The Baltic Region

2021 Vol. 13 №2

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The Impact of COVID-19 on immigration: the transformation of Norwegian migration policy on asylum seekers



Until just a year ago, hardly anyone believed that the increasingly unrestrained growth in mobility could be so abruptly interrupted by a radical immobilisation of large population groups. Neither mobility studies nor other research fields had foreseen this kind of scenario in their mobility and migration models. And why should have they? In the past decades, the belief in unconstrained mobility, as well as the practice of mobility and its scientific modelling, relied on the idea of unbounded growth at the sub-national, national and supra-national level. The article focuses on immigration to Norway, showing how institutional constraints were used to deal with the spread of COVID-19 and how they affected immigration to the country.

Due to complexity reasons, we focus exclusively on the situation of asylum seekers, giving additional attention to unaccompanied minors. These groups’ migration status is assumed to make them especially susceptible to the newly established immigration measures. Drawing upon a combined focus of data on migration regulations and asylum application statistics, we examine what impact mobility-related COVID-19 measures implemented in Norway since January 2020 had on asylum procedures, asylum mobility and asylum applications in Norway.