What's Working and What's Not: Integration on the Labor Market and in Education


ORGANISERS | Karolina Sobczak-Szelc, Marta Pachocka and Justyna Szalanska

This panel examines some of the most important functional indicators of migrant integration in European countries: labour market participation, access to education and housing from a socio- spatial point of view. Some papers that empirically analyze how integration activities and policies are designed, organized and implemented; how efficient and effective they are and what the mutual links are (if any) between macro, meso, and micro levels of policy implementation and governance structures in these areas of integration. Other papers explore the following issues: local, regional and national differences in labour market integration, housing or education access; urban versus rural experiences and the implications for integration on the local level; the role of meso-level actors such as NGOs, religious organizations, and other solidarity groups in facilitating access to labour markets, education or housing; refugee experiences and challenges and opportunities related to work and schooling.

abstracts & bios

Panel 5A – Integration in the labour market beyond the EU

Chair: Marta Pachocka

The socio-economic and legal status of foreign labour migrants from the Eurasian Economic Union in Russia

Sergey Ryazantsev & Galina N. Ochirova, University of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia

The Eurasian Economic Union (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan) offers significant opportunities to the EAEU nationals. The creation of single market between these countries has allowed not only free movement of capital, goods and services, but also of people. Citizens of the EAEU countries can enter any EAEU country without visa and have more simplified registration procedure. The EAEU labour migrants do not need to obtain any work permit and they have same tax rate as citizens of the country.

In this paper, we explored to what extent the establishment of the EAEU has brought a benefit to foreign labour immigrants in Russia, which is the top receiving country in the EAEU zone, and what other barriers labour migrants meet, in spite of their legal status. Thus, we critically analysed Russian migration and labour policies, and explored migration data based on official statistics of Russia.

We have determined that, despite more advantageous position, the EAEU labour migrants still have socio-economic and legal barriers in Russia such as the complexity of registering at the place of actual stay, thus difficulty with sending children to kindergarten or school. There are also incidents of exploitation and non-payment of salary due to the absence of employment contract and impeded access to health care for labour migrants’ family members. Moreover, salient issue is a lack of a pension system for migrant workers and complicated and only partial reimbursement of family expenses for the repatriation of the body of the deceased abroad etc. Therefore, all these impediments are results of bureaucratic mechanisms and steps in migration policy, which are not always logical, consistent and clear, in addition, often politicized, aimed at unreasonable restrictions. Despite the EAEU integration, each state-member implements migration policy based on its own socio-economic interests, and often it is disproportionate.


Sergey V. Ryazantsev, Head of the Department of Demographic and Migration Policy of the MGIMO University of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, and the Director of the Institute of Socio-Political Research of the RAS (the ISPR RAS). Corresponding member of the RAS since 2011, Professor, Doctorate in Economics. The leading Russian specialist in the field of Economics, Demography, Migration and Migration policy. Mr. Ryazantsev - Member of the Presidium of the Higher Attestation Commission of the Russian Federation, Interdepartmental Working Group of the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation on the development of the Concept of Demographic Policy, etc. He is the owner of grants of Russian scientific foundations - Russian Scientific Found, Russian Found Basic Research, Russian Humanitarian Scientific Fond, and Found of the President of the Russian Federation. He is repeatedly invited as a national expert for Russian agencies and international organizations - ILO, IOM, UNHCR, UNDP, ESCAP, and the Council of the Baltic Sea countries.

Galina N. Ochirova, PhD Student in Economic Sociology and Junior Research Associate at the Department of Migration and Migration Policy of the Institute of Socio-Political Research of the RAS (the ISPR RAS). Research interests are socio-economic perspectives of highly qualified and labour migration, academic mobility, and environmental migration. She holds an LLB with Honours from the Moscow State University for the Humanities named after M.A. Sholokhov, Russia. She also has a Master of Arts degree with merit in Migration Studies from the University of Sussex, the UK. Miss Ochirova is a winner of the “Global Education” programme, and has been awarded a full scholarship of the Russian Ministry of Education.

