Effective access to social rights for immigrants : the role of local and regional authorities
Rapporteur: Muriel Barker, United Kingdom,
Chamber of Local Authorities
Political Group : SOC
For many years now the Council of Europe has been devoting particular attention to the issue of the integration of immigrants settled in the Organisation’s member States. In accordance with the principle that such integration is a factor for social cohesion in the host countries concerned, the Council of Europe has been encouraging member States to implement integration policies in the economic, social, cultural and political fields. To that end the Organisation has formulated strategies and placed such legal instruments as the European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers and the Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level at the disposal of its member States.
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe is also pursuing similar objectives, in terms of both the social integration of migrants (Resolution 153 (2002) on vulnerable groups and employment) and policy matters (Resolution 181 (2004) on “A pact for the integration and participation of people of immigrant origin in Europe’s towns, cities and regions” and Resolution 141 (2002) on the participation of foreign residents in local public life: consultative bodies)1.The Congress nevertheless considers that at the present time, despite the efforts of some European towns , cities and regions to promote the integration of migrants and their access to social rights, this population category does not always enjoy equal access to such rights. This means that we must analyse in detail the current situation of effective access by migrant populations to such fundamental social rights as employment, housing, health and education, with a view to presenting the 46 member States of the Council of Europe and their local and regional authorities with new operational resources in this field.
Local and regional authority management of the rights and responsibilities of immigrants is one of today's most controversial issues, combining economic, social, cultural and political dimensions that will affect the future of democracy.
The way we handle glocalisation2 tends to blur the image of immigrants as political subjects, i.e. active recipients of rights and responsibilities, and reduce them to a mere production factor, a highly flexible “human resource”, generating many undesirable side-effects.These contradictions between global, economic and political forces that shape democracy and compliance with responsibilities derived from the European Convention on Human Rights underlie one of the most exciting issues of the day: the new implications of glocalisation for the notion of citizenship. Thus far the concept of citizenship has generally been associated directly with nationality, in principle defined geographically, “we all belong somewhere” and socio-politically “with access to certain rights and obligations linked to a territory”, but the hybrid effect of modern-day globalisation is challenging these principles, calling for political reconsideration of the meaning of citizenship and sovereignty, which means reconsidering the role local and regional authorities play in effective access to rights derived through citizenship.
As a result, the debates on citizenship and immigration have tended to come together, focusing on the question of which administrative level should be responsible for allocating the rights and responsibilities of the inhabitants of a given place. As people move from one state, region or place to another, where they find new social and cultural relations, new conditions of work and pay, new policies, their ties with their place of birth change, and the rights and responsibilities associated with the concept of citizenship have to adapt accordingly, so that the new situation produced by global resource management does not lead to diminished access to basic rights and to politics that makes globalisation manageable.
This gives added relevance to the idea expressed by some writers of the European city as a space where "citizens" converge from different places, restoring the concept of the city as a significant territory where a local citizenship3 can emerge, consistent with European subsidiarity principles, including residence rights, structured around a "multilateral glocal citizenship" in which individuals are able to act and control their living conditions, in conjunction with other levels of management, in the face of the imposition of abstract supralocal structures that tend to create exclusion.
This particularly affects immigrants arriving in the cities of Europe from other countries for various reasons, in the hope of finding better living and working conditions. They share cultures and relations with the other local residents, but are set apart from the native population because of where they were born, or the work they do, based on their legal, economic, social, cultural or political situation. This stratification stems from living and working conditions that shed doubt on the principle of equality of opportunity in access to rights and responsibilities. Hence the concern to know whether and to what degree there is discrimination against them. To this end, the European authorities have introduced a range of regulations and strategies, which, as regards immigrants, include the concept of "civic citizenship".
In November 2000 the European Commission established the concept of "civic citizenship" as "guaranteeing certain core rights and obligations to immigrants which they would acquire gradually over a period of years, so that they are treated in the same way as nationals of their host state, even if they are not naturalised". This approach follows the logic of the Tampere conclusions whereby the legal status of third-country nationals should be approximated to that of EU Member States' nationals.
In addition, the conclusions of the "Conference on Immigration: the role of organised civil society in promoting integration", organised by the European Economic and Social Committee in September 2000, stated that the concept of "civic citizenship" should include:
- access to employment;
- education, vocational training and recognition of qualifications;
- social and legal protection;
- freedom of association and social and cultural rights;
- effective, free circulation of persons and free access to the territories of the Member States;
- access to information, integration and participation in civic life.
More recently, the Green Paper on Equality and non-discrimination in the enlarged European Union, prepared by the European Commission in May 2004, represents a real challenge for institutional and political change in the enlarged Europe, considering non-discrimination and fundamental rights as the basis of social cohesion.
It can thus be useful for local and regional authority decision makers to identify “best practices" which view the new situation in the light of how the European Convention on Human Rights is applied to immigration policy management. This means reviewing how the principles enshrined in international treaties at EU level are applied by the different levels of government in state and regional laws and regulations and their impact at the local level, where the rights and duties of immigrants are effectively administered, against the background of the possibilities opened up by the Charter of Local Self-Government.
The method used here is the case study. The cases of Seville and Stuttgart are analysed in depth, these two cities being significant in that they have experienced different types of immigration over different time scales. A third of the population of Stuttgart is of immigrant origin, while in Seville the figure is less than 10%.
2. INSTITUTIONAL CONTEXT
Equality of opportunity in effective access to the basis rights and responsibilities associated with the concept of civic citizenship is one of the basic principles that guarantee social cohesion and democracy, avoiding the emergence of “two-speed societies”, where social exclusion and marginalisation can lead to social conflicts or pathologies that generate insecurity such as that witnessed in France in autumn 2005.
