Saxon Integration and Participation Act (SITG)

Participation creates integration

Saxony is drafting an Integration and Participation Act (SITG). In the current coalition agreement, it was agreed to create a legal basis for »...the equal participation of people with a migration background« by 2021. The goal is to improve Saxony's integration structures at the state and municipal level, true to the motto »demand and promote«. This goes hand in hand with the goal of clearly distributing tasks at the state and municipal levels. The aim is to enable successful integration and participation of migrants.

The Saxon State Ministry for Social Affairs and Social Cohesion (SMS) has deliberately decided to precede such an integration and participation law with a comprehensive participation process. The aim is to prepare the draft law in a broad-based dialogue and participation process with integration experts and interested parties from the civil society in Saxony and beyond. The principle of this process is »participation creates integration«.

With the participation and discussion process on the new SITG and the talk about integration, cohesion and public spirit in Saxony, the space for an intensive discourse is thus created.

With the Saxon Integration and Participation Act, I want to create a stable legal basis for the integration and social and political participation of immigrant people.

Minister of State Petra Köpping

Each and every one of us is called upon when it comes to creating a cosmopolitan, appreciative and diverse climate in Saxony for the benefit of all.

Geert Mackenroth, Saxon Commissioner for Foreigners

Further information

Why participation?

No law on integration and participation without a participation process: In this way, we want to ensure that the extensive experience of integration experts and interested parties from the civil society is included at an early stage in the drafting of the Saxon Integration and Participation Act (SITG). They should be able to actively contribute their knowledge and competences to the entire process.

After the participation phase, a draft bill is prepared and agreed upon within the state government on the basis of the many suggestions, comments and remarks. After its release by the cabinet, this so-called draft bill is made available to all stakeholders for comment in a hearing process.

Provided with these amendments and improvements, it will then be submitted to the Landtag for parliamentary deliberation, where it will finally be passed after various public hearings and discussions.

Who is involved

Symbolic image for "getting involved": Someone at a conference raises an arm for a request to speak, you can see the man from behind. ©  iStock/skynesher

The participation process should make the diversity of interests of all people involved visible. In this way, the process enables conflicting interests and views to be recognised and understood.

For this reason, the following actors in particular are involved:

  • Organisations for and by people with a migration history
  • Town councils, i.e. independent cities, districts and municipalities
  • Religious communities
  • Welfare organisations and social partners
  • Trade associations of the business and craft sector
  • Sports clubs and associations
  • State authorities and institutions
  • Adult education centres and other further education institutions
  • Universities and colleges
  • Federal offices, especially for migration and refugees

The participants come from all over the Free State of Saxony. They are relevant and competent representatives from town councils, supporting associations, state authorities as well as civil society actors.

In addition, experts from the fields of culture, science and research from Germany repeatedly give impulses and inform about new findings. In lectures, keynote speeches and exciting discussions, they repeatedly give participants input and report on their experiences.

Goal & Process

What is the goal?

People, who come to Saxony from other countries, should find good conditions for living in the Free State. With the law, we want to improve the integration structures at municipal and state level. At the same time, the law should clearly distribute the tasks between the municipality and the Free State.

All of this is under the motto »Demand and Promote« with the aim of ensuring that the integration and participation of migrants in the Free State of Saxony succeeds.

And how does the process work?

The participation process is designed as an early expert participation with about 1,000 experts. So-called expert conferences form the »head« of the participation process: The expert conferences are a very important component of the entire process.

Depending on the topic, several hundred people come together to discuss relevant fields of action and key points for a SITG. This generates a lot of input that is weighed up in a subsequent process.

The dates

Symbol image for appointments: Calendar page of a desk calendar with a female hand in front of it holding a pen. © istock/Kwangmoozaa

As part of the participation process, expert conferences with different thematic focuses are planned, in which we will discuss the creation of a Saxon Integration and Participation Act (SITG) with experts, interested parties and fellow campaigners, and in which we would like to move the process forward together.

So that you don't miss any of the conferences and can actively participate in the creation of a SITG, please note all further dates in your calendar now.

