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Projects (Migration)

Family reunification regulation in Norway

Schedule: October 2016-may 2017
Employer: Utlendingsdirektoratet (UDI)

Project Approach

In this project we compare recent developments in Norwegian regulation of family immigration to developments in Europe. It is part of a wider European study on family migration regulation.

Three outputs will be available online: The full national report on Norwegian regulation contributed to European Migration Network, a summary of the Norwegian report and a comparison of Norwegian regulations with legislation and practice in other European countries. 

Researchers: Jan-Paul Brekke, Andrea Gustafsson Grønningsæter

Women with immigrant background in the labour market

Schedule: February 2015-september 2015
Employer: Norges forskningsråd

Project Background

Women with immigrant background face several challenges in the transition to the labor market. It is therefore important to gather knowledge about the factors that constrain or promote their labor market participation.

This report focuses on existing research from Norway and the Nordic region and looks at the measures and efforts to include women with immigrant background in the labor market. Furthermore the report analyzes whether the existing efforts and measures work. The report concludes by presenting several recommendations for further research.

Further information:

Researchers: Julia Orupabo, Ida Drange

Immigration and the Political Sustainability of the Welfare State

Schedule: October 2014-December 2016
Employer: Forskningsrådet

Main Purpose

The main aim of the project is to improve our understanding of the impact of immigration on the political sustainability of the welfare state.

Part one

In one part of the project we examine the political sustainability by exploring the relationship between voters' anti-immigrant sentiments and their welfare state preferences.

Part two

In the second part of the project we examine the political sustainability by exploring the impact of immigration on voting and the generosity of the welfare state.

More information and a list of publications can be found in Prosjektbanken (the Norwegian Research Council).

Researchers: Henning Finseraas, Axel West Pedersen, Magnus Bergli Rasmussen, Ann-Helén Bay, Andreas Kotsadam

Hate speech and hate crime on the Internet

Schedule: February 2016-November 2016
Employer: Justis -og beredskapsdepartementet


The project consists of three parts:

  1. Contributing to knowledge about the prevalence of hate speech online. This was achieved through an international literature review and new analyses of data from several relevant surveys conducted by ISF. 
  2. A legal discussion about the relationship between freedom of speech and the protection from hate speech.
  3. A small case study of the police’s work against hate speech online.
Researchers: Marjan Nadim, Audun Fladmoe, Jon Wessel-Aas

Governing and Experiencing Citizenship in Multicultural Scandinavia

Schedule: 2015-2019
Employer: Norges forskningsråd

What are the relationships between policies and laws on citizenship and experiences of belonging, recognition and sense of community? The Governing and Experiencing Citizenship in Multicultural Scandinavia (GOVCIT) project will shed new light on relationships between citizenship and integration.

We do this through studying top-down policies and bottom-up lived experiences. The Scandinavian countries have undergone major cultural and social changes due to migration. Considering the homogeneity of the region, the

discrepancy in current citizenship regulation is remarkable. Requirements for citizenship acquisition differ: Norway is positioned in between liberal Sweden and restrictive Denmark. But both Sweden and Denmark permit dual citizenship, while Norway does not. Citizenship in Scandinavia has become eroded, as most substantial rights are attached to permanent residency, not to citizenship. Social cohesion at community level is an explicit aim for citizenship policy.

These macro-level paradoxes inform our study. We will learn more about these through document analysis and interviews with politicians and civil servants. At the individual level we recognize that identity cannot be legislated. Lived experiences are affected not by the letter of the law, but by practices, interpretations and negotiations. We are interested in the experiences of immigrants and descendants, as citizens or prospective citizens, which we will learn about through a Scandinavian survey. In Norway we also use ethnographic methods to capture lived experiences of people living in a diverse society. We are interested in the lived experiences of people both with and without an immigrant background, living in urban areas with diverse populations, and in scarcely populated areas far away from Oslo. 

