Back to search

VAM-Velferd, arbeid og migrasjon

Migration to Norway -Flows and Regulations

Awarded: NOK 10.9 mill.

Project Number:


Application Type:

Project Period:

2011 - 2015

Funding received from:


Subject Fields:

What is the impact of migration regulation for the arrival of asylum seekers and other migrants to Norway and other European countries? In this project, we study the link between policy and flows from four different angles. In the first module economists and sociologist jointly look at the development of asylum policies and arrival patterns in nine Northern European countries. We contruct a migration policy index for the cluster of countries covering the period from 1990-2010. The development of policies and regulations are then held up against the shifting arrival patterns of asylum seekers. We also look at how policy changes in one counry affects policies and arrival patterns in neighboring countries. Such spreading effects have largely escaped the attention of social research. In the second module, we look at the development of migration law in Norway and Europe. Among the topics covered are readmission agreements, safe third countries and the concept of "the best interest of the child". The third part studies the motivation of asylum seekers and destination selection. Why do they end up in a country like Norway and not some other country? Previous research has found that often the destination country is decided along the way. In order to study this phenomenon, we did a field work in Italy in 2012. We focused on Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers and their potential secondary migration to other countries in Europe. Reports and photos are available at In our analysis we found that the current financial crisis heightened the differences between the different countries in Europe, making it even more tempting to move on. The Dublin regulation, which states that asylum seekes should stay in the first country where they are registered in Europe, held some people back. In the fourth module, we compare family migration policies in Norway and Denmark. In particular we study the effects of the regulations and adaptations in the area of family formation. The preliminary results point to parallel developments in marriage patterns despite heavier regulations being introduced in Denmark. Again, we are back to the complex effects of migration policies.

The overarching research questions of this study are: what is the interrelation between migration flows and regulation? To what extent can the migration to Norway be explained as a function of the national migration regime, the emerging European regime an d the regimes in relevant neighbouring countries? What are the impacts of changing migration trends on the characteristics of the Norwegian migration regimes? The project consists of four interlinked modules: (1) a broad, interdisciplinary, empirical s tudy of the Norwegian regime and immigration flows within the European context. The module is divided into two interlinked parts. First, a qualitative study of the main changes in the Norwegian migration regime and those of Northern European countries in recent decades. Second, a quantitative study of the effect of regulations on migration flows to these countries. In this part, economists will undertake the main analysis. (2) an in-depth analysis of the direct and indirect relationship between internati onal law, EU-law and Norwegian immigration law and policies, especially in regard to presumed 'safe return' of asylum seekers with real protection claims. (3) a qualitative examination of asylum seekers? journeys to Norway. By interviewing Eritrean asylu m seekers in transit we will investigate the dynamics of destination choices. What sort of decision process makes Norway the ultimate destination of asylum seekers? One key factor in answering this question is revealing when the decision is taken, and by whom. (4) a comparative, qualitative and quantitative, and in-depth study of the impact of regulation on family/marriage migration. A comparison of the marriage patterns of non-western immigrants in the presumably similar cases of Norway and Denmark offe rs opportunities to identify the effect of variation in the regulatory framework on marriage patterns and the associated migration flows.

Publications from Cristin

No publications found

No publications found

No publications found

Funding scheme:

VAM-Velferd, arbeid og migrasjon