Cross-National Comparison of Refugee Mobility in Europe

Julie Lacroix , University of Geneva
Mary Abed al Ahad, University of St Andrews
Sarah Christison, University of St Andrews
Chia Liu, University of St. Andrews
Hill Kulu, University of St Andrews

With growing immigrant populations in Europeans cities and population decline in peripheral regions, state governments are increasingly trying to manage migration flows at the subnational level and ensure greater spatial mixing and regionalization of immigration. The refugee dispersal policies introduced in various countries are one of the most striking examples. These policies are generally based on the assumption of permanent residence in the assigned location, whereas recent literature suggests that dispersed refugees tend to move away from remote areas once mobility restrictions are lifted. Using microdata from Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, and the UK, this paper provides a first cross-national comparison of immigrant and refugee mobility in Europe. Event history models account for the (un)adjusted probability to live in different settlement types over time since migration i.e., their respective share in urban, suburban, and rural areas. In line with the spatial assimilation perspective, we expect immigrants to initially settle in established urban gateways and gradually disperse to surrounding (peri-urban) areas, suburbs and the countryside. On the contrary, we expect dispersed refugees to leave their assigned rural areas and increasingly settle in urban centres. Preliminary results from Switzerland and Sweden show that, initially, refugees subject to dispersal policies are less represented than other immigrants in urban areas. After three years, the share of refugees in urban areas is equal to that of other immigrants, and their representation continues to increase over time.

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 Presented in Session 56. Flash session Internal Migration of Immigrant Origin Populations