This research focuses on the socio-economic integration of Ethiopian and Eritrean immigrants who have been living for 5-10 years in The Hague, the Netherlands after receiving the asylum residence permit. In the Netherlands, to determine their degree of integration, the government mainly utilizes the labour market position (statistics) of migrants. However, a comprehensive status of integration may not be discerned simply from analysing labour market statistics because it neglects migrants‘ actual perspectives and experiences. This research, based on interviews conducted with 16 immigrants, selected experts, and a review of earlier studies in the area, mainly explains the integration of the immigrants from their own perspective through the lens of the concept of social navigation and theory of human capital focusing on their experiences in the labour market, housing, social security, health, education, knowledge of the language and culture of the host society. The concepts of social navigation and human capital have been applied because for immigrants, settlement requires new navigation skills since they face an unfamiliar host environment and new settlement tasks such as a new working environment, new educational system, and so on. This in turn underlines the need for human capital which plays a crucial role in the process of immigrants‘ navigation of the new environment and their overall socio-economic integration. It is found that despite a very limited involvement of the participants in key professions that require qualifications such as architecture, law, and teaching, and their limited involvement in vocational and entrepreneurship trainings and education, the participants‘ socio-economic position shows their potential to navigate and integrate in the city although there are various challenges which are encountered in the process. In addition, effective integration requires the host country‘s commitment and genuine support that in turn needs to have a concrete data about the immigrants; their reasons for arrival, their background, and what they bring with them. However, it was not possible to find data, particularly from the municipality of The Hague where the officers contacted indicated that the municipality does not register immigrants by background. As a result, I strongly recommend that having a comprehensive data about the immigrants in the city helps the municipality to a great extent in terms of addressing issues related to those immigrants and speed up their integration process.

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Bergh, Sylvia I.
Governance and Development Policy (GDP)
International Institute of Social Studies

Massebo, Misgana Ashena. (2021, December 17). The experience of socio-economic integration of Ethiopian and Eritrean migrants in The Hague, the Netherlands. Governance and Development Policy (GDP). Retrieved from