The number of third-country citizens living in the EU in January 2016 was 20.7 million, representing 4.1 % of the EU-28 population (Eurostat, 2017). The largest numbers of non-nationals living in the EU Member States were found in Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and France. Non-EU citizens residing in these Member States collectively accounted for 76% of the total of non-nationals living in the EU, while the same five Member States represented 63% of the EU-28’s population (Eurostat, 2017).
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The EU has the task to encourage and support the actions of Member States aimed at promoting the integration of citizens of non-EU countries. The EU Integration Action Plan of Third-Country Nationals, published by the European Commission in June 2016, is the most recent document setting the objectives about integration policy, and describing the measures implemented at EU level concerning, among other things, pre-departure and pre-arrival actions, education, employment and vocational training. With specific regard to the promotion of labour market integration, in December 2017 the Commission and the European Social and Economic partners signed the “European Partnership for Integration”, laying down key principles and commitments aimed at enhancing the opportunities for refugees and migrants to participate in the labour market.