This is a challenge for political decision makers at the local, regional, national and European levels, requiring a redefinition of the rights and responsibilities associated with effective “glocal civic citizenship”4 in an increasingly interdependent world where concern for security and markets should be matched with concern for social justice, human rights and achieving the UN's millennium goals to combat poverty.Traditionally it has been the job of national governments to define economic policies and areas of security and justice. But the economic, social, institutional and cultural changes brought about by globalisation broaden the field of action to a worldwide scale, transforming the practical implications at the local level (glocalisation) in every sphere, not only in the economy but also in respect of development models, territorial sovereignty and access to basic personal and collective rights. This situation has given rise to new hybrid forms of sovereignty between the national, regional and local levels and also the European and world levels, based on international agreements with organisations like the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the International Monetary Fund and others in the context of relations between the European Union and other countries. All this is generating a series of disturbing contradictions in approaches to the management of the basic rights of immigrants from non-member countries of the European Union: in the autochthonous population, who feel “threatened” by the media-fuelled picture of immigration as an “avalanche”, even though their personal experience of immigrants is much more amicable; and also among the immigrants themselves, who are segmented and divided politically by the regulations governing access to rights and responsibilities, where they are considered as worker-consumers, classified according to the needs of the labour markets or their ethnic distance from the majority population. At present, although substantial differences exist from one territory to another, local authorities are emerging as the best level for managing regional, national and international policies, with only a residual say in resource planning and allocation. However, at both the local and regional levels there are marked differences from place to place in the priority given to policies designed to foster access to the rights associated with the definition of effective civic citizenship. 3. STRATIFICATION BY ACCESS TO BASIC RIGHTS In the cities studied a pattern of stratification in immigrants' access to basic rights is identifiable, based first and foremost on EU and national citizenship and security laws, but subsequently refined by specific inclusion strategies using regional and local resources, marking different priorities and attitudes to the social inclusion of immigrants, depending on their situation vis-à-vis the regulations. These local resources may be public resources administered at the local level or private resources supplied by religious or lay movements, organisations or associations.
The result is extremely complex, but for the purposes of this study suffice it to say that there is a typology, based on the legal situation of the immigrant5 in respect of citizenship of the host country, which becomes more complex in specific cases depending on the possibilities available to them through the social bonds and networks they have access to, whether or not they have a steady income, their command of the dominant cultural codes (education, institutions, benefits, rituals, organisation, their integration being an important political task for the country, etc.) or the degree of prestige they attain professionally, socially or through various political activities.
Initially various groups may be distinguished in terms of equality of opportunity according to how far removed they are from full citizenship status, which is the first level of discrimination in access to rights and responsibilities:
· Citizens of a member state of the 15-member EU: these have the same formal rights as citizens of the host country, although in practice cultural differences work in favour of the native population.
· Foreigners who gain access to all formal rights by becoming citizens of the host country, after a qualifying period of residence in the country6 or by marrying a national or by being born in the country in the case of children of foreign parents. Germany also has another group, made up of citizens "of German origin” who come from eastern Europe. These formal citizens may find integration harder than certain immigrants who do not have German citizenship but have been in the country longer, because of the cultural and economic differences that may exist.
· Citizens of the new EU countries: these have access to basic rights conditional on their job status. They are only allowed to work in certain circumstances, when there are no nationals or EU-15 citizens able to fill the post. Otherwise their situation is similar to that of nationals of non-member states, although they take priority over these.
· Citizens of non-EU countries with no formal full citizenship status:
- Immigrant workers on work contracts: in Germany this is now only possible for highly skilled workers or frontier workers. Spain also has an annual quota, negotiated with the social institutions, of contracts intended for unskilled seasonal workers. Their situation is very different: those who are highly skilled theoretically enjoy the same rights as nationals except the right to vote, but in practice access to participation, housing, health, etc. is limited by the culture gap. In theory seasonal workers enjoy rights as legal workers, but in practice their rights are very limited, in the areas of housing and working conditions, for example.
- Contingent of Jews from Russia: allowed to enter Germany and acquire refugee status, although they may also work after six months in the country.
- Refugees and asylum seekers: access to work and the accompanying welfare benefits is strictly limited, especially in Germany, where they are not allowed to work until their second year in the country, which severely restricts their access to housing, health care, etc. This generally leads to them living in poverty and working illegally.
- People who enter the country as tourists or students with the intention of staying and finding work: their rights are limited to those which correspond to their status as tourists or students. If they want to earn money, they must work illegally. Developing their social and personal connections is the key to obtaining a residence permit (for example by marriage or finding a proper, skilled job) which opens the door to other rights, failing which they carry on working illegally.
- Foreign mothers of children born in the host country: they may obtain the right to reside and remain in the host country until their children come of age, but effective access to rights is largely conditioned by their limited welfare entitlements and the problems of reconciling work and family life. In Germany they must prove that the child's father is German, which is not always easy. In Spain the father does not have to be Spanish.
- Immigrants who arrive by marriage with a national of the host country or through family reunification: the situation differs in Spain and Germany, especially for adults and spouses, access to the labour market being particularly limited in Germany.
- Unaccompanied foreign minors of unknown provenance who enter Spain illegally: their rights are protected and they are placed in the care of the public authorities, but in reception centres run by NGOs, where they can stay until they are 18 years old, and receive education and vocational training to help integrate them into the working world.
