Citizenship and Immigrant Integration


The interdisciplinary research under this research theme focuses on the role of citizenship in the two-way process in which newcomers and host societies work together to build a cohesive community. Successful integration, broadly defined, relates to a range of issues, such as access to rights, educational performance, labour market performance, residential conditions, among others. Aiming to consolidate and intensify existing inter-faculty collaboration, UM researchers within this research theme aim to analyse immigrant integration from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective, integrating sociology, politics, law and economics.

Key research areas: Acquisition and loss of citizenship; statelessness; access to rights and protection; labour market participation; educational performance; immigrant integration and social cohesion; political participation; societal attitudes; integration policies and outcomes; origin country context.

Research Theme LeadersProf. dr. Gerard-Rene de Groot (Faculty of Law), Prof. dr. Mark Levels (School of Business and Economics – Research Centre for Education and the Labor Market) and Prof. dr. Maarten Vink (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences – Political Science)

Research projects

  • ‘Fostering Awarness, Inclusion and Recognition of EU mobile citizens’ Political Rights” (FAIREU). The project aims to foster the successful inclusion of the EU mobile citizens in their host EU country’s civic and political life through the provision of a holist approach to tackling obstacles they face when exercising their political rights. Luana Russo and Maarten Vink are part of the international consortium that has been awarded a European Commission Action Grant for their work.
  • The National Integration Evaluation Mechanism (NIEM). This is a six-years long transnational project which aims to prepare key actors in the integration field in 15 EU Member States to better face the current challenges and improve the integration outcomes of beneficiaries of international protection. As it takes currently on average 17 years, before refugees fleeing civil wars may eventually have a chance to return to their home country, the long-term integration of newly arrived beneficiaries of international protection is without alternative and presents an immediate challenge for European societies. NIEM will establish a mechanism for a biennial, comprehensive evaluation of the integration of beneficiaries of international protection to provide evidence on gaps in integration standards, identify promising practices and evaluate the effects of legislative and policy changes
  • Migrant Life Course and Legal Status Transition (2016-2021). When does citizenship provide a boost to migrant integration? A fast-track to citizenship can maximize the potential for settlement success of migrants, though too short a pathway can disincentivize integration. This  project  investigates why, how and for whom legal status transition matters and, especially, how variation in policies between countries impacts on this relation. The goal is to investigate the relevance of citizenship within the individual life course of an immigrant.
  • Citizenship bonus: naturalization and social cohesion (2014-2016). This project examines the relevance of citizenship acquisition for the socioeconomic, sociocultural and political integration of immigrants. It develops and tests a set of hypotheses on the ‘bonus’ of citizenship acquisition and will analyze the impact of naturalization on labour market performance as well as a broader set of social capital indicators, such as political participation, church attendance and norms and values.
  • The right to have rights: benchmarking statelessness protection (2014-2016). This project is conducted in collaboration with the UNHCR and aims to set up a global database containing information about the extent to which national citizenship laws provide sufficient protection against statelessness, based on the relevant international legal standards. This database provides a unique reference point to benchmark national policies, as well as for analysis of the causes and consequences of cross-national differences.
  • MACIMIDE Global Dual Citizenship Database (2014). The MACIMIDE Global Dual Citizenship Database charts the rules that existed in 200 states across the world from 1960 to 2013 with regard to the loss or renunciation of citizenship after a citizen of a respective state voluntarily acquires the citizenship of another state.
  • Involuntary Loss of European Citizenship (ILEC) (2014-2015). This project is conducted in collaboration with investigates the rules and administrative procedures applicable to loss of nationality across the European Union, and their relation to existing European and international legal standards. It provides an in-depth comparative inventory of the regulations, administrative practices and statistical data covering involuntary loss of nationality across the 28 EU member states and knowledge on the effects on national legal systems of the increasing judicialisation of grounds of loss of Union citizenship.
  • Protection against Statelessness in Europe (2012-2014). This project developed by the EUDO CITIZENSHIP Observatory in cooperation with UNHCR and with the contribution of MACIMIDE researchers provided information on the extent to which citizenship laws in 41 European states provide sufficient protection against statelessness, in light of the most important international standards.
  • Access to Citizenship and its Impact on Immigrant Integration (ACIT). This project developed by the EUDO CITIZENSHIP Observatory with the contribution of MACIMIDE researchers compared how European states regulate the acquisition of citizenship and the impact of citizenship on the socio-economic and political participation of immigrants. It developed four sets of citizenship indicators on citizenship laws, their implementation, and their impact on acquisition rates, and integration policies in all 27 EU Member States and accession candidate and EEA countries.