Ask the people | European migrant advisory board (EMAB)

Ask the people | European migrant advisory board (EMAB)

Ask the People is a consultation organized by the European Migrant Advisory Board (EMAB). It involved over 500 migrants and refugees in seven EU countries and was conducted between September and December 2018. The EMAB is a self-led group of advisors with immigrant and refugee backgrounds. It was initiated by the Partnership on the Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees under the Urban Agenda for the European Union and works to increase the participation of immigrants and refugees in different policy-making processes affecting their fundamental rights. Since its establishment in March 2018, the EMAB has sought to represent and defend the interests of migrants and refugees in Europe. The members of the EMAB were selected because they each engage with refugee and migrant organisations in the places where they live. The board aims to amplify the perspectives of refugees and migrants in policy debate and contributes to improving integration policy by providing recommendations from local and grassroots organisations to policymakers on all relevant levels. The consultation focused on eight areas: integration, access to the labour market, housing, higher education, participation, the situation of unaccompanied minors, microcredit, and the EU Action Plan on Return. Board members chose these topics as key issues based on the members’ first-hand experience. The geographical focus of the consultation reflects the city and country members of the Partnership as well as the places were the EMAB members work and live: Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain.

EMAB members and migration experts conducted the consultation between September and December 2018. The consultation consisted of 21 focus groups that engaged a total of 260 participants. In addition, the consultation carried out an online survey of 265 respondents. The results demonstrate that migrants and refugees have the experience and expertise to inform public debates and to ensure better policymaking. Currently, experts who have experience as migrants and refugees are underrepresented in decision-making processes. The practice of tokenism, i.e. making only symbolic efforts to be inclusive to migrants and refugees, is widespread. The EMAB has gained insights into what meaningful participation can look like and provides recommendations about how organisations and policymakers can be more inclusive. The consultation has highlighted the clear need for European institutions and organisations to make greater efforts to consult and involve newcomers through “structured participation” so that their inclusion is truly effective.

The establishment of the board was one of the actions of the Partnership on Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees. EMAB receives financial support from the Open Society Foundations. Civic & Co provides capacity building, facilitation and strategic advice to EMAB. Civic & Co is consulting company that designs innovative learning solutions for sustainable change. Open Society supports groups that work on a broad range of issues affecting the dignity, safety and well-being of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.

You can check the full report from here

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