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ERC grant for EUDO CITIZENSHIP Co-Director Maarten Vink

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant to EUDO CITIZENSHIP Co-Director Maarten Vink for his project ‘Migrant Life Course and Legal Status Transition’ (MiLifeStatus). ERC Consolidator Grants are highly prestigious individual subsidies of up to a maximum of €2 million which enable researchers to further expand their scientific research and to hire new researchers for a period of five years. 

Maarten Vink: “When does citizenship provide a boost to migrant integration? A fast-track to citizenship can maximise the potential for settlement success of migrants, though too short a pathway can disincentivise integration. In this project I want to investigate why, how and for whom legal status transition matters and, especially, how variation in policies between countries impacts on this relation. While there is much talk among politicians about citizenship being either a reward, or an instrument, of immigrant integration, we actually know relatively little about how this works in practice. What is the relation between naturalisation of immigrants, getting the citizenship of a new country of residence, and their integration within the host society? This relationship is complex because not all migrants have the same opportunities or face the same obstacles when it comes to building up a life a new country. As result, not everyone has an equal interest to naturalize and this also affects the relation between citizenship and integration. My goal is to investigate the relevance of citizenship within the individual life course of an immigrant.” 

I will investigate these questions comparatively since the rules on how to acquire citizenship vary greatly between countries. In other words, context matters. For example, in recent research on data from the Netherlands, my colleagues and I have shown that migrants are discouraged by restrictive policies. This applies especially to those migrants who stand to benefit most from acquiring citizenship (see also this article where we analyse the impact of policies in 16 European countries). I’m interested in finding out how this affects the pay-off of citizenship. Does it still matter if a migrant acquires citizenship after a long waiting period? My hypothesis is that how –and when- you get citizenship also affects what it means to you. With my project team I will analyse longitudinal data from population registers in the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries and, in addition, longitudinal survey data from Germany, Canada and the United States. Our research will focus on integration in socioeconomic domains, such as the labour market, living conditions, education and other quality of life indicators among immigrants and their descendants.”

For more information on Maarten Vink’s ongoing research, see his profile page at Maastricht University and the website of the Maastricht Centre of Citizenship, Migration and Development. 

See also the results of a previous EUDO CITIZENSHIP project on the “Access to Citizenship and Its Impact on Immigrant Integration”.