The DialogForum 2018 at Danube University Krems focused on the challenges of migration and integration processes in countries of origin and transit. Reasons for migration, experiences of migration as well as the migrants’ intentions to return were central aspects, as stated in the summary of the experts from science, politics and practice. The DialogForum is a networking platform for migration and integration actors and organized for the tenth time by the Department for Migration and Globalisation.
Worldwide approximately 710 million people wish to emigrate permanently over the next five years, and almost 48 million plan to do so next year. According to a 2016 study (Gallup World Poll), this corresponds to almost 15 percent of the world's population. The success of integration therefore does not lie exclusively in the political and social responsibility of the host countries, but depends to a large extent on the reasons for migration, migration experiences and migrants' intentions to return.
Unfulfilled migration wishes
However, the worldwide majority of people with migration tendencies never emigrate. This creates a large discrepancy between the global demand to migrate and the restrictive immigration policies within the destined countries. "Unfulfilled migration intentions can influence the human, economic and political development of the society of origin," explains Prof. Dr. Mathias Czaika, head of the Department of Migration and Globalization at Danube University Krems.
However, a high compression is posed on the Syria’s unstable areas: at present, 63% of refugees worldwide are concentrated in the eastern and southern regions of the Mediterranean," emphasizes Professor Dawn Chatty of Oxford University. But the number of refugees on their way to Europe has declined rapidly in the last two years. Chatty therefore warns to continue to speak of a "refugee crisis". Turkey also plays an important role as a transit country for migrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Myanmar, says Professor Ahmet İçduygu of Koç University. Transit countries like Turkey should not be seen as a "safety valve" or a "ticking bomb" for Europe, but should work on "global solutions for fragile states", says İçduygu.
Wrong picture of Africa
Ass.-Prof. Oliver Bakewell of the University of Manchester warns of conveying a false picture of African migration. In Africa "there is more migration amid the country than to Europe", says Bakewell. Europe and North America seem to dominate the discussion on African integration to a large extent. Therefore Blackwell calls for an increased "focus on migration within Africa".
In fact, less than 15% of African migrants immigrate to Europe, according to FH-Prof. Belachew Gebrewold of the Management Center Innsbruck. Moreover, poverty is not the main reason for emigration, but "changed environmental factors", says Gebrewold.
Few women with compulsory schooling
Apart from the international perspective, DialogForum’s next focus laid on integration within Austria. Between 2014 and 2017 up to 67,200 positive asylum decisions were issued, of which 45% applied from female migrants. "It is alarming fact that 86% of female Convention refugees and 75% of those eligible for subsidiary protection have merely completed compulsory schooling," highlights Prof. Gudrun Biffl of Danube University Krems. This concerns mostly women from Afghanistan and Somalia, who are often on the path leading to isolation. Biffl therefore demands that people working with refugees are to "be entrusted with particular refugee experiences of women and sensitized to the associated implications".
Pupils with a migration background – the numbers in Austria are increasing - were another topic, DialogForum 2018 dealt with. For this reason "teachers report a growing need for further vocational training", says Dr. Lucie Cerna, analyst for education and qualification at the OECD in Paris. Furthermore, "incentives should be created for teachers" to work in multicultural schools. For pupils, multilingualism should be seen as an opportunity, not a threat, says Dr Barbara Herzog-Punzenberger of Johannes Kepler University Linz. "Bilingual pupils, who are taught in both languages, often achieve better results than monolingual pupils," says Herzog-Punzenberger.
Blog relaunch: unpacking migration
On the occasion of the tenth DialogForum, the blog "Unpacking Migration" went on air, publishing perspectives from academia, civil society, government, international organizations and practitioners on current migration issues targeting the general public.
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