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Membership and/or rights? Analysing the link between naturalisation and integration policies for immigrants in Europe

rscas_pp_2013-15rev-1.pdf - Adobe ReaderTraditionally, there are two contrasting views on the way in which European states instrumentalise naturalisation, residence, and rights policies as part of a broader agenda of immigrant integration. First, the ‘complementary’ view sees access to membership as a complementary strategy to access to rights. Second, the ‘alternative’ view sees the granting of social and political rights, independent of citizenship status, as an alternative to granting access to formal membership through naturalisation. Whereas there are theoretical and normative reasons to support either perspective, surprisingly, there has been no systematic comparative work on how in practice states instrumentalise membership and rights for immigrants. In this paper, we analyse the relation between naturalisation and integration policies in 29 European states. We find strong empirical evidence in Europe that extending membership and rights are generally used as complementary strategies of immigrant incorporation. Naturalisation policies are not simply one of several integration policy alternatives. Hence states with inclusive naturalisation policies also tend to be inclusive in terms of extending rights to foreigners in diverse areas of public life, such as political participation, anti-discrimination, education, labour market access and family reunion. We conclude that naturalisation policies are at the heart of a state’s integration policy and one of the best predicators of its overall approach to integration. Exclusive naturalisation policies signal the lack of an inclusive immigrant integration agenda.

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Integration & Diversity

Access to citizenship and its impact on immigrant integration