Community sponsorship schemes under the new pact on migration and asylum: Take-up by EU regions and cities

Briefing 18-06-2021

The number of people in the world that are forcibly displaced inside or outside their home country has risen significantly in recent years, as also showcased by the unprecedented arrival of refugees and irregular migrants in the EU since 2015. This highlights an urgent need to ensure organised, legal and safe pathways for protecting migrants who embark on dangerous journeys in an attempt to enter countries of destination irregularly, or find themselves in protracted refugee situations. A potential solution is the community sponsorship scheme, understood as encompassing several different approaches for refugee admission to third countries other than countries of origin or transit. The concept includes a shared responsibility between civil society and the state when engaging in refugee admission efforts, by providing financial, emotional, social and/or settlement support to help newly arrived refugees integrate in a third country. Community sponsorship for integration is particularly important in the EU, where local and national governments, alongside civil society, have been pondering how best to support newcomers and ease integration and social cohesion. Since 2015, the concept has been piloted and launched in several EU countries, including through the active input of regions and cities. In 2020, the European Commission presented a new pact on migration and asylum, affirming its commitment to supporting national sponsorship schemes through funding, capacity-building and knowledge-sharing.