Below you will find an overview of the dates:

6th May 2021
Kick-off conference

21st May 2021
1st expert conference on »Migrant Life in Saxony«

10th June 2021
2nd expert conference on »Migration Social Work«

23rd June 2021
3rd expert conference on »Participation and Antidiscrimination«

9th July 2021
Supplementary conference on »Refugee Social Work«

14th July 2021
4th expert conference on »Integration through Language, Education and Work«

10th September 2021
Supplementary conference on »Labour market integration«

23rd September 2021
Final conference

Kick-off conference

During the digital kick-off conference on 6th May 2021, Sebastian Vogel, the former Head of the Department for Social Cohesion and now State Secretary for Social Affairs and Social Cohesion, provided information on the framework conditions, the course of the participation process and the process on the way to a Saxon Integration and Participation Act.

At the beginning, the Saxon State Minister for Social Affairs and Social Cohesion, Petra Köpping, answered the question as to why Saxony now needs an Integration and Participation Act after the ZIK II. Geert Mackenroth, Member of the Saxon Parliament, Saxony's Commissioner for Foreigners, discussed the steering mandate of laws and the associated opportunities and limitations of a Saxon Integration and Participation Act.

Prof. Dr. Petra Bendel from the Expert Council on Integration and Migration provided an insight into various existing integration laws in Germany. Afterwards, all participants had the opportunity to ask the experts questions using a digital feedback tool. Finally, Kanwal Sethi, Chairman of Dachverband sächsischer Migrationsorganisationen e. V. (umbrella organisation of Saxon migration organisations), spoke about the community's expectations of the draft law and the participation.
The live stream of the digital kick-off conference was recorded for you. To watch the conference with all the expert contributions, simply click into the video window. (in german)

Migrant Life in Saxony

The first of six conferences was held on the topic of »Migrant Life in Saxony« on 21st May 2021. Together with experts, interested people and fellow campaigners, we looked at and discussed integration and participation from the perspective of different migrant groups in Saxony.

In a welcome address at the beginning of the conference, Petra Köpping, Saxony's Minister of State for Social Affairs and Social Cohesion, emphasised the importance of participation for the creation of the Saxony Integration and Participation Act:

The motto of our participation process is ›Participation creates integration‹. We want to involve the people, for whom the law is primarily intended, in its creation and thus enable them to participate at an early stage.

In three subsequent introductory presentations, the fundamental issues of migration and diversity were examined.

Paul Mecheril, Professor of Education with a focus on migration at the University of Bielefeld, pointed out that migration is an expression of people's maturity, because all people want a decent life.
Asiye Kaya, Professor of Social Work and Migration at Mittweida University of Applied Sciences, then provided insights into her current research project on migrant perspectives on the reunification process in East Germany.

Özcan Karadeniz, Managing Director of the Association of Binational Families and Partnerships (iaf e.V.) in Leipzig, then spoke on questions of self-organisation of migrants and diversity in Saxony.

In the subsequent work phase, the participants could become active themselves and participate in one of six discussion groups with different thematic focuses. In small workshop groups of up to 25 people, opportunities, challenges and perspectives of different migrant groups in Saxony were discussed. The focus was particularly on EU citizens, former GDR contract workers, non-EU citizens, late repatriates, contingent refugees as well as refugees and asylum seekers.
At the end of the working phase, the results of the individual discussion groups were presented by the participants in a short »flash light«.

The live stream of the digital conference was recorded for you. To watch the conference with all the expert contributions, simply click into the video window. (in german)

Migration social work

On 10th June 2021, the second digital expert conference with the main topic »Migration Social Work« took place within the framework of the Saxon Integration and Participation Act (SITG). The aim of the expert conference was to look at the broad field of social and counselling work with migrants in the Free State and to shed light on their work and interaction. In two introductory keynote speeches, various aspects of migration social work were first examined.

Isabelle Ihring, Professor of Youth and Social Work at the Protestant University of Applied Sciences Freiburg, demonstrated the importance of a human rights-based perspective.

Marianne Sand and Bernhard Wagner from the Protestant University of Applied Sciences Dresden then provided insights into their current research project on refugee and migration social work in Saxony.

In the subsequent discussion groups, the participants of the expert conference were able to speak for themselves. The individual groups served to discuss various topics and needs of social work for people with migration histories in greater depth. The topics were refugee social work, return counselling, migration counselling for adults, youth migration services, asylum (procedure) counselling, the Saxony Psychosocial Centre and the Migration and Disability Centre. The results of the group discussions were presented by the participants in the form of flashlights.

