1. INTRODUCTION – BACKGROUND
1.1. Programme/Legal base
This call for proposals is published under the European Programme
for Employment and Social Innovation "EaSI" 2014-20201. This is a Europeanlevel
financing instrument managed directly by the European Commission to
contribute to the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy, by providing financial
support for the Union's objectives in terms of promoting a high level of quality and
sustainable employment, guaranteeing adequate and decent social protection,
combating social exclusion and poverty and improving working conditions.
Social innovation as promoted by the EaSI programme can help addressing social
challenges – such as the current refugee integration challenge - by providing better
and innovative responses to identified social needs, in order to deliver better social
The EaSI Programme shall, in all its axes and actions, aim to:
a) pay particular attention to vulnerable groups such as young people;
b) promote equality between women and men,
c) combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief,
disability, age or sexual orientation;
d) promote a high-level of quality and sustainable employment, guarantee
adequate and decent social protection, combat long-term unemployment and
fight against poverty and social exclusion.
The vulnerable groups mentioned in a) include asylum seekers and refugees arriving
to Europe in the context of the on-going migration crisis, as well as their family
Hence, in designing, implementing and reporting on the activity,
beneficiaries/contractors must address the issues noted above and will be required to
provide detail, in the final activity report on the steps and achievements made towards
addressing those aims.
This call for proposals has been designed to seek synergies with activities conducted
under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and other initiatives or
pilot projects from other EU institutions.
1.2. Policy and economic background
The EU has recently witnessed a dramatic increase in migratory flows. This
unprecedented influx, largely composed of people seeking international protection,
remains a challenge for the European Union and its Member States not only in terms
of reception, but also in terms of their long-term integration in the host societies, as
recalled by the President of the European Commission in his speech on the State of the Union in September 2016.
The Commission Communication on the 2016 European Semester2 also pointed out the fact that economic and social policies also needed to cater for the recent inflow of migrants and refugees, in particular to provide for their immediate needs and
integration in the labour market and society.
The EU Action Plan for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals adopted
on 7 June 2016 provides a comprehensive framework to support Member States'
efforts in developing and strengthening their migrant integration policies, and
describes the concrete policy, operational and financial measures that the Commission
will implement. While it targets all third country nationals in the EU, it contains
actions to address the specific challenges faced by refugees3.
The Action Plan also refers to the gender dimension of migration, and to the situation
of migrant women, and notably refugee women. Refugee women face more serious
challenges in securing employment than their male peers but also than all other groups
of migrant women. The employment rate for refugee women is on average 45%. It is
lower than for other non-EU born female and native born women and 17 percentage
points lower than that of refugee men. Moreover, refugee women have the highest rate
of unemployment, 21%, versus 19% for refugee men and 17% for non-refugee
migrant women. Targeted and tailor-made initiatives to ensure equal access for these
women to integration measures must thus be foreseen. These initiatives may include
access to childcare and other care facilities so as to ensure equal access by parents to
As mentioned in the Action Plan, while labour market inclusion is fundamental to
becoming part of the host country's economic and social life, integration is more than
having a job; it is a dynamic two-ways process, with rights and obligations on both
sides: the hosting society and the third country nationals. In that respect civil society
has a crucial role to play in creating the conditions conducive to the social and labour
market integration, as well as in helping in the implementation of the integration
Recent experiences4 and research5 highlight common key findings to the multidimensional
challenge of the integration into the labour market. An early intervention
with tailor-made approaches to facilitate the labour market access, in particular for
refugees and asylum seekers, is an essential feature. Allowing access to decent and
affordable accommodation, identifying mental and physical health issues early and
providing adequate support, as well as promoting equal access to integration services
across the country are other key factors of a successful integration policy. Recording
and assessing the qualifications, work experiences and skills are also acknowledged as
an essential requirement to ensure the individuals' talents are used to their full
potential. At the same time, one must acknowledge that the integration of very poorly
educated migrants requires long term training and support, in particular for the
unaccompanied minors who need adequate services as well as tailored education and
The "New Skills Agenda for Europe - Working together to strengthen human capital,
employability and competitiveness"6 adopted on 10 June 2016 provides a number of
actions to ensure that the right training, the right skills and the right support is
available to people in the European Union. It includes a "Skills Profile Tool for Third
Country Nationals" that should be launched early in 2017 to support early
identification and profiling of skills and qualifications of asylum seekers, refugees and
other migrants. Such a tool could be used under this call.
1.3. Main Purpose
The present call for proposals aims at funding innovative transnational projects to test
and implement innovative policy schemes and delivery mechanisms that will ensure
and facilitate a swift labour market integration of the specific target groups of third
country nationals listed below. Proposals could also include the replication of
successful innovative initiatives already implemented in other(s) country(ies).
Only applications targeting specifically the support to the following groups of third
country nationals will be considered eligible for further evaluation:
• asylum seekers,
• refugees and their family members.
Specific measures targeting the labour market integration of migrant women will
be considered favourably.
For the sake of simplicity, "refugees" is used in these specifications to refer to all
beneficiaries of international protection (be they Geneva Convention refugees or
beneficiaries of subsidiary protection).
2. OBJECTIVE(S) – PRIORITIES – TYPES OF ACTIONS - EXPECTED RESULTS
2.1. Objectives - Priorities
Rapid labour market integration is key to successful integration in the receiving
society. It is therefore important to promote good practices allowing the target groups
to integrate quickly into the labour market, matching the labour market needs of the
hosting countries, while equipping the target groups with the necessary skills to ensure
their integration into the labour market and society more broadly.
The inclusion of the gender dimension through an integrated approach responding to
the specific needs of migrant women must be taken into account in the applications.
6 COM(2016) 381 final: http://ec.europa.eu/social/BlobServlet?docId=15621&langId=en
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The objectives of this Call are:
• to promote the development and testing of innovative and effective mechanisms
to ensure fast-track integration into the labour market;
• to develop sustainable multi-level partnerships models conducive towards the
integration of the targeted groups into the labour market;
• to foster knowledge- and experience-sharing between different Member States of
already functioning swift and successful insertion mechanisms into the labour
market of the targeted groups, with a strong emphasis on the challenges faced by
2.2. Type of actions/activities to be funded
Actions must result in effective integration into the labour market within the
timeframe of the project. In particular they shall:
• be instrumental for achieving the objectives set out in point 2.1
• take into account the job market needs of the receiving country(ies);
• help the target groups matching those needs;
• cover the different dimensions of a fast integration of the target groups;
• demonstrate a long-term vision;
• challenge stereotypes as to gender roles among migrant communities and
ensure that work practices promote gender equality and do not reinforce
gender stereotypes, segregation and inequalities;
• be sustainable beyond the grant period;
• build up the main actors' capacity to implement these schemes;
• include mechanisms for transfer/replication for other host countries/groups.
Proposed actions should be creative and propose innovative measures whilst building
on existing good practice where relevant8.
Testing innovative approaches and/on scaling-up effective proven policy schemes
should be supported by robust and documented evaluation method and validation
mechanisms. At each step of the project, the roles of the various actors should be
The examples below are a non-exhaustive list of activities that could be foreseen:
• design and implementation of comprehensive integration mechanisms ensuring
the fast-track integration into the labour market, including
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