Analysis of regulatory environment
While migration is a historical phenomenon, the role of actors below and above central governments has emerged and strengthened in recent decades (Doomernik & Bruquetas-Callejo 2016). In the last few years, several studies have adopted a multi-level governance approach (MLG), which focuses attention on the relation between different administrative levels. Local and regional level, particularly, become prominent in the field of migrant integration (Zapata-Barrero et al. 2017). This approach suggests that some subnational actors (for example the Länder in Germany) influence, more than others do, the concrete integration of migrants because of their financial power and their proximity to the territories where the actual integration takes place. At the same time, legal and institutional rules, that frame and steer local immigration and integration mechanisms, are de facto established at the regional, national and European level (Penninx 2009, OECD 2018). This new research perspective underlines that local administrations play a crucial role in the development of a welcoming culture, especially when they make up for national shortages through their own initiatives (OECD 2018). If before the studies on the integration of newcomers at the local level have focused on urban contexts and larger agglomerations (Pastore & Ponzo 2016), recent interest of studies focuses on small municipalities (Balbo 2015). Understanding this “local turn” through an analysis of the legal framework on integration can contribute to improving state-based models of migration management (Zapata-Barrero et al. 2017). It can be argued that integration is a challenge that concerns everyone and starts mainly from the bottom up (Villa 2018). Within this framework, the present study takes a cross-national perspective to show the regulatory environment, which affects the establishment of a welcoming culture in Alpine regions. A better understanding of the differences in the regulatory framework in Alpine regions can clarify the role of each level of government about the issue of integration and consequently support developing services able to speed up the process of integration in the receiving communities (Weiß et al. 2017). This report investigates how the regulatory and institutional framework looks like that offers efficient solutions or approaches and allows territorial actors to take action for welcoming newcomers.