Immigrant Citizens Survey: 'How immigrants experience integration'

Posted by pt91 at May 25, 2012 10:08 AM |
Transnational survey asks the unheard in the integration debate: The immigrant

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 25 May 2012

A University of Leicester academic has played a key role in the first transnational survey of migration that is directly relevant for policy-makers in many areas of integration at local, national and European level.

Dr. Laura Morales, Reader in Politics in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University, has been involved in The Immigrant Citizens Survey (ICS), piloted by the King Baudouin Foundation and the Migration Policy Group.

“The results are striking. While public debate focuses mostly on the problems of integration and only little on the successes, this survey shows a different picture”, said Françoise Pissart of the King Baudouin Foundation.

Dr Morales, who this week presented the results of the findings in Spain, added: “This is a unique survey that provides immigrants’ views on how well integration policies are working in a number of European countries. It offers very useful information about which areas of the social and political integration of immigrants are working well and which deserve further attention from policy-makers.”

The international results will be presented in more detail in Brussels on 20 June.

The results show that:

- 3 out of 4 migrants are or wish to become citizens in their country of residence, which in turn helps them feel more settled, obtain better jobs and improve their access to further education;

- immigrants highly value language and integration courses, which for many also enhances socio-economic integration;

- immigrants are as willing as the general public to vote or to join political parties and trade unions; they also wish to see more diversity in politics and are willing to vote for it;

- Family reunification improves family life and increases a sense of belonging.

The Immigrant Citizen Survey of non-EU-born legal immigrants captured the insights of over 7,000 people in 15 cities in 7 countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal and Spain). They were asked for their assessment of whether integration policies and programmes are relevant, implemented, used, and have an impact on their own lives.

Focusing on employment, languages, civic and political participation, family reunion, long-term residence and citizenship, key findings point to a great desire to fully participate in the labour market in their countries of residence. One obstacle that migrants may face includes a mistrust of foreign qualifications, leading to almost 1/3 of immigrants surveyed occupying positions they felt ‘over-qualified’ for.

Dr Morales actively participated in the design of this international survey as a member of the scientific advisory board of the survey, and as the scientific coordinator of the survey fieldwork and data analysis for the Spanish case.

Thomas Huddleston of the Migration Policy Group emphasised that “the Immigrant Citizen Survey results show that policy makes a difference for migrants’ integration experiences. The findings also suggest that there is potential for investment in broader integration courses, the recognition of foreign qualifications and political participation policies. How and when these policies are implemented is crucial. By giving migrants a voice, the ICS adds nuanced depth to the integration policy debate which is often left out.”

The full ICS results are available on www.immigrantsurvey.org. The survey was implemented by 19 partner organisations from 8 European countries and co-financed by the European Commission, the King Baudouin Foundation, the Oak Foundation and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Notes to the Editor

To interview Dr Morales contact:

Email (preferred method of contact): laura.morales@le.ac.uk

For further information on the study or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Anna Bates Communication and Information Officer - Migration Policy Group Tel +32 (0) 22345048 - email: abates@migpolgroup.com - website: www.migpolgroup.com

Jean-Paul Collette, Communication Officer and Press Relations – King Baudouin Foundation

Tel +32 (0) 25490278 – +32 (0) 474 997075 - email: collette.j@kbs-frb.be - website: www.kbs-frb.be

About King Baudouin Foundation

The King Baudouin Foundation is an independent public benefit foundation that supports projects and citizens who are committed to create a better society. In this way we can make a lasting contribution towards greater justice, democracy and respect for diversity.

For more please see: www.kbs-frb.be

About MPG

The Migration Policy Group (MPG) is an independent non-profit European organisation committed to contributing to lasting and positive change resulting in open and inclusive societies in which all members have equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities in developing the economic, social and civic life of Europe’s diverse societies.

MPG stimulates well-informed European policy debate, cooperation and action to achieve this goal in three programme areas of Migration & Mobility; Anti-discrimination & Equality; and Diversity & Integration. MPG takes a consistent and dynamic approach to all three inter-related programmes.

For more, please see www.migpolgroup.org

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