Europe currently faces the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War. Many European states are confronted with large numbers of migrants in need of immediate care, food and shelter. Responsible public agencies, such as the UK’s Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) in the Netherlands, face exceptionally complex challenges. A challenge that is aggravated by the fact that they are constantly criticized in the media and by politicians when things go wrong.
In the Netherlands, for instance, COA was blamed for concocting unpleasant surprises for local governments when the organization decided to immediately direct large numbers of asylum seekers to their municipalities. A Dutch mayor called the situation ‘chaotic’: “The COA lost control of the temporary housing of refugees”, he said. COA was held accountable and had to explain its behaviour to politicians and Continue reading The media and public accountability: mirror or spark?→
In 2013, the University of Southern Denmark hired me together with a young Romanian colleague. While I was able to join straight away, she had to delay her arrival and extend her contract in Germany for an extra two months. Otherwise, she would have partly lost the entitlements accruing from her previous university’s pension scheme. This is because the minimum period to acquire occupational pension rights in Germany is five years. Hence, her right to the free movement of workers, guaranteed by the EU since 1958, was infringed.
Why is that immigrant barman fresh from architecture school designing only shamrocks on the head of your Guinness? Or that cleaning lady with perfect English and the degree in literature, why is she cleaning the blackboard at your kids’ school and not teaching at it? Traditional accounts of immigrant success, or otherwise, in the labour market highlight a number of important, even obvious, factors at play in outcomes such as these: grasp of the language, level of education, time in the country, and networks of contacts all matter.
I am an adult and community-based education development facilitator, and in the past have been a Capacity Building Officer in London. I would like to offer the following comment on the article from my perspective as a practitioner in the field.
The article provides the reader with a useful discussion about an approach to capacity building in working with minority ethnic led voluntary organisations (MEVOs) in Scotland, and also goes onto explain and draw out some vital arguments and lessons in taking such an approach. The article describes well the policy context Continue reading A perspective from practice on capacity building→
We all know that the sea is a dangerous place and should be treated with respect but it seems that Australian politicians have taken things a step (possibly even a leap) further. From sharks to asylum seekers the political response appears way out of line with the scale of the risk.
In the United Kingdom the name Matthew Flinders will rarely generate even a glint of recognition, whereas in Australia Captain Matthew Flinders (1774-1814) is (almost) a household name. My namesake was not only the intrepid explorer who first circumnavigated and mapped the continent of Australia but he is also a distant relative whose name I carry with great pride. But having spent the past month acquainting myself with Australian politics I can’t help wonder how my ancestor would have felt about what has become of the country he did so much to put on the map. Continue reading Sharks, asylum seekers, and Australian politics→
Liberal welfare states like Australia and Canada are often assumed to rely centrally on market mechanisms to provide welfare. Typically, in these countries, fewer obligations are owed by adult family members to other adults family members than in conservative welfare states. However, in the area of immigrant welfare, my research reveals that immigrant sponsors are increasingly bearing the brunt of financial costs of their parents and partners. Immigration selection policies place enduring contractual obligations upon adult immigrant sponsors to support their grown relatives, sometimes for long periods of time following immigration entry. These new forms of contractual obligations not only illuminate the stringent world of immigrant welfare provision, they also extend our understanding of familialism within welfare studies. Continue reading Welfare restrictions place financial pressure on new immigrant families→