Director, MPI Europe
Hanne Beirens is Director of Migration Policy Institute Europe. She specializes in European Union policies related to asylum and migration, human trafficking, labor migration, and youth.
Prior to joining MPI as Associate Director in 2015, Dr. Beirens worked as a Lead Managing Consultant for ICF Consulting, where she focused on impact assessments, feasibility studies, and evaluations for the European Commission, with a particular focus on EU asylum and migration policy, as well as developing products within the European Migration Network (EMN), including pan-European studies and the EMN annual report. Topics covered include reception facilities for asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, and non-EU harmonized protection statuses.
Earlier, Dr. Beirens worked as a Research Fellow at the Institute for Applied Social Studies of the University of Birmingham, evaluating services, organizations, and community-based initiatives pursuing the integration of asylum seekers, refugees, and third-country nationals. She also has worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and as an independent consultant for the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO).
She holds a master's degree in race and ethnic relations (with distinction) and a PhD in sociology and ethnic relations on the participation of minors in armed conflict, both from the University of Warwick (UK).
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Amid disagreement over the appropriate way to manage European borders and grant access to asylum, there is one policy priority that has support across (most) Member States and the institutions of the European Union: the need to provide safe, legal channels for migration, particularly for refugees. Private sponsorship of refugees may have a valuable role to play in meeting this need, as this MPI Europe commentary explains.
Amid significant tensions over migration that could fracture Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing coalition, a new "migration master plan" set to be unveiled by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer reportedly involves turning asylum seekers back at German borders and refusing them entry. This commentary explores the potential implications of the proposal, which has prompted concern about the ramifications for the Common European Asylum System.
With pressure mounting on EU Member States to create and scale up refugee resettlement programs, many have turned to peers in other countries for information, advice, and operational support. This report maps the many forms resettlement-focused peer-support initiatives take and discusses common stumbling blocks and strategies for policymakers and program designers looking to make the most of these critical exchanges.
During the 2015–16 migration crisis, European asylum systems were stretched to a breaking point. Yet many of the structural issues that contributed to failures to register newcomers, insufficient reception capacity, and growing backlogs of asylum cases existed before—and many remain unresolved. This report critically evaluates Common European Asylum System legal and operational shortcomings at a time when reform is on the table.
The refugee and migration crisis in Europe thrust the issue of legal pathways to the top of European Union (EU) and national government agendas, but progress has so far suffered from a lack of strategic thinking on how legal channels can work together and how to overcome design and implementation challenges. This webinar offers insights from EU Member States on how existing, new, and untapped legal pathways—such as resettlement, community-based sponsorship, and family reunification—can interact with other humanitarian policies and fit into a larger protection strategy. The discussion also highlights two MPI Europe publications, Tracing the Channels Refugees Use to Seek Protection in Europe and Engaging Communities in Refugee Protection: The Potential of Private Sponsorship in Europe.
Marking the release of an MPI Europe report commissioned as part of the EU-FRANK project, this webinar examines critical gaps in the research and evaluation of refugee resettlement programs and recommendations for improving evidence gathering and knowledge sharing between resettlement countries.
With displacement at a record high, governments around the world are looking for ways to jumpstart, expand, or maximize the impact of their refugee resettlement programs. Yet the evidence base regarding the effectiveness of such programs is particularly thin. This report maps the gaps in knowledge that exist and identifies areas where further research could help inform policymakers' actions.