Based on document analysis (media sources and policy documents) and semi-structured interviews conducted between November 2021 and February 2022 in 40 localities in 8 EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the Netherlands), the authors found that the general picture is one with difficult access to housing (due to a general housing crisis) and relatively easy access to employment (due to general labour shortages). When zooming into local differences, our research confirms that favourable local economic conditions tend to make it more difficult for migrants to find a place to live but play in favour of their access to employment. If one focuses on local responses, variation depends on the distribution of competences between the national, regional, and local levels of government, as well as on national and regional approaches. Locality size does also seem to play a role, with bigger localities having more knowledge, capacity, and resources to intervene and set up specific support measures. Local politics also matter in explaining variation in local responses, with progressive governments more often and more actively involved in facilitating migrants’ access to housing. In terms of policy recommendations, our research highlights the need to include not only major cities but also small and medium-sized towns in deliberative EU and national fora and adapt existing support measures and funding schemes to their specific needs and limitations.
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