Migration, Integration, Citizenship in Belgium between 1990 and 2018: The State of the Art

This literature review provides a discussion of the significant developments in Belgium’s immigration and integration policies between 1990 and 2018. [1] The paper is written within the framework of the ERC Advanced Grant Project titled “Nativism, Islamophobism and Islamism in the Age of Populism: Culturalisation and Religionisation of what is Social, Economic and Political in Europe”[2] (ISLAM-OPHOB-ISM).[3]  

This paper focuses on the Muslim-origin migrants as there is a long history of emigration from Turkey and Morocco to Belgium[4]. This review follows significant developments such as elections, new discourses, the rise of populism and the rising terrorist threats in the country in a chronological manner. However, it does not assess the impact and reception of these elements from the perspective of the migrant communities. It rather constitutes a study into the context which has shaped the experiences of migrants and their descendants.  

In doing so, this review delineates the five legal channels of movement to Belgium; namely free movement of EU citizens; family reunions; foreign students; foreign workers; as well as refugees and asylum seekers. In line with these diverse channels, we follow the changes in migration and integration policies in Flanders and Wallonia, focusing on the case of Flanders to review the literature on Muslim-origin youth.