Migrant Integration: What it is and What Role Does The State Play in its Implementation?
[ Read (394.8Kb) ]

Varshaver, E., Rocheva, A. (2016). Migrant Integration: What it is and What Role Does The State Play in its Implementation?. The Journal of Social Policy Studies, 14(3), 315-330. [in Russian]


Issues related to the integration of migrants can often be found at the centre of public attention in contemporary Russia. These discussions, however, are seriously limited in scope due to the absence of any common understanding of the term 'integration' and a lack of knowledge about actual integration policies and measures implemented in other states. In this article, which follows the German tradition of integration conceptualization, we clarify the use of terminology, provide a classification of the various aspects of integration and list the actual measures associated with each of them. According to this approach, integration has cultural, structural, social and identity aspects. Moreover, each policy or measure can be described as general or special; this is determined by whether it effects both migrants, non-migrants and societal institutions (general) or if it influences only migrants or some specific groups around them (specific). Cultural integration policy includes measures to help migrants master the language and culture of the receiving country. Structural integration concerns a migrant’s inclusion into the social system of the receiving state through participation in the labour market, educational system, and social security system, as well as participating in naturalization. The main targets of social integration policy are to build and strengthen social ties between migrants and non-migrants, which is done mainly through local level measures and practices. Lastly, identity integration policy implies creating and sustaining a sense of belonging among migrants toward the new state. This is achieved by creating a shared symbolic field for both migrants and non-migrants, including them together in the receiving society. Current legislative measures in Russia, such as the 'Concept of Migration Policy' and 'The draft Law on Cultural and Social Adaptation and Integration of Migrants' use a narrow approach in defining integration and do not imply most of the measures developed in the field of social and identity integration. Implementation of a comprehensive approach based on the outlined traditions and wide international experience of integration would help to enhance integration policy in Russia, making it more effective and positive.