Key Conclusions from the final Local Panel on Integration of Roma in the Labour Market

Press Release (ePRNews.com) - May 17, 2016 - The local panels with immigrants came to an end on Friday 13th May. FOPSIM organised the third and final panel with immigrants at the Waterfront Hotel in Sliema. During this panel, participants had the opportunity to discuss topics related to immigrants’ access to the labour market, education and training and to express the problems they face at all stages of employment in Malta.

Although the migrant population has doubled over the past decade, it is argued that Maltese laws and policies in relation to integration remain among of the weakest and least favourable in Europe. Nevertheless, ad hoc initiatives have been adopted at local or departmental levels. Several local councils (municipalities) are active in cultural and social integration activities, whilst government agencies, including primarily service provision agencies have focused on internal capacity building, relating to service provision.

It has been admitted that in Malta there’s a lot of discrimination especially towards some countries such as Libya, Somalia as well as towards Muslims. For this group of people, accessing the labour market and integrating into society is extremely difficult. Furthermore, taking into account the recent unfortunate events in France, Belgium and Turkey, Islamophobia has been increased in Malta. Muslims are completely excluded while other minorities such as Libyans or Latin Americans are searching for other ways to integrate into society, such as changing surnames. To this extent, we should mention that men and women are facing the same difficulties and obstacles in entering the labour market.

During this panel, the attendees focussed mostly on how to tackle the problems that immigrants are facing and how the government, society and immigrants themselves should act in order for everybody to benefit from the inclusion of immigrants in the labour market. The suggestions that came from the discussions are the followings:

         i.          Establishment of a ‘one-stop shop’ which would provide immigrants with relevant information on services and requests in multiple languages and signpost them further as required.

         ii.          Further educational programmes and training courses. They should be stricter and motivate the attendees to follow the courses until the end. Moreover, these classes should be divided in different levels according to the performance of the participants.

         iii.          Further efforts for the recognition of immigrants’ qualifications and the establishment of specific programmes in order for them to take exams to justify their skills.

         iv.          Better coordination at governmental level, and a more sustained and comprehensive approach from NGOs and civil society.

         v.          Better communication between governmental bodies and civil society.

         vi.          Further motivation of the immigrants in order to promote cultural exchange and willingness for social inclusion within Maltese society.

         vii.          Awareness events and campaigns on this topic to start public dialogue.

All attendees agreed that a common action plan from the government, the EU and civil society should be formed and implemented. They also expressed their disappointment with regards to the fact that in Malta, no plan or programme has been developed so far to successfully tackle this issue, but the road for developing such policies is ready.

All panels have come to an end and the floor will be given to NGO debates.

For more information about FOPSIM and the Working Roma Project, contact Fjoralba Kodrasi on fjoralba@fopsim.eu or +356 2339 0137 or visit the website at www.fopsim.eu

Source : FOPSIM

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