Cities are often the first entry points for migrants and refugees into the host society. A comprehensive integration policy is therefore an essential component of effective urban development. By providing quality services, infrastructure and opportunities, cities have the capacity to ensure the long-term integration of migrants and refugees into the urban fabric. However fostering integration and mutual trust is a difficult, complex and long-term process. If this integration into the urban fabric is poorly managed, it can fail to address basic needs and lead to the exclusion of migrants and refugees from the labour market, housing, health and education services etc. In turn social cohesion is put at risk. This is particularly the case when cities are asked to deal with sizeable and sudden population movements that place pressure on their services. The Urban Innovative Actions support cities to address these challenges.

To better clarify the scope of the eligibility, it is important to take into account the following definitions when designing the proposals: 

Migrant: A broader-term of an immigrant and emigrant, referring to a person who leaves one country or region to settle in another, often in search of a better life. (Source: European Migration Network)

Refugee: A third-country national who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, is outside the country of nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country, or a stateless person, who, being outside of the country of former habitual residence for the same reasons as mentioned above, is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to return to it (Council Directive 2011/95/EU).

In practice, this means that projects may target a range of non-EU citizens living in EU Member States such as third-country nationals, undocumented migrants, stateless persons, asylum seekers and recognised refugees (see the glossary for more information). Actions should not target EU citizens moving from one Member State to another, either for temporary or long-term purposes. 

The first priority of this call is the long-term integration of migrants and refugees, which is a multifaceted process requiring integrated approaches (including the one-stop-shop approach. However since integration starts from the day of arrival into the Member State elements of short-term responses may be considered if they are part of long-term integration strategies.

Following the ERDF scope of support, actions may cover a range of investments in social, health, education, housing and childcare infrastructure, regeneration of deprived urban areas, actions to reduce spatial and educational isolation of migrants and refugees, business start-ups and others. In order to reinforce the comprehensive nature of the activities, measures addressing human capital investment, such as vocational training, coaching, capacity building and skills development, could also be included. The following non-exhaustive list provides some examples:

  • Social infrastructure: actions could include the development of community-based social care, community centres, family centres etc..
  • Housing infrastructure: measures could invest in social housing which does not further reinforce the spatial isolation of marginalised communities. Investments should primarily focus on measures which simultaneously help to reduce and/or eliminate the physical isolation and improve the access to basic services.
  • Education infrastructure:  From early childhood to higher education, actions could target the accession and quality of educational services. They may also include the development of training and language courses. 
  • Health: a focus on facilitating access to mainstream health services and on the provision of health services for those problems with more prevalence in newly arrived migrants and refugees such as physical injuries (hypothermia, burns, gastrointestinal illnesses, cardiovascular events, pregnancy- and delivery-related complications, diabetes and hypertension), as well psychological support and trauma healing is possible. Innovative actions could include investments in health infrastructure for prevention and primary health care services.


The Urban Innovative Actions could also focus on specific (vulnerable) groups:

  • Unaccompanied minors: Isolated and vulnerable to trafficking, actions could develop child protection systems that link services across all social sectors to prevent and respond to risks of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect of children, to support children who are not in the care of their families and to provide protection to children in institutions.  
  • Women: Since migrant and refugee women often experience specific challenges to access  housing, health services, training and language courses, as well as in the integration into the labour market, actions could seek to address these points.
  • Young people including young people with a migrant background: Prone to leave school early and be less educated, their transition into the labour market is often more difficult. Actions could focus on education and labour market inclusion but also on providing spaces for interaction for young people of diverse backgrounds (e.g. through sport and cultural activities and/or infrastructures).


Finally, as this is the second time that the topic of the integration of migrants and refugees has been included in a UIA Call for Proposals, we would recommend that applicants look at those projects approved in the first Call for Proposals in order to complement those actions already funded.