In this paper we attempt to identify the ways in which migration policy in Greece obstructs or facilitates social integration of female migrants.
The core question is to what extent migration policies are gender–sensitive, and whether the key actors consider gender as a determinant factor in differentiating terms and in relation to processes of migrants’ social integration into the host society. In order to do this, in section 2 of the paper we present the new trends in female migration in Greece, in order to contextualize its conceptualization in terms of theory as well as policy. Identifying the main characteristics of female migration in terms of nationality, type of migration, family situation and occupational structure, we attempt to highlight its articulation with the structural characteristics of the Greek labour market as well as the welfare state and more specifically the dominant public care model.
In the same section we discuss the way in which the migrants’ legalization procedures implemented by the Greek state on the one hand, and the extended informal sector of the economy on the other, constitute the two pillars which determine female migrants’ social integration. In section 3 we present the main findings which came out of the analysis of interviews with representatives of the key actors in migration, who are either in key positions in state agencies, migrant communities, or non-governmental organizations active in the field.
In this section, we give an outline of the governmental and non-governmental agencies we interviewed, in terms of their organizational profile such as organizational structure, role, responsibilities, goals, radius of action, problem awareness in relation to migrants (and female migrants in particular), activities, policy proposals and modes of cooperation.
Moreover, we attempt to identify the quality of consultation procedures, hence the degree of migrants’ participation in the formation and implementation of policies, as well as the initiatives which have been taken as bottom-up policies. We also present our findings as regards the limitations and deficiencies of the existing legal framework, which ensures that female migrants remain invisible, and argue that a lot of initiatives can be taken to improve the situation.
Finally, we make an overall assessment of the key interviews in order to shed light on the dominant conceptions about what social integration of female migrants means and to which integration policies refer. Last but not least, in the final section we discuss the dominant integration discourse, its components and its differentiating aspects among the different key actors, and provide a summary of the discussion of the paper.