23 may 2012
The Immigrant Citizens Survey (ICS) was presented at the headquarters of the European Commission Representation in Spain. The survey was directed from Brussels by the King Baudouin Foundation and the Migration Policy Group, in collaboration with the CIDOB in Spain and the Centre for Sociological Research (CIS). The ICS is the first international survey which reflects the opinion of immigrants on the facilities and difficulties encountered when integrated into the host society.
“The results of the ICS are striking because they show that the vision of immigrants on their situation is more positive than expected,” said Jordi Vaquer, director of CIDOB, during the presentation.
The survey of more than 7,000 immigrants with authorized residence status in 15 cities and in 7 EU countries (Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy and Portugal) was done in the late 2011 and reveals what immigrants think on key integration policies. The study focuses on analyzing the perception of immigrants on issues such as residence permits, citizenship, family reunification, labor market, social participation and education, among others.
The main results in Spain reveal both positive aspects of the situation of immigrants in the country and others could be improved. Among the positive aspects are:
– The immigrants say they have found few problems when applying for permanent residence, nationality or family reunification.
– There is less difficulty finding work in the two Spanish cities than in many other European cities like Milan, Brussels and Paris.
– The main issues raised at the time of finding work are the temporary contracts and jobs in the underground economy, but there is a low incidence of discrimination.
– In general, they find little trouble when learn Castilian, compared to the problems that immigrants manifest in other European countries while trying to learn the local/ national language.
– There is a greater intention to vote and to potential electoral inclusion than in countries like Germany or Belgium.
Among the areas for improvement include:
– To the majority of the interviewed immigrants to have a permanent residence did not help them in anything to get employment (worse than in other countries).
– Between one quarter and one third of immigrants are over-qualified for their jobs.
– Working conditions prevent immigrants to improve their training.
– In terms of participation and representation, it should be noted that membership in associations, unions and parties is relatively low in the Spanish cities.
– The majority believe that there is a need to have more members of immigrant origin in national parliaments.