Journal Article

Immigrant Naturalisation, Employment and Occupational Status in Western Europe


  • Hoxhaj
  • R.
  • Vink
  • M.
  • Breuer
  • T.
Publication Date


Does citizenship facilitate access to employment and higher status jobs? Existing studies have produced mixed results across mostly single case studies in Europe and North America. To investigate whether this heterogeneity depends on varying institutional and socio-economic conditions, in this paper we analyse the labour market outcomes of immigrants who have naturalised in 13 West European countries. Our empirical analysis draws on data from the 2014 European Labour Force Survey Ad Hoc Module on immigrants. In order to cope with the selective nature of the naturalisation process, we employ a bivariate probit model that accounts for unobserved characteristics of naturalising immigrants. Our main results show a positive relationship across these destination countries between citizenship and the probability of employment, as well as between citizenship and occupational status, but only for immigrant men from developing countries. For women and for migrants from developed countries, we observe no significant differences between citizens and non-citizens. Liberalising the access to citizenship does not diminish the positive returns on employment from naturalisation. For immigrant men from developing countries there is evidence of a trade-off between easier access to citizenship and the returns on occupational status.

Key Words

  • Citizenship
  • Employment
  • Occupational Status
  • Western Europe
  • Citizenship Policy

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