December 12, 2019: RRN Research Digest

The RRN Research Digest provides a synopsis of recent research on refugee and forced migration issues from entities associated with the RRN and others.

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 77

Recent Publications and New Research

Jureidini, R., & Hassan, S. (Eds.). (2020). Migration and Islamic Ethics. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. This book addresses how Islamic ethical and legal traditions can contribute to current global debates on migration and displacement; how Islamic ethics of muʾakha, ḍiyāfa, ijāra, amān, jiwār, sutra, kafāla, among others, may provide common ethical grounds for a new paradigm of social and political virtues applicable to all humanity, not only Muslims. The present volume more broadly defines the Islamic tradition to cover not only theology but also to encompass ethics, customs and social norms, as well as modern political, humanitarian and rights discourses. The first section addresses theorizations and conceptualizations using contemporary Islamic examples, mainly in the treatment of asylum-seekers and refugees; the second, contains empirical analyses of contemporary case studies; the third provides historical accounts of Muslim migratory experiences. Available at: (Open Access)

Mata, F. (2019). Occupational Niche Preferences of Canada’s Refugee and Non-Refugee Workers: Explorations Using Census Data. This grey literature piece explores the occupational niche preferences of refugee workers and non-refugee admission class workers who entered Canada between 1981 and 2016. Data explorations found that the Canadian immigrant workforce consists of a highly stratified arrangement of workers and that there is significant variability in terms of their occupational preferences according to admission class, gender, ethnicity and racial backgrounds. Multivariate data analysis found that two major dimensions explained more than half of the data variation: a gender-occupational and an admission class divide related one. In contrast to economic class workers, visible minority groups of various gender, admission classes and ethnic backgrounds were found in the most disadvantaged positions in terms of occupational status and their employment income returns. Presented at: “Inclusion: Third Annual Forum on Measuring Identities” November 21-22, 2019, Association for Canadian Studies, Gatineau, QC. Available at:

Murat, M. (2019) Foreign aid, bilateral asylum immigration and development. Journal of Population Economics. 33(1). This paper measures the links between aid from 14 rich to 113 developing economies and bilateral asylum applications during the years 1993 to 2013. The results show that asylum applications are related to aid nonlinearly in a U-shaped fashion with respect to the level of development of origin countries, although only the downward segment proves to be robust to all specifications. Asylum inflows from poor countries are significantly and negatively associated with aid in the short run, with mixed evidence of more lasting effects, while inflows from less poor economies show a positive but non-robust relationship to aid. Moreover, aid leads to negative cross-donor spillovers. Applications linearly decrease with humanitarian aid. Voluntary immigration is not related to aid. Overall, the reduction in asylum inflows is stronger when aid disbursements are conditional on economic, institutional and political improvements in the recipient economy. Available at: (Open Access)

Conant, L., Hofmann, A., Soennecken, D., and Vanhala, L. (2019). “Patrolling the boundaries of belonging? Courts, law and citizenship,” in Research Handbook on Law and Courts, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. This chapter explores how courts and law have contributed to the evolution of citizenship. Theoretically, it draws on Christian Joppke’s distinctions between citizenship as status, rights, and identity as a means to analyse different facets of belonging within political communities. Substantively, it emphasizes the United States and European Union as historical projects where law and courts were particularly important in constructing national and supranational citizenship, respectively. It also examines tensions evident in postnational memberships, such as the de facto partial citizenship of unauthorized immigrants and exclusion of many refugees from any citizenship. Available at:

Report, Policy Briefs and Working Papers

Immigration, refugee, ethnocultural and racialized populations and the social determinants of health. (Feb, 2019). Mental Health Commission of Canada. This report highlights select sociodemographic trends and issues related to immigrant, refugee, ethnocultural, and racialized populations’ mental health and well-being, identified from 2016 Census data by the MHCC Collaborative on IRER Mental Health. The collaborative prioritized a number of key social determinants that influence mental health, including language, income, education, unemployment and underemployment, discrimination, and hate crimes. This data shows that immigrants experience a range of equity-related issues after settling in Canada — with many having an impact on outcomes related to health and well-being — and it speaks to an increasingly urgent need for action. Available at:

Good decisions: Achieving fairness in refugee law, policy and practice (2019). Insights Report Kaldor Centre Conference. Every day, decisions are made about whether people need international protection because they are at risk of persecution or other forms of serious harm. The 2019 Kaldor Centre conference explored aspects of refugee decision-making from the micro to the macro level – from individual cases through to wider public policy. It brought together decision-makers, scholars, civil society and people with lived experience of seeking asylum to discuss how to ensure that refugee decision-making is fair, transparent and protection-sensitive. Available at:

News reports and blog posts

Does the EU violate public procurement law in its external migration policy by Thomas Spijkerboer & Elies Steyger, EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy (November 28, 2019). In 2014-2015, the European Union adopted three financial measures in order to cooperate with neighbouring countries in the field of migration policy. The European external migration funds are subject to the ordinary public procurement rules to which both the member states and EU institutions themselves are subject. This requires open, transparent and objective procedures that are not taking place. In light of these concerns about the transparency of the way in which public funds are spent, this blog outlines how expenditure under the migration funds relates to European public procurement law. Available at:

Why some EU countries are struggling to relocate migrants by Raluca Bejan, The Conversation (December 1, 2019) The relocation matter returned to public attention this September, when Germany, France, Italy and Malta called for the implementation of a new system to automatically distribute migrants across the EU. Implicitly the member states are expected to show solidarity in emergency situations and that solidarity efforts should be equally shared. This author discusses an ongoing debate regarding what constitutes an equal share of responsibility and what type of indicators are best suited to reflect a fair and equitable distributive scheme. Consensus on solidarity efforts and on how responsibility should be shared and implemented might lead to less political friction and more fruitful co-operation in the EU. Available at:

Digital and social media

The Overlooked Undocumented Immigrants: From India, China, Brazil by Miriam Jordan (December 1, 2019) President Trump has focused on blocking unauthorized crossings at the southern border, however, nearly half of those living in the country unlawfully, entered with permission. Available at:

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