· Immigrants awaiting residence permits, with limited rights: many immigrants find themselves in this situation, awaiting administrative decisions to legalise their residence permits or work situation. Refugees and asylum seekers are examples, sometimes having to wait years for a solution. In Germany they are called “Geduldete”, as they are given a “Duldung” or provisional permit allowing them to remain in the country until their application is processed or, if their expulsion is ordered, until conditions in their country of origin improve. Legal access to rights for this group is very limited, so they are more or less obliged to work illegally in order to survive, which conveniently helps to satisfy the demand for domestic or other unskilled services. In Spain this means that they are not entitled to the welfare benefits usually available to workers, and in Germany the help they receive is not enough to live on according to a series of statistics on living conditions. In some cases, because of bureaucratic delays, they do not even obtain provisional resident status, and remain in a legal limbo that makes them particularly vulnerable.
· Immigrants without papers and with no social and political protection: the experts interviewed generally agreed that these groups - those without papers, traffickers, criminals and terrorists - are all lumped together in the same boat. Theirs is the worst situation where access to basic rights is concerned: as they have no legal right to be in the country, everything is harder for them: they are discriminated against, exploited by firms and in many cases invisible to the authorities, unless the local authorities grant them certain rights as local residents, entitling them to certain local benefits. In Stuttgart this means tolerance in respect of access to education and certain welfare benefits, excluding health care, which is outside the remit of local authorities. In Andalusia, education, community social services and health care are universal rights and, as in Germany, the difficulties lie mainly in the restrictions on access to employment. This category of immigrants with no residence permits covers a number of different cases, including:
- Those who enter the country without papers
- Those who enter the country with tourist visas to visit friends or family, either out of necessity or in search of the protection of family members because they are not eligible for family reunification. When their visas expire they stay in the country and become “illegal aliens”.
- People whose residence permit expires at the end of their contract.
- Those whose expulsion order has not been enforced, following their arrest as illegal immigrants.
- “Unofficial refugees” who are traumatised or afraid to go home, or have problems because they are considered as foreigners in their own countries.
- Women victims of people trafficking lured into the country on false pretences and with false papers.
- Traffickers or criminals who exploit people without papers. There are social and ethnic networks which bring people in illegally and exploit them in the underground economy and sometimes for criminal purposes.
There are various organisations to which illegal aliens can turn for psychological support, refuge, food, training, etc., such as ethnic social networks, various church-based organisations and NGOs, especially organisations supporting exiles in various districts and immigrant support services. These are the places people in dire need turn to first.
After a while, immigrants without papers in Seville can contact not only the NGOs and other (trade-union, for example) services dealing specifically with immigrants, but also the ordinary public welfare services (health, social services, education, services for women, etc.) to which everybody is entitled in Andalusia, regardless of their legal status. However, fear of authority means that few actually turn to the public services, unless they are accompanied by members of NGOs.
In Stuttgart, where the risk of expulsion is greater and sanctions stricter, the new law authorises the expulsion of any foreigner for the sake of public order or security without any prior formalities. The church will often take in extreme cases, but immigrants without papers generally rely on ethnic social networks, NGOs specialised in specific target groups (such as women victims of violence) and there is also a care and civil support network operating under the name "nobody is illegal". According to local experts, however, some immigrants without papers get in touch with social workers working for the public authorities or for private organisations.
In spite of all this, the exploitation and risk these groups face makes it necessary to change policy, which means rethinking the target groups at which immigration policies are aimed so that they are not a source of segmentation. For this it is important to work on a given geographical area and include everybody living there.
4. EFFECTIVE ACCESS TO BASIC RIGHTS FOR IMMIGRANTS
The following is a brief analysis of the possibilities and limitations concerning immigrants' effective access to the various basis rights according to the case-studies carried out in Stuttgart and Seville.
ACCESS TO WORK, EMPLOYMENT AND RELATED SOCIAL POLICIES
There is a general consensus among the institutions of the EU that employment is the cornerstone of integration. The legal stratification of immigrants draws strong dividing lines between groups, which affect their respective access to work, giving the advantage to nationals all else being equal. The worst-off are those who arrive from non-member countries of the EU without papers, asylum seekers and refugees. Not to mention men and women reduced to slavery by international people-trafficking networks.
Access to (legal) employment opens the door to the other basic rights for immigrants, but politically they tend to be considered merely as readily available "manpower" because they desperately need to earn a living. There is a basic contradiction between lip service to equality of opportunity and the exclusion unwittingly caused by immigration and integration laws, which in denying immigrants access to employment paradoxically create a ready-made workforce for the underground economy and undermine the efficacy of other social integration policies.
In terms of quality the labour market to which immigrants have access in Seville is marked by: the structural need for seasonal workers; the importance of informal networks; the gradual feminisation of employment and seasonal migrations for men; greater job stability and quality during the legal residence period; the limited role played by the immigrants' own organisations. In Stuttgart the percentage of women concerned is smaller because of the ethnic composition of the majority group, and the possibilities of finding skilled manual work are higher but the quality of the jobs is lower.
In addition to the legal barriers there are social, institutional, cultural and personal barriers to access to quality employment. One factor is the lack of suitable information available to these groups. Another is the considerable red tape that makes it difficult for most immigrants to escape their precarious condition: different studies show that immigrants do not compete with nationals as they occupy different market segments; nor do they generate underground economies, which already existed and provide the kind of jobs immigrants do because no nationals want them7: immigrants have higher unemployment rates than nationals and generally hold less skilled jobs and work in more precarious conditions.
