Current immigration of European migrants and refugees to Germany: Migration processes and early integration trajectories

The project aims at analyzing the immigration and settlement dynamics and integration trajectories of recent immigrants in Germany. Building upon the international SCIP project (Socio-cultural Integration Processes among New Immigrants in Europe) we will collect two waves of panel data among different groups of recent immigrants in order to adequately describe recent inflows, to answer unsettled questions in immigration and integration research and to provide relevant information for decision makers in the field. We start out from three shortcomings of existing research. First of all, it is difficult to disentangle origin and destination effects when analyzing integration trajectories because migrants included in most data sets have been living in the country for many years at the point of the first interview. Secondly, most data sets still are cross national in nature so that issues of causality remain unsettled. Finally, migration research has long focused on low skilled labor or colonial migrants. Substantively, we plan to study recent migrants’ immigration and settlement processes and their integration trajectories in the field of their cognitive and structural integration, ethnic and national identities, and acculturation and religiosity based on a standardized survey among recently arrived Poles, Turks, Romanians, Italians, Syrians and Iraqis. We implement a research design that enables us to analyze potential group specific patterns while taking into account their internal diversity. The migrant groups included in our study differ with respect to their average educational and skill level, religious background, reasons for coming and the salience of ethnic boundaries they encounter in the receiving country. In order to survey a sufficiently large number of recent migrants we plan to conduct a standardized and incentivized mixed-mode survey in those municipalities that are the most important destinations for the different groups. In a separate project it is planned to supplement this endeavor with a survey among natives in the same municipalities in order to capture processes of informal exclusion and the construction of ethnic boundaries.

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