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: 74/100): 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.
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.
3.Temporary integration - Slightly 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.
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.
5.Comprehensive integration - Halfway unfavourable (average score: 49/100). These countries do the minimum in all three dimensions as their polices go only halfway to provide immigrants with equal rights, opportunity and secure future.
6.Temporary integration - Halfway unfavourable (average score: 49/100). These countries go only halfway to grant 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.
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 to invest in equal opportunities. Policies may encourage the public to see immigrants as subordinates and not neighbors.
8.Equality on paper - Halfway unfavourable (average score: 45/100). Equality on paper means that immigrants do not enjoy equal opportunities. This group of countries mainly focus on basic rights for immigrants, and only goes halfway to provide them with long-term security. Policies may encourage the public to see immigrants as equal but also as subordinate and not potential citizens.
9.Equality on paper - Slightly unfavourable (average score: 39/100). Equality on paper means that immigrants do not enjoy equal opportunities. However, this group of countries goes only halfway to provide immigrants with basic rights and a secure future. Policies may encourage the public to see immigrants as subordinate and not equal and potential citizens.
10.Immigration without integration - Slightly 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, immigrants are not supported with the basic rights or equal opportunities for immigrants to participate in society. Policies may encourage the public to see immigrants as subordinates and as strangers.
Stay tuned to know which countries fall under each of these groups!
Integration policies and outcomes
Overall integration policies and outcomes
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.
Second, a country’s approach to integration also shapes how well immigrants think and feel about their new home country. Integration policies are also one of strongest factors shaping immigrants’ own attitudes, belonging and even their health in their new home country.
The way that governments treat immigrants strongly influences how well immigrants and the public interact 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 integration. Under restrictive policies, the public experiences higher levels of xenophobia and islamophobia and lower levels of social trust, which leads them to fewer contacts and positive experiences with immigrants.
Inclusive policies create a ‘virtuous circle’ of integration that promote openness and interaction. Immigrants and the public are more likely to interact 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 and well-being and trust. Under inclusive policies, the public feels less fear about immigrants, while immigrants enjoy greater opportunities to learn and contribute. As a result, immigrants and non-immigrants have more regular and positive interactions. They also develop more common and positive attitudes about their identity, their health, their satisfaction with life, their trust in society and their participation in politics.
Labour market mobility policies and outcomes
Whether immigrants or non-immigrants find a job depends mostly on their skills and the economic and social situation at the time.
The emerging labour market mobility policies across MIPEX countries seem to respond to longer-term challenges. These policies can make the labour market fairer for working immigrants by helping them to secure the same types of stable quality jobs that non-immigrants enjoy.
These findings on the links between labour market mobility policies and outcomes emerge from two dozen independent scientific studies using MIPEX.
Labour market mobility policies are effective to help working immigrant men and women to gain greater skills and education, careers and public acceptance.
Under well-developed policies, immigrant men and women are more likely to improve their language and professional skills in the country and use them effectively to secure better jobs available on labour markets.
Labour market mobility policies also help shape public opinion. Under inclusive policies, the public sees immigrants more as an economic opportunity than as a competition or threat.
Better research is needed on whether labour market mobility policies influence other integration outcomes.
Migrant education policies and outcomes
The weak targeted education policies in most MIPEX countries may explain not only why achievement gaps persist for vulnerable learners, but also why not all students feel safe and at home in their school.
Students with immigrant backgrounds benefit from more inclusive general education systems, just like students without immigrant backgrounds. The specific role played by migrant education policies has been studied by relatively few international researchers. Around 20 independent scientific studies have tried to link MIPEX’s education policies and outcomes.
Well-developed targeted policies not only help academically, for vulnerable groups on different education tracks, leading to higher education from one generation to the next. These policies have various positive academic effects on the children in need who are eligible to benefit.
But also targeted policies help out socially, for all students, with or without immigrant backgrounds, to all feel safe and at home at school. Under more developed policies, immigrant pupils develop a similar sense of pride, safety and belonging at school as their non-immigrant peers.
Better research is needed on whether labour market mobility policies influence other integration outcomes.
Migrant health policies and outcomes
The major gaps within countries’ policies have major and direct implications for immigrants’ health.
While more research is needed on the different targeted migrant health policies, the potential impacts of integration policies have been analysed by around a dozen MIPEX studies, including several reviewed in The Lancet, one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals.
How governments treat immigrants strongly influences how well immigrants feel both in terms of their mental and physical health.
Under inclusive integration policies, immigrants and non-immigrants end up with similar health outcomes in terms of their reported health, chronic illnesses, elderly diabetes and frailty and, even, mortality. Under restrictive policies, immigrants are much more likely than non-immigrants to suffer from these poor health outcomes.
For immigrants’ health, a country’s overall approach to integration seems more determinant than any specific area of integration policy.
Permanent residence policies and outcomes
The MIPEX scores on permanent residence say a lot about whether a country recognises itself as a country of immigration or denies this reality.
Permanent residence policies seem to matter most over the long-term for immigrants to put down roots in their new country and secure more stable employment.
The importance of permanent residence has been considered by a few researchers in around 20 independent scientific studies linking MIPEX to integration outcomes, but much more research is required.
Restrictive policies on permanent residence can trap immigrants in precarious jobs and legal statuses. Under inclusive policies, immigrants are more likely to stay long-term, settle down and secure better jobs.
Political participation policies and outcomes
The fact that most policies deny immigrants the opportunity to be heard by politicians means that they are less likely to not only vote, but also to contribute to improving public life and attitudes.
Policies largely determine whether or not immigrants play an equal part in public life. The importance of integration policies for democracy is well-demonstrated by over 30 independent scientific studies that use MIPEX to compare these policies to key integration policies.
Inclusive policies help to close the gap between immigrants and non-immigrants in our democracies. Under inclusive policies, immigrants are more likely to participate by voting in elections, contributing to political groups and parties and joining protests, boycotts and unconventional actions.
Over time, immigrants develop similar levels of political engagement, trust and satisfaction as the general public. And a strong dynamic emerges between these policies and public attitudes. Inclusive polices are associated with higher levels of public trust, lower feelings of economic threat and a greater sense of a common civic rather than ethnic identity.
Access to nationality policies and outcomes
Removing the obstacles to citizenship that immigrants face around the world is helping immigrants not only to become national citizens, but also to feel more like equal members of society.
Nationality policies are one of the best studied areas of integration policy, with over 30 independent studies linking MIPEX with key integration outcomes.
Anti-discrimination policies and outcomes
The slow expansion of anti-discrimination policies across most MIPEX countries appear to have a long-term impact on reshaping public attitudes, awareness, trust and reporting on discrimination.
The links between anti-discrimination policies, discrimination and integration have been explored by over 30 independent scientific studies using MIPEX.
While discrimination occurs in all societies, people in countries with strong anti-discrimination policies are more likely to know their rights and see discrimination as a problem. Under strong policies, immigrants also tend to have greater trust in the police and legal system and a shared sense of trust in society and the country’s democratic system. Over time, people well-informed of their rights are more likely to report discrimination and less likely to identify as a discriminated minority. Policies seem strongly linked to these and other integration outcomes, but better targeted research is needed.