There is also discrimination in employment for cultural reasons, especially towards women. In the case of Turkish women in Germany, for example, wearing a headscarf can be a serious impediment to finding employment. This relegates them to more menial jobs than those done by men, as they are ready to accept any sort of work, because their gender role as “care providers” is transferred to the work they do outside the home to contribute to the family upkeep. This gives rise to situations, in Spain, for example, where there are not many jobs available and where women are more likely to find work than men, which not only burdens them with even more responsibilities but also exposes them to a real risk of domestic disputes and violence at the hands of their husbands or partners.
Another type of case exists where women are more or less "sold into slavery" under cover of seemingly legal business operations, when men use the Internet or matchmaking agencies in search of general care or sexual favours through marriage. These women have great communication difficulties and serious problems of isolation, making it difficult for them to be independent or find work, and if they do try to improve their situation they are frequently victims of violence. Prostitution is another frequent form of exploitation8.In spite of efforts in Spain to bring all immigrants into line with the law, and the seemingly strict laws in force in Germany, there is a series of factors in both cases that make the illegal status of immigrants a structural phenomenon:
· The contrast between the high demand for labour and the narrow channels of integration into the labour market.
· The long bureaucratic delays in processing residence permits.
· The existence of a certain civic permissiveness towards illegal labour that affects all groups of workers.
· The fact that some businesses are willing to circumvent the law in the context of a thriving underground economy9.
These attitudes to labour contrast with official policy fostering integration and qualification, which is “suspicious”, to put it mildly, considering the scale of the phenomenon and the undeniable savings not only to firms but also to the government departments responsible for social benefits. In practice, to open up the global labour market to highly skilled workers and offer poor working conditions to people from non-EU countries at the local level is to run the world labour market at the lowest possible cost, generating segmentation in local markets with unfortunate consequences for the equal opportunity principle.
ACCESS TO EDUCATION AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING
Access to education is considered by political authorities to be the basis of access to work and full social integration. Since the 1960s, however, it has been demonstrated that as long as schools do not adapt to the interests and needs of pupils, the failure rates of immigrant children will continue to be higher than those of nationals. This also means reconsidering the real role played by vocational guidance for immigrants at school: in spite of official policy they are still channelled into streams that prepare them for manual jobs. This contrasts with the official policy line, especially in Stuttgart, where the labour market is much more geared to skilled labour. In Spain immigrants have a higher level of qualification on average than nationals, but generally end up in jobs for which they are over-qualified.
The emphasis on education is justified in official discourse by the need for highly skilled workers, but as a number of the people interviewed pointed out, industrial relocation and reorganisation, together with large numbers of highly skilled workers nominally available for employment mean that there is no longer the same need for such highly skilled labour. They even question the present-day market's ability to absorb established immigrants recently trained to high levels in conditions comparable to those of their German counterparts, considering the important role of social and personal networks in finding work. This uncertainty is a source of concern, renewing the debate on education following the OECD's PISA report, with many middle-class parents preferring to separate their children from immigrant children, whom they consider to be a risk factor, and sending them to private schools, where nationalist and exclusivist feelings can develop.
Learning the language and cultural codes continues to be essential10, but is not enough: immigrants' self-esteem must be boosted by promoting their culture of origin if their social integration at school and in the local community is to be successful. This is an important challenge11 to which not enough attention is being paid, as it is often left to the private initiative of the communities of origin.
In Stuttgart and Seville children of immigrants and refugees go to nursery and primary schools, join in the various activities of the local community, etc. There is a demand for public nurseries that open while the children's parents are at work. There is generally a certain tolerance at the local level that enables children of asylum seekers or people with no papers to attend school. If the families are reported, however, they run the risk of expulsion. In Stuttgart the general level of schooling of foreign children is significantly lower than that of their German counterparts. Even more drastic is the difference in basic education. In Seville the average level of training of adult immigrants is higher than that of the native population in the same neighbourhood, but their level of basic education is lower.
One of the main problems for students from non-EU countries is the validation of their qualifications. This is usually easier when the qualifications are in technical rather than social subjects.
ACCESS TO HOUSING
Access to housing is one of the main problems facing immigrants, according to the people interviewed, because the ruthless speculation on the private market in the major cities and the lack of social housing are compounded by discrimination against immigrants in access to the free market, resulting in them having to pay more for housing than the native population. The situation is fairly similar in both cities studied.
Upon arrival immigrants usually settle in run-down urban areas, where housing is cheapest. They frequently go through intermediaries from the same ethnic community who have gained the confidence of the landlords. It is apparently difficult for immigrants of meagre means or from non-European cultures to rent flats. As a result it is not unusual for one immigrant to rent a large flat and sub-let rooms in it to others.
When immigrants come alone they usually share accommodation with others, generally from the same ethnic background. If they have family they generally live with the extended family. Problems of overcrowding (the “hot bed syndrome”, when people take turns to sleep in the same bed) and sub-letting are frequent.
In Stuttgart a housing policy has been developed to disperse refugees, which fosters better relations between them and the local families, avoiding the confrontations that have occurred in other cities. This option of 'decentralised' flats, avoiding the ghetto effect and helping the immigrants to fit in with the life of the community, is interesting, although the accommodation provided does not always take into account the size of the family. The number of refugees has steadily decreased of late, but Stuttgart will continue to build these decentralised flats, with some adjustments.
Housing immigrants who have no papers in one's home is not illegal, being regarded as assistance on ethical grounds. This type of informal support for people without papers in Germany is claimed as a form of 'citizen asylum', along the lines of church asylum.
