Integration of Highly Skilled Migrants from Southeast Europe in Brussels

This research deals with highly skilled migrants from Southeast Europe (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Northern Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Kosovo) in Brussels. The study is based on qualitative research conducted in 2014 in Brussels. Through applying Bosswick and Heckmann’s (2006) analytical framework, the influence of the European Union citizenship on the system and social dimensions of integration is examined. Under system integration, the gaining and enacting of citizenship rights receive special attention, while within social integration, the identificational dimension of integration is in the focus. The research results demonstrated that the possession of EU citizenship influences the integration outcome – to a greater extent in the case of system integration, and to a lesser extent when it comes to social integration. Given that the integration of highly skilled migrants in Brussels occurs within “international strata”, rather than a national culture framework, the classic integration model does not function in Brussels. In the case of the integration of highly skilled migrants in a global city such as Brussels, it was shown that migrants do not attach importance to (national) citizenship if they have EU citizenship. Highly skilled migrants from the third countries attach importance to national citizenship only if they do not have a work permit with which they are regulating their stay and provided they plan to permanently settle in Belgium.

The research was conducted during the post-doctoral fellowship at Université Catholique de Louvain – Faculté des sciences économiques, sociales, politiques et de communication.


September 2014 – December 2014

The research leader:

Dr Snježana Gregurović

Research results available at:

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