Migrants take part to a demostration in support of integration policies in Milan | Credit: ANSA archive
Migrants take part to a demostration in support of integration policies in Milan | Credit: ANSA archive

A report titled "Migration and Its Impact on Cities" by the World Economic Forum focuses on the current situation and future challenges cities face with regard to the migrant situation.

The main challenges cities are facing due to increased migration are related to social housing, education and health services, transportation infrastructure, as well as integration and social cohesion. 


They are subject of the recently published report titled "Migration and Its Impact on Cities" by the World Economic Forum (WEF). It surveys 22 cities worldwide that face migration challenges and the pressure of social change. The cities are found to play a key role in welcoming migrants but often lack the decision-making power to change existing national and international policies. 

Challenges cities face in migration 

The number of migrants "is expected only to increase, from an estimated 244 million international migrants in 2015. Internal migration is three times that of international migration (763 million according to the latest official estimates)" the report states.

"Cities address the immediate needs of migrants and respond to some of the challenges of integration", but despite the fact that "the key role of cities as first responders to migration is uncontested, they are in general far from adequately involved in national and international migration decisions". 

The report said cities "are under pressure to provide affordable and social housing for their population; the wait time in cities like Paris is over 10 years". 

Healthcare is another aspect for which "most cities also require personnel and infrastructure improvements". The educational sector "faces challenges related to migrants not speaking the language of the host city or country", while access to the labor market is often hindered by bureaucratic aspects such as the lack of ID documents. 

In addition, "integration and social cohesion is a big concern for city leaders in developed countries". 

Demonstrate better leadership in decision-making 

According to the report, migration needs to be incorporated into the urban planning process "as a contributing factor to the growth of the city." Migration is often perceived negatively, the report finds, with locals fearing loss of jobs to migrants and increased cost of services. Yet studies show that migrants contribute to all levels of productivity at their destinations. 

According to WEF, cities often don't take migrants into consideration in their urban development decisions, and migrants should be more involved in decision processes linked to migration. In any case, "migration presents both challenges and opportunities", and cities "must demonstrate leadership and ownership in integrating migrants into the culture and society. They need to balance the constraints of the national government with a proactive response from city leadership". 
 

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