In Seville there are far fewer refugees and asylum seekers than in Stuttgart. They are expelled or rejected within three days, during which they obtain a provisional police card. Those who are admitted are provided with housing, maintenance, a subsistence allowance and education for their children. The city council in Seville has flats and places in residences and hotels, in keeping with its international agreements on refugees. Those who live in hotels or residences receive a cash allowance.
ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE AND SOCIAL SERVICES
In Stuttgart the city's intercultural outlook is reflected in the intercultural adjustments made to the health system, in an effort to enable immigrants to receive treatment in their own language, especially the older generations (integration plan), although this does not concern all immigrants. In Seville the integration plan provides for mediators from their own culture to help immigrants in the hospital system. In neither city, however, is this sufficient to guarantee proper communication for all. In both cities there is free, decentralised access to the local social services and corresponding benefits administered by the local authorities.
One significant difference is that in Andalusia there is universal access to the public health system; even people with no residence permits are issued with health cards. A provincial health plan to combat inequality, run by the regional government, singles out immigrants as one of the most vulnerable target groups. There is also a directory for service users listing the addresses of the different NGOs providing various types of information and advice to immigrants, or working on specific health problems such as prostitution or AIDS. Immigrants generally consider the health care system here very good.
In Germany access is limited to those immigrants with residence permits, which results in the transfer of economic discrimination to the health care sector. The Geduldete can use private health care, and are only treated under the public health system in extreme emergencies. The same applies to immigrants without papers, whom doctors may report to the authorities and who not only have to pay for health care or childbirth but have no right to sick leave. Their only support comes from the family, if they have one.
In Germany serious illness and pregnancy are problems that can oblige people to return to their country of origin or trigger their expulsion. The local welfare services have done their best to have health care for all included in the local integration plan, regardless of the patient's administrative status, but the health care institutions are not run by the local authorities and, although certain financial resources are available for difficult situations, providing health care to illegal aliens can focus the spotlight on their illegal situation.
This permanent state of insecurity and instability frequently triggers mental disorders, especially among refugees and asylum seekers and women victims of violence or of the cultural role assigned to them.
En reality immigrants only seek medical treatment when they are too sick to go to work, because their insecure working conditions and lack of health cover limit their access to health care.
ACCESS TO CIVIC PARTICIPATION
The main differences between the two cases under study here lie in the institutionalisation of civic participation by immigrants. While Stuttgart, with its history of receiving immigrants dating back to the second half of the last century, has finally assumed its multicultural makeup, local government generating specific areas of participation and a formal framework for integration (in 2001 Stuttgart produced an “Integration Pact”), in which various public and private players actively involved in the integration of immigrants take part together, forming a network. This pact is something new in so far as, in an otherwise conservative regional context where immigrants' rights are severely restricted, it addresses immigrants' rights to access to certain services, considering them as local residents, regardless of whether their papers are in order. Immigrants are also represented at the municipal level through the International Committee, which advises the Municipal Council. It is an advisory body composed of representatives of the main immigrant communities and experts, elected by the local council, who work on such matters as security and urban development, employment, social affairs and languages.
In Seville there has been no specific local government intervention on immigration issues, but special regional and local government resources are channelled into neighbourhoods with high concentrations of immigrants. For example, immigrants tend to make good use of municipal civic centres as meeting points and venues for celebrating cultural events, as well as the city's sports and leisure facilities.
At the political level in Seville a "participatory budget" initiative has been organised in which local people contribute to spending in their neighbourhood on local infrastructure and cultural events. Votes are organised in each neighbourhood and all immigrants have the right to vote, even though few actually do so.
The role of local and regional authorities in vertical co-ordination
· International agreements between countries of emigration and immigration, considering not only the economic dimension, but also the ecological, social and political situation of the countries and people involved, can help to improve people's living conditions all over the world, as their “security” in the receiving countries in the medium term also depends more than ever on security in the immigrants' countries of origin12.
· Equality of opportunity in effective access to the basic rights and responsibilities associated with the concept of civic citizenship is a fundamental principle of social cohesion and democracy which helps to avoid the emergence of “parallel societies”:
· Multicultural cities play an important role in promoting civic citizenship by generating vertical and horizontal links, as in the case of Stuttgart which, assuming its role as an “international city”, has generated integration policies with the participation of immigrants and organised various international fora to encourage integration and combat poverty, helping to reduce crime and conflicts of ethnic origin to insignificant levels.
· In practice immigrants are being given gradual access to basic rights, but without any formal reference to the concept of “civic citizenship”. But gradual access in one country until full glocal citizenship is achieved calls for a process of “accommodation”, so that people do not necessarily lose their citizenship rights in their countries of origin and immigrants who have been in the country for a certain time do not become “eternal transients”.
· In practice the local sphere is a residual space where regional, national and international policies emanating from government and various economic and political players must be applied.
· In the context of glocalisation, local and supranational authorities take on a more prominent role which does not correspond in practice to the manner in which control of resources is spread among the different administrative authorities, making efficient co-ordination of resources and of the results of policies, from the European to the local level, more difficult.
· Regional government plays an important role of mediation between the national and local levels. Although it fails to clearly mark out the scope for independent action at the local level, the Integral Plan for Immigration in Andalusia (2001-2004) may be considered a good example of policy co-ordination at the regional level, as it is based on immigrants being considered as something more than mere manpower.
Immigrants and inclusion policies
· The means used to provide local information in large cities are not structurally suitable for managing the socioeconomic and cultural reality of the local population, as they tend to use the same approach as at state level. There is an immense dearth of knowledge about the living and working conditions of the local population, including immigrants, which results in the superposition of policies and resources based on ideas which are often contradictory.
