU countries. The study focuses on the areas covered by the EU Action plan on Integration and Inclusion 2021-2027 that support the integration of migrant women for example in education, employment, health and housing.

Globally as well as in the European Union, women account for around 50% of migrants. Women migrate to Europe for a variety of reasons, such as family reasons, labour, studies, need of asylum or other reasons. Recent studies show that migrant women face a so-called “double disadvantage”, due to the intersection of being a woman and being a migrant. For women with young children, the employment rate is significantly lower for migrant women than non-migrant women. In addition, migrant women have been disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study Integration of migrant women maps integration policies and measures in the EU Member States, and the extent to which they specifically target migrant women. It provides examples of good practices on integration measures for migrant women at national, regional or local level, and an overview of targeted policies or measures that have been developed to counteract the negative consequences of COVID-19 for the integration of migrant women.

This study can be a source of information for policymakers to develop integration measures, strategic documents and policies that better support migrant women in their integration process. Researchers may use the findings as a starting point for more in-depth research of the topic. The study also aims to raise awareness on gender-specific integration issues.

Main findings and trends: 

• Most of the EU Member States have integration policies in place, however, only few specifically address women.

• Responsibility for integration policies is shared between national, regional and local levels in the majority of the Member States. Most of the Member States have highlighted the importance of involving municipalities and non-governmental organisations in policy implementation.

• In most EU Member States, the integration of migrant women is currently not a national policy priority.

• One of the main topics of debates across the EU Member States is labour market integration of migrant women. Among the topics that are often discussed are barriers to access labour market, such as a lack of recognition of qualifications and language obstacles. Migrant women also lack awareness about their rights related to the labour market and incentives to seek education. Other challenges included discrimination, lack of social networks, limited access to childcare and other family constraints.

• In general, Member States acknowledge the need for specific integration policies tailored to migrant women. They mentioned examples of good practice that were implemented to address the integration of migrant women, primarily in relation to accessing the labour market and civic integration, followed by language training, education, health, housing and entrepreneurship.

• The majority of Member States did not develop specific integration policies nor adapt their existing policies to reduce the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on migrant women. This is because the situation of migrant women was addressed in policies aimed at migrants in general, or in national COVID-19 policies. The EU Member States that adopted integration policies specifically targeting migrant women during the COVID-19 pandemic concentrated on the area of counselling, extension of residence permits and multisectoral assistance from non-governmental organisations.

EMN Coordinator for Slovakia

International Organization for Migration (IOM) – Office in the Slovak Republic

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EMN Coordinator for the EU

European Comission - Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs 

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