Photo: Stein J Bjørge

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

Jessica Leigh Schultz

Senior Researcher

Marry-Anne Karlsen

Post-doctoral fellow, Center for Women's and Gender Studies, University of Bergen

Esra Kaytaz

Research Fellow, Center for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University

Mikkel Rytter

Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Aarhus

Jens Vedsted-Hansen

Professor, Department of Law, University of Aarhus

Sarah-Louise Japhetson Mortensen

PhD candidate, Aarhus University

Following high numbers of refugee arrivals in 2015, European countries have responded with 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.

By investigating (primarily) post-2015 developments in Norway, Denmark and the UK, the project addresses 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?