The purpose of this paper is to examine whether migrant and non-migrant students in Galway City and urban fringe have parity of educational outcomes. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development suggested such parity in its Review of Migrant Education in Ireland (2009) yet simultaneously suggested that the lack of survey data makes it difficult to gauge the experience of immigrant students. This paper uses survey data collected from over 500 students in Galway City and urban fringe to examine the educational achievement of migrant and non-migrant youth attending second-level schools in Galway City and urban fringe. In addition, the paper investigates the role of school choice in educational outcomes, acknowledging the complexities associated with the decision-making process underpinning school choice and access. The paper combines multi-level modelling and content analysis to explore the significance of a variety of social processes on school choice decision making and educational achievement. The paper highlights how differences in school-level and individual-level variables account for the apparent emergence of an achievement gap between young migrants and non-migrants. Copyright (c) 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.