The paradox of integration

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Research and regular monitors about the integration of immigrants has typically looked at “objective” indicators of integration such as education, stable employment, language skills or income. In the past years, however, increasingly more attention has been given to the “inner life” of immigrants, referring to more “subjective” indicators of integration such as their emotional attachment to the new home, their feelings of belongingness to its society or their perceptions of discrimination.

With the continued publication of empirical studies on immigrants’ subjective integration, an integration paradox has been revealed: Many of those immigrants who seem integrated in terms of their education or occupational status do not feel that they are.

Such a misalignment can be problematic because it may increase the likelihood of frustration, mental health issues, and emigration. But the seemingly better integrated are particularly valuable for receiving societies because they can play an important role in helping new arrivals to participate and incorporate into the institutions of the mainstream society. Furthermore, they are more efficiently deployable in the local labour market and less at risk from unemployment. These issues are particularly pressing in times when many developed countries face labour shortages and compete for talents globally.

This project bundles personal work on the integration paradox. It looks at different factors and mechanisms that contribute to this paradox, and tries to better understand the potential issues and consequences related to it.

  • 2022 | Status and Ethnic Identity. A Study on First- and Second-Generation Migrants in Germany. Verlag Barbara Budrich | Publication

  • Work in progress | Unmet migration expectations and their consequences for the lives of immigrants | with Didier Ruedin | Abstract | Blog post

  • Work in progress | Reactive cosmopolitanism? Migrants’ attachment to the EU as a response to social exclusion | with Nella Geurts | Abstract

  • Work in progress | Should I stay or should I go? Unmet migration expectations and out-migration of skilled recent immigrants | with Didier Ruedin and Philippe Wanner | Abstract
Andreas Genoni
Andreas Genoni
PostDoc in migration and integration research