Integration is a cross-cutting and multi-sectorial issue which pertains to policy areas that address economic, social, legal, cultural, and civic spheres and impacts all aspects of migrants’ lives and their communities. As a process of mutual adaptation between host societies and migrants, integration references respect for a core set of values that unites migrants and receiving communities under a common purpose.-

Integration is essential to all stakeholders, both the migrants and the receiving society, including authorities at the local, regional and national levels, providing economic and cultural benefits while ensuring communal security and stability.

In the UK, there is a growing need for integration support and community cohesion due to expanded resettlement, increased migrant numbers and reductions in support services. IOM UK has been using its experience in integration to advance the socioeconomic wellbeing and resiliency of migrants and UK society through a two-way integration process, promoting thriving, multicultural communities.

Enhanced Cultural Orientation

Cultural Orientation programmes delivered pre-departure greatly help refugees gain vital information, attitudes and skills needed to prepare for their life in the host country, the UK in this instance.

In coordination with the UK government and inputs from local authorities, and through the exchange of learning and sharing best practices, we have developed and enhanced the cultural orientation curriculum delivered to Syrian refugees prior to their resettlement to the UK.

The Cultural Orientation sessions delivered by IOM include an overview of the UK culture, information about where the families will be resettled, practical advice on accessing and using public services, and also laws, rights and responsibilities in the UK. The sessions are an opportunity for refugees to ask questions and clarify any concerns they might have about life in the UK.
Quotes from participants in Cultural Orientation (CO) sessions

Syria Information Sessions

Just as resettled refugees are at risk of facing a long adjustment period without access to accurate and relevant information about the destination country, equally if support workers in receiving communities do not have sufficient knowledge about refugees, they will struggle to provide appropriate integration assistance to the newly arrived.

To help address knowledge gaps and aid integration, we deliver Syrian Information Sessions to frontline social workers in UK local authorities hosting refugees. The seminars include details about the background, experiences, culture and values of Syrian refugees.
All information sessions are CPD-certified and conducted by invitation from local authorities, with each session tailored to the needs and interests of those authorities. Some sessions may therefore include additional information such as geography or the history of the conflict based on the specified interests of the inviting authority.

If you believe you may have an interest for such sessions in your region and would like to explore possibilities, please contact Mallory Carlson at 0207 811 6049, or via email at / .

Quotes from participants in Syria Information sessions

Community Sponsorship

In July 2016, the UK government launched the Community Sponsorship scheme, enabling community groups to directly support resettled refugees by taking on financial responsibility and supporting initial service provision for the refugees they sponsor. The launch of this scheme is an important step not only in meeting the UK’s commitment to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020, but also in supporting community involvement and innovation in the welcoming and integration of refugees.

We have been supporting this endeavour by providing key cultural information on refugee communities during community sponsorship induction workshops. If you would like to know more about IOM’s support to community sponsors, please contact .

Quote from Mark Poulson,
Secretary for Inter-Religious Affairs to the Archbishop of Canterbury and National Inter-Religious Advisor for the Church of England

Labour Market Integration

Early and successful labour market integration increases self-efficacy and is key to harnessing the full contributions of migrants and refugees in their new communities. Yet there can be barriers to integration such as an inability to transfer qualifications, differences in cultural values, insufficient language skills, and a mismatch between experience and opportunities.

We aim to reduce these barriers by analysing employer and migrant needs, creating opportunities for migrants and developing partnerships for increased employer and migrant engagement.


The Skills2Work project takes steps towards ensuring better conditions for early and successful labour market integration of refugees. This is achieved by enhancing capacities of relevant authorities, service providers and employers to facilitate early validation of competences and skill-based job-matching, as well as enabling access to information and services for skill recognition for refugees.

The project has a European dimension through cooperation with external organisations and IOM offices in Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom. The objective is to promote early and sustainable employment of refugees through improved support on skill validation in the asylum procedures and integration service provision, including non-formal and informal learning, as well as strengthened employer involvement from the private sector. IOM and its partners examine current best practices and mechanisms used in the field of recognition and validation of knowledge and skills.


FromSkills2Work is an interactive, online web-directory designed to assist employers, local service providers and beneficiaries of international protection in navigating early, successful and sustained labour market integration.

FromSkills2Work contains information on existing services, organisations, projects and initiatives that support the identification of skills, knowledge and competencies of beneficiaries of international protection in nine EU Member States.