The aim of this report is to better understand the role that local contexts play in shaping integration outcomes for post-2014 migrants in Spain. Based on a mix of qualitative data (in-depth interviews, focus groups, and participant observation) collected in five Spanish towns it identifies similarities and differences in terms of interactions between post-2014 migrants and long-term residents, the individual attitudes they have towards each other, and migrants’ experiences of inclusion and exclusion. Compared to many other EU countries, Spain has a relatively short history of (net) immigration, its immigration regime produces (and implicitly allows) a lot of irregularity, and immigration has not (yet) become as politicised as elsewhere.
Despite having selected a very diverse range of municipalities, we found very similar overall situations and only few, rather nuanced, differences in terms of local integration outcomes. More specifically, our analysis leads to several conclusions: firstly, the five localities face few concrete problems and no significant conflict/s related to migrant integration, but there is little interaction between locals and newcomers in everyday life. Secondly, there are many contextual factors that influence migrants’ relations, mutual attitudes, and experiences, but none of them seems to be pivotal, and many of them can potentially work towards inclusion as well as exclusion. What ultimately shapes local integration outcomes, although in rather unpredictable ways, is the interaction between migrants’ individual characteristics and personal aspirations on one hand, and a wide and diverse range of contextual factors on the other.
Authors: Reinhard Schweitzer, Ines Arco Escriche, Juan-Ramon Jiménez-García