February 2 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. 132


Saunders, N. R., Gandhi, S., Wanigaratne, S., Lu, H., Stukel, T. A., Glazier, R. H., … & Guttmann, A. (2023). Health Care Use and System Costs Among Pediatric Refugees in Canada. Pediatrics, 151(1). Resettled refugees land in Canada through 3 sponsorship models with similar health insurance and financial supports but differences in how resettlement is facilitated. This study examined whether health system utilization, costs, and aggregate 1-year morbidity differed by resettlement model. The report concludes that Health care use and morbidity of PSRs suggest they are healthier and less costly than GARs and BVOR model refugees. Despite a greater intensity of health care utilization than Ontario-born, overall excess demand on the health system for all resettled refugee children is low.

Dumitru, S. (2023). The ethics of immigration: How biased is the field? Migration Studies, Oxford University Press, 1-22. This article takes nationalism as an implicit bias and provides a method to assess its depth. The method compares principles that ethicists commonly discuss when immigration is not at stake with principles advocated in the ethics of immigration. To interpret the results, a distinction between mild and heavy bias is established. When a basic principle in ethics is under-discussed or absent from the ethics of immigration, the field is ‘mildly biased’. When its negation is commonly advocated, the field is ‘heavily biased’. The preliminary results suggest that the field is heavily biased: methodological nationalism seems to turn ethics into its opposite.

Erdoğan, M. M. (2023). Syrians-Barometer. A framework for achieving social cohesion with Syrians in Turkey. Syrians Barometer (SB)-2021 is one of the most comprehensive annual field studies on the subject of Syrians in Turkey conducted simultaneously with Turkish society and Syrians. The research aims to understand and analyze social encounters, opinions, attitudes, anxieties, expectations and, most importantly, perceptions through comprehensive surveys and focus group meetings. It attempts to observe the trends of change and suggest policy recommendations.

Refugee Survey Quarterly New issue 41(4) December 2022. One of the oldest peer-reviewed journals, Refugee Survey Quarterly, focuses on the challenges of forced migration from multidisciplinary and policy-oriented perspectives. The latest issue includes two open-access articles:

  • Milner, J., Alio, M., & Gardi, R. (2022). Meaningful refugee participation: an emerging norm in the global refugee regime. Refugee Survey Quarterly, 41(4), 565-593. This article argues that meaningful refugee participation is an emerging norm that has the potential to become the standard of appropriate behavior in global decision-making fora. Despite progress, the authors argue that the pursuit of differentiated approaches to refugee participation by norm entrepreneurs may constrain efforts to advance the norm. By examining efforts by States, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and refugee-led initiatives in recent years, they seek to highlight the similarities and differences between these initiatives and the extent to which they meet the threshold for norm emergence. Through this analysis, they consider the current state of the norm of meaningful refugee participation and present some possible scenarios for the future of the norm.
  • Putri, R. A. A. K., & Gabiella, D. (2022). The Organisational Pattern of Rohingya Refugee Community in Malaysia: Structural Opportunities, Constraints, and Intra-Community Dynamics. Refugee Survey Quarterly, 41(4), 673-699. This article draws attention to the proliferation of Rohingya community organizations in Malaysia. It argues that the ambivalent asylum policy and increasingly unfavorable socio-political environment of the host state were mediated by the organizations through support from the accumulated social capital and established social networks in their localities. The article contributes to debates on refugee self-reliance and their prospective role in enhancing host countries’ social and economic life, as indicated by the Global Compact on Refugees. It is also relevant to general debates about refugee mobilization in transit countries in Southeast Asia.

Other articles in this issue include:


Perzyna, M., Akbar, M., Ellis, C., Monteiro, S., Nalbandian, L., & Smith, C. D. (2022). Immigration policy ‘on the fly’: A critical review of pandemic policymaking in Canada. This report critically reviews key administrative trends and immigration policy responses and their significance for different groups of migrants. The findings show that while the federal government responded with rapid border closures for non-citizens, it immediately began to carve out exceptions for non-discretionary purposes. Ultimately, essential mobility into Canada was defined according to economically driven criteria, with the pandemic sometimes used as an excuse to exclude migrants considered undesirable, particularly asylum seekers, and to achieve administrative efficiencies. Migrants and asylum seekers continue to be made vulnerable by Canada’s immigration and refugee policies.


Ukraine crisis doesn’t herald a new era for refugee rights in Japan, Petrice R Flowers, East Asia Forum, Jan. 11, 2023. In March 2022, the Japanese government announced that it would accept Ukrainians fleeing the war. It soon became clear that initial hopes that this might lead to long-term changes in Japan’s refugee policy were unwarranted. Not only would the announced plan have little impact on Japan’s restrictive refugee policy, but it would also have little impact on the vast numbers of people fleeing Ukraine.

Why some groups are quitting Canada’s popular refugee sponsorship program? By Nicholas Keung, The Toronto Star, Jan. 17, 2023. Canada’s Syrian resettlement project spurred an outpouring of public support for refugees, but now the federal government is trying to ease the growing pains that have come with the hugely popular private sponsorship program.

Biden Administration Invites Ordinary Americans to Help Settle Refugees, By Miriam Jordan, New York Times, Jan. 19, 2023. In a major effort to open the door to more refugee resettlement, the Biden administration will begin inviting ordinary Americans to directly sponsor the arrival of thousands of displaced people from around the world into their communities.


SPRING Research Project Podcast by Eliza Bateman and Tihomir Sabchev (University of Ottawa Refugee Hub). This podcast explores the nuts and bolts of the Canadian Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program, which empowers ordinary individuals to directly engage in the welcome and settlement of refugee newcomers.

Canadian Immigration Research Portal. Let’s say you want to know how many asylum seekers came to Canada from Iran in 2020. Where do you go to find out? What if you want to apply for a grant to start an after-school program in Lethbridge and you need to know how many 14-year-old refugee children live in the area? The Canadian Immigration Research Portal, can be the solution. This new tool provides statistical, demographic data to the public.

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