Ongoing research by QMU demonstrating the unequivocal need to prioritise ‘connectedness’ within refugee integration policies, is now shaping the Scottish government’s approach and influencing refugee policy globally, particularly in the USA and Australia.
Lack of investment in and understanding globally of what refugees need to help them build a fully integrated life in a new country has led to prolonged refugee dependency and fostered isolation and distrust between refugees and members of their new communities. This undermines the development of strong, cohesive communities and the ability for refugees to become positive contributors in their new societies.
QMU developed a framework, the “indicators of integration” which has shaped the debate on refugee integration and focused attention on the need for social connection and its positive impact on access to rights and services and refugees’ opportunities to live independently.
This research highlights the diversity of connections essential to building a new life and developing sustainable, integrated communities including reuniting families, building friendships – between migrants, between refugees and members of their new communities, between newcomers and already settled refugees. Access to housing, language provision, education and healthcare but also the means to participate in their own religious or leisure activities.
One example of this research being applied is its use by the Home Office in providing a holistic model of refugee integration by bringing community members, refugees and experienced service providers into the conversation with policy makers. This approach resulted in the identification of ten domains of integration each requiring distinct policy measures, enabling the importance of social connections to emerge as a crucial factor in improving overall integration policy and systems.
For more detail, read the full impact case study on refugee integration policy.