Amid greater need to prove effectiveness of refugee resettlement programmes, new MPI Europe report identifies evaluation gaps and outlines research agenda
BRUSSELS — In response to record levels of displacement, more governments around the world are resettling refugees and doing so in greater numbers. Amid growing scepticism toward immigration, and refugees in particular, policymakers now more than ever must ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of their resettlement systems. Yet, as a new Migration Policy Institute Europe report notes, the resettlement field lacks a tradition of comprehensive monitoring and evaluation, meaning that the evidence base available to inform policymakers’ actions is exceedingly thin.
The report, Taking stock of refugee resettlement: Policy objectives, practical tradeoffs, and the evidence base, maps the specific policy questions governments face as they design, implement and manage their resettlement policies and programmes. It also highlights the gaps in existing knowledge to help guide policymakers’ decisions, and identifies areas where further research is needed.
Among the key research gaps: a lack of data on the integration outcomes of refugees and which integration investments produce the best results (for example pre-departure programmes or support provided after resettlement). Other gaps that merit particular attention include information on the costs of resettlement programmes and their various components, and whether resettlement efforts are meeting their stated policy goals.
‘Only a small proportion of the resettlement programmes across the globe have been subjected to thorough evaluation and, even then, often only in relation to a singular event or point in time’, write researchers Hanne Beirens and Susan Fratzke. ‘External analysts who approach the subject find few data sources other than government reports that enumerate programme inputs and outputs (e.g., expenditures and persons resettled), but fall short of capturing the process that led from one to the other’.
With a growing number of countries taking up refugee resettlement—the number has risen from 16 in 2005 to 28 in 2015—improved data collection and analysis are essential as policymakers make the case to their publics that these programmes meet stated goals and the investments are effective ones.
The report, commissioned as part of the European Union Action on Facilitating Resettlement and Refugee Admission through New Knowledge (EU-FRANK) project, can be read here: www.migrationpolicy.org/research/taking-stock-refugee-resettlement-policy-objectives-practical-tradeoffs-and-evidence-base.
The EU-FRANK project is financed by the European Asylum Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and led by Sweden. Belgium, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland are partner countries.
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MPI Europe provides authoritative research and practical policy design to governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders who seek more effective management of immigration, immigrant integration and asylum systems, as well as better outcomes for newcomers, families of immigrant background and receiving communities throughout Europe. MPI Europe also provides a forum for the exchange of information on migration and immigrant integration practices within the European Union and Europe more generally. For more, visit www.mpieurope.org.