IOM views integration as an essential component of effective and comprehensive migration management to promote social inclusion and good relations across diverse groups, thereby contributing towards diverse yet inclusive and cohesive societies. While integration is highly contextual and varies across countries, IOM recognizes that successful integration is a dynamic and multi-directional process that involves mutual adaptation of migrants and of the host society, based on principles of protection of fundamental rights, respect, tolerance and non-discrimination. It is a multi-dimensional issue that covers migrant’s inclusion in economic, psychological, social, linguistic, navigational, and civic spheres, as well as empowering host communities and other local actors to receive and engage with migrants.

In line with the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), IOM’s global programming on integration takes a “whole-of-community” approach and covers critical phases of the migration continuum, linking pre-departure and post-arrival activities, as well as migrant inclusion and social cohesion interventions, to ensure maximum effectiveness and benefit diverse populations. 

Key Areas of Programming

Orienting and Training Migrants Pre- and Post-Arrival

IOM equips migrants with basic information about the country of destination and helps them to identify the skills and attitudes needed to succeed in their new environment. Mostly done at the pre-departure stage, IOM does this through tailored training activities that focus on managing expectations, cultural orientation and developing the skills and awareness necessary for successful adaptation to their new society, including technical and language training.  

Preparing and Empowering Host Communities

IOM works with a broad range of stakeholders, including government agencies at national and local levels, employers, recruiters, trade unions, educational institutions to ensure that they are prepared and empowered to receive and assist newcomers. As such, IOM implements capacity-building activities and trainings to enhance intercultural sensitivity and competence of frontline local actors and better respond to migrants’ specific needs.

Providing Direct Support and Services

Upon their arrival, migrants’ access to basic services (education, health, housing, social and legal protection, etc.) is instrumental to ensure that they can support their families and maximize their potential to contribute. In this regard, IOM works on projects that aim to strengthen referral mechanisms, enhance communication and coordination between service providers and migrants and centralize services to migrants through one-stop shops and migrant resource centers to access and be informed of services available.

Facilitating Labour Market Inclusion and Private Sector Engagement

Labour market inclusion is an essential element of migrant integration as it notably increases their autonomy, self-confidence and productivity. As such, IOM implements projects that facilitate the integration of migrants in the labor market through skills assessment and recognition and job matching. This may also include activities that support financial inclusion and allow young people to participate in vocational apprenticeships and internships that lead to employment.

Raising Awareness and Countering Xenophobia

IOM engages in awareness-raising activities for host communities, local authorities and service providers highlighting the added value of diversity. IOM does this through organizing thematic discussions and advocacy campaigns on migration issues, including arts and cultural events designed to raise awareness among migrants and local communities. IOM also works with media representatives on developing a responsible and balanced approach to media-reporting to improve public perception and narratives on migration.  

Promoting social mixing between migrants and communities

Social networks and meaningful relations between migrants and local members of their communities can be fostered through the organization of multicultural activities and facilitation of direct contact through sports, music, culinary festivals and any other recreational activity. IOM also promotes peer-to-peer buddy systems and mentorship schemes not only to promote mutual understanding and social interactions between migrants and local populations but also support migrants’ access to social and institutional resources. 

Conducting Research and Analysis for Policy and Programme Development 

To support evidence-based policy making and fact-based dialogue, IOM works mainstreaming migrant integration in various policy agendas (health, education, urban planning, etc) and conducts researches on various aspects of the integration continuum. Similarly, IOM offers technical assistance to Member States and stakeholders in policy development and implementation through development of assessment and programmatic toolkits, and capacity-building initiatives drawing on a range of integration models and best practices.

Featured Projects and Campaigns
Main Publications

Head of Unit, Migrant Training and Integration

Project Coordinator, Migrant Integration and Social Cohesion