Migrant Life Course and Legal Status Transition

imageResearch Theme: Citizenship and Immigrant Integration

Migrant Life Course and Legal Status Transition (MiLifeStatus) – https://www.milifestatus.com

Funded by: European Research Council (Consolidator Grant)

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 5-year project (2016-2021) investigates why, how and for whom legal status transition matters and, especially, how variation in policies between countries impacts on this relation. While there is much talk among politicians about citizenship being either a reward, or an instrument, of immigrant integration, we actually know relatively little about how this works in practice. What is the relation between naturalization of immigrants, getting the citizenship of a new country of residence, and their integration within the host society? This relationship is complex because not all migrants have the same opportunities or face the same obstacles when it comes to building up a life a new country. As result, not everyone has an equal interest to naturalize and this also affects the relation between citizenship and integration. The goal is to investigate the relevance of citizenship within the individual life course of an immigrant.

The MiLifeStatus project will investigate these questions comparatively, since the rules on how to acquire citizenship vary greatly between countries. In other words, context matters. We’re interested in finding out how this affects the pay-off of citizenship. Does it still matter if a migrant acquires citizenship after a long waiting period? Our hypothesis is that how –and when- you get citizenship also affects what it means to you. The project team will analyze longitudinal data from population registers in the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries and, in addition, longitudinal survey data from Germany, Canada and the United States. The research will focus on integration in socioeconomic domains, such as labor market performance, as well as living conditions, health status, out-migration and education among first and second-generation immigrants. The project employs advanced regression techniques such as fixed-effect regression, event history analysis, sequence analysis and latent class analysis. All analyses are conducted in a harmonized manner to enable cross-national comparison.

Project leader: Maarten Vink (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences). Other associated UM participants: Gerard-René de Groot (Faculty of Law), Marloes de Hoon (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences & Statistics Netherlands), Swantje Falcke (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences) Mark Levels (School of Business and Economics, Center for Labour Market Research), Floris Peters (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences & Statistics Netherlands), Hans Schmeets (Statistics Netherland & Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences). Societal partners: Statistics Netherlands (CBS).