Director, International Program
Meghan Benton is Director of the International Program at MPI, where her work spans a wide range of areas including labor mobility, immigrant integration, border management, and humanitarian protection. She has a particular interest in the role of technological and social innovation in immigration and integration policy, and in how labor market disruption affects immigration and integration. In 2016, she co-founded MPI Europe’s Integration Futures Working Group, which seeks to develop a forward-looking agenda for integration policy in Europe. Most recently, she has been working on how the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped global mobility. She convenes MPI’s Task Force on Borders and Mobility During and After COVID-19.
Dr. Benton previously was a Senior Researcher at Nesta, the United Kingdom’s innovation body, where she led projects on digital government and the future of local public services. Prior to joining Nesta, she was a Policy Analyst at MPI from 2012-15, where she co-led an MPI-International Labor Organization six-country project on pathways to skilled work for newly arrived immigrants in Europe. She also worked on Project UPSTREAM, a four-country project on mainstreaming immigrant integration in the European Union. Previously, she worked for the Constitution Unit at University College London and the Institute for Public Policy Research.
Dr. Benton received her PhD in political science from University College London in 2010, where her PhD research focused on citizenship and the rights of noncitizens. She also holds a master’s degree in legal and political theory (with distinction) from University College London, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and literature from Warwick University.
This MPI Europe report examines the challenges that cities across the European Union are facing when helping new arrivals access education and training, including limited funding and need for better monitoring of program outcomes. It also highlights innovative ways municipalities support newly arrived migrants as they enter the education system and local labor force, including two-generation and co-located services as well as "whole-place" approaches.
2016 saw the emergence of a "whole-of-society" approach to the refugee crisis, with a number of new actors, including many from the private sector, engaging with humanitarian protection issues in creative ways. This engagement and the energy and diversity of these partners, in the tech sector and beyond, creates both opportunities and challenges for governments and more traditional civil-society organizations.
With the seemingly endless flows of asylum seekers and migrants abated, at least for the present, Europe is now faced with the long-term and complex challenges of integration of these newcomers. This report examines the political, social, and economic contexts and immigration histories of European countries and how the current integration challenges are complicated by existing challenges of fragmentation and social unrest. Still, the authors find some cause for optimism.
Tech communities in Europe and North America have been spurred into action by the refugee crisis, developing apps and other tools that can be used along the journey, immediately upon arrival, and for longer-term integration into the host society. This report maps several types of emerging tools and considers how policymakers responsible for refugee integration might play a more active role in supporting the most promising.
This discussion focuses on how governments and actors in the Mediterranean region can work together to expand durable solutions for refugees and coordinate efforts to build welcoming communities for newcomers.
Despite the broad appeal of the concept of "mainstreaming" in integration policy in Europe, few agree on its exact meaning. This report synthesizes the findings of the UPSTREAM project's country case studies, which examined the extent to which governments in France, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom are employing mainstreaming to meet the needs of rapidly diversifying populations.
Increasing numbers of Westerners heading to Syria and Iraq to join jihadist organizations like ISIS have governments concerned about possible attacks at home by returning fighters. Several thousand fighters from Europe and other Western countries are believed among the foreign nationals involved in conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Lawmakers scrambled in 2014 to respond with new policies, including seizing passports, stripping citizenship, and criminalizing travel to "no go" zones.
A day-long conference in Brussels, co-sponsored by the International Labour Office and the European Commision’s Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion, where panelists discuss the dynamics by which migrants get stuck in low-skilled work, and the role of training and employment services in helping them progress in their occupations. The conference concludes a project and series of reports prepared on the Labor Market Integration of New Arrivals in Europe.