Integrating Bottom-up into Top-down: The Role of Local Actors in Labour Market Integration of Syrian Refugees in Turkey

Selin Sivis, University of Essex

As Turkey has become one of the leading receiving countries for asylum-seekers and refugees, not only new legislative initiatives regarding the legal status of Syrians, but also immigration policies have moved to the forefront of Turkey’s agenda. In parallel with recent developments in Turkey’s legislative frameworks considering asylum and refugee protection, the newRegulation on provision of Work Permits for People under Temporary Protection, enacted in 2016, allows temporary protection status holders to work legally in the Turkish province where they first registered. Almost half of Syrians refugees residing in Turkey are of working age population, yet the majority of those working has been engaged in the informal labour market. And, we know little about how this permit to work takes effect and is practiced at the local level. Based on an evidence-based research addressing different labour market integration practices at the local level, this study claims that the absence of both national and local integration policies fosters ‘integration work’ implemented by local actors in cities. By documenting the gaps between the formulation and implementation of migration and integration policies, I emphasize the importance of local conditions and the need for long-term and inclusionary labour market integration governance. Methodologically, I propose an integrated picture of bottom-up local level dynamics and top-down regulations relating to the labour market integration policies of asylum seekers and refugees. My data, integrated with secondary data on labour market integration policies, comes from structured interviews conducted in Turkey with governmental representatives, stakeholders, policymakers, trade union members, NGO practitioners, and civil society members. The evidence I present here maps out more constructive, and functional local labour market integration policies by taking into account not only Syrians’ well-being, but also catering to host community’s concerns.


Selin Sivis is currently a doctoral researcher at the Department of Sociology, the University of Essex. In her research, she focuses on how the boundary-making process takes place in multiple forms from perspectives of host population towards refugees and asylum-seekers in the informal market economy. She also works as Senior Research Officer at the Essex Centre for Migration Studies and as Junior Researcher for the EU funded project, entitled "Integrating Syrians into Turkish Higher Education through Recognition of Qualifications (REFREC-TR)" which is coordinated by UNESCO Chair on International Migration, Yasar University (Izmir, Turkey). She holds a M.A. degree in Immigration Management from University Pompeu Fabra and B.A degree in History from Middle East Technical University. She held visiting research fellow positions at Yasar University in Izmir and Çukurova University in Adana, Turkey. Before starting to pursue Ph.D. degree, she was working as a Research Assistant at Migration Research Centre at Koç University in Istanbul. In the centre, she was responsible for three EU funded projects: INTEGRIM, Transnational Migration in Transition: Transformative Characteristics of Temporary Mobility of People (EURA-NET), and Mobile Welfare: European Welfare Systems in Times of Mobility. She was also the Coordinator of the MiReKoc International Summer School of 2016, entitled ‘Old Phenomena, and New Challenges: Forced Migration’ which provides research-oriented, interdisciplinary, and innovative academic courses on migration, as well as workshops on related policy issue for professional development. Also, she has taught SC233- Race, Class and Gender in 2018-2019 academic year.

Governing labor migration movements across the Mediterranean Sea: a strategic analysis of labor matching mechanisms

Giovanni Esposito & Giorgia Trasciani, University of Naples “L'Orientale”

EU policy distinguishes between regular and irregular migratory ‘flows’. The latter refers to migration movements that take place outside the regulatory norms of the sending, transit and receiving countries. Conversely, the former refers to those migration movements complying with existing regulatory frameworks and often refers to labour migration – i.e. movement of persons from one State to another for the purpose of employment. Our research focuses on regular migration flows for the purpose of employment (i.e. movements of jobseekers) between the northern – i.e. EU - and southern – i.e. Middle-East and North-African (MENA) countries - shores of the Mediterranean Sea along three lines of inquiry.

Firstly, we analyse the policy environment within which EU and MENA policy-makers operate. This environment refers to the broader socio-economic context that is relevant for these actors. Secondly, we describe the policy mechanisms available to policy-makers to act upon that environment. By mechanisms we mean interventions – such as legislation, regulations, spending programs and international agreements – to influence movements of jobseekers in the area. Thirdly, we explain how the combination of these mechanisms allows policy-makers to govern labour migration movements across the Mediterranean Sea and constitutes the basis for the regional governance of an ‘orderly’ labour migration in this area.


