Press Release (ePRNews.com) - Apr 26, 2016 - FOPSIM hosted the second Round Table of the Working Roma project. Working Roma is part of the European funded project aiming to discuss the problems of immigrants’ integration and debate the slow pace of integration in the labour market of disadvantaged groups, the current employment policies and laws and social corporate responsibility and patterns in discrimination.
The Working Roma project is co-funded under the JUSTICE Programme with an overall budget of €227,452.04. The lead partner is Ayuntamiento de Andujar in Spain and the project brings together eight other partners including the Institute for Labour and Social Research – ILSR (Bulgaria), Anci Sardinia (Italy), FOPSIM (Malta), APODEC, As. Developing Voluntary Work Novo Mesto (Slovenia), Asoc. Dominou (Romania), Oldham Race Equality Partnership – OREP (United Kingdom), Komunikujeme (Czech Republic) and the Active Citizens Partnership – ACP (Greece).
The main mission of FOPSIM – The Foundation for the Promotion of Social Inclusion Malta – is to promote and sustain employment, social solidarity, youth and other marginalised issues to achieve tangible advancement in the transition towards a more equitable society. The Foundation makes use of a diffuse network of resources in the professional, academic, research and journalism fields. FOPSIM is actively participating in EU-funded programmes and seeks to increasingly promote Malta’s participation in EU affairs in the social inclusion and youth areas.
The event was held at the Grand Hotel Excelsior in Valletta and 7 delegates from the public sector (Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity, OPR-FWS and APPOGG) and civil society (Workers Forum Malta and Malta Employers) came together for a round table to discuss the accessibility of the labour market to minority groups.
In Malta, there is no proof of an existing Roma population. Even though Roma people tend to move from one country to another, Malta has not been one of those countries, possibly due to the country’s location (an island far from central Europe). Thus, immigrants were the main topic of the Round Table and they will be the target group for this project.
The Maltese working legislation is implemented equally for Maltese citizens and immigrants, but currently the integration of immigrants in the labour market has been very slow as only around 3% of them are integrated officially. Most of the immigrants are involved in sectors such as building construction, housekeeping, IT, hotels and restaurants. To this extent, immigrants do not seem to be fully integrated into the labour market and evenly engaged in all sectors. In order to enforce this process at the end of this project the main resolution and recommendations must be presented to the related Ministry.
The main barrier to integration is language. Immigrants should be trained and assisted to accelerate the pace of integration, especially with regards to language and culture. Apart from NGOs and some periodical offers of English courses, the government should provide interpreters and further social and legal support. To reach this goal a new policy for immigrants should be created by the government. Furthermore, immigrants need to be better educated because due to their low standards of living they seem to be satisfied with the jobs they are doing and thus they do not search for better jobs or try to improve their skills.
Additionally, the main way to fight undeclared work is reducing the bureaucracy around commercial licences and assisting immigrants with subsidies. In general, the improvement of the immigrants’ situation demands coordination from the government and better communication among the Ministries by periodically organising meetings and comparing the results from each procedure. Finally, it is important to create skill profiles of the immigrants in order to match them better with the work placements.
The round table event concluded with a decision of acting in this area, promoting and engaging further actors, especially the Government. Participants agreed to support the project during its lifetime and its outcomes.
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