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Study: Romania ahead of Switzerland, Austria on immigrant integration policies

Romania was included for the first time in the MIPEX III study (Migrant Integration Policy Index), alongside Bulgaria and the USA and the results of the research showed that Romania ranks 22nd in the general classification regarding integration policies, ahead countries such as Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Lithuania and Slovakia.

Romania has better policies than the majority of the countries in the region, for the migrant workers and their families, policies that are similar to those adopted by the fresh immigration countries attractive for the workforce, according to the classification unveiling the results of the study MIPEX III on Monday.

The main immigrant communities from Romania came from the Republic of Moldova, Turkey and China and the most attractive counties for them are Bucharest-Ilfov, Iasi (northeastern Romania), Cluj (central-western Romania), Constanta, in the south-east, Galati (eastern Romania) and Prahova, in the south.

According to the MIPEX III, 59,000 foreigners with long-term residence were recorded in Romania in 2009, Agerpres informs.

Another forte of Romania in this field are the solid anti-discrimination laws adopted in 2000 and continually improved by this moment, in line with the European overall tendency.

Radu Mircea, the representative of the Romanian Immigration Office said the launch of the project on the integration policies is a good and important thing given that Romania was included in this study.

'The integration of immigrants is a current topic for many European Union member states. Migration can boost the potential of the host countries, but these must take into account the citizens' interests too. Neither in the EU the migration is legislatively regulated, but there are some basic common principles the member states must follow. We are talking about establishing joint integration modules to lead to common standards,' Radu Mircea said.

Jonathan Gayther, the manager of British Council Romania, said the study lays out the integration policies from 31 countries in the EU and the USA, being an image of the integration policies from May 2010.

At the beginning of the debate, Manager of Soros Romania Gabriel Petrescu tackled migration from the point of view of the immigrant and his family.

'The Soros Foundation and the British Council became partners in the MIPEX III project and we succeeded in placing Romania on the MIPEX map alongside Bulgaria. I believe the talks will show off interesting aspects regarding migration. Our policies are favourable and we are talking about the fortes of Romania, such as the active involvement of the state institutions (the Romanian Immigration Office, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sport, the Authority for Citizenship within the Justice Ministry),' Petrescu said.

Also attending the event, Mbela Nzuzi, the chairwoman of the Refugee Women Organisation in Romania praised this study showing that Romania overcame important European countries in this field.

She also said the integration of foreigners in Romania has highly developed over the last years thanks to the efforts both the state institutions and the non-governmental organizations made, in such a way that 'Romania can hold its head high when it comes to the integration of foreigners.'