In accordance with the coalition agreement, the Free State of Saxony has set itself the goal of drafting its own Integration and Participation Act (SITG) during the current legislative period. With this, Saxony wants to enable and promote the successful integration and participation of migrants. The second conference laid another important foundation stone for the law.

The live stream of the digital conference was recorded for you. To watch the conference with all the expert contributions, simply click into the video window. (in german)

Participation and antidiscrimination

The third expert conference in the context of the Saxon Integration and Participation Act (SITG) served to look at the interplay as well as the opportunities of participation and antidiscrimination in order to derive possible suggestions for the planned law based on this.
The conference started with two expert inputs dealing with the successful participation of migrants in Saxony and the active prevention of discrimination.

Birgit Glorius, Professor of Human Geography with a focus on European Migration Research at Chemnitz University of Technology, spoke on the question of how participation can succeed. She emphasised that participation is a process of coming together and requires understanding for different cultural backgrounds and an open dialogue.

Dr Doris Liebscher, from the Ombudsman's Office of the State Office for Equal Treatment against Discrimination (LADS) of the State of Berlin, then reported on the experiences with the State Antidiscrimination Act (LADG) of the City of Berlin. Access to justice is particularly relevant for refugees and migrants.

In the subsequent discussion groups, the participants themselves were able to discuss various challenges and needs for participation and successful antidiscrimination work. In particular, the topics of intercultural opening of the administration, participation at the state and municipal level, state commissioners, municipal commissioners and antidiscrimination work as the key to a participation-oriented migration society were addressed. The participants recorded the results of the respective discussion groups in flashlights.

The live stream of the digital conference was recorded for you. To watch the conference with all the expert contributions, simply click into the video window. (in german)

Refugee social work

During the participatory process for the Saxon Integration and Participation Act (SITG), there have already been three specialist conferences with impressive attendance. Due to the especially great interest in the topics surrounding »refugee social work«, an additional conference was organized on July 9, 2021.

In a large discussion session, panelists from municipalities, institutional backers of social work with refugees, academia and the Commission for Social Work with Refugee (LAG FSA) discusses the standards for social work with refugees, the principle of subsidiarity, the professionalization of social work with refugees, appropriate staffing levels and financing.

During the open discussion, all of the participants had the opportunity to engage with the panelists and one another on current needs in social work in refugees and formulate their demands for the SITG.

Language, Education and Work

At the fourth expert conference on July 14, 2021, the focus was on »Integration through Language, Education and Work«.

At the start of the conference, Prof. Dr. Hans Vorländer, among other things a member of the federal government’s Expert Commission on »Conditions for the Ability to Integrate«, Director of the Mercator Forum on Migration und Democracy (MIDEM) and a member of the Advisory Council for Integration and Migration. During his presentation, Prof. Vorländer explained the structural per-requisites for successful cooperation between the federal government, states, municipalities and civil society with regard to integration.

In the discussion groups that followed, the participants of the specialist conference were able to divide into in six groups to delve deeper into the necessary conditions for successful integration in the areas of general language acquisition, early childhood education, school, vocational training, labor market integration and higher education/integration. The participants then provided the results of each discussion group as bullet points.

During the final panel discussion, Manuela Andrich, Head of the Office for Migration and Integration for the City of Leipzig, and Matthias Resche, Integration Coordinator for the District of Zwickau, reported on the practice of integration in local municipalities.

You can watch the recorded online conference with the expert contributions of the speakers via the video embedded below. (in german)

Labour Market Integration

As part of the participatory process for the creation of a Saxon Integration and Participation Act (SITG), participants had already had the opportunity to engage with various topics at four expert conferences and one supplementary conference. The topic of »Labour Market Integration« met with particular interest at the fourth expert conference, »Integration through Language, Education and Work.« For this reason, a supplementary conference was held on September 10, 2021 in order to gain additional insights for the planned law.

During a large panel discussion, the area of »schooling« and »vocational training« were explored more deeply. For this, the focus was especially on the offers and structures of job placement, labor market mentors as support for those who have fled and people with migration in their biographies, the recognition of vocational qualifications, cooperation and coordination at the municipal level and the contribution of businesses to integration. The panelists included representatives of the qualification recognition office at the State Office for School and Education, the Production School of Moritzburg, the IQ State Network of Saxony, the Federal Labor Office/Regional Director for Saxony, the Social Welfare Office for Dresden and the association »Business for a global Saxony«.