Giovanni Esposito is post-doc researcher at the Department of Human and Social Sciences of University of Naples “L'Orientale” and associate researcher at HEC Liège Management School of University of Liège. As an expert of public policy and public sector management, his research interests cover different aspects of EU policy-making, including labour migration policy in the Euro-Mediterranean region. His PhD work focused on the organization and reform of the European public sectors. Several parts of his PhD dissertation were published in the journals Politics and Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, and in the book “The Reform of Network Industries Evaluating Privatisation, Regulation and Liberalisation in the EU” by Edward Elgar Publishing.

Giorgia Trasciani is PhD Candidate at the Department of Human and Social Sciences of University of Naples “L'Orientale”, and University of Aix-Marseille, where she is member of the LEST (Laboratoire d’Economie et Sociologie du Travail). Her research interests focus on aspects of the social and solidarity economy, particularly the role of associations, co-operatives and social enterprises in developing services of reception and integration for asylum seekers and refugees. In her thesis she particularly focuses on the relationship between public authorities and Social and Solidarity Economy Organizations and the instruments of public procurements, and project-based funding for social services and public policies. She is Visiting Researcher at the Glasgow Caledonian University supported by the EU fund for mobility COST, EMPOWER-SE.

Syrian Refugees in the Turkish labour market – Barriers to enter the labour market from the Perspective of Migrants

Miray Erinc, Kings College London

Refugee migrants turned out into a highly valuable source of skilled labour for the European economies. Their integration however is not easy and this specific labour force can be used more efficiently, if barriers in accessing the labour markets are identified and removed. Loaded with the task of providing a smooth transition into their new home countries, in the recent years, governments across the European Union have drafted and introduced new guidelines and policy implementation which shall enable refugee migrants access into the labour markets. Although Turkey is the largest host country globally, the number of Syrian refugee migrants with access to the formal labour market is still very low. This study comprises the analysis of the developments in terms of accessing the labour market, address existing shortcomings and types of uncertainties, and identifies best practices on the employment procedures based on a case study analysis in Istanbul, Turkey. Based on in-depth interview with refugee migrants who are either working or looking for employment in the formal sector, their experiences are analysed and evaluated. Special attention are hereby given to employment process itself from the perspective of the refugees, their interaction with (potential) employers, and how policy making in refugee employment affects their experience in findings access to the labour market. The findings imply that whilst drafting policy guidelines and designing employment procedures specifically tailored for refugee migrants, more extensive field research as well as consideration of the personal experiences such as difficulties or shortcoming from the perspective of refugee migrants are required in order to provide more effective policy advice for the government and guidelines for employers. Also, the responsibility of the private sector as potential employers is increasing the intake of refugee migrants is crucial.


I am a PhD graduate from KingS College London with focus on labour migration. I am currently on maternity leave (current position: research analyst in the private sector), however I have prepared an extensive project on the integration of refugees in the labour market and am awaiting approval to get started. The project will be undertaken together with the Institute für Mittelstandsforschung at the University of Mannheim.

Panel 5A – Integration in the labour market in the EU

Chair: Karolina Sobczak-Szelc

Integration of refugees: inclusion or exclusion? The experience of labour market integration of Syrian refugees in Sweden

Manuela Prifti, Umeå University

Sweden welcomed a large number of refugees during the last years and consequently, the need for integration emerged. Employment is considered to be the key factor in the integration process, therefore facilitating labour market access for refugees has been the main focus of policy-makers. This paper aims to explore the experience of labour market integration of Syrian refugees in Sweden. Empirical data show that employment is fundamental for Syrian refugees to feel respected and integrated into society. Although the Swedish Public Employment Service has been acknowledged as the main institution to further refugees labour market integration, Syrian refugees in this study were sceptical about the support they receive from this institution in finding a job. Instead, they emphasized the administrative role of this institution when it comes to assisting them with the necessary documentation. 

