Family Migration and Integration A Literature Review
24 May 2018
The aim of this literature review is to give an overview of existing research about the relationship between: 1) family migration and integration and 2) family migration regulation and integration.
With regard to the first issue, outlined in chapter 3 of this report, we have identified three main streams of literature on family migration and integration: First, there are studies comparing the integration of family migrants to other admission categories. These are mostly based on quantitative data, and focus on integration outcomes in terms of labour market participation and educational achievements. Second, there is a stream of literature focusing on intra-ethnic marriages between a second-generation immigrant and a spouse from their parents’ country of origin. Finally, there are also some case studies investigating challenges and opportunities for integration for other family migrants, for example intra-European migrants and mixed marriages between a native and a third country national.
Most of the existing studies on family migration and integration focus on labour market participation, and, to a certain extent, on educational achievements. Concerning the three dimensions of integration – that is, system integration, social integration and value integration (see “Dimensions of integration”) – there is very little research focusing on the two latter dimensions. In studies of labour market participation across admission categories, the performance of family migrants is often compared to that of labour migrants as well as refugees. Quantitative analyses reveal lower labour market participation and educational achievements for family migrants than for labour migrants. However, results vary greatly between different sub-groups of family migrants. For example, some studies from Southern Europe show that migrants arriving through family formation with a native-born sponsor have lower rates of labour market participation than those reunifying with another migrant. A Norwegian study, however, finds the opposite pattern. Thus, different studies point in different directions and it is difficult to establish whether these are real national differences or a result of different data and methods.