Panel: Refugee Resettlement and Integration
(Population and Migration Issues)

Friday, November 9, 2018: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Marriott Balcony A - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  Katharine Donato, Georgetown University
Discussants:  Mark Greenberg, Migration Policy Institute and Galya Ben Arieh, Northwestern University

Learning about Recently Resettled Refugees through a Redesigned Annual Survey of Refugees
Hamutal Bernstein1, Robert Santos1, Susan Sherr2, David Dutwin2, Tyler Woods1, Arina Goyle2, Robert Manley2, Nicole Deterding3 and Carolyn Vilter1, (1)Urban Institute, (2)SSRS, (3)U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Refugees are a heated policy issue in the U.S. and abroad. The existing evidence base on effective strategies to support refugee integration and resettlement is limited. While policy debates would benefit from stronger evidence base, research on refugees is challenging due to the characteristics of the population: their vulnerable status, small numbers, geographic dispersion and mobility, and their linguistic and demographic diversity. Different researchers have taken innovative approaches to surmounting these challenges and collecting information about refugees and the impact of resettlement services. The three papers on this panel each focus on a different methodological approach to understanding refugee integration. The speakers represent a range of perspectives, offering government, policy research, practitioner, and academic perspectives.

The first paