Welcome to Lower Saxony

Representative survey of immigrants in Lower Saxony


Project period

01.02.2015 – 31.08.2018

Project staff

Prof. Dr. Thomas Bliesener

Dr. Dominic Kudlacek (Project manager)

Stephanie Fleischer

Kamila Labuda


Ministry for Social Affairs, Health and Equality of Lower Saxony

Cooperation partner

Ministry of Interior and Sports of Lower Saxony

Prof. Dr. Michael Windzio (University of Bremen)

Project description

The basic idea of the research project is to conduct repeat surveys over a period of time with a sample of immigrants from abroad who arrived in Lower Saxony in 2015. It will thus systematically collate information on the experience of immigrants over time. The study design also makes it possible to identify changes in immigrants’ attitudes, expectations and hopes, and to shed light on the background and causes of such changes. The overall aim is to identify factors for successful integration and measures to improve integration policy.

The study was planned and launched before the refugee crisis. It is therefore primarily aimed at immigrants from Poland, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy, Russia, Spain, Croatia, Greece, China, India and Turkey. To make the picture as comprehensive as possible, the survey also includes people from Syria, Serbia, Pakistan, Africa and South America. The initial focus of the study, however, was on migrant workers and not refugees.

The first phase of the survey was conducted in autumn 2015 and reached over 2,200 respondents. The main aim of the initial survey was to compile a thorough status review providing information on immigrants’ profiles. Items recorded include age, gender, education history, prior employment, language skills, religion, basic financial resources, background to the decision to migrate to Germany or to seek work there as an EU citizen, and hopes and fears with regard to life in Germany. It is also considered important to find out whether immigrants already had acquaintances or contacts in Germany before arriving and, linked with that question, whether such contacts also supported the immigrants at the start of their time in Germany. The second phase of the survey began in March 2016.