· Developing strategies for the territorial and sectoral co-ordination of resources and policies at the local level, with the participation of immigrants, enhances the possibilities of access to basic rights for immigrants.
· The new immigration laws accept the need for immigrants in a rather 'defensive' manner, providing a legal framework aimed at controlling and integrating legal immigrants (considered mainly as human resources, consumers or victims), only incidentally addressing the glocal dimension of migration, with EU support, through bilateral agreements between countries of origin and receiving countries.
· The recent changes in immigration and asylum laws are placing more and more immigrants in illegal situations and leading to the rejection of more and more asylum applications, jeopardising the whole reception and integration system at the local level in cities with a tradition of immigration. The regulation processes have helped to bring the problems of immigrants with jobs into focus and improve their access to rights, but made things harder for those with no work.
· There is a tendency to criminalise the whole illegal immigrant population without any regard for the wide variety of situations involved. This vast mass of 'floating' population is statistically invisible and vulnerable to all sorts of abuse and exploitation, with no regard for their basic human rights.
· The vision of the local indigenous society as homogeneous generates false identities.
· Administrative modernisation and the involvement of NGOs in management open up new debates on the need for monitoring and evaluation of the concrete aims of policies, in order to avoid the use of resources to maintain structures without any attempt to empower the immigrants they are meant to help.
· Evaluation systems built around the notion of “good practices”, with no regard for actual contexts and the prospects of the players involved, have a tendency to become mere excuses for distributing resources based on criteria which are increasingly bureaucratic.
Gender and basic rights for immigrants
· Immigrant women general find it much harder to gain access to their basic rights as they compound all the disadvantages of other immigrants with the attitude towards women in their own communities and the host community and, in many cases, subtle forms of private economic and sexual exploitation by the indigenous population.
· Gender discrimination leads to the sexual exploitation of many women without social protection: two-thirds of Stuttgart's prostitutes are immigrants.
Effective access to basic rights for immigrants
· The contradictions in the development model leave the legal possibility of mobility and access to resources for immigrants in the hands of the employers; in this legal context, fraught with de facto inequalities, local and regional authorities find it very difficult to secure basic rights for immigrants.
· Rights can be more efficiently managed based on the different structural situations and on the immigrants' own expectations rather than on descriptive or multicultural visions.
· The shortcomings of the management model make it very difficult to control immigrants in illegal situations, but treating them all as criminals does not help as some of them are in desperate need of assistance because of the dire poverty in their home country, or they may be unable to prove that their lives would be in danger if they went home.
· Discontent in the working and middle classes is directed against those minorities which are culturally the most different, spreading intolerance and xenophobia as social difficulties grow worse.
· As it is practised at present, intercultural integration revolves around assimilation by the majority culture, accentuated by renewed nationalistic fervour in the face of the uncertainties of glocalisation, as witnessed by the emphasis on the need to learn the host language, no room being left for the culture of origin or for intercultural skills.
· Many local officials and police officers are not properly qualified to work with diversity.
Access to work, employment and social policies
· The different legal statuses of immigrants divide them into different strata which largely determine what access they have to the different basic rights and services. The worst plight is that of immigrants from non-EU countries, refugees, asylum seekers, Geduldete13 and above all immigrants with no official papers. This produces unwanted side effects, such as exploitation and thriving underground economies.
· The situation of legally resident immigrants differs depending on whether or not the host country's labour market needs more manpower: in Stuttgart the highest unemployment rates are found amongst immigrants, whereas in Seville they live in the greatest poverty.
· Different ethnic and national groups foster the creation of informal networks that act as go-betweens and help immigrants find work more efficiently than the official institutions. This often leads to the concentration of these groups in specific neighbourhoods.
· Some ethnic groups provide economic support for the creation of microfirms in the host country or the country of origin.
· In Stuttgart large numbers of immigrants risk exclusion when the firms they set up go bankrupt and they find themselves deep in debt. They receive psychological assistance and advice from NGOs like Caritas.
· Major social, institutional, cultural and personal barriers exist in access to quality jobs for immigrants, affecting their access to other rights: they may not have access to proper information and training; obtaining a work permit is very complicated and cultural differences hinder communication and lead to isolation.
· There is an underground economic network in the cities that thrives on the most vulnerable population groups, including many immigrants, especially those who are in the country illegally.
Access to education and vocational training
· At the European level there is a certain indulgence towards children of asylum seekers or illegal immigrants, although where there is no such general provision at the national or regional level, this indulgence is left to the discretion of the officials concerned.
· Women who belong to closed ethnic communities have less access to education than men, which makes their social integration more difficult.
· The failure rate of immigrant children at school is double that of children of indigenous families. The PISA report pinpointed problems in the education systems that indicate a lack of adequate resources in the case of Spain and a lack of flexibility in the German education system.
· Official policy in cities with a demand for skilled labour, such as Stuttgart, emphasises the need for highly skilled workers; however, tests carried out with immigrants shed doubt on the ability of the market to absorb highly trained, established immigrants on an equal footing with German citizens.
· The education system is generally placing little emphasis on empowerment in times of change and on the development of multicultural skills for the European market.
· One of the major problems facing immigrants from non-EU countries is the validation of diplomas and the discretionary nature of the criteria applied, depending on their country of origin.
· The cultural diversity of most European cities makes it necessary to train teachers and other school staff and public servants to show respect for minority cultures and appreciate the value of interculturality, emphasising intercultural management as a necessary skill at every level of the economy and the education system.
Access to health care
· Opening up the social and health services to all avoids many problems of discrimination and social exclusion from these rights, but a policy is also needed to bring an intercultural dimension into the management of the services concerned in order to facilitate communication with immigrants who do not have a good enough command of the language and institutional ways of the host country.
· In Germany there is discrimination against the most socially and economically disadvantaged groups in access to the public health care system, as only those immigrants whose papers are in order qualify for public health care: the situation changes radically with the immigrant's legal status; the Geduldete, on the other hand, must consult private doctors, and illegal aliens not only have to pay for any medical treatment but also run the risk of being denounced end expelled from the country.
· In Stuttgart efforts are made to allow legally resident immigrants who pay contributions to receive treatment in their own language, especially elderly people.
· Health care for immigrants should be considered from a comprehensive public health perspective that takes into account the pressures they are under.
· If no attention is paid to the problems of anxiety and mental health brought on by their precarious living conditions or the risk of expulsion, they may lead to marginalisation.
· There is no gender equality dimension where childcare is concerned, which in strongly family-based societies causes problems when other family members are unavailable to look after young children.
Access to housing
· Immigrants are particularly exposed to lack of housing, or sub-standard housing.
· Overcrowding is commonplace among immigrants who have not been in the country long and seasonal workers.
· Access to housing is one of the main problems for immigrants. When renting flats immigrants are often faced with high prices, strict requirements and, frequently, cultural prejudices.
· Segregation in the housing market means that immigrants are concentrated in run-down neighbourhoods which can easily become ghettos.
· There is a lack of transparency in the workings of the housing market, with informal ethnic networks developing that grow in power and organise access to housing for newcomers, especially those without papers.
Access to citizen participation
· In territories where immigrants are entitled to take part in local elections, they rarely do. They tend to consider elections in their own country more important.
· There are few places where natives and immigrants can relax together, or where immigrants from different ethnic or national groups can meet socially.
· Ethnic conflicts in the countries of origin tend to continue in the receiving cities, creating dividing lines between areas of representation and participation.
· There is a lack of confidence and also of information amongst immigrants regarding the real impact their participation might have.
· The forms of political representation through the social fabric of organised immigrants often fail to reflect the interests of the immigrant community.
· When areas of participation open to immigrants are created, little attention is generally paid to the constraints imposed by their working hours or family duties when events are organised.
The role of local and regional authorities in vertical co-ordination
Ø Local and regional authorities should take political responsibility for defending the rights and responsibilities associated with “effective glocal civic citizenship” to uphold democracy in an increasingly interrelated world, reconciling the needs of security with those of social justice, as a means of tackling the root causes of the new immigration and helping to achieve the UN's Millennium Goals.
Ø Efforts are needed to foster multilateral glocal citizenship, making the rights and responsibilities linked to the territory in which immigrants live compatible with those to which they are tied socially, culturally and politically: international agreements are a good means of achieving this.
Ø Local and regional authorities should recognise the rights and responsibilities of immigrants as residents of a municipality / region / country / supranational entity / country of origin, networking with other government departments to uphold the equality principle and avoid social unrest: i.e. glocal citizenship.
Ø It would be useful to clearly define how the Charter of Local Self-Government, the Subsidiarity principle and the powers of the supra-local authorities fit into the picture, doing away once and for all with the ambiguity between people's rights as glocal residents and citizens and as citizens of a particular state.
Ø The different public administrations and institutions need to acknowledge and address the existence of vast supplies of illegal immigrants and the need to guarantee their human rights as people, not just manpower, consumers or merchandise, in order to avoid social conflict.
Ø Local and regional authorities should conclude agreements with immigrants' cities and regions of origin, which have already demonstrated their usefulness in fostering mobility and the return of immigrants wishing to go home, setting aside resources so that returnees make the best of their experience in both countries.
Ø All levels of government, from the local to the European, should work together to redefine the role of the various administrative bodies responsible for developing and managing economic and social cohesion and security and justice policies that in turn affect immigration and local community policies.
Ø The competences of the different government authorities must be clearly defined, together with communication channels to facilitate their co-ordination and effective implementation, from the European through to the local level.
Ø Local authorities should try to achieve this at their own level through local immigration policy Co-ordination Plans.
Ø More resources must be devoted to social inclusion: European studies have revealed that investing in equality policies is economically and socially beneficial to the community in the medium term.
Immigrants and integration policies
Ø The complex phenomenon of immigration must not be addressed solely in terms of security and control.
Ø Integration policies and the corresponding resources should be a clear priority in the political agenda, as they help to foster equality of opportunity and social cohesion, i.e. societies based on democratic values.
Ø Improved means of gathering information and understanding socioeconomic realities must be developed, based on glocal residents as political subjects, to promote access to basic rights without generating conflicts, and to improve governance.
Ø Target groups must be identified from a structural perspective (possibilities of access to quality employment, education, housing, health, etc. and expectations based on each person's background, including their systems of beliefs about themselves and the world around them), not from a descriptive standpoint (by ethnic group, nationality, etc.), which can be a source of division rather than co-operation.
Ø Territories and players must be brought together in local partnerships to manage policies, including monitoring and assessment, while developing skills.
Ø Specialised skills should be developed through agreements with universities.
Ø Local and regional authorities should demand more rigour of the media when they publish news on immigration issues, and make sure they comply with non-discrimination laws.
Gender perspective in the management of immigrants' basic rights
Ø Effective cross-disciplinary policies are needed to foster equality and non-discrimination for all.
Ø It is very important to encourage active participation by immigrant women in every aspect of the host society, including politics, socio-cultural activities, education, training and the labour market.
