Policy indicators: Key Findings
MIPEX measures eight areas of integration policies. Through quantitative analyses (Categorical Principal Component Analysis), MPG’s research team identified three key dimensions that underlie all areas of a country’s integration policy. These three dimensions help to describe a country’s overall approach to integration:
1.Basic rights: Can immigrants enjoy comparable rights as nationals? e.g., equal rights to work, training, health, and non-discrimination;
2.Equal opportunities: Can immigrants receive support to enjoy comparable opportunities as nationals? E.g. targeted support in education, health, and political participation;
3.Secure future: Can immigrants settle long-term and feel secure about their future in the country?e.g., family reunification, permanent residence and access to nationality.
Countries have been then sorted in groups based on their scores on those dimensions. These groups represent different country’s approaches to integration. We identified four main approaches:
• Comprehensive integration. A comprehensive approach to integration guarantees equal rights, opportunities and security for immigrants.
• Equality on paper. Equality on paper means that immigrants enjoy equal rights and long-term security, but not equal opportunities.
• Temporary integration. Temporary integration means that immigrants enjoy basic rights and equal opportunities, but not equal security, as they face obstacles to settle long-term.
• Immigration without Integration (Integration Denied). Immigration without integration means that immigrants are denied basic rights and equal opportunities, even if they are able to settle long-term in the country.
Within each of these four categories, there are a range of policies. In other words, countries with the same approach to integration may have more vs. less developed policies. Therefore, countries are categorised under 10 different groups that reflect their overall approach to integration and their level of policy development. The MIPEX 2020 ranking ranks these groups according to the average score of the countries within each group:
1.Top Ten countries (average score: 75/100). Countries in this group represent the top ten out of the 52 MIPEX countries. They adopt a comprehensive approach to integration, which fully guarantees equal rights, opportunities and security for immigrants and citizens. Policies in these countries generally encourage the public to see immigrants as their equals, neighbours and potential citizens.
• Canada (80)
• Finland (85)
• New Zealand (77)
• Portugal (81)
• Sweden (86)
• Australia (65)
• Belgium (69)
• Brazil (64)
• Ireland (64)
• USA (73)
2.Comprehensive integration - Slightly favourable (average score: 60/100). These countries adopt a comprehensive approach to integration. However, policies in these countries are less comprehensive and less advanced than in the 'Top 10' MIPEX countries. In these countries, policies do not always encourage the public to see immigrants as their equals, neighbours and potential citizens.
• Iceland (56)
• Israel (49)
• Luxembourg (64)
• Norway (69)
• Spain (60)
3.Temporary integration - Halfway favourable (average score: 57/100). These countries provide immigrants with basic rights and equal opportunities, but not a secure future in the country. Policies in these countries encourage the public to see immigrants as their equals and neighbours, but also as foreigners rather than as potential citizens.
• France (56)
• Germany (58)
• Italy (58)
• Netherlands (57)
• United Kingdom (56)
4.Equality on paper - Halfway favourable (average score: 50/100). Equality on paper means that immigrants enjoy equal rights and long-term security, but not equal opportunities. Policies generally encourage the public to see immigrants as their equals, as potential citizens, but also as strangers rather than as neighbours.
• Argentina (58)
• Mexico (51)
• Serbia (50)
• Slovenia (48)
• Ukraine (48)
5.Comprehensive integration - Halfway favourable (average score: 50/100). These countries do the minimum in all three dimensions as their polices go only halfway towards providing immigrants with equal rights, opportunities and a secure future.
• Czechia (50)
• Estonia (50)
• Korea (56)
• Malta (48)
• Turkey (43)
6.Temporary integration - Halfway unfavourable (average score: 48/100). These countries go only halfway towards granting immigrants with basic rights and equal opportunities. Furthermore, they do not provide immigrants with a secure future in the country. Policies in these countries encourage the public to see immigrants as foreigners and not fully as equals and neighbours.
• Austria (46)
• Denmark (48)
• Switzerland (50)
7.Immigration without integration - Halfway unfavourable (average score: 47/100). These countries are categorised as “Immigration without Integration” because their policies deny that the country has become a destination country. Immigrants may find ways to settle long-term, but they are not fully supported with the rights and equal opportunities to participate in society. This group of countries goes halfway towards investing in equal opportunities. Policies may encourage the public to see immigrants as subordinates and not neighbors.
• Japan (47)
8.Equality on paper - Halfway unfavourable (average score: 43/100). Equality on paper means that immigrants do not enjoy equal opportunities. This group of countries mainly focus on basic rights for immigrants, and only go halfway towards providing them with long-term security. Policies may encourage the public to see immigrants as equal but also as subordinate and not potential citizens.
• Bulgaria (40)
• Chile (53)
• Hungary (43)
• Moldova (47)
• North Macedonia (42)
• Romania (49)
• Slovakia (39)
9.Equality on paper - Slightly unfavourable (average score: 39/100). Equality on paper means that immigrants do not enjoy equal opportunities. This group of countries goes only halfway towards providing immigrants with basic rights and a secure future. Policies may encourage the public to see immigrants as subordinates, not equal and not potential citizens.