Moreover, this study applies the framework of durable inequality, developed by Charles Tilly, to examine the inequalities in the pattern of labour market integration of Syrian refugees in Sweden. In his framework, he explains that the inequalities we encounter nowadays have historical routes and they exist in all kinds of social relations among individuals. Furthermore, this paper is focusing on two of Tilly’s durable inequality mechanisms to explain the inequalities that refugees encounter in the labour market integration: opportunity hoarding and emulation. These mechanisms contribute to producing and maintaining durable inequality by including or excluding different categories of immigrants and refugees. Therefore, it is important to scrutinize the substratum of this complex phenomenon in order to make it more inclusive.


Manuela Prifti is currently pursuing a joint Master degree in Social Work and Welfare at University of Stavanger (Norway), Umeå University (Sweden) and Aalborg University (Denmark). As a human rights activist, she has been engaged in several projects in Albania carried out by local and international organizations in the field of human rights, international cooperation and development. Moreover, she assisted some projects in the field of integration of immigrants implemented by Åmål Municipality in Sweden. Ms. Prifti has a driven ambition to promote inclusion and equality, her interests encompassing issues related to human rights, gender equality and integration policy.

Obstacles to the labor market integration of highly skilled refugees in Sweden

Micheline van Riemsdijk, Uppsala University

After the peak of the refugee “crisis,” host countries are now focusing on the long-term integration of refugees. This is also the case in Sweden, which took in the largest number of asylum seekers per capita of all European countries between 2013 and 2015. The recent increase in refugees has renewed attention to the need for effective integration initiatives that foster an inclusive, cohesive and prosperous society. These debates have predominantly focused on low-skilled refugees. Highly skilled refugees, defined as refugees who have completed a tertiary education or the equivalent in experience, could fill skill shortages in the labor market. These migrants, however, face considerable obstacles in entering the labor market and finding employment commensurate with their qualifications and skills. The labor market entry and workplace experiences of highly skilled refugees warrants more attention as 20 percent of working-age refugees in Europe have completed at least a tertiary education (OECD 2016). This paper examines the labor market trajectories of highly skilled refugees in Sweden, a country whose labor market integration initiatives for refugees are internationally recognized. Despite these successes, institutional obstacles remain. The paper examines the actors and institutions involved in various stages of the integration trajectory, and their initiatives to promote labor market entry for highly skilled refugees. It also examines their (lack of) cooperation, including public-private partnerships. The research findings are placed within a larger theoretical discussion regarding the (de)valuation of professional qualifications and the labor market integration of highly skilled refugees. The findings are based on a review of program documents, websites, media accounts, and interviews with actors involved in Fast Track Programs (snabbspår) in Uppsala and Stockholm, Sweden.


Micheline Van Riemsdijk is an Associate Professor of Geography at Uppsala University. Her research agenda is broadly defined by international and global governance of migration and highly skilled labor migration. She received a Ph.D. in Human Geography from the University of Colorado and an M.A. degree in Scandinavian Languages and Literatures from the University of Minnesota. She is the principal editor of Rethinking International Skilled Migration (edited with Qingfang Wang, Routledge 2017). She also edited a special issue with Marion Panizzon on multi-level governance of migration in times of crisis for the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (2018). Van Riemsdijk is currently working on the workplace integration of highly skilled refugees in Sweden, funded by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare. Title: Obstacles to the labor market integration of highly skilled refugees in Sweden

Fast track to labour for newly arrived academics in Sweden

Ida Lidegran, Uppsala University - Elisabeth Hultqvist, Stockholm University

In the fall of 2015, over 160 000 men and women, among them 70 000 children, transcended Swedish borders within a few months. The fall 2015 has since then been referred to as the refugee crisis. Even though Sweden has been a country with a net inflow of migrants since the Second World War, the fall 2015 was extraordinary and raised a number of issues. How to handle housing, schooling? And, in the next step, jobs for more than 160 000 new comers, and, perhaps most importantly in the long run, how to provide conditions for a successful integration?

