Constraints and Facilitators for Successful Integration: How Bureaucratic Contacts Affects Migrants’ Pathways

Warda Belabas, Lasse Gerrits


Integration of migrants in Dutch society is a continuous political concern. The regulations governing the immigrant integration processes, and the formal demands to the migrants have been revised several times. Inevitably, the process requires the immigrant to engage in bureaucratic contacts. We postulate that these bureaucratic contacts have a reinforcing or a dampening effect on the integration process, hence on its success. We deployed a grounded research approach in order to investigate this assumption. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 51 migrants. We conclude that bureaucratic contacts have considerable impact on many aspects of the migrants' lives. The observed patterns of positive and negative loops with both favorable and unfavorable consequences for migrants demonstrate the systematic reality in which integration processes develop. The bureaucratic contacts – or lack thereof – are constantly used by migrants to evaluate their situation and to decide on new actions. This in turn sets off a chain reaction that impacts both bureaucratic contacts later on and the way migrants integrate in Dutch society.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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