Access to citizenship and its impact on immigrant integration (ACIT project)

EUDO CITIZENSHIP has been selected by the European Fund for the Integration of Third-country Nationals (administered by DG Home Affairs) for financing of our new research project Access to citizenship and its impact on immigrant integration (ACIT). The five consortium partners who will carry out the project jointly are: the European University Institute, the Migration Policy Group (Brussels), University College Dublin, University of Edinburgh, and Maastricht University. Main goals of ACIT are to explore the links between acquisition of nationality and the integration processes and to ncourage effective measures for facilitating immigrants’ access to citizenship in the EU.

In its 18-month programme, ACIT will develop four sets of citizenship indicators on citizenship laws, their implementation, rates of citizenship acquisition and its impact on integration in all 27 EU Member States and accession candidate and EEA countries (Croatia, Iceland, FYROM Macedonia, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey). 10 EU Member States (Austria, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom) will be selected for in-depth case studies because of their large mmigrant and foreign populations, diverse citizenship laws and high or low acquisition rates.

National stakeholder dialogues will be organised by subcontracted NGO/think-tank partners in these 10 countries (in Vienna, Tallinn, Paris, Berlin, Budapest, Dublin, Rome, Lisbon, Barcelona, London). ACIT will collect and compare available national and international evidence on how acquiring citizenship enhances immigrants’ participation in society and the democratic process. It will analyse indicators to reveal the hidden links between citizenship and integration policies within EU competence, including anti-discrimination, family reunion and long-term residence.

ACIT will make a first-ever impact assessment of citizenship law in each country and across Europe. The findings will reveal the effects of recent reforms and compare the impact of legal rules with that of societal factors such as origin, residence duration, gender, age and social status. Research results will be disseminated in 10 national handbooks, 4 comparative reports based on the indicators and a final European-level report. ACIT will also highlight changes in citizenship laws and implementation that have improved integration in practice and it will provide policy recommendations to reinforce EU indicators on active citizenship and to develop an EU module on "Citizenship and Integration."

Academic researchers, government and civil society will obtain data, comparative analyses and practical guidelines on how to evaluate policy outcomes, set targets and good governance standards, and assess the prospective impact of policy changes. ACIT will contribute to more effective policies and practices for integration and citizenship acquisition by creating authoritative, comprehensive and easy-to-use databases which will foster European information exchange and cooperation.