This situation opened up for new solutions and initiatives. Establishment programmes as the The Fast Track for newly arrived academics is one such new initiative and could best be understood as a hybrid form of organisation based upon a collaboration between universities and private educational companies. This new organisational form has important implications. In the case of The Fast Track, the establishing programme becomes an arrangement located in the periphery of and between two systems, the educational system and the labour market. Therefore, it is unlikely that it do produce any substantially valuable capital in the educational field or in relation to the labour market. Based on more than 50 interviews with participants in the programme, we notice that the group is in possession of specific and advanced educational credentials from their original countries, but that they this far has been unsuccessful in making these valuable in the Swedish context. Furthermore, they aim at entering a labour market characterised by hard competition and high thresholds. A preliminary result is that they in the short perspective will undergo a process of strengthening their immigrant identity rather than quickly entering the labour market (Hultqvist, Lidegran 2018).


Ida Lidegran, associate professor in Sociology of Education at Uppsala University, Sweden, is member of the research group Sociology of Education and Culture (SEC), and, together with Elisabeth Hultqvist, she directs the research group Education and Migration. Lidegran’s research fields are educational fields, educational strategies, education and migration, and elite education. Her current research focus is on labour market establishing programs for newly arrived academics and educational strategies of cultural upper middle class families. Her research is drawing on the work of Bourdieu, de Saint Martin, and Sayad among others.

Elisabeth Hultqvist, associate professor in Sociology of Education, Stockholm University, Sweden, with a particular interest in sociology of education. Her research focuses on structural changes of educational institutions, predominantly upper-secondary school and higher education, due to social and cultural transformations of the flux of students as well as analyses of family’s social history in relation to those changes. She is currently involved in a research project about immigrants and labour market establishing programs. In addition, she has also been engaged in projects regarding changes of teachers’ profession, specifically in relation to restructuring of schooling and marketization, drawing on the work of Durkheim, Bourdieu, and Bernstein, among others.

From an asylum seeker to a refugee in Poland – does the legal status matter for the situation of forced migrants on the labour market?

Karolina Sobczak-Szelc - Marta Pachocka, University of Warsaw

Recent years, in consequence of the so-called migration and refugee crisis in Europe, have brought an increasing interest in the issues of forced migrants and their integration in the EU Member States, also in Poland. The study of the situation of forced migrants on the Polish labour market is quite difficult due to the limited access to reliable data on this subject. Polish public statistics and institutions such as Central Statistical Office, Labour Offices, Office for Foreigners or competent Ministries do not regularly collect comprehensive data on the situation of these migrants on the domestic labour market. Some partial datasets are offered by the EU and the OECD or developed as part of international and national (on central and local level) research projects, but they are not enough. This data vacuum on the economic integration of forced migrants raises the need for obtaining any information. As a result, the qualitative approach turns out to be crucial, and in particular, in-depth interviews. Therefore, the proposed paper aims to explore the situation of forced migrants – understood here as asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection (refugees and persons with subsidiary protection) under the EU law – on the Polish labour market after 2011. The main research question concerns how the change of the legal status from an applicant for international protection to a refugee (or a person with subsidiary protection) affects the situation of these people on the labour market, both according to law and practice. To answer this question, we will refer to the results of the analysis of research material from the individual in-depth interviews on micro (asylum seekers and refugees) and meso level (among others, NGOs and local authorities) carried out between July 2018 and March 2019 in Poland within the framework of the RESPOND project (H2020).


Karolina Sobczak-Szelc - assistant professor at CMR and Principal investigator in the RESPOND project. She has a background in physical and social geography as well as in spatial development. In her research Karolina combines earth science, social geography, spatial development and sociology to study the influence of the environment to human migration from countries in arid regions. Her deep insights in this field stem from numerous studies conducted in the countries of North Africa, particularly Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, majority of which she coordinated. She also participated in a project implemented in the framework of Polish Aid entitled “Training in respect of sustainable development and environment protection in the Mhamid oasis, Morocco”. She is also interested in integration challenges and possibilities for the EU countries in relation to the large influx of migrants from Arab countries in the last years.

