New Literature Study: Links between migration, integration and return

Today I present you a new literature study on the links between migration, integration, and return we (SFM, ICMPD) have carried out for the State Secretariat for Migration SEM.

The literature review is available as a report in German and in a French translation, with a summary by the government also available. The literature examines the interdependencies of migration, integration, and return with a focus on Switzerland.

We  cite research highlighting that waiting periods and unemployment in the asylum system in the long term lead to higher costs for the host society if asylum seekers will eventually stay — as is often the case for applicants from some countries of origin. Early language acquisition and learning job-related skills make sense in two respects: they open up greater prospects for asylum seekers if they remain in Switzerland, but also if they return to their country of origin.

We show that migrants leave their country of origin for many different reasons. Nowhere in the literature did we find clear indications that offering integration measures such as language courses or qualification measures would have a discernible influence on the decision to migrate to a particular country. While policies more generally may play a role, such specific active integration policies do not seem to affect work migration, asylum migration, or family reunification.

The reseearch literture is clear that early and intensive promotion of integration leads to long-term cost savings for those people who remain in Switzerland. The economy benefits from domestic workers who, thanks to good preparation, gain a foothold in working life more quickly and can pay for themselves. In addition, successful professional integration and economic independence in Switzerland can also help migrants to become involved in development in their country of origin. The decision to return, however, seems to depend on various factors, and in the case of asylum migration depends primarily on the situation in the country of origin.

Ruedin, Didier, Denise Efionayi-Mäder, Sanda Üllen, Veronika Bilger, and Martin Hofmann. 2019. ‘Wirkungszusammenhänge Migration, Integration und Rückkehr’. Eine Literaturanalyse im Auftrag des SEM in Erfüllung des Postulats 16.3790 «Migration. Langfristige Folgen der Integration». Bern: Staatssekretariat für Migration (SEM).

Guest Blog at Media Portrayals of Minorities Project

I am happy to announce a guest blog of mine over at the Media Portrayals of Minorities Project.

The blog post draws heavily on the SOM book and my paper in the Austrian Journal of Political Science. If that’s all old news, you should just check out the other posts from the project! If you’re interested in the role of left-wing parties in politicizing immigration, we’ve got you covered, too.

Carvalho, João, and Didier Ruedin. 2018. ‘The Positions Mainstream Left Parties Adopt on Immigration: A Crosscutting Cleavage?’ Party Politics.
Ruedin, Didier. 2017. ‘Citizenship Regimes and the Politicization of Immigrant Groups’. Austrian Journal of Political Sciences 46 (1): 7–19.
Van der Brug, Wouter, Gianni D’Amato, Joost Berkhout, and Didier Ruedin, eds. 2015. The Politicisation of Migration. Abingdon: Routledge.

Protest Movements in Asylum and Deportation — Out Now

The book of the Taking Sides project is out now as an e-book: “Protest Movements in Asylum and Deportation“. It’s open access, so there’s no reason not to read it!

This comparative project examines protest against deportations in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. In some ways, it is a follow-up to the FP-7 project Support and opposition to Migration (SOM), where we examined the politicization of immigration more widely. The politicization of asylum, and particularly politicization in favour of asylum seekers and against their deportation was not treated much in SOM. Taking Sides includes an extensive media analysis of newspapers in the three countries, alongside many in-depth case studies. My contribution was more on the quantitative analysis of the media study, and in chapter 5 we summarize similarities and differences across the three countries, 1993 to 2013. We show that the frequency of anti-deportation protests has developed differently in the three countries, and outline a shift in the main actors in these protests, and with that a shift in repertoires. There’s a clear uptake in failed asylum seekers (potential deportees) to participate in these protests.

We differentiate between solidarity protest and case-specific protests as different kinds of protests. This is a slightly different vocabulary to what my colleagues Johanna Probst and Dina Bader used in their Social Movement Studies paper which draws heavily on the case studies. Overall we find little evidence that there is a transnational movement orchestrating protests against deportations, with many local protests seemingly taking place independently of each other. While some of these protests are also against deportations more generally, many of them focus entirely on the case at hand. The protest is not against deportations, but against the deportation of a particular asylum seeker who is considered ‘integrated’ and ‘deserving’ to stay.

The book includes chapters that outline the context of the protests: across countries, and across time within these countries, focusing on political institutions or legal changes. One of the chapters asks what makes a successful protest against deportation, pushing it quite hard what can be said with the data at hand. We don’t have a research design that would allow a systematic comparison between successful and unsuccessful cases, but the qualitative case studies offer some useful pointers where more rigorous research should start. What’s also intriguing is that the difference between successful and unsuccessful protests is not clear cut if one follows the cases over time. It is not uncommon for individuals to be deported (i.e. unsuccessful protest), yet the individual returning at a later stage (i.e. successful in preventing the long-term deportation). The qualitative data also provide insights on the strategies actors use in protesting against the deportation of asylum seekers, with several chapters outlining particular protests in detail.

Probst, Johanna, and Dina Bader. 2018. ‘When Right-Wing Actors Take Sides with Deportees. A Typology of Anti-Deportation Protests’. Social Movement Studies.

Ruedin, Didier, Sieglinde Rosenberger, and Nina Merhaut. 2018. ‘Tracing Anti-Deportation Protests: A Longitudinal Comparison of Austria, Germany and Switzerland’. In Protest Movements in Asylum and Deportation, 89–115. IMISCOE Research Series. Springer. Some supplementary analsis here:

The Politicization of Asylum Seekers and Other Immigrant Groups

Book CoverI am happy to announce that a book chapter Sieglinde Rosenberger and I have written on the politicization of asylum seekers and other immigrant groups is now available. The chapter draws on data from the SOM project, and we explore how asylum seekers are politicized in seven Western European countries.

We show that asylum seekers are among the most politicized immigrant groups, despite being only a small group compared to other immigrants. The politicization of asylum seekers was particularly high in the late 1990s. Claims that refer to ‘asylum seekers’ tend to be somewhat more negative than claims that refer to ‘refugees’, even though in practice these claims typically refer to the same people.

Rosenberger, Sieglinde, and Didier Ruedin. 2017. ‘The Politicization of Asylum Seekers and Other Immigrant Groups in a Comparative Perspective’. In Asylrecht Als Experimentierfeld: Eine Analyse Seiner Besonderheiten Aus Vergleichender Sicht, edited by Franz Merli and Magdalena Pöschl, 13–26. Wien: Verlag Manz.

Citizenship regimes and the politicization of immigrant groups

It’s been in the making for a long time, but it’s out now: a paper on citizenship regimes and the politicization of immigrant groups (Austrian Journal of Political Sciences, 46(1), open access. In the paper, I use my recombined MIPEX data and relate them to the politicization of immigrant groups — data from the SOM project. The paper explores how immigrants and their integration are debated across citizenship regimes. There is a special focus on asylum seekers, refugees, and irregular immigrants. Having an ethnic citizenship regime (as a tendency) is associated with more claims about asylum seekers, refugees, and irregular immigrants. At the same time, the association between immigrant group size and the extent to which immigrant groups are politicized is moderated by the citizenship regime.