Influx of migrants following Russia's invasion of Ukraine: Integration and Governance Dynamics in Nordic and Baltic States (INFLUX)

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, millions of Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes and seek refuge. Among the new flow of migrants there are also Russians and Belarusians, who are facing increasing oppression in their home countries. A large number of migrants have fled to the Nordic and Baltic countries, where the Ukrainian refugees have been granted group asylum.

The sudden influx of Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian (URB) migrants, however, has put a strain on the existing reception structures and challenged integration capacities in the host countries. This research project will study the dynamics of URB refugee integration and migration governance in five Nordic and Baltic states. The project aims to study the key areas of governance structures and reception facilities, social and educational support for children and families, and integrational labor market outcomes. The different social environments and policy contexts across the consortium countries represent a laboratory for comparing structural integrational issues of a distinct group of migrants. By contrasting governance structures, integrational processes and outcomes between Nordic and Baltic countries, differences will appear. The selection of countries opens opportunities to identify good practices and lessons learned. The project will undertake multi-disciplinary research using desk reviews, quantitative and qualitative analyses.

The demographics of these migrants are unique in comparison to previous refugee and asylum seekers. The Ukrainian refugees are mainly women and children, and they have only received temporary protection in their host countries. Nevertheless, the military invasion creates uncertainties about how long the Ukrainian refugees will remain in the host countries, and how many more will arrive. The project aims to understand the integration of, and governance structures relating to, the influx of URB migrants in the short-, medium- and long-term in Nordic and Baltic countries, with a specific focus on Ukrainian refugees. Short-term integration includes meeting basic needs and providing initial support, while medium- and long-term integration aims to help migrants become more self-sufficient through the provision of housing, education, and labor market inclusion. By understanding these dynamics, the project seeks to improve related integration policies in the host countries.

Background

The INFLUX project is a result of a special commission which NordForsk received from the Nordic Council of Ministers secretariat to fund research supporting activities with relevance for the integration of refugees from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia in the Nordic countries.

The purpose of the call has been to capitalise on existing, excellent Nordic research networks from NordForsk’s research initiative on Migration and on Integration that are currently working on highly relevant aspects of migration and integration to provide research-based knowledge which can contribute to the integration of new refugees from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.

The INFLUX project consists of a strong research team from four of the ongoing research projects from the ongoing NordForsk migration and integration initiative, as well as new partners, from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania and Estonia.”

Contacts

Thomas Jacobsson

Thomas Jacobsson

Senior Adviser