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Immigrant Citizens Survey


The Immigrant Citizens Survey asked immigrants to assess their aspirations and needs for integration and then evaluated how effective policies are in meeting them. The pilot took place in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

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The Immigrant Citizens Survey has a dedicated website where you can download all Survey products.
Click here or on the image to visit it.

For policy actors to fully understand the integration process and their impact on it, they needed to go beyond asking the general public and reach out to the beneficiaries of their policies and services themselves. We knew what the different laws and policies are across Europe (see the Migrant Integration Policy Index) – but we did not know which policies were working in practice and, above all, why or why not.

This knowledge gap could be overcome by a representative survey among non-EU immigrants— by directly asking about policy impact and by formulating the survey so that the results are comparable and easy-to-use by civil society. Immigrants as direct beneficiaries needed to be asked questions on key integration areas: about their background; integration goals; awareness of current policy; trust in implementing actors; reasons for/against participation, levels of satisfaction; observed benefits; and recommendations.

Though integration is local, many policies are national and, increasingly, impacted by EU law and European trends. To evaluate which policies are improving integration, it was critically important to have data that is comparable between cities, between the local and national level, and between countries. This pilot survey built on past work surveying immigrants, bringing together the most experienced national partners, following best practice, and providing new data in many areas of integration policy.

Results were launched in partnership with a national integration NGO, so that advocacy and policy-making organisations could better use the results of polling and consultation among immigrants. The timing of this project was strategic for the emerging EU agenda on capturing immigrant perceptions and designing common reference indicators to evaluate integration policy. As a result of this pilot, the voice of immigrants was made large and representative enough to affect the formulation of integration (and immigration) policies in Europe. This evidence base aimed to:

  1. Increase knowledge of policy impact and immigrants’ experiences;
  2. Create more impactful policies and services with better integration outcomes for immigrants and diverse societies;
  3. Secure national and European-level interest in structural support of surveying immigrants.

In April 2013, MPG published three papers providing additional analyses of the Immigrant Citizens Survey:

  • The first paper, on over-qualification, helps to explain why working immigrants perceive themselves to be overqualified for their jobs.
  • The second paper, on citizenship, help to explain under what conditions non-EU-born immigrants apply and are accepted for naturalisation.
  • The third paper, on integration courses, identifies which immigrants and under which conditions these courses are beneficial for labour market integration.


Migration Policy Group (MPG, Belgium), High Commission for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue (ACIDI, Portugal), Fundacion CIDOB (Spain), Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas (CIS, Spain), Fondazione Ismu – Initiatives and Studies on Multiethnicity (Italy), University of Leicester (UK), Menedék Hungarian Association for Migrants, MTAKI (MTA Etnikai-nemzeti Kisebbségkutató Intézet, Hungary), Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR, Germany), Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB, Belgium), Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (Science Po, France), France terre d’asile (France). Co-funded by the European Commission, Oak Foundation, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian and King Baudouin Foundation.


Immigrant Citizens Survey WORK IN USE

The Immigrant Citizens Survey raises the bar for surveying immigrants

t2-353-ICS high resThe Immigrant Citizens Survey, led by the King Baudouin Foundation and MPG alongside partners in seven countries, has set an example that researchers are interested to use and follow.

Most recently, David Reichel (ICMPD) and Laura Morales (University of Leicester) presented the survey to the European Survey Research Association (ESRA) conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Their presentation and working paper shows how ICS was able to survey immigrants with mixed methods and without a sample frame. Check out David Reichel’s external evaluation report for further insights on the ICS method.

A reminder to researchers out there; the ICS data is publically available for you in SPSS format so take advantage of ICS’ unique migrant-specific variables and questions. New results are published as the data is exploited by researchers, including those at MPG. The EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency has also welcomed the survey and disseminated the results.

Hard-to-reach groups such as immigrants are usually under-represented in surveys and official statistics. As such, the opinions and experiences of immigrants are often missing in public debate. With ICS, MPG and its partners sought out immigrants in 15 large cities in Europe and asked about their needs and interests in the seven integration policy areas measured by MIPEX and thus test the relevance of the tool. ICS also tested whether a targeted survey of immigrants could overcome these methodological obstacles and set a best practice model, which could lead to more targeted surveys (e.g. EU Fundamental Rights’ Agency’s EU-MIDIS survey) or a better inclusion of immigrants in Europe’s major public opinion surveys (e.g. Labour Force Survey or European Social Survey).

FRA’s annual report refers to various projects MPG is involved in

MPG’s work takes up large part of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency’s Annual Report 2012 on EU integration developments.

The report highlights the European Web Site on Integration, managed by MPG, as well as MPG’s pilot work on European immigrant integration indicators. In addition, the report underlines the results of MPG’s Immigrant Citizens Survey which covered 15 cities in seven EU Member States (Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal and Spain), and in which 7,473 immigrants born outside the EU participated.

Read the full report here.

Immigrant Citizens Survey WORK IN CONTEXT



Are you looking for past news and events related to the Immigrant Citizens Survey?

News and events prior to 2012 are available in our archive.

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