The Incredible Message of Integration Requirements for Migrants - an Articulation of Ethnicity, Race and Nationhood?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 8:30 AM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Moritz JESSE , Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands
Over the last 20 years, immigration policies in Europe increasingly contained integration criteria immigrants have to fulfil in order to obtain a residence permit, citizenship, or  an entry visa for the purposes of family reunification. Mostly, integration requirements are formal requiremens, immigrants have to do in order to prove that they are capable of living in the host societies in an integrated way. One could think of language courses or language tests as typical integration requirements. However, more and more, one also finds requirements which allegedly help immigrants finding their way in the society of the host States. A typical requirement would be the immigration tests in the Netherlands or Germany as well as the 'knowledge of life in the UK' test required by British immigration regulation. The discussion whether such integration requirements are good tools fo foster the includion of migrants aside - seen from a different angle, integration tests and the values, history, traditions, and customs they force immigrants to master are a formidable way to destill how societies putting such measures in place see themselves. What is the selfe image that these tests seek to transfer? What are the core issues policy makers think of when designing integration tests, which reflect the State of destination the best? Are these tests reflecting reality or only a ideal scenario ?

These are the questions the paper will seek to answer. Relying on national immigration regulation in the EU and its Member States, such as the UK, Germany, Belgium, or the Netherlands, but also looking at Canada or Australia, the paper will try to (1) describe the ideal image of societies reflected in societies, (2) assess the excluding features of these test and whether they build / create cultural boundaries, and (3) investigate in how far these tests reflect reality.