Belonging, community and integration are key issues in ongoing public debates, to which the GOVICT project will contribute through a focus on the interface of governing and experiencing citizenship.

The project is headed by PRIO, in cooperation with Institute for Social Research, Department of Sociology and Human Geography at The University of Oslo, Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM) and Department of Political Science at Aarhus University.

More information about the project is available at PRIO’s web pages:  

Researchers: Marta Bivand Erdal, Arnfinn H. Midtbøen, Grete Brochmann, Pieter Bevelander, Per Mouritsen

Pathways to Integration: The Second Generation in Education and Work in Norway

Schedule: 2015-2018
Employer: Norges forskningsråd

Project Aim

What pathways to integration characterise the transition from education to work among descendants of immigrants in Norway? Are they socially isolated and incorporated into marginalized sectors of the economy? Or are their achievements in education translated into relevant work and prominent positions in social life, contributing to a ‘remaking’ of mainstream society, in which ethnic background will play a less significant role in determining individual life chances in the future?

In this project, an interdisciplinary team of sociologists, economists and anthropologists will use both quantitative and qualitative data to explore the dynamics of generational change, focusing on the pathways to integration experienced by male and female descendants of immigrants in Norway.

Project Approach

The project has four closely related subprojects. First, we will investigate whether the immigrant parents’ success or failure in the Norwegian labour market affect the labour market integration of the second generation.

Second, we will study the extent to which descendants of immigrants’ efforts in the educational sector is transferred into relevant work, and how family obligations and transnational marriages affect employment patterns of second generation men and women.

Third, we will explore whether an elite of descendants of immigrants is in the making, by conducting comprehensive qualitative case studies among students in medicine, law and economics, as well as among lawyers, doctors and economists that have managed to gain positions in the labour market. Fourth, we will study descendants of immigrants enrolled in vocational education, following 1) those who invest in more education, 2) those who end up working in vocational professions, and 3) those who are tracked into less privileged positions or even into permanent positions outside the labour market. The project will provide new and highly policy-relevant knowledge about the processes of integration and ultimately on the long-term effects of migration on the Norwegian society.

The third subproject is part of an ongoing, comparative study of elite formation among descendants of immigrants in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden and the US. This project, ELITES: Pathways to Success, is led by Professor Maurice Crul at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. Professor Crul is also part of the Norwegian project’s international advisory board, along with Professor Richard Alba from the Graduate Centre at the City University of New York and Dr. Katharine Charsley from the University of Bristol.

Further information:

Family policies: Fathers’ quota, sharing of parental leave among mothers and fathers and cash-for-childcare.

Schedule: 2015-2016
Employer: Barne-, likestillings- og inkluderingsdepartementet

Project Purpose

The purpose of the project was to review existing research on paternity leave, effects of mothers' and fathers’ sharing of parental leave and the use of cash-for-childcare. Every year a large amount of money is transferred to parents of young children through these schemes. The design of the schemes affects parents' adaptation at the intersection of labour force participation and childcare.

Project Results

The Ministry for Children, Equality and Social Inclusion wanted a review of existing research on family policy transmission schemes. The project has reviewed the existing research on the impacts of the various family policy schemes and assessed the strengths and limitations of research from Norway and other Nordic countries, published in 2010-2015. Knowledge gaps and unanswered research questions were also identified. 

The state of freedom of speech in Norway 2015-2017

Schedule: April 2015-may 2017
Employer: Fritt Ord



Project Background

This study is a continuation of a broader project called The state of freedom of speech in Norway – the Freedom of expression foundation’s monitor project, which was carried out by Institute for Social Research (ISF), in cooperation with IMK, FAFO, TNS Gallup and lawyer Jon Wessel-Aas, in 2013-2014.

