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Centre for Women's and Gender Research
Research project

Temporary protection as a durable solution? The 'return turn' in asylum policies in Europe (TemPro)

TemPro is a collaboration between anthropologists and legal scholars in Norway, UK and Denmark that explores the effects of temporary protection in the current asylum and refugee systems.

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How does the temporary nature of their legal status affect how refugees manage the competing demands of settling in Europe and planning for an eventual return?
Photo:
Stein J. Bjørge/Aftenposten

Following high numbers of refugee arrivals in 2015, European countries have implemented restrictive policies reinforcing the temporary nature of the protection they are willing to provide. These measures, part of a ‘return turn’ in the practice of refugee law, include granting short-term protection permits to refugees from certain groups, stricter requirements for receiving permanent residence, and regular protection reviews to identify people whose need for asylum no longer exists.

Dilemmas these policies pose for inclusion and welfare are intensified by the fact that affected refugees often come from fragile states like Somalia, Afghanistan and Syria. Return to their previous homes remains a remote possibility for most. At the same time, they retain only limited membership rights in their place of residence.

TemPro draws on an intersectional perspective to explore the implications of increased legal fragmentation of refugee protection in and across refugee law, policy, and the lives of refugees. The project further builds on and extends recent advances within migration studies that approach the temporal dimensions of migration governance.

By investigating (primarily) post-2015 developments in Norway, Denmark and the UK, TemPro adresses the following questions:

  • How do changes in national and EU-level laws and policies affect the durability of residence for recognized refugees? How are policies applied vis-à-vis different refugee groups: Afghans, Somalis and Syrians?
  • How does temporary protection interact with facets of the welfare state designed to promote integration? What areas of conflict exist between asylum and integration policies on the one hand, and the intention of policies and their implementation on the other?
  • How does the temporary nature of their legal status affect how refugees manage the competing demands of settling in Europe and planning for an eventual return?
  • Are temporary protection practices compatible with refugee and human rights law? Under what conditions?
  • How do temporary protection regimes relate to states’ duties to promote durable solutions and inclusive societies under the UN Global Compact for Refugees and the Sustainable Development Goals?

The project is lead by Jessica Schultz, senior researcher at the Chr. Michelsens Institute and researcher at SKOK's WAIT project. From UiB, researcher Marry-Anne Karlsen at SKOK is part of the team. Researchers at Coventry University og University of Aarhus are also involved in TemPro.