Immigrant Integration in federal systems: A comparative Perspective and recent trends from Spain

Because of its geographical location, the territory comprising the modern Spain has always been at the crossroads of human migration. After centuries of net emigration, Spain has only recently experienced large-scale immigration for the first time in modern history. In this sense compared with other European countries, immigration is a relatively new phenomenon in Spain, which came along with a profound decentralisation process and economic development. Immigration was addressed as an administrative and technical issue in the 1990s and as a political and social issue at the beginning of this century. Nevertheless within the dynamics of the Spanish federalisation process the immigrant integration is a new responsibility that still needs to be defined in administrative terms. Generally speaking: The central government has the overall responsibility for admission and naturalisation but also the Autonomous Communities and the local governments manage policies like housing, education or work which are crucial for the integration process. These policies are either the exclusive responsibility of the Autonomous Communities or shared between the central government and the Autonomous Communities.

In our seminar, we will discuss the main dimensions of the constitutional structure and evolution of the state of autonomies, along with immigration patterns and analyze the instruments at different levels of government that promote integration policies and how the Spanish government, the Autonomous Communities and the local administration interact in order to define immigrant integration policies. This national debate will be compared with the conclusions of an international project on "Immigrant Integration in federal systems” carried out by the Forum of Federation. The project is led by Leslie Seidle, Senior Program Advisor to the Forum of Federations.

More information on this event can also been seen at Manuel Giménez Abad Foundation website.

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