In the introduction to this special issue of JEMS, we question the strong link which is often made between the integration of minority ethnic groups and their residential segregation. In the literature on neighbourhood effects, the residential concentration of minorities is seen as a major obstacle to their integration, while the residential segregation literature emphasises the opposite causal direction, by focusing on the effect of integration on levels of (de-)segregation. The papers in this special issue, however, indicate that integration and segregation cannot be linked in a straightforward way. Policy discourses tend to depict residential segregation in a negative light, but the process of assimilation into the housing market is highly complex and differs between and within ethnic groups. The integration pathway not only depends on the characteristics of migrants themselves, but also on the reactions of the institutions and the population of the receiving society.