Carlos Serra Castells  (Universidad de Valencia, Instituto Polibienestar )


Jorge Garcés Ferrer (Universidad de Valencia, Instituto Polibienestar)
Topic: Citizen-Led Integration Schemes for Promoting Immigrant Social Inclusion in Europe: Insights from the EMBRACIN programme.
Language: English 


Contemporary cities have emerged as key territorial entities in the design and implementation of policies aimed at promoting migrant integration. New citizen-led programs like EMBRACIN involve the local population in intercultural dialogues, mentoring, and hosting programs to promote migrant’s social inclusion.
This study aims to provide empirical evidence regarding the efficacy of citizen-led initiatives in promoting social inclusion of immigrants in Europe. The study analyzes the outcomes of a series of pilots carried out under the EMBRACIN program in six European countries (Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Slovenia, and Sweden). The intervention group consisted of 40 immigrants, while the control group included 36 immigrants on whom this methodology was not applied. Both groups comprised individuals in the age range of 18-25, primarily from Africa and Asia, and were selected based on the consortium organizations’ associations with social organizations. Participants in the intervention and control groups were chosen through interviews. Most of the immigrants were recognized as refugees by the time the pilot began, although the study also included formerly unaccompanied minors and asylum seekers.
The study draws on a mixed-methods research design: quantitative methods, through the administration of ex ante and ex post questionnaires in both immigrant groups; and qualitative methods, through semi-structured in-depth interviews and focus groups conducted with staff working in the program, including social workers, educators and beneficiaries.
The findings demonstrate that the pilots effectively promoted immigrant social inclusion in a brief period of time by providing holistic and individualized support to beneficiaries. The analysis illustrates the potential of citizen-led integration schemes to promote immigrant social inclusion in Europe. These findings offer important insights for policymakers seeking to promote the social inclusion of immigrants and for social workers working in this field, as they showcase innovative approaches to promoting social inclusion and integration of immigrants.