Conditioning the Citizenship Premium: Naturalization Reform and Immigrant Employment in Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden

Anna Tegunimataka , Lund University
Maarten Vink, Maastricht University
Floris Peters, Maastricht University / Statistics Netherlands

Naturalization is often regarded as an important means in the process of immigrants’ integration in the destination country labor market, as it has the potential to enhance employment and income. The existing body of literature has, however, shown that there is large variation regarding the labor market outcomes associated with naturalization dependent on context. We address the question: does citizenship policy condition the labor market premium of naturalization and, if so, how? We draw on register data from the Netherlands, (Denmark and Sweden). We apply a distributed fixed effects model to assess trajectories of employment propensity in relation to timing of naturalization. We find that for naturalized immigrants who became eligible after the citizenship reform in the Netherlands, employment propensity increases faster before naturalization, suggesting that additional requirements pushed these migrants to an early acquisition of skills that benefited them on the labour market. However, after naturalization the growth trajectory in employment propensity flattens, suggesting that there is no long-term benefit in employment propensity for migrants required to meet civic integration requirements. Moreover, when analyzing the overall migrant population, we observe that becoming eligible to naturalize is associated with increasing employment propensity only before, but not after the naturalization reform. We conclude, tentatively, that civic integration requirements push naturalizing immigrants to early acquisition of skills, which benefit their employment chances, but due to the selective effects of such requirements, this may come with the price of leaving immigrants behind for whom it is more challenging to meet these requirements.

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session Migration, Economics, Environment, Methods, History and Policy