• Rank: Comprehensive
  • MIPEX Score (with Health): 64

Key Findings

Changes in policy

Over the past five years, the average MIPEX country score increased by +2 points on the 100-point MIPEX scale. In contrast, Luxembourg led the European Union with the greatest improvements in its integration policies, with +10 points. Luxembourg developed a much more comprehensive approach to integration by securing basic rights for foreign and national citizens. All legal residents of Luxembourg now enjoy the right to protection from discrimination based on nationality and the right to birth-right citizenship (jus soli) for the second generation. In addition, immigrant adults should feel slightly more secure in their right to family life and their path to naturalisation, while their children should benefit from greater support to access higher education opportunities.

These new policies build on decades-long reform trends which MIPEX has followed as Luxembourg recognises itself as a permanent country of immigration. The previous MIPEX edition was published after the failed 2015 national voting rights referendum and several of its recommendations were taken up: to reform the Nationality Law to recognise long-settled residents and reward efforts at learning Luxembourgish, expand anti-discrimination laws to prohibit nationality discrimination and to mainstream equal rights in different areas of life.

Positive changes on MIPEX indicators:

  • Residence period for family reunification
  • Access to higher education
  • Residence conditions for ordinary naturalisation
  • Citizenship for immigrant children
  • Naturalisation language requirement
  • Definitions of discrimination
  • Fields of discrimination law
  • Discrimination protection in employment
  • Discrimination protection in education
  • Discrimination protection in social protection
  • Discrimination protection in goods & services
  • Mandate of specialised body

Negative changes on MIPEX indicators:

  • None

Conclusions and recommendations

As a result of these major reforms, Luxembourg’s integration policies shifted from halfway favourable (54/100) to slightly favourable (64/100) for societal integration. Traditionally, Luxembourg suffered from one of lowest naturalisation rates in Europe and the largest democratic deficit of any developed democracy, comparable only to Singapore. These reforms are likely to have long-term positive impacts on public attitudes and awareness about immigration and discrimination as well as Luxembourg’s levels of naturalisation, political participation, common sense of belonging and trust.

Integration is in many ways the reality for the many long-settled immigrants in this small, wealthy, multilingual country, with many positive attitudes, interactions and integration outcomes reported for immigrants and Luxembourg citizens. Still, a few inequalities do persist. The greatest gaps emerge in employment (under-representation in public sector and gaps in income, poverty and skills in Luxembourgish compared to French and German), education (school concentration of immigrant pupils, languages and education pathways), long-term security (permanent residence or naturalisation) and discrimination awareness and reporting. These inequalities can be partly explained by gaps and obstacles in Luxembourg’s integration policies in areas like labour market mobility, education, family reunification and permanent residence.

Luxembourg’s comprehensive approach is not yet fully favourable for integration. Favourably, all residents of Luxembourg, regardless of their nationality, now enjoy largely the same basic rights. Still, Luxembourg only goes halfway to secure equal opportunities and long-term security for both foreign and Luxembourg citizens. These policies encourage the public to see immigrants as their equals, but not necessarily as their neighbours and their fellow citizens.

Luxembourg’s current policies are slightly above-average for the EU and for Western Europe (EU15). Its areas of strength and weakness are most similar to neighbouring Belgium and to Ireland, both countries with a comprehensive approach and large number of both EU and non-EU citizens. To improve its areas of weakness, Luxembourg can look within Europe to good practices from Belgium, the Nordics and Portugal. With a few improvements, Luxembourg could enter the MIPEX International ‘Top Ten’ on integration, where immigrants and citizens enjoy equal rights, opportunities and security and the public is encouraged to treat immigrants as their equals, neighbours and fellow citizens.

A country’s integration policies matter because the way that governments treat immigrants strongly influences how well immigrants and the public interact and think of each other. Drawing on 130 independent scientific studies using MIPEX, integration policies emerge as one of the strongest factors shaping not only the public’s willingness to accept and interact with immigrants, but also immigrants’ own attitudes, belonging, participation and even health in their new home country.

