Settlement & Early Integration


Ensuring the early inclusion and full participation of resettled refugees in their new societies must be the ultimate aim of local reception and integration programmes. 

SHARE identifies multi-stakeholder coordination for integration support and welcoming local communities as the essential components of successful settlement and early integration.

Welcoming local communities offer friendship and support, through the involvement of local groups and institutions, and importantly via contributions of local citizens acting as volunteers. Follow the links to find out more about SHARE Network activities, tools and resources in the area of volunteering for refugee resettlement, creating welcoming local communities in European cities and towns and capacity building to support refugee service-delivery (see, for example, the SHARE City Curriculum).

As more and more smaller municipalities are hosting refugees, and as smaller cities and towns have great potential to offer welcome and a 'soft landing' for resettled refugees, SHARE Integration focuses particularly on developing tools and approaches to build the capacity of smaller municipalities to welcome refugees and facilitate their early integration.

Private sponsorship initiatives offer a unique opportunity for private citizens to become directly involved in the resettlement process as core reception and integration actors. SHARE Integration thus supports local communities considering, planning or preparing an involvement in private sponsorship.


Several countries with little or no resettlement experience have pledged to receive refugees as part of the planned 50,000 due to arrive into Europe during 2018-19, and many experienced resettlement countries have significantly increased their national quotas.

Many countries are adopting mandatory distribution keys to determine placement of refugees across their national territories. Distribution keys are mechanisms used to allocate newly arriving refugees to different cities, towns and municipalities within an individual country. The factors on which distribution keys are based vary from country to country, and might include aspects such as population size, availability of appropriate housing and/or services, and labour market opportunities. Some countries that have pledged to receive refugees need to engage towns and cities not previously involved in national resettlement programmes in order to fulfil their increased quotas. Smaller municipalities will thus have a significant role to play in receiving refugees and ensuring the success of the 50,000 programme and other future schemes.

Smaller municipalities have great potential to contribute to successful integration. The cost of living is lower than that of larger cities, and social networks are stronger and more tight-knit. Smaller communicates also offer safe environments in which families can settle and thrive.

It is crucial that smaller municipalities receive the support and information they need to plan and implement local reception and integration in an effective and positive way.

Follow the links to learn about how SHARE Integration supports smaller municipalities newly engaging in resettlement, by:

·      Developing a new ‘Preparing welcoming communities’ training curriculum, with pilot implementations in 16 municipalities in 8 countries (forthcoming).

·      Conducting comparative research on experiences of settlement and inclusion in smaller European municipalities already engaged in resettlement (forthcoming).


SHARE promotes 'welcome' as the key unifying principle for effective refugee reception and settlement at the local level. Early and successful integration is achieved only when receiving local communities meet basic needs, and also provide supportive environments.

Follow the links to:

·      Read and download the key 2013 SHARE publication 'A City Says Yes! Reflections on the experiences of the Save Me campaign to promote refugee resettlement in Germany'

·      View presentations and a conference report from the 2013 SHARE Conference 'A City Says Yes! Welcoming Resettled Refugees in Europe'.

·      View the SHARE Integration 'Welcoming Communities' video series (forthcoming).


Within private sponsorship programmes, national governments make agreements with private actors to facilitate refugee resettlement. Governments facilitate legal entry, and private actors provide financial, emotional and social support for new arrivals. Private sponsorship initiatives enable private actors, including local citizens, to engage in refugee resettlement in a very direct and personal way, and expand the 'toolbox' of options for increasing resettlement capacity in receiving countries.

SHARE is part of the wider European Resettlement Network which, in recognition of the need for new approaches to address global displacement and the few opportunities available for refugee resettlement, has broadened its scope of activities to include research on complementary pathways of admission for refugees to Europe.

SHARE Integration supports local communities considering, planning or preparing an involvement in private sponsorship. The SHARE Integration Private Sponsorship Working Group brings together relevant actors, to reflect on private sponsorship in the European context and support the production of the SHARE publication 'Preparing communities to sponsor and integrate refugees' (forthcoming). The publication will focus on inclusion and integration at the local level resulting from sponsorship initiatives in Europe.


Volunteering provides opportunities for those in local communities receiving refugees to welcome new arrivals, use their skills and expertise to support specific aspects of integration, and expand the overall capacity and variety of local integration frameworks. Volunteering can also provide refugees with opportunities to build social and professional networks, develop language skills and find pathways to employment in their new contexts.

SHARE promotes volunteering as an important component of welcoming local communities and a key driver for successful early integration.

Follow the links to read more about the SHARING through Mentoring Programme, which enabled local communities to access guidance and support to develop volunteering initiatives for refugee integration, and read/download the 2015 publication Volunteering for Refugee Integration: a SHARE Network Toolkit Publication (also available in French and German) a toolkit to start, assess and improve volunteering initiatives.



The SHARE City Curriculum is designed to provide tools, templates and ideas to support those working on resettlement programmes to respond to challenges, better meet the needs of resettled refugees, and support their aspirations for their resettlement.  The tools it includes have been compiled based on the successful approaches used by many SHARE Network partners and stakeholders across Europe, shared with us and our partners through SHARE activities, events and research throughout 2012-14.

Click here to access the full Curriculum and find out how it can help you in your work.