Integration legislation at the federal state level: An updated review – and lessons learnt for the federal government

Study | November 2022

Germany’s federal states have wide scope when it comes to drafting legislation on integration policy. Over the past 10 years, five of them have used this leeway to adopt laws on integration and participation, two of which have already undergone wide-ranging reform. Other federal states are in the process of drafting such legislation. The federal government’s coalition agreement makes provision for a federal act on the integration and participation of people with a migration history. Against this backdrop, the SVR’s scientific staff, working on behalf of the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community, updated a Policy Brief on integration policy legislation at the federal state level that was first published in 2017. A comparison of the applicable regulations in Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Schleswig-Holstein shows that laws on integration and participation can not only give integration policy a symbolic boost, but can also have a steering effect, because they both enshrine basic principles in law and establish or strengthen coordination and cooperation structures. Their effectiveness is determined by both how they have been drafted and how they are implemented. From its analysis of federal state legislation the study also extrapolates ideas for the planned federal act on integration and participation.