  • Labour market mobility: Slightly unfavourable: Non-EU newcomers enjoy less access and less support to improve their job prospects, professional and language skills in Luxembourg than in most EU or Western European countries.
  • Family reunification: Halfway favourable: Luxembourg has become slightly 'family-friendly' for non-EU families, removing the 1-year waiting period, in line with EU trends. However, obstacles to integration still emerge in the procedures, security and rights for reuniting families.
  • Education: Slightly favourable: Slightly above-average for Western Europe, Luxembourg offers targets immigrant pupils' specific needs and advocates an intercultural approach for all pupils. But with the largest number of 1st/2nd generation pupils of all developed democracies, Luxembourg has an especially large task ahead to promote equal opportunities at all levels, encourage mixed schools, language learning, multilingualism and diversity within the teaching sector.
  • Health: Halfway favourable: While immigrant patients benefit from inclusive healthcare entitlements and intercultural interpreters, Luxembourg’s average policies could benefit from greater involvement of immigrants in service design and delivery and greater mainstreaming in all health policies.
  • Political participation: Favourable: With foreign citizens constituting a near-majority of its population, Luxembourg does more than most countries to facilitate their political participation through local voting rights, ad hoc campaigns, strong consultative bodies and funding for immigrant associations. These policies are ranked #2 on MIPEX, alongside Ireland and New Zealand, and score 85/100. Luxembourg’s policies would be fully favourable with small changes in the voter registration procedure. Turnout among foreign citizens could be as high as in Nordic countries if voter registration was quasi-automatic and ongoing, from a newcomer’s first day in Luxembourg up until a few days before the election. These changes can be compatible with EU law and Luxembourg’s obligatory voting system.
  • Permanent residence: Halfway favourable: The path to permanent residence in Luxembourg is average for Western Europe but more complicated than in countries like Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Nordics. The way Luxembourg transposed its EU obligations in 2008 provided fewer groups with greater rights but still limited security.
  • Access to nationality: Slightly favourable: Immigrants’ access to nationality improved from halfway to slightly favourable, which may start to raise Luxembourg’s traditionally low naturalisation and political participation rates. While the 2008 reform secured the path to dual nationality, the 8 March 2017 Nationality Law followed MIPEX recommendations and international trends. The wait for the first-generation is lowered from 7-to-5 years and their efforts are rewarded for learning Luxembourgish. The right to citizenship was regained by spouses and extended from the third- to the second-generation. Luxembourg’s policies are now comparable to many Western European countries and only more restrictive on a few points than the traditional destination countries (the Americas, Australia, New Zealand), Ireland, Portugal or Sweden.
  • Anti-discrimination: Favourable: The greatest improvement to Luxembourg’s integration policies was its stronger non-discrimination approach thanks to the 7 November 2017 law. Luxembourg’s anti-discrimination policies improved from slightly to fully favourable because protection now extends to all victims of nationality discrimination – whether Luxembourg, mobile EU or non-EU citizens. These improvements to Luxembourg’s laws and enforcement mechanisms may help to improve Luxembourg’s traditionally low levels to discrimination awareness and reporting on nationality, racial, ethnic and religious discrimination. Its policies are now comparable to Western European and traditional destination countries, although practitioners could still learn from their more extensive experiences, practices and positive actions. 

Policy Recommendations from ASTI

  • Concerning access to social security, it would be crucial to have a standard and to define whether it is compulsory to have a residence permit or if a proof of living in Luxembourg is enough to apply for social security
  • Introduction of a temporary residence permit for the purpose of seeking work; Luxembourg should be inspired by the recent example of Germany, which amended its legislation to allow skilled workers (persons with a higher education diploma or a qualified vocational training of at least two years) to obtain a temporary residence permit to enable them to seek work.
  • Offering the possibility for people legally residing for a long period in another EU Member State to obtain a residence and work permit in Luxembourg, without having to pass the market test.
  • For non-EU citizens, the 12 months residency and work delay is too long for a family reunification demand, as well as the waiting period of 9 months for the answer. The housing criteria for the family have to be better specified: the number of bedrooms, the size of the house, etc.
  • For both non-EU and EU citizens the definition of “dependency” concerning parents or children above 21 in relation to family reunification, is not clear, since it is difficult to evaluate the exact amounts of money the person in Luxembourg has to have sent to his family member in order to prove it
  • ASTI supports the demand by several Luxembourg civil society organisations for the creation of an universal health coverage. This would pursue three interrelated objectives of universal coverage: Equitable access to health services - all those who need health services, whatever their financial means, should be able to access them; quality - health services must be of sufficient quality to improve the health of those who receive them;; financial protection - the cost of care must not expose users to financial hardship
  • There is a need to promote access to all types of participation in a country where 48% of residents are foreigners - voting in legislative elections, according to the criterion of residence, should be possible for all migrants in Luxembourg in order to allow real democratic participation of all residents.
  • To obtain a long-term residency permit, the non-EU citizen has to prove 5 years residency and work in Luxembourg before he can apply. If he stopped working, even for a short period, the long-term residency permit can be denied (except for some specific reasons like health, pregnancy or studies)
  • The waiting period of 6 months to obtain an answer from the authorities is too long
  • The law having been reformed in 2017 allows wider access to Luxembourg nationality by introducing, among other things, jus soli for the second generation. Nevertheless, Luxembourg is struggling to enshrine the pure and simple jus solis.
  • The Equal Treatment Centre CET should have the possibility to take legal action in cases of discrimination. Its resources should be strengthened in order to improve the work against all forms of discrimination. Luxembourg should also set up a monitoring body, e.g. an observatory on racism, antisemitism and xenophobia.






New results of MIPEX

We are pleased to announce that the new results of MIPEX (2014-2020) will be published by the end of 2020. MIPEX 2020 will include 52 European and non-European countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, EU28, India, Japan, Mexico, US and much more. Stay tuned!