• Albania (43)
• Croatia (39)
• Greece (46)
• Latvia (37)
• Lithuania (37)
10.Immigration without integration - Most unfavourable (average score: 31/100). These countries are categorised as “Immigration without Integration” because their policies deny that the country has become a destination country. Immigrants may find ways to settle long-term, but are not supported with basic rights or equal opportunities to participate in society. Policies may encourage the public to see immigrants as subordinates and as strangers.
• China (32)
• Cyprus (41)
• India (24)
• Indonesia (26)
• Russia (31)
Integration policies in the 52 MIPEX countries are, on average, only halfway favourable (50/100). That means, on average, countries’ policies are creating as many obstacles as opportunities for immigrants to participate and settle in their new home country. Immigrants enjoy many basic rights (average score is 65) and, to a certain extent, long-term security (56). However, they do not enjoy the equal opportunities (46) security that they need to fully participate in all areas of life.
This halfway approach to integration can also confuse the public and undermine the message that integration is a two-way process. While some policies encourage the public to see and treat immigrants as their equals, many policies send contradictory messages that immigrants are both neighbours and strangers, both foreigners and potential citizens.
A country’s integration policies can be partly explained by the state of its democracy and economic development and its history of immigration. On the one hand, immigrants generally face greater obstacles in emerging destination countries with small numbers of immigrants and high levels of anti-immigration sentiment (Asian countries, the Baltics, Balkans and Central and Eastern Europe, e.g. EU13 average is 41/100).
On the other hand, in wealthier, larger and traditional destination countries immigrants usually benefit from more equal rights and opportunities, for example in highly developed democracies (OECD average is 56), Western Europe (EU15 average is 58/100) and traditional countries of immigration (75/100 on average for Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US). Regional trends can also help to explain the three dimensions of integration policy. While immigrants in the majority of MIPEX countries enjoy access to basic rights, support for equal opportunities is much greater in Western Europe (EU15) and traditional countries of immigration (plus Brazil). Immigrants in Asia, for example, face many obstacles in most areas and dimensions of integration policy. Finally, most MIPEX countries provide some security for immigrants and their families to settle long-term, with the notable exception of most Northwestern European countries (Austria, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, UK as well as Indonesia and Latvia).
In terms of international areas of strength, migrant workers, reunited families and permanent residents enjoy basic security, rights, and protection from discrimination. Within Europe, national policies are stronger and convergent in these areas covered by EU law. The international areas of weakness are education and political participation. On education, most immigrant pupils worldwide have little extra support to find the right school and class, catch up if they're behind, quickly learn the language and, if they're lucky, learn some of the rules of the language that they use at home. Teachers and other pupils are lucky if they learn anything about diversity or immigrants. Most countries leave it up to the general education system to fix (or exacerbate) any problems.
On political participation, most immigrants, especially foreign citizens, have few opportunities to inform and improve the policies that affect them daily, since most authorities design policies ‘for’ them and are not informed by or accountable to them. On average, immigrants are slightly more discouraged than encouraged to participate through the standard civic channels, limited local voting rights for foreign citizens, weak or absent consultative bodies and poorly supported immigrant-led organizations.
|Country||Approach to integration||Score||Change Since 2014*|
|New Zealand||Comprehensive (Top10)||77||0|
|Argentina||Equality on paper||58||4|
|Chile||Equality on paper||53||3|
|Mexico||Equality on paper||51||1|
|Serbia||Equality on paper||50||5|
|Country||Approach to integration||Score||Change Since 2014*|
|Romania||Equality on paper||49||0|
|Slovenia||Equality on paper||48||3|
|Moldova||Equality on paper||47||8|
|Greece||Equality on paper||46||3|
|Austria||Equality on paper||46||0|
|Hungary||Equality on paper||43||1|
|Albania||Equality on paper||43||1|
|North Macedonia||Equality on paper||42||0|
|Bulgaria||Equality on paper||40||3|
|Poland||Equality on paper||40||1|
|Croatia||Equality on paper||39||1|
|Slovakia||Equality on paper||39||2|
|Latvia||Equality on paper||37||3|
|Lithuania||Equality on paper||37||4|
Policy indicators: changes
*On average, countries slightly improved their score on the MIPEX 100-point-scale.
The country average policy change between 2014-2019 was +2 points.
- Integration policies continue to improve very slowly over time, but sometimes with significant impact in a particular area of life. While the average change was +2 points between 2014-2019, this change was greater than the +1 points average between 2010-2014.
- Over the past five years, the MIPEX52 score (average of the 52 countries’ scores) increased by +4 points on basic rights, by +5 on equal opportunities and by +1 on secure future. Equal opportunities - the least developed of the three dimensions - thus saw the greatest improvements between 2014 and 2019.
- Positively, the greatest policy improvements were in the two international areas of weakness: +7 points on education and +10 points on political participation.