In the first round of the project, we addressed the issue of freedom of speech from a variety of perspectives, focusing on the preconditions of freedom of speech, freedom of speech in light of multiculturalism, digitalization and shifting media structures, security, control and surveillance and the terms of freedom of speech in the labour market. In this second round of the project we will explore more in depth the dynamics of public debate, focusing on the key actors in defining public discussions and well as on the normative processes regulating which opinions and ‘voices’ are expressed in the public and which are silenced.

Project Approach

The project has three parts: First, we will investigate whether Norwegian journalists and the general Norwegian public’s attitudes toward freedom of speech have changed in light of the terror attacks in Paris and Copenhagen in 2015.  Second, we will study the development in media discussions about religion, migration and freedom of speech in the period from the cartoon debate in 2006 to today, paying particular attention to the opinions expressed by editors and journalists. Third, we will focus on three groups that are particularly exposed to critique and harassment in public debates; politicians, ethnic and religious minorities and right-wing opponents of migration and Islam.

The project is conducted in cooperation with Professor Terje Rasmussen and Dr. Terje Colbjørnsen at the University of Oslo and Professor Hallvard Moe at the University of Bergen.

Media Coverage

Video: From the conference "The Fate of Freedom of Expression in Liberal Democracies", Kari Steen-Johnsen, October 2015, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

Researchers: Arnfinn H. Midtbøen, Kari Steen-Johnsen, Bernard Enjolras, Kjersti Thorbjørnsrud, Audun Fladmoe, Synne Sætrang, Terje Rasmussen, Terje Colbjørnsen, Hallvard Moe, Karoline Ihlebæk, Ingrid Endresen Thorseth, Marjan Nadim

Domestic violence in families of majority and minority background: Similarity and difference

Schedule: 2014-2019
Employer: Justis- og beredskapsdepartementet

The project is one of nine projects in The Domestic Violence Research Program which is a five year program at Norwegian Social Research – NOVA at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, financed by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security. For more information about the program, see here.

This project will study similarities and differences between domestic violence in ethnic minority and majority families, with a special focus on so called honour based violence. The analysis will primarily be based on existing data and data collected in other parts of the program, including survey data, qualitative interviews and legal documents.

Researchers: Anja Bredal

A process evaluation of the Karin model pilot, a coordinated approach to victims of domestic violence

Schedule: 2014-2019
Employer: Justis- og beredskapsdepartementet

This is a process evaluation of a pilot project at Stovner police station in Oslo aiming at more coordinated services toward victims of violence in close relations. A Norwegian version of the Swedish so called Karin-model will consist of police personnel including domestic violence analysts and investigators as well as social service personnel. The overall aim is to offer better, more holistic and coordinated services to adult female and male victims of interpersonal violence. The study will be based on survey data and qualitative interviews.

It is one of nine projects in The Domestic Violence Research Program which is a five year program at Norwegian Social Research – NOVA at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, financed by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security. For more information about the Research Program, see here.  

Researchers: Anja Bredal

Domestic violence: The changing role of NGOs

Schedule: 2014-2019
Employer: Justis- og beredskapsdepartementet

Violence in close relations has to an increasing extent become a responsibility of public authorities and agencies. This project studies the changing roles of NGOs in this policy and service area. The project is one of nine projects in The Domestic Violence Research Program which is a five year program at Norwegian Social Research – NOVA at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, financed by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security. More information about the Reserach Program, see here

Researchers: Anja Bredal

Mindreårige for menneskehandel. De mindreåriges stemmer.

Schedule: Januar 2015-September 2015
Employer: Redd Barna

The project examines the life situation of minors who are victims of human trafficking, including their experiences with assistance from Norwegian authorities and various initiatives under the auspices of the child welfare service.  

Researchers: Hilde Lidén

Unaccompanied minors in Norway - Policies, practicies and statistics

Schedule: April 2014-Desember 2014
Employer: Utlendingsdirektoratet (UDI)

This study presents policies, practices and statistics on unaccompanied minor asylum seekers from arrival until settlement or return. It is a contribution to a comparative study by the European Migration Network.