Marta Pachocka – assistant professor at the Department of Political Studies of the Collegium of Socio-Economics of SGH Warsaw School of Economics and a head of the Migration Policies Research Unit at the Centre of Migration Research (CMR) of the University of Warsaw. She received her PhD in Economics in 2013 with a specialisation in International Relations. At the CMR, she is a researcher in different projects, including: the RESPOND project – “Multilevel Governance of Mass Migration in Europe and Beyond” (2017–2020) co-financed by the EU Horizon 2020 Programme, in which she coordinates two working packages („International protection” and „Reception conditions”) within the Polish team; the IMINTEG project – “In search for models of relations between immigration and integration policies” co-financed by the National Science Centre in Poland (2015–2018), and the project „Atlas of Transitions. New Geographies for a Cross-Cultural Europe” coordinated by the Powszechny Theatre in Poland within Creative Europe Programme (2018–2020). Marta’s main research interests include: socio-demographic changes in Europe/the EU and their consequences; international migration, migration and asylum in Europe; EU policy on migration and asylum; forced migration studies; international economics and international organizations. She is an author and a co-author of many book chapters, journal articles and conference papers.

Panel 5C – Education

Chair: Justyna Szałańska

Mapping the integration of migrant and refugee children in education: Co-creating socio-educational indicators of integration

Shirley Martin - Deirdre Horgan - Jacqui O'Riordan - Reana Maier, University College Cork

This paper will explore ongoing research investigating the socio-educational integration of migrant children in school across Europe. In particular, the paper will focus on recent research in Ireland related to the identification of indicators of socio-education integration for migrant and refugee children and youth. This research is being conducted as part of the IMMERSE Horizon2020 European Research project which is mapping the integration of migrant and refugee children in schools in Europe and recently funded under the Horizon 2020-SC6-Migration call. IMMERSE is a 4-year project and will be conducted between December 2018 and November 2022. The project is coordinated by COMILLAS Pontifical University and University College Cork is the Irish partner for IMMERSE. By adopting a systems-based approach, influenced by Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological systems theory, IMMERSE will collect data on children’s socio-educational integration. Influenced by Bronfenbrenner’s model, we are conducting focus groups with parents and children to identify significant micro-level indicators. All of the focus groups with children and young people will follow a participatory research methods approach and will be designed to reflect the ages and language competencies of the children in each group (Horgan et al, 2017; Martin et al, 2018). We are also conducting focus groups with school principals, teachers, parent associations, migrant and refugee associations and religious associations to identify meso level indicators and expert interviews with key decision-makers in the area of migration to identify macro-level indicators. The findings from this phase of the research which will be used for the overall IMMERSE project to build the socio-educational integration measurement tool.


Shirley Martin, School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork. My subject area is social policy and childhood studies with a focus on child migration, education and child participation. I have been a Social Policy Lecturer in UCC since 2005 and I am currently the Irish Primary Investigator and a Work Package Leader for IMMERSE a Horizon2020 European Research project which is mapping the integration of migrant and refugee children in schools in Europe and recently funded under the Horizon 2020-SC6-Migration call. IMMERSE is a 4-year project and will be conducted between December 2018 and November 2022.

Deirdre Horgan is a senior lecturer in Social Policy in the School of Applied Social Studies and Deputy Director of the BA (Early Years and Childhood Studies at University College Cork. Her research interests include child well-being, children’s rights and participation, children’s research methods, and child migration. She has published widely in these areas as well as reporting on Irish government consultations with children on a range of policy issues.

Reana Maier is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute for Social Studies in the 21st Century at University College Cork, working on the IMMERSE project. She has previously held a postdoctoral position at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where she worked on the Gateway Cities project ( examining equity and access to post-secondary education for at-risk students in major urban centres in Canada, the United States, and England. She received her PhD in Education from the University of Cambridge, studying citizenship education and global citizenship education in English secondary schools. 

Jacqui O’Riordan is a lecturer at the School of Applied Social Studies, Cork. Her research interests embody the activist and academic and focus on a range of issues concerning gender, equality and diversity in local and global contexts. She is currently a researcher on the H2020 IMMERSE IMMERSE study that is examining the integration of migrant children in education across Europe. Her research contributions include analyses of aspects of child trafficking, care for children, migrant children's experiences and interactions of education, community supports for people, younger and older, living with disabilities, as well as analysis of care and family carers in Ireland.

