The immigration of refugees, including families, adults and unaccompanied children, increased especially in 2015. Along with changes in the regulations in integration policy, this has presented new challenges for the municipalities’ work with the reception and integration of new arrivals. In recent years, the integration of immigrants into society has become a hot political topic. Integration is a heatedly debated topic in both politics and the media. But what does the word integration actually mean? How should integration be measured, who is to be integrated into what, and when is a person integrated?
The report focuses, among other things, on examining how the term integration is understood by civil servants who on a daily basis work with integration at the municipal level. To do so, civil servants’ perceptions and experiences of work on integration were studied.
In order to gather the experiences from different municipalities’ work with the establishment of newly arrived refugees in the period 2015–2018, the County Administrative Board of Västra Götaland organised two dialogue days with representatives of the municipalities within the county in May 2019. To gain deeper insight into how people who work with newly arrived immigrants regard the relation between their establishment period and long-term integration, the County Administrative Board of Västra Götaland commissioned CGM to conduct in-depth interviews with a number of civil servants working at municipalities and other government agencies within the County of Västra Götaland. The dialogue days were organized by the County Administrative Board with the aims of collecting positive experiences in the reception of newly arrived immigrants in the County of Västra Götaland and of identifying factors for success for the sustainable reception of new arrivals in the long term. Altogether, representatives of 29 of the county’s 49 municipalities participated at the event.
This study increases knowledge about the challenges and opportunities in municipal work and contributes to long-term and sustainable integration in the County of Västra Götaland. Furthemore, the experiences and conclusions that are described in this report contribute to strengthening future work on being prepared and having capacity in the reception of newly arrived immigrants in the County of Västra Götaland.