Immigrants’ Integration Experience in Seven EU Countries | Emina Osmandzikovic

The approach of academic literature on integration predominantly segregates objective integration outcomes from immigrants’ integration experience and stands in stark contrast to the paucity of studies that jointly examine both. I bridge the two approaches by quantifying immigrants’ integration experience via both subjective indicators: (i) overall life satisfaction and (ii) ease of applying for citizenship or permanent residence, and an objective indicator: (iii) employment status. By analyzing survey responses of 7,407 immigrants in seven EU member states, I assess the factors that correlate with more positive integration experience of immigrants and the magnitude of their relationship. The background factors I examine are (i) the historical ties between immigrants’ countries of origin and residence, and (ii) the level of development of country of origin. The immigrant-specific factor I examine is (iii) the reason for migration. The results show positive and statistically significant correlations between background factors and all three indicators of immigrants’ integration experience. However, the correlation between the humanitarian reason for migration, an immigrant-specific factor, and immigrants’ integration experience is negative, with the exception of ease of applying for citizenship. This paper, thereby, contributes to the literature by examining subjective and objective indicators of immigrants’ integration in conjunction. Further, I demonstrate that integration is a complex process that is correlated with a heterogeneity of factors, both background and immigrant specific ones, that need to be examined jointly.

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