Migrant and Refugee Integration in Global Cities: The Role of Cities and Businesses

Authors: Teressa Juzwiak, Elaine mc gregor, melissa siegel
partner: maastricht graduate school of governance, unu-merit

Publication date: 2014


Migration is a local reality. Cities are places where both migrants and non-migrants interact, be it through working, studying, living, playing or raising their families. This report blazes a trail by linking migrant and refugee integration policies, public-private partnerships and the local level in a comparative discussion. It will serve to fill an important gap in the literature.

The study, initiated by The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration (THP) in partnership with UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance, looks at how businesses and governments in global cities contribute to the economic and social integration of migrant and refugee populations, either through outreach, specialised programs, the provision of services or targeted funding of NGOs; and to what extent these contributions can be deepened or expanded. The study focuses on efforts by the private sector and city governments – both separately and in partnership – to give these groups greater protection and opportunities in employment markets and communities.

More specifically, this report identifies good practices among the selected cities as well as gaps in intervention by determining whether and how business and cities are currently working together to create opportunities for migrants and refugees to deepen their integration into society. Where there is presently no collaboration between the private and public sectors, the research identifies barriers and opportunities for potential partnerships. To this end, the research draws from eight case studies: Auckland (New Zealand), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Chicago (USA), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Lisbon (Portugal), Nairobi (Kenya), Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and São Paulo (Brazil).

Final Report

The report is accompanied by eight individual case study reports, one per city, which provide further background information and discussion for the interested reader. Click on the respective city below to download the individual case study report:

Buenos Aires
Kuala Lumpur
São Paulo

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Integration and Social Inclusion from a Southern Perspective


Date: October 2004
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Partner: UNHCR Bangkok,  Royal Kingdom of Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Publication date: October 2004


In preparation for the Club of The Hague meeting in November 2004, this seminar was held in Bangkok to discuss the issue of integration and social inclusion with particular emphasis on the perspective of the South. To reach this objective, participants from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe as well as international organizations attended in their personal capacity.
A list of participants is attached as annex 3.

The event was made possible through the invitation of Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn of the University of Chulalongkorn, member of the Club of The Hague, and with the generous support of the UNHCR Bangkok office as well as the Royal Kingdom of Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Download the Report

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Labor Migrant Integration through Cities and Business

In cities across the world, businesses are often not finding the skilled labor they need.  This does not mean that skilled individuals are not present in these cities.  In metropolises on every continent highly skilled migrant laborers are unable to connect with the companies in need of their services and vice-versa.

Cities of Migration’s New Report provides a good start to relevant policies and municipal leaders.

Policy to Practice

Click on the image for a .pdf version of the report

For our first blog discussion on our new and improved website we would like to pose the following questions:  What are the fundamental strategies that cities and businesses need to employ in order to connect with the skilled labor migrant workforce to the benefit of each party?  What are the best practices for migrant labor integration you have witnessed in cities around the world?  Is there currently a forum in major cities that successfully integrates the municipal and business leadership with the goal of successfully incorporating migrant labor?