This paper examines discrimination and early integration among Polish migrants in Ireland and the Netherlands using a new immigrants’ panel survey. Drawing on insights from research on intergroup relations, stereotyping, ethnic competition and Bail’s notion of the salience of racial and cultural boundaries, the paper develops hypotheses about the role of experience in and exposure to the host country, of gender and of country context in migrants’ experience of discrimination. The key finding is higher discrimination among Poles in the Netherlands and a greater increase in discrimination over time, suggesting that perceptions of ethnic competition, negative public debate and ensuing stereotypes about East European migrants are contributing to a more negative experience for Polish migrants in the Netherlands as compared to Ireland.
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