This report, published on 31 March 2016, focuses on the role of education in supporting the economic integration of migrants. The report compares the educational attainment of first and second generation immigrants with native students in Europe.

Summarizing empirical evidence, this report shows that, although there is a huge variation between countries, first generation immigrants in Europe are less educated than native students. However, research suggests that this educational attainment gap is smaller for second generation immigrants and in some countries native students are being outperformed by second generation immigrants. Factors behind the educational attainment gap can be sought, for some countries, in differences in students’ socio-economic background, for other countries the factors influencing this gap are less clear-cut and go beyond socio-economic conditions. Reviewed studies furthermore highlight the significance of language skills in affecting both the educational outcomes of migrants and their integration. Institutional factors such as pre-school attainment, the combination of teacher and student demographic characteristics and school tracking are discussed as well. Findings suggest, for example, that the recruitment of teachers with an immigrant background can be beneficial for students with a migrant background as they establish positive role models. Shedding light on the empirical evidence of the impact of peer effects on the school performance of both native and immigrant students, the report underlines the relevance and effects of class composition. Studies suggest a negative effect on the performances of immigrant students by immigrant concentration. The last section of the report focuses on different policies aimed to close the native-immigrant educational gap. The report highlights the importance of education to mitigate anti-immigration attitudes of native citizens and thereby fostering the integration of migrants.

The full report can be downloaded here.