Vulnerable Protection Seekers in Norway: Regulations, Practices, and Challenges
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This research report presents some of the intermediate research results of the VULNER project, based on the first phase of the project, which consisted of mapping out the vulnerability assessment mechanisms developed by state authorities in Norway, including how they are implemented on the ground through the practices of the public servants in charge. The following research questions are addressed: What do the relevant domestic legislation, case-law, policy documents, and administrative guidelines reveal about how “vulnerabilities” are being assessed and addressed in the countries under study? Do the relevant state and/or aid agencies have a legal duty to assess migrants’ vulnerabilities, and if yes, using which procedures, when and how? Following which legal and bureaucratic criteria? How do decision-makers (street-level bureaucrats) understand and perceive the ‘vulnerabilities’ of the migrants they meet on a daily basis? How do they address these ‘vulnerabilities’ through their everyday practices? What is their stance on existing legal requirements towards ‘vulnerable’ migrants? Which loopholes do they identify? To that end, the objective of the legal enquiry was to analyse and reflect upon how ‘vulnerability’ is being developed as a legal and bureaucratic concept in the Norwegian regulations. Legal sources include national laws and regulations related to immigration and welfare (health, child welfare, and social security), as well as more than a hundred administrative guidelines. The main policy documents included in the analysis consist of white papers, resolution proposals, and written political interventions.