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Brussels, 20 July 2011

Eurobarometer on Migrant Integration

The first ever Eurobarometer on Migrant Integration was conducted in March and April 2011. Research employed a qualitative approach involving a number of discussion groups and individual depth interviews.

How has the Eurobarometer on Migrant Integration been conducted?

During the months of March and April 2011, and at the request of the Commission, TNS Qual+ conducted the first ever Eurobarometer on Migrant Integration. The research employed a qualitative approach involving a number of discussion groups and individual depth interviews.

Two group discussions amongst EU citizens were conducted in each Member State: one with a younger group (aged 18 to 35 years) and the second with an older group (aged 45 to 70 years). Participants from these groups came from a wide range of educational backgrounds and employment status and from mainly urban locations.

Research was also conducted with third-country nationals in 14 Member States: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

These Member States were selected on the basis of two factors: those with the highest levels of migration from third countries and the feasibility of conducting the research within the available timeframe.

In the selected 14 Member States, one discussion group was conducted with first and second generation of third-country nationals who had been living in the receiving country for 5 years or more. A further 6 individual depth interviews were conducted with third-country nationals having lived in the Member State for less than 3 years. The nationalities of the interviewed migrants were selected on the basis of the most represented communities in each Member State and according to residence permits given in 2009.

Over 500 EU citizens and 200 non-EU migrants participated in the Eurobarometer.

What are the main conclusions of the Eurobarometer on Migrant Integration?

The main elements provided by the respondents to this survey can be summarized as follows:

  • EU citizens and migrants agree that in order to make integration work more efforts are needed from the side of governments, migrants and the general public. EU citizens feel that migrants need to be integrated for their country to benefit from immigration. The top four most important factors that facilitate integration are perceived to be, among EU citizens: speaking the language; having a job; respecting local cultures; and enjoying legal status. The same factors are identified by migrants, but in a slightly different order: speaking the language; enjoying legal status; having a job and respecting local cultures.

  • EU citizens and third-country nationals agree on the importance of interaction at work and in schools and on the positive contribution of migrants to the local culture. This confirms that more efforts should be made to facilitate migrants' access to work and their participation in education in order to improve interaction. The lack of language knowledge is perceived as a main barrier to both interaction and integration. Hence, integration policies should include more actions to support language learning.

  • Both third-country nationals and EU citizens agree that segregation of migrants in disadvantaged neighbourhoods has a detrimental effect on integration. Most people have a natural drive to go and live where they feel connected to other nationals of the same origin. Yet policies need to aim to stimulate natural meeting places and counter segregation between migrants and EU citizens.

  • EU citizens believe that the way in which migrants contribute economically to society is mainly through paying taxes, whereas studies in some Member States show that migrants contribute to the economic development as workers, entrepreneurs, consumers and tax payers.

  • There is a fear in some Member States that migrants are taking employment opportunities from the local population, while many see that there is a role for migrants doing the jobs that local people do not want to do. These contradictory views need to be met with better monitoring of the actual situation in the labour market. High unemployment levels caused by the economic crisis, especially in some Member States, could explain some negative attitudes.

  • There was considerable confusion and a lack of understanding of the distinction between regular and irregular migrants. Moreover, both the general public and migrants are of the opinion that the media has a responsibility in creating and reinforcing negative stereotypes. The Commission and Member State governments have a responsibility to communicate better their policies on legal migration, their actions to support integration of regular migrants and their efforts to discourage irregular migration.

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