Migration to Norway - Flows and Regulations

The main objective of the study is to increase the scientifically based knowledge about the interaction between migration flows and migration regimes, particularly in the case of Norway.

Responsible institution:

Institute for Social Research

Project leader: 

Senior Researcher Jan Paul Brekke

Time period:




We will explore how changes in migration to Norway and neighboring countries, as well as the EU region, have affected changes in the sets of regulation, laws and practices which together constitute the policy on immigration and integration in Norway.

And the other way around; we will explore the impact of changes in the characteristics of the migration regime on the level and composition of immigration flows. The focus is on immigration from third countries, i.e. mainly from Africa, South America, Asia and European countries outside the EEA. To grasp the complexity of these processes, an interdisciplinary approach is employed, matching a sociological, political scientific and juridical interpretation of the evolvement in regimes with an econometric analysis of the effects on flows.

Project Summary: 

The overarching research questions of this study are:

  • What is the interrelation between migration flows and regulation?
  • To what extent can the migration to Norway be explained as a function of the national migration regime, the emerging European regime and the regimes in relevant neighbouring countries?
  • What are the impacts of changing migration trends on the characteristics of the Norwegian migration regimes?

The project consists of four interlinked modules:

(1) a broad, interdisciplinary, empirical study of the Norwegian regime and immigration flows within the European context. The module is divided into two interlinked parts. First, a qualitative study of the main changes in the Norwegian migration regime and those of Northern European countries in recent decades. Second, a quantitative study of the effect of regulations on migration flows to these countries. In this part, economists will undertake the main analysis.

(2) an in-depth analysis of the direct and indirect relationship between international law, EU-law and Norwegian immigration law and policies, especially in regard to presumed 'safe return' of asylum seekers with real protection claims.

(3) a qualitative examination of asylum seekers? journeys to Norway. By interviewing Eritrean asylum seekers in transit we will investigate the dynamics of destination choices. What sort of decision process makes Norway the ultimate destination of asylum seekers? One key factor in answering this question is revealing when the decision is taken, and by whom.

(4) a comparative, qualitative and quantitative, and in-depth study of the impact of regulation on family/marriage migration. A comparison of the marriage patterns of non-western immigrants in the presumably similar cases of Norway and Denmark offers opportunities to identify the effect of variation in the regulatory framework on marriage patterns and the associated migration flows.

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