Ø Genuine social infrastructure is needed in order to promote policies of equality between men and women in both the public and private spheres on the basis of the valuing of non-commercialised work.
Ø Immigrant women who marry nationals of the host country should be given more support in order to avoid isolation, exploitation in the home and violence.
Ø Multiculturalism and respect for cultural differences should not serve to condone or justify abuses or violations of basic human rights.
Ø A greater effort must be made to prevent prostitution networks, which exploit women and generate violence.
Ø Prostitution should be studied more closely and not considered as a homogeneous sector, with a view to stepping up the fight against slavery and people trafficking.
Effective access to basic rights for immigrants
Ø Greater efforts must be made to introduce and effectively enforce regulations to combat discrimination on ethnic or racial grounds.
Ø Empowering immigrants and enhancing their social assets should be a part of policies to foster integration and access to basic rights.
Ø The public authorities should develop policy and resource co-ordination plans, in conjunction with the main political groups, which transcend changes of government and the uncertainties linked to the election process.
Ø It is important to make flexible use of the available public and private resources, fostering forms of communication that encourage a culture of diversity in the organisations involved.
Ø Creating networks of skill-improving organisations with the participation of public and private local players, to identify and prioritise the needs and generate an atmosphere and culture of tolerance, so that conflicts are self-regulating, is an effective way of implementing integration policies and access to basic rights for immigrants.
Ø Policies and strategies should avoid creating a competitive relationship between vulnerable groups and immigrants, by providing for common spaces for education, work and intercultural leisure.
Ø Better communication is required between local residents and in the media, as well as participation in local political life, which requires instruments compatible with socio-economic and cultural diversity, using the new ICTs.
Access to work, employment and social policies
Ø Social and work integration policies should be developed offering public support to immigrant men and women as well as indigenous people with special difficulties in the neighbourhood, to equip them with the necessary skills and income to make them socially and economically independent.
Ø Measures must be taken to facilitate access to work and employment based on equal opportunities, avoiding discrimination, exploitation and abuses in working conditions.
Ø Action training of intercultural experts facilitates immigrants' access to quality employment and labour rights.
Ø Personalised guidance and advice services that fit in with their timetables are needed to overcome obstacles to the social and occupational integration of immigrants.
Ø Providing pre-employment training is an effective way of getting to know the local work culture and providing a basis for further training for immigrants at convenient times of day.
Ø Data bases and sheltered labour exchanges for immigrants in situations of extreme social vulnerability.
Ø Advice and support for firms to avoid excessive debt and bankruptcy.
Ø Promoting the social economy.
Access to education and vocational training
Ø Promoting centres that provide educational support outside school hours.
Ø Supporting properly trained voluntary work is important in generating rewarding intercultural exchanges.
Ø School boards should be encouraged to acquire skills enabling them to educate pupils in diversity and realise the value of immigrants' cultures of origin.
Ø With the participation of the pupils' parents, their cultural skills should be revived, fostering training in glocal cultural skills between the members of the school board and the local neighbourhood.
Ø Learning methods should be flexible for the immigrant population, especially in language learning.
Ø Encourage initiatives to teach the languages of origin of the immigrant population and enhance their image, as well as intercultural skills and the advantages they represent for the host societies: language should not be presented as a condition of assimilation to the immigrants' disadvantage.
Ø Common criteria should be applied in all European countries when validating the academic qualifications of immigrants from non-EU countries, and unnecessarily lengthy and costly red tape should be avoided.
Ø Reception centres should be provided for children and adults, with a special, integrated, intercultural education plan.
Ø A new European occupational profile should be developed to assist with advice to immigrants and local policy management.
Access to health
Ø Health care should be made available to all immigrants who need it, in order to avoid the risks of delays because they are afraid that if they seek treatment they will be reported and sent back to their countries of origin, especially in the event of serious illness or pregnancy.
Ø People who have been granted asylum or are in the process of acquiring a residence permit should be covered by the public health system.
Ø Training intercultural mediators to help people with their health problems leads to better health care, reducing the social cost of ill health.
Ø Health care staff should be trained in cultural diversity and gender issues in order to make health care more efficient.
Ø The solitude and isolation of many immigrant women, added to fear, tend to prevent them from reporting aggressions or domestic violence to the health authorities.
Ø Preventive strategies must be developed in the mental health field, and included in an integrated health care system that takes these practical inequalities into account.
Access to housing
Ø Local and regional authorities should take steps to generate greater transparency in the housing market.
Ø It is important that local authorities set up networks to manage access to housing for immigrants, thereby preventing underground networks from developing.
Ø To avoid confining immigrants to ghettos, planning policies should decentralise housing while at the same time providing effective access to low-cost housing.
Ø There should be policies to provide social housing for the homeless and people living in substandard housing, especially for immigrants, in addition to the accommodation provided by charity organisations.
Access to citizen participation
Ø Formal and informal channels should be developed, with the specific needs of the immigrant population in mind, for reporting and denouncing cases of discrimination and exploitation.
Ø Immigrants should be encouraged to take part in local elections and stand for election.
Ø Opportunities should be created in the local institutions and neighbourhoods for the indigenous population to mix with immigrants.
Ø Immigrant participation in policy development, management and implementation fosters social integration at the collective as well as the personal level.
Ø Direct involvement of immigrants in the implementation of policies lends credibility to the institutions and encourages other immigrants to participate.
Ø Much still remains to be done in the realms of intercultural dialogue, mutual knowledge and respect, and equality and non-discrimination.
13 People with temporary residence permits, pending completion of an administrative formality, or a change of conditions in the country of origin.