- Permanent residence is the only area in which immigrants have seen policies worsening (-1 points).
- 33 countries improved their integration policies overall between 2014-2019, although seven only saw an improvement of +1. The most dramatic improvements occurred in Turkey (+17), Brazil (+12) and Luxembourg (+10).
- 10 countries undermined their integration policies during the same period, due to restrictive changes (Argentina, Australia, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Sweden and the US). The greatest backsliding occurred in Argentina, Australia, and Denmark (-4).
- Nine countries received the same score in 2014 and 2019, due to balance between positive and negative changes, only minor improvements or minor restrictions (Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland and UK), or no changes at all (India, New Zealand and Romania).
- Between 2007-2010, major reforms were passed in just a handful of countries (in Luxembourg on all areas, in Greece on citizenship & voting rights, in Austria on targeted employment support, in Czechia on anti-discrimination, in Latvia on access to education and training).
- Most significantly, 6 countries experienced such significant policy changes that these new policies represent a major shift in the country’s overall approach to integration:
_Argentina: Argentina’s current approach can now only classified as ‘Equality on Paper’ as recent restrictions undermined its comprehensive approach to integration and its commitment to equal opportunities.
_Brazil: Major reforms (mostly in 2017) transformed Brazil’s halfway “Equality on paper’” policies into a slightly favourable “comprehensive approach.” These changes have now landed Brazil in the International ‘Top 10’ countries.
_Iceland: Iceland’s anti-discrimination policies can be seen as a major recognition of Iceland as a country of immigration. Before, immigrants who settled in Iceland do not enjoy equal rights or opportunities (“immigration without integration”). Now, newcomers benefit from a slightly favourable comprehensive approach.
_Ireland: Ireland’s 2017-2020 Migrant Integration Strategy created a slightly favourable comprehensive approach focused on equal rights and opportunities, which launched Ireland into the International ‘Top 10’ countries.
_Norway: Given the insecurity facing immigrants who want to settle permanently, Norway fell from the ‘Top Ten’ to the top of the second category of leading countries. Its comprehensive approach now lacks key aspects of equality.
_Turkey: Turkey has had to recognise itself as a country of immigration that must guarantee basic rights and opportunities, for example to education, health, the labour market and non-discrimination. Despite this major shift from being a country of “immigration without integration”, Turkey’s new “comprehensive approach” is still only halfway favourable, with slightly more obstacles than opportunities for integration in Turkey.
- For comparison: Between 2010-2014, 10 countries passed major reforms (Denmark’s several reforms catching up with policies in Nordics, Germany and international trends; more targeted support in Austria and Germany and dual nationality for 2nd generation in Germany; Czechia and Poland adopt EU-required anti-discrimination laws and domestic citizenship reforms; Bulgaria implements EU law).
Final remarks: key findings on integration policies and their effects
The major disparities in integration policies around the world reflect the major differences in integration outcomes and attitudes around the world. The integration policies identified by MIPEX also shape how immigrants and the public respond to these inequalities. A country’s approach to integration matters because these policies influence how integration works as a two-way process. This two-way approach emerges from around 130 independent scientific studies that use MIPEX to investigate if and how these policies can close gaps in key integration outcomes.
First, a country’s approach to integration strongly influences the public’s attitudes and behaviour towards immigrants. Integration policies are one of the strongest factors shaping the public’s willingness to accept and interact with immigrants (see chart below, based on the MIPEX overall score with health and the Gallup’s Migrant Acceptance Index).
Second, integration policies are one of strongest factors shaping immigrants’ own attitudes, sense of belonging and even their health in their new home country. A country’s approach to integration also shapes how well immigrants think and feel about their new home country (see chart below, based on the MIPEX overall score with health and the Gallup’s World Happiness Report).
The way that governments treat immigrants
strongly influences how well immigrants and the public interact with and think of each other.
Restrictive policies create a ‘vicious circle’ of exclusion that reinforces fear and separation. Policies that treat immigrants as threats lead more people to see immigrants as general threats and treat them in ways that harm their integration. Under restrictive policies, the public experiences higher levels of xenophobia and islamophobia and lower levels of social trust, which leads to fewer contacts and positive experiences with immigrants.
Inclusive policies create a ‘virtuous circle’ of integration that promotes openness and interaction. Immigrants and the public are more likely to interact with and think of each other as equals in countries where inclusive policies treat immigrants as equals and invest in integration as an opportunity for society.
Inclusive policies not only increase positive attitudes and interactions between the public and immigrants, but also create an overall sense of belonging, well-being and trust. Under inclusive policies, the public feels less fear of immigrants, while immigrants enjoy greater opportunities to learn and contribute. As a result, immigrants and non-immigrants have more regular, positive interactions. They also more frequently develop positive attitudes about their identity, their health, their satisfaction with life, their trust in society and their participation in politics.
Want to know more? See the relationships between policies and outcomes in each of the eight MIPEX areas.