«If we are going to succeed in integrating the Ukrainian refugees arriving now, we’ve got to learn from both our own previous experiences with massive influxes of refugees, and those of other European countries», says Geir Heierstad, institute director at the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR).
NIBR is a research institute specializing in urban and regional planning and governing at the Oslo Metropolitan University in Norway.
«This is an important project, not just for us at NIBR, but also for our society», Heierstad continues.
Impressive team of researchers
The project manager, Vilde Hernes from NIBR, has put together an impressive team of European migration researchers, with contributors from the German Center for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM), University of Eastern Finland (UEF), University College London (UCL), the University of Vienna and the Centre of Migration Research at the University of Warsaw, as well as five other migration researchers from NIBR.
«We wish to generate knowledge about differences and similarities in European authorities' responses to the high influx of refugees, and we are thrilled to be working with such excellent researchers from across Europe», says Hernes.
The research project, named «Government responses to high influxes of protection seekers: A comparative analyses of responses in 2015-16 and 2022-23», or the GOVREIN-project, is initiated by the Norwegian Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi).
Three main objectives
The project has three overall objectives:
Firstly, to generate knowledge about differences and similarities in European authorities' responses to the high influx of refugees in 2015-2016 and 2022-2023.
The comparative analysis includes a detailed mapping of eight European countries' integration and asylum policies, including any changes to them.
It covers the government responses regarding the overall organizations of the field, permits and asylum procedures, housing and settlement and integration.
Secondly, the researchers will map and compare the European countries on various parameters regarding inflows and integration of refugees, including statistical comparative analyzes for arrivals, permits, returns and integration across countries.
Thirdly, the project aims to identify learning points from the comparative analysis of the government response, as well as assess opportunities and challenges in transferring these learning points to a Norwegian context.
«It’s quite an ambitious task. And we do not have a lot of time to complete it – our final report is due by the end of the year. But this is a field where a lot of assumptions are being made, and I for one am looking forward to finding some reliable answers», concludes Hernes.
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