February 16 2023: 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. 133


Lokot, M. (2022). Unravelling Humanitarian Narratives: Gender Norm Change during Displacement?. Journal of Humanitarian Affairs, 4(2), 22-31. The paper examines how colonial and neoliberal imperatives influence dominant gender narratives about refugees and IDPs. Based on ethnographic data from Syrian refugees in Jordan and interviews with local and international humanitarian practitioners, this paper grapples with the problems associated with fixating on ‘change’ during displacement. It proposes ‘resistance’ as an alternative way of analyzing gender and shifts the focus from displacement to provide insights about gender norms before conflict.

[New Book] Martani, E., Helly, D. (eds.) (2022). Asylum and resettlement in Canada. Historical development, successes, challenges and lessons. Genova: Genova University Press. While Canada is considered the world leader in the protection of refugees, the Canadian protection system exhibits a series of deficiencies, ranging from detention policies and deportation, down to integration obstacles and other associated challenges. In addition, other issues including violence, vulnerability, denial of rights, and growing hostility toward migrants and refugees undermine the overall health and image of the system. This book is a project aimed at addressing this topic and its associated challenges. The overall goal is to provide readers with an in-depth account of Canada’s refugee protection programs, their origins and development, their achievements, challenges and metamorphoses, with a particular accent given to the role of community involvement in these programs. 

Hamilton Byrne, W., Gammeltoft-Hansen, T., Piccolo, S., MØller, N. H., Slaats, T., & Katsikouli, P. (2023). Data-Driven Futures of International Refugee Law. Journal of Refugee Studies. As refugee law practice enters the world of data, it is time to take stock of what refugee law research can gain from technological developments. This article outlines a computationally driven research agenda to tackle refugee status determination variations as a recalcitrant puzzle of refugee law. It first outlines how the growing field of computational law may be canvassed to conduct legal research in refugee studies at a greater empirical scale than traditional legal methods. It then exemplifies the empirical purchase of a data-driven approach to refugee law through an analysis of the Danish Refugee Appeal Board’s asylum case law. It outlines methods for comparison with datasets from Australia, Canada, and the United States. The article concludes by addressing the data politics arising from a turn to digital methods, and how these can be confronted through insights from critical data studies and reflexive research practices.

Transnational Biographies. Changing We-images, Collective Belongings and Power Chances of Migrants and Refugees. Gabriele Rosenthal (ed.) (2022). Göttingen: Göttingen University Press, Göttingen Series in Sociological Biographical Research. The articles in this volume focus on migrants at their place of arrival and ask questions such as: How do they look back on their life histories and migration paths? What dynamics and processes led to their migration projects, and how do they explain their motives? The studies in this volume show that leaving and arriving are interrelated: leaving one’s home region is part of a long process, partly planned and partly unplanned, which is determined by complex collective, familial and individual patterns, and which has significant consequences for the action patterns and participation strategies of migrants in their arrival societies. This book also shows which patterns enable some migrants to realize their goals in their present situation, and which constraints or obstacles make it impossible for others to do so.

Liza G. Steele, Lamis Abdelaaty & Nga Than (2023) Attitudes about refugees and immigrants arriving in the United States: a conjoint experiment, Ethnic and Racial Studies. Using original data from a nationally representative conjoint survey experiment conducted in 2019, the authors examine whether US citizens’ attitudes toward refugees are distinct from their attitudes toward other types of immigrants to the US, and how applicant attributes shape American citizens’ preferences about the admission of foreigners. They find that immigrant and refugee reasons (as defined by law) for migrating to the US affect attitudes, with refugee reasons garnering greater support. The labels “immigrant” and “refugee” on their own have smaller effects, in general, but can be salient in combination with other characteristics. They also find marked effects of newcomers’ characteristics, especially country of origin, profession, gender and religion.

Isaakyan, I., Triandafyllidou, A., & Baglioni, S. (2023). Immigrant and Asylum Seekers Labour Market Integration upon Arrival: NowHereLand: A Biographical Perspective . Springer Nature. This open access book discusses labour market integration policies in various cultural contexts. The authors Juxtapose policies and practices to the experience of recently arrived migrants, refugees and asylum seekers and discuss the actors involved, such as state and local authorities, employers, and migrant support organizations.