After brief, technical presentations, the panelists formulated diverse demands for the SITG, which were taken up and expanded upon by the participants during the discussion. Among other things, the setting of statutory deadlines and the standardization of procedures for recognizing qualifications, increased staffing and broad engagement at the municipal  level were demanded.

Abbas Hosseini, a qualified retail salesman currently training in business administration alongside his job, then shared his own experience of integration and talked about the support he received from advising institutions, but also hurdles along the path to the German labor market.

Final Conference

»Participation creates integration« – that is the motto of the participatory process at part of the Saxon Integration and Participation Act (SITG). With the final conference on September 23, 2021, this participatory process has completed its first phase.

With a total of seven expert conferences, the issues surrounding life as a person with a migration background in Saxony, social work with migrants and refugees, participation and anti-discrimination, and integration through language, education and work were discussed and valuable suggestions for the planned law were formulated. The closing conference served to review these specialist conferences and to gather, discuss and deepen the intermediate results with participants and guests.

At the start of the conference, the Minister for Social and Societal Cohesion for Saxony, Petra Köpping, stressed the importance of developing an integration law for Saxony.

I want the people who we train here, who we educate here, who we qualify, to also be able to stay here.

Petra Köpping, Minister for Social and Societal Cohesion for Saxony

Finally, the Secretary for Social and Societal Cohesion, Sebastian Vogel, provided an insight in the participatory process thus far and the next steps towards developing the law.

During an initial panel discussion, the panelists Geert Mackenroth, Officer for Foreigners’ Affairs for Saxony, Prof. Dr. Hans Vorländer, MIDEM Mercator Forum for Migration and Democracy, Kanwal Sethi, Governing Body for Migrant Organizations in Saxony, Reinhilde Willems, Federal Labor Office in Chemnitz, and Sebastian Vogel discussed demands, desires and possible solutions to existing challenges that are to be included in the Saxon integration law.
As at the previous expert conferences, the participants were able to join seven different discussion groups with various themes during a work phase. In small workshop groups of up to 25 people, the topics of societal cohesion, participation at the municipal level, anti-discrimination, provision of medical/psychological care, the labor market, and religious life/religious holidays were discussed in depth. Finally, results were presented briefly and discussed by the panel.

The live-stream of the digital specialist conference has been recorded for you. In order to view all of the expert presentations, just click on the video window. (in german)

Principles of participation

He who communicates, acts: The participation process on integration and participation is not independent of communication on integration and participation. Therefore, the process of involving as many experts as possible is a »value« in itself.

In the participation process for the new Saxon Integration and Participation Act (SITG), we are guided by firm principles. These include, among others...

  • Quality through diversity: All and as many different points of view as possible are brought into the participation process, discussed and weighed up.
  • Safeguarding the free democratic basic order: The participation process and its actors should meet the requirements of the free democratic basic order. This basic consensus should always be visible and form the basis of identity, despite all - entirely legitimate and expectable - divergences of interest.
  • Participation: In this process, we want to enable the participation of people with different competences, information, perspectives and interests. That is why the process is designed in such a way that different opinions can have their say.
  • Empowerment by providing orientation knowledge: We avoid frustration for all participants by thinking about and providing the necessary orientation knowledge for the procedures.
  • Consideration of the participants' ideas of democracy and resources: The participation process corresponds to the political socio-culture of Saxony and the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • Legitimacy: The inputs are weighed up in the further process and discussed with the actors involved – whenever possible – in a communication-oriented and transparent manner.
  • Making pluralism visible: The participation process makes the diversity of interests visible. It also enables the civil society actors to identify conflicting interests and views.
  • Legitimacy through communication: Communication is an important key in the process. The participation process should be transparent, and the goals, procedural and discussion statuses, remaining participation opportunities, etc. should be presented in a simple and comprehensible manner. In addition, the intentions and justifications of all participants should be communicated and discussed as comprehensibly as possible.

Download information

Here, you can download the presentations of the speakers as PDF files as well as further information on the Saxon Integration and Participation Act (SITG).
Presentations of the expert conferences: (in german)

Kick-off conference, 6th May 2021

2nd expert conference on »Migration Social Work«, 10th June 2021

3rd expert conference on »Participation and Antidiscrimination«, 23rd June 2021

General information material


The live streams of the digital expert conferences have been recorded for you. To see the conferences with all the expert contributions, simply go to the subpage of the respective expert conference and click into the video window

Participate now

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