Researchers: Anne Staver, Hilde Lidén

Discrimination of Indigenous Samis, National minorities and Immigrants in Norway: An Overview of the Research Literature

Schedule: 2014-2015
Employer: Barne-, ungdoms og familiedirektoratet (Bufdir)

The aim of this project is to review the existing research on discrimination among indigenous Samis, national minorities and immigrants in contemporary Norway. What discrimination challenges to these groups meet in working life, the educational system and in the housing market? Are the discrimination challenges similar for all minority groups or do they vary according to the group’s different size, legal status and historical connection to Norway?



European Strains

Schedule: 2013-2018
Employer: Norges forskningsråd

Project Information

This project aims to understand:

  • The current crisis in Europe and its institutional responses, stressing the interaction between politics, economic development, and social change
  • The European migration, mobility, and economic growth in the light of national identities, and social and economic strains
  • The economic and political feasibility of the European Social Model emphasizing how temporary shocks may create permanent institutional changes once we incorporate economic, social, and political relations

Further information:

Researchers: Erling Barth, Marianne Røed, Pål Schøne, Henning Finseraas, Jan-Paul Brekke, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Simon Hix, Scott Gates, Halvor Mehlum, Steinar Holden

Voluntary return from Norway

Schedule: 2013-2015
Employer: Utlendingsdirektoratet (UDI)

The aim of the research is to identify key factors that influence voluntary assisted return of third country nationals from Norway. With assistance from the International Organization of Migration, Norwegian authorities support failed asylum seekers and other non-EEA citizens that return to their country of origin.

The project is commissioned by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration as a joint venture between Christian Michelsens Institutt, Institute for Social Research (Oslo), The University of Bergen and Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).

The research project will discuss the Norwegian return- and reintegration programs both from the perspectives of the Norwegian authorities and the migrants. Based on interview data and the statistical analyses we will discuss how each nationality must be understood as separate migration systems with specific traits and with its own sensibility towards return incentives. We look at bilateral movements for a selection of nationalities based on the relevant programs. We also seek to gain understanding of patterns and comparative elements. Changing conditions in the migrants´ home countries and the existence of transnational networks are pivotal for the understanding of return movements are all significant elements brought into the discussion.

The research is a two-module study. The first module consists of data that has been gathered in Norway and opens for discussions of what elicits voluntary assisted return. This will be followed by reintegration in a selection of countries of origin, i.e. in Iraq, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Kosovo. The second report from the study will include an overall analysis covering both the return and the reintegration aspects of the Norwegian policy and practice.

Researchers: Jan-Paul Brekke, Hilde Lidén, Mari Teigen, Jørgen Carling, Erlend Paasche, Synnøve Kristine Nepstad Bendixen

The state of freedom of speech in Norway – the Freedom of expression foundation’s monitor project.

Schedule: 2013-2014
Employer: Fritt Ord



Project Background

The Institute for Social Research managed the project together with the Department of Media and Communication (IMK) at the University of Oslo, Fafo, TNS Gallup and lawyer Jon Wessel-Aas to investigate the state of freedom of speech in Norway. The Institute for Social Research managed the project on assignment by the Fritt Ord Foundation.

The project addressed issues concerning the terms of freedom of speech, freedom of speech in light of multiculturalism, digitalization and shifting media structures, security, control and surveillance and the terms of freedom of speech in the labour market.

Project Results

The study is based on both qualitative and quantitative approaches, with a central element being a survey targeted at both the general public and at groups of particular interest to freedom of speech: Ethnic minorities, journalists and cultural workers.

In addition to several research reports, the project was conveyed through multiple platforms, with important arenas being a series of seminars and a webpage (

Researchers: Karoline Ihlebæk, Terje Rasmussen, Liv Hausken, Elisabeth Staksrud, Sissel Trygstad, Jon Rogstad, Roar Hind, Cecilie Kløvstad, Jon Wessel-Aas, Arnfinn H. Midtbøen, Bernard Enjolras