RAND Europe Focus on Migration Research

Wien Westbahnhof railway station on 5 September 2015: migrants on their way to Germany

Wien Westbahnhof railway station on 5 September 2015: migrants on their way to Germany

Photo by Bwag/CC BY-SA 4.0

Conflicts in the Middle East and Africa have triggered one of the biggest humanitarian crises in recent years. As a result, the EU expects three million migrants to enter Europe by the end of 2016. EU-wide debates on migration have polarised public opinion and loosened solidarity between national governments. This has led some EU member states to impose a temporary closure of their borders.

Meanwhile, the free movement of people within the EU has been an issue position for the UK in its renegotiations with the EU, and is likely to be one of the most debated issues in the run-up to the referendum, taking place on 23rd June 2016, which will decide whether the UK will stay or leave the EU.

RAND Europe’s research has provided evidence to support policy and decision making on a number of aspects involving migration and integration. Within Europe, our work has looked at EU citizens migrating to work within other member states and at the impacts of migration to the UK from outside of Europe. Outside of Europe, recent work for UNICEF has aimed to inform international agencies in their efforts to help Syrian refugees as they transition to lives in new host countries.

At a time when migration policy is the subject of particular political and public attention, our ongoing work to evaluate the impact of grant-giving to civil society advocacy organisations working in the migration field has particular relevance.

Utilisation of health services by migrants to the UK

Researchers from RAND Europe and the University of Cambridge examined whether the use of the health services differs among migrants compared to UK-born populations. The analysis found that recent arrivals to the UK use the NHS significantly less than the native-born population, though the difference narrows when adjusted for age and self-assessed health.

To provide further insights to policy makers on migrant use of the NHS, more research is needed around their health needs, the quality of health care they receive, and whether recent negative media representations of migrants may be a barrier to access to healthcare for vulnerable migrant populations in the UK.

Opportunities & challenges for including migrants

RAND Europe investigated the challenges and opportunities for the economic and social inclusion of migrant EU workers in Leeds, UK. The majority of EU migrants living in Leeds came to the UK for economic reasons: to find jobs on the local labour market. Social benefits and services had no influence on their decision to move.

The study highlighted the economic benefits that EU migrants bring to the local economy through filling job vacancies and creating new businesses and jobs. However, when EU migrants are employed in jobs below their skills level this can create tensions with low-skilled British workers.

Educating Syrian refugee children

RAND Europe evaluated UNICEF’s Emergency Education Response programme for Syrian children living as refugees in Jordan. Despite considerable efforts from aid agencies and the government of Jordan, 97,000 Syrian children—41 per cent of the local refugee children population— do not receive formal education. An additional 35,000 Syrian and Jordanian children attend alternative education programmes established by Jordan, UNICEF and other organisations, but these alternatives vary in quality and often do not meet the educational needs of children. RAND Europe highlighted a series of recommendations on how to best respond to the educational needs of children who are victims of the Syrian crisis.

Helping improve NGO support for migrants in the EU

RAND Europe conducted an external evaluation of the European Programme on Integration and Migration (EPIM), a collaborative initiative of 12 European foundations created in 2005, which awards grants to initiatives focusing on addressing different aspects of migration across Europe and beyond. The evaluation of the latest phase, EPIM 2012-2015, attempts to understand the programme’s achievements and impacts during the past three years, with these lessons aiming to help its development in the future.

Do migrants increase transport congestion in the UK?

In 2012, RAND Europe was commissioned by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to collate evidence on how migration is likely to impact transport networks and congestion. The study found that migrants’ travel behaviour differed from the native UK population, with a greater percentage of migrants using non-car driving modes of travel compared to the UK native population. Annually, migrants were found to make more trips for commuting, but fewer trips in total, when compared to UK nationals. While migrants did impose a cost on society through using the transport network, their impact per head is lower than that of the average UK national, as they tend to drive less and make fewer trips overall.

Civil society support for migrants in Ireland

In 2012, Atlantic Philanthropies, a charity that supports organisations in Ireland and Europe that work on protection, immigration and integration issues, commissioned RAND Europe to undertake an evaluation of their migration programme. Examining Atlantic’s approach to working with other organisations on migration, it was found that there is great potential for civil society organisations to play a more active role in migration, both on a national and EU level. This approach would be particularly appropriate for EU countries experiencing high level of migration, as the collaboration with other parties would help governments to improve the lives of migrants.