MiLifeStatus has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 682626)
Obtaining a passport, and hence the citizenship of a host country, provides for migrants a secure residence status, rights, and participation opportunities. Besides, it encourages a sense of belonging. Yet a passport is no panacea; actually, little is known about its impact on migrant integration. Previous research in this field has produced mixed results, since the causal relation between (acquiring citizenship through) naturalisation and integration is not straightforward and has often been studied within one societal context only.
Naturalisation & integration
Over five years, the MiLifeStatus research team disentangled the relationship between migrant naturalisation and integration in a longitudinal and comparative manner. The central - and innovative - idea of our research was to model migrants’ legal status transitions as life course events, which are in turn shaped by their origin, their family context, and societal structures and institutions. In other words: the value and meaning of citizenship is different for each individual migrant, depending on many contextual factors. For example, obtaining a Dutch passport carries different consequences for a young migrant that has been living in the Netherlands for five years, than it does for an elderly migrant that has been living here for thirty years. Likewise, a young woman from Afghanistan applying for Dutch citizenship has more to gain than a young woman from Germany. By investigating the relevance of citizenship within the individual life course of an immigrant, MiLifeStatus analysed why, how, and for whom legal status transitions matter and, especially, how variation in policies between countries impacts on this relation. The research focused 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.