The future of resettlement: vulnerability revisited

Til norsk versjon
Til norsk versjon

This project explores changes in resettlement policies, specifically related to the concept of “vulnerability”, and how these policy changes shape the processes of how refugees are selected for resettlement.

With a comparative perspective across resettling third countries, we explore how criteria and categories for selection of refugees are developed in resettlement policies, with special attention to categories of vulnerability.

We also study how Norway’s selection missions actually implement the categories and criteria, by observing Norwegian resettlement missions in Uganda, Lebanon, and Rwanda.

The project will run from 2021 through 2024, and involves partners from France, Greece, Lebanon, Norway, Sweden, UK, and Uganda.

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  • In 2020, nearly 26 million refugees had sought refuge, mostly in a country neighboring their homeland. Selected vulnerable refugees are offered resettlement to a safe third country in the Global North, such as Norway.

    However, this is an opportunity for very few, as less than one percent of the world’s refugees are resettled annually.

    Current research debates question to what extent the selected refugees represent the most vulnerable and in need of relocation. How then can one fairly assess vulnerability among refugee men, women and children with different needs and resources?

    Resettlement of refugees is not just about protection, but also about migration control. For example, Norway participates in the EU relocation of refugees from Greece and in the transferal and possible resettlement of migrants from Libya via Niger and Rwanda. In these cases, resettlement is an integrated part of European cooperation to control the border towards the Mediterranean, and to restricting access for other potential refugees.

    Our aim is to:

    • Provide new knowledge on both policy formulation and practices that determine refugee’s access to resettlement based on empirical data
    • Contribute to ongoing theoretical debates on vulnerability in forced migration studies and beyond
    • Provide policy recommendations to policymakers and practitioners in resettlement
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    Brigitte Suter

    Kamel Doraï is a researcher at the CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research) based at Migrinter, University of Poitiers (France).

    Between 2017 and 2021 he was Director of the Department of contemporary studies at the French Institute for the Near East - Ifpo (Lebanon) and has coordinated the research program LAJEH - Time of migration / time of migration (lajeh.hypotheses.org), funded by the French National Agency for Scientific Research (2015-2019). He conducted research in Jordan and Syria. His work focuses mainly on asylum and refugees in the Middle East (Palestinians, Syrians and Iraqis) and the urbanisation of the refugee camps. He has published several articles and book chapters on Palestinian and Syrian refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon and urban refugees in Syria and Lebanon.


    Brigitte Suter

    Johan Ekstedt is a PhD candidate in International Migration and Ethnic Relations at Malmö University’s Department of Global Political Studies.

    He uses new institutionalism to investigate the development of norms and values inside large bureaucratic organisations working with refugees. He takes a broad approach to the subject, drawing on literature from political science, sociology, and organisational studies. He has received his MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science in Comparative Politics. His research interests include resettlement, EU asylum policy and migration management systems.


    Brigitte Suter

    Elsa Maarawi is a PhD candidate in Sociology at Picardie Jules Verne University (CURAPP-ESS, Amiens, France) under the supervision of Isabelle Charpentier (CURAPP-ESS and CESSP) and Kamel Dorai (CNRS - Migrinter), and PhD associate at the French Institute of the Near-East (Ifpo) in Beirut, Lebanon.

    She holds a Master’s degree in International cooperation and humanitarian action from Paris 1 Sorbonne University and worked from 2010 to 2020 in the humanitarian sector for various UN agencies and International NGOs in the field of refugee protection and gender. Her PhD research focuses on social trajectories of Syrians migrants in Lebanon and in the North of France after the 2011, through the study of migration paths and trajectories, and interactions with migration actors and institutions. Her research aims at explaining personal and external factors that impacts on gender relations within the migration journey.


    Brigitte SuterFlora Penot is a PhD candidate in geography at the University of Poitiers (Migrinter, France) under the supervision of Philippe Lagrange (Professor, CECOJI) and Olivier Clochard (CNRS, Migrinter).

    She holds a Master's degree in International Migration from the University of Poitiers and has been working since 2020 on Syrian and Iraqi migration routes through humanitarian corridors in France. Her PhD focuses on the resettlement schemes of refugees in Lebanon set up by the UNHCR and philanthropic organisations. It will examine the role of both public and private actors organising refugee resettlement and reception by humanitarian corridors in France, Belgium and Italy as forms of private sponsorship. This project also aims to examine the issues at stake in the reception policies for refugees in Europe, and the role of the various networks of actors involved in these resettlements, which help to reconfigure the migratory routes of refugees from Middle East.


    Brigitte Suter

    Brigitte Suter is Associate Professor in International Migration and Ethnic Relations at the Department of Global Political Studies at Malmö University.

    Her latest research projects include the mobility of highly skilled migrants in the global economy, the role of norms and rights in the field of migration and integration, and care practices of transnational families. She is co-founder of the IMISCOE supported network “Norms and Values in Migration and Integration” (Novami). With funding from the European Refugee Fund (2013-15) she led a project on Somali and Burmese resettled refugees in Sweden. The focus was on the role of social networks in the integration process of of resettled refugees. Of particular interest were the circumstances in the first country of asylum and how they facilitated the building and maintain of social networks. A second study on resettlement was undertaken as part of the H2020- funded project ‘Norms and Values in the European Migration and Refugee Crisis’ (2018-21). The study focused on the various norms and values by different actors that shape the resettlement process from selection to integration.

    Relevant publications include:

    • Böhm, Franziska, Jerve Ramsøy, Ingrid and Suter, Brigitte (2021) Norms and Values in Refugee Resettlement - A Literature Review of Resettlement to the EU. NoVaMigra Policy Report. Current Themes in IMER 21:1.
    • Suter, Brigitte (2019) “Social Networks and Mobility in Time and Space: Integration Processes of Burmese Karen Resettled Refugees in Sweden,” Journal of Refugee Studies, https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/fez008
    • Suter, B. & Magnusson, M. (2015) Resettled and Connected? The Role of Social Networks in the Integration Process of Resettled Refugees. Malmö University Press: Malmö.
    • Krasniqi, Arton and Suter, Brigitte (2015) “Refugee Resettlement to Europe 1950-2014: An Overview of Humanitarian Politics and Practices”, MIM Working Paper 15:1.