Young refugees' participation in upper-secondary education: A social-ecological analysis of constraints and enablers in Northern Greece.

Lucy Hunt, University of Oxford

With a steady flow of young refugees arriving in South East Europe over recent years, their participation in education is a particularly pertinent issue; not least because it can offer the chance for social group cohesion, positive psychosocial impacts, and mitigation of at-risk behaviours such as crime and social withdrawal. Despite much discussion in the media and reports in the grey literature investigating refugee education in countries neighbouring Syria, little attention has been paid to their educational exclusion at the borders of the European Union. Little is known about their experiences in Greece, for example, despite its status as a key entry point and transit country, its major legislative changes since 2015, and it being termed a ‘testing ground’ for EU asylum policies. While access to education has increased since 2016, recent data reveals that only half of all secondary-age refugee youth enrol in high school, and of this number, only half attend for longer than one month.

This paper is based on preliminary findings of an ESRC-funded DPhil project which investigates this issue. Specifically, it is a social-ecological exploration of barriers to post-primary schooling, in the context of recent integration efforts by the Greek government. The paper covers three elements of the project: firstly, it maps out the asylum, youth and education policies which concern adolescent refugees and their schooling, to present a picture of the macro-level policy environment; secondly, it discusses their implementation, with reference to the provision available and the role of NGOs and international organisations in these efforts; and thirdly, it explores what is currently known about the challenges and opportunities to participation which occur at the macro level, and how refugee youth and their families navigate this policy environment. It concludes by outlining initial policy recommendations and the direction that further qualitative enquiry will take.


Lucy Hunt is a DPhil researcher at the University of Oxford’s Department of Education, and in both her doctoral studies and wider professional life She focuses on issues at the intersection of education and migration. She is a qualified language teacher with experience of teaching and advising on educational programmes for UNESCO, NGOs, state schools and universities. She has an MSc in Educational Studies from the University of Leuven, Belgium, and she is currently working on an ESRC-funded PhD project which investigates issues affecting young refugees' participation in post-compulsory education in South East Europe.

Social and educational integration of young refugees and asylum seekers in Catalonia

Mara Gabrielli & Jordi Pàmies Rovira, Autonomous University of Barcelona

Education is considered a key element for psychosocial adaptation and emotional recovery of refugee children in host societies. This study analyses the policies and educational programs aimed at young refugees and asylum seekers to identify key policies and strategies that promote successful educational outcomes facilitating the transition to the labour market, as well as, the limits and challenges that hinder their social and educational pathways. Through qualitative research, the analysis focuses on the agency of young refugees and asylum seekers for a deep understanding of their needs, aspirations and expectations, and the strategies they adopt to achieve their goals and overcome the systemic, social and cultural barriers. This research is based on a multimodal ethnographic methodology through an approach to visual anthropology. We implement participatory photographic methods that promote the shared construction of knowledge between the researcher and the young participants. The preliminary results aim to account for the strategies adopted by young refugees and asylum seekers to achieve their goals and the structural and social barriers that hinder their integration in the host society.


Mara Gabrielli, PhD student in Education at the Department of Systematic and Social Pedagogy of the UAB. She is a member of the EMIGRA-CER Migracions research group at the UAB. She completed the Interdisciplinary Master in Contemporary Migrations at the UAB in 2012, and the Interuniversity Master in Youth and Society at the UdG (Spain) in 2016. Her research interests lie in global migration movements, forced migration and education, with a specific interest in the social and educational integration of young migrants, young refugees and unaccompanied minors in resettlement. As regards the methodological approach, her interests focus on the participatory approach to research through the implementation of participatory visual methods. She is currently working as a social educator in youth projects with unaccompanied minors and young migrants to promote their social and educational integration.

Jordi Pàmies Rovira, PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology and professor at the Department of Systematic and Social Pedagogy of the UAB. He is a member of the EMIGRA research group and the Centre d’Estudis i Recerca en Migracions (CER-M) of the UAB.  He has participated in numerous national and international research projects and has been a visiting researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of Texas, Austin. He is a specialist in the fields of migration, ethnic minorities and education. His research interests focus on comparative education and educational policies aimed at managing social and cultural diversity. His research studies also focus on intercultural relations and the social and educational integration of children of immigrants and Moroccan families.

