Azerbaijan: towards a better migrant integration system through collaboration between the State Migration Services and MIEUX+

The Azerbaijan Government and MIEUX+ partnership is thriving. For the Azerbaijan IV Action, the MIEUX+ team is joining forces with the State Migration Services to develop a Migrant Integration Strategy and Action Plan.

They are also teaming up with the MOBILAZE 2 staff, a project funded by the EU and implemented by ICMPD that has a strong integration component. This will result in better delivery and facilitated access to social services for migrants in Azerbaijan, as well as a training course on integration for public officials.

This is the fourth project that the Azerbaijan Government and MIEUX+ will have worked on together. MIEUX+ experts are concurrently implementing another Action, with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan, to combat trafficking in human beings by exchanging knowledge on digital tools and improving government cooperation with local NGOs.

Why integration matters

International migrants represent a small but important part of Azerbaijan’s population and workforce. After years characterised by high levels of emigration, the country has recently started to record annual net-positive migration levels and has become a country of destination, especially in terms of labour migration and family reunification. Azerbaijan society is diverse, multicultural and open to foreigners with a welcoming hosting community. The challenges faced by migrants to integrate into society can include difficulties in finding employment and affordable housing, as well as accessing social and legal assistance.

In this context, the Azerbaijan Government has acknowledged the need for migrant mainstreaming in the integration process, and the importance of encouraging them to participate in local community life.


The MIEUX+ partnership with the State Migration Services

The State Migration Services of Azerbaijan requested MIEUX+ support in drafting a comprehensive and inclusive Migrant Integration Strategy and Action Plan to manage the integration of migrants and delivery of social services in a coordinated manner.

In addition, the MIEUX+ team and experts will work on the development of a tailor-made training course on integration for public officials. It will provide information on the basics of integration dimensions according to international standards, as well as a specific approach to putting integration into practice in Azerbaijan in the context of the new Migrant Integration Strategy and Action Plan.

This will be the very first integration strategy implemented by the Azerbaijan Government. It will target mainly labour migrants, migrants who are joining their families in Azerbaijan, repatriated and readmitted nationals, as well as refugees and asylum seekers. The strategy aims to analyse bottlenecks in the system and to fill the gaps in the delivery of public services, from improving healthcare access to providing integration and language courses, as well as making legislation procedures more accessible to migrants.

Launch event in Baku

A couple of weeks ago, the MIEUX+ team and State Migration Service organised an onsite event to launch the Action. It was a great occasion to gather all the stakeholders, with more than 40 participants from Azerbaijani institutions, governmental agencies, social services and the private sector. MIEUX+ colleagues from the local ICMPD office in Baku, as well as representatives from the EU Delegation in Azerbaijan, took part in the event, too.

Following a presentation and overview of ICMPD projects in the region, the event primarily focused on the capacities and needs assessment of the Azerbaijani institutions involved in the integration of migrants. Participants also focused on the definition of the objectives and pillars of the Migrant Integration Strategy and Action Plan.

Stakeholders will soon meet again for a virtual roundtable, organised by our colleagues from MOBILAZE 2 to discuss key concepts of integration, and exchange on the topic with international experts. The roundtable will be an excellent opportunity to develop partners’ capacities on a holistic approach to the integration of migrants.

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