Jane Linekar & Bram Frouws (2022) Climate change, environmental stressors, and mixed migration, Insights and key messages drawn from a decade of MMC research and 4Mi data collection, Mixed Migration Centre (MMC). This paper presents seven key messages on climate change, environmental stressors, and mixed migration, drawn from years of MMC research and 4Mi data collection, to bridge the conversations taking place in different sectors. 

Derya Ozkul (2023), Automating Immigration and Asylum: The Uses of New Technologies in Migration and Asylum Governance in Europe, Algorithmic Fairness for Asylum Seekers and Refugees (AFAR) Project. From lie detection tools tested at the borders to dialect recognition technologies, many new technologies are being used and tested on migrants, including asylum seekers, across Europe. The new report by the AFAR project shows the multitude of uses of new technologies across Europe at the national and EU levels. In particular, the report explores in detail the use of forecasting tools, risk assessment, and triaging systems, processing of short- and long-term residency and citizenship applications, document verification, speech and dialect recognition, distribution of welfare benefits, matching tools, mobile phone data extraction and electronic monitoring, across Europe. It highlights the need for transparency and thorough training of decision-makers, as well as the inclusion of migrants’ interests in the design, decision, and implementation stages. 

Going the Distance: Immigrant Youth in Canada’s Labour Market, World Education Services (WES) & Internationally Trained Physicians of Ontario (ITPO), February 9, 2023. This report examines the disparity between the high levels of academic success immigrant and refugee youth achieve and the challenges they encounter when seeking to enter the workforce. It also provides several programmatic and policy recommendations to facilitate the inclusion and long-term advancement of immigrant and refugee youth.

Monteiro, S., Pillai, N., & Kianpour, M. (2023). Online Communications and Service Delivery in Canada’s Settlement Sector: The State of Affairs. This study establishes a Canada-wide baseline for online platform usage, effectiveness, and inclusiveness during the pandemic, focusing on social media platforms. It found that only about half of Settlement Service Provider Organizations were using social media to communicate and deliver services to newcomers. Similarly, only about half found that the platforms were effective in meeting the needs of their clients.

IRCC Immigration Data Release: Government of Canada’s Open Data Portal. IRCC has just released preliminary data for the full year 2021 on the number of permanent resident admissions, study and work permit holders, asylum claimants, and users of immigration settlement services. The data show that in 2021, 60,154 refugees became permanent residents in Canada, 136% increase from 2020.” Over 90 IRCC statistical tables are refreshed monthly. The majority of these monthly data tables cover the period from 2015 through to the most recent month available for external publication and may be used to conduct historical comparisons.


Adam Severson, ‘The Asia-Pacific’s Next Refugee Crisis Is Coming – Ready or Not’, The Diplomat, 7 February 2023. Last year marked 20 years since the creation of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons, and Related Transnational Crime. Commendable for its longevity, serious-minded policy dialogue, and capacity building, the Bali Process’ potential as a platform for regional cooperation on irregular movement remains unrealized. 

Alyna Smith, Caterina Rodell, Sarah Chander and Petra Molnar, ‘Racist algorithms and AI can’t determine EU migration policy’, EU Observer, 9 February 2023. In migration, AI is increasingly used to make predictions, assessments, and evaluations based on racist assumptions it is programmed with. But with upcoming, legislation to regulate Artificial Intelligence (the EU”s “AI Act”), the EU has a chance to live its self-proclaimed values, set a global standard and draw red lines on the most harmful technologies.

Mizanur Rahman, ‘Refugees must participate in decision making that affect their own lives’, Science Norway, 10 February 2023. The case outlined in this article demonstrates how crucial it is to include the people affected by the policy or decision. Those who will be affected by a decision should be able to be part of that decision-making process. Participation also makes groups feel empowered and helps policymakers make better decisions.

Evan Jones, ‘Are we forgetting the Myanmar crisis?’, Bangkok Post, 4 February 2023. Myanmar’s political and humanitarian dynamics are not expected to improve in the near term. As such, host states such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and India must come up with to come up with pragmatic, humanitarian, and strategic approaches to supporting refugees within their borders.


New IRCC mailbox for asylum technical support. IRCC has created a new mailbox for technical support related to the online asylum application (eApp) via the IRCC Portal. You can now submit your questions related to the eApp or report technical issues to the following address: IRCC.AsylumTechSupport-SupportTechAsile.IRCC@cic.gc.ca.

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