School segregation of refugee pupils in Athens (2017-2018)

Vasiliki Mylona, National Technical University of Athens

Migration and population mobility are fundamental parts of cities’ development. If we consider that space interacts with the society and it includes and is included to the social structure (Poulatzas, 1978, Harvey, 1973, Lefevbre, 1991), then we can assume that spatial integration is connected to the access to urban resources such as housing, schools and public spaces.

Nowadays, Syria’s war has spawned 4.8 million refugees who seek asylum in neighboring countries with hundreds of thousands in Europe. In the current period of ongoing economic crisis and welfare state dismantling addressing the needs of refugees can be challenging.

Since the beginning of the refugees’ flows, the Greek government, NGOs and the European Union have been activated in order to respond to the needs of the incoming population. In the Greek context, the Greek government, NGOs and the European Union have been cooperating since the beginning of the refugee crisis, with a view to responding to the housing and education needs of the refugees. Each of the actors involved, has taken on a different role in the integration process - whether through the organization of camps, the provision of apartments in urban centers or through the organization of language lessons for the adults and reception classes at the public schools. At the same time, refugees and asylum seekers, alongside citizens, have created self-organised communities in order to fulfill their basic needs by occupying abandoned buildings in the center of Athens.

The main question is if there is ethnic school segregation in the neighborhoods with the higher percentage of refugee inhabitants. Hence, the research aims to map the refugee population density in Athens, based on the different types of accommodation by using density indicators in GIS (Kernel) and investigate the ethnic school segregation in these neighborhoods.


Vasiliki Mylona is an Urban Planner with a MSc Degree on “Urban Planning and Policy Design” from the Polytechnic School of Milan (2014-2016). Currently, she is a PhD candidate at the National Technical University of Athens, where she works as a Teaching Assistant at the course of Environmental and Urban Planning. Her research interest lies broadly in the areas of geography, urban and migration studies. Her PhD research - funded from the National Institution of Scholarships (IKY) - looks at the integration of refugees in Athens, with a special reference to the spatial indicators of this process and in particular, on the socio-spatial dimensions of housing policies and the use of public spaces.

Teaching refugees in Lebanon: teachers' motivating factors

Giulia Clericetti, University of Cambridge

This qualitative case study wants to identify the factors motivating and discouraging teachers working in a refugee contexts. Teachers are a key factor influencing the quality of education, especially in low-resource contexts where, however, attrition is often a major problem. With my study, I want to offer a bottom-up perspective - in fact, the teachers’ own perspective - on what is most relevant to retain teachers in the challenging working conditions of a refugee context. Aiming at emphasizing teachers’ experiences, I collected interviews from 26 teachers and administrators working with refugees in two non-formal education programmes in Lebanon. Their different Nationality, age and previous experience provided me with a comprehensive account and the possibility to highlight differences and common trends on teachers of refugees motivating factors. My findings were organised following the framework for job satisfaction adopted by Nias (1981), on the basis of Herzberg’s two-factor theory (1959). This helped me considering motivation in a more complex perspective than what I could find in the literature on teachers of refugees. The results point out to three main factors chiefly influencing teachers motivation and, as a consequence, retention: relations with the children and the connected feelings of competence and purpose; relations with the administration, intended as in-school management; pay. Concentrating on these factors, while also keeping into account the diversity of the people who teach refugee children, can provide a good starting point to improve management and support according to the self-identified needs of the teachers.


Giulia Clericetti has just completed an MPhil in Education and International Development at Cambridge University, with a final thesis on teachers of refugees in Lebanon. She has previously worked as programme manager in Greece with the NGO ‘I AM YOU’, setting up an education project for refugees hosted in two camps. Her interest is in refugee education in humanitarian settings and the related fields of education in emergencies, humanitarian aid and refugee issues. She has previously participated in a research and co-authored a paper on migrants and digital identity in Italy, with the Institute Data&Society, and worked in the NGO sector in Italy. She believes in the complementarity of academic research and fieldwork and aims at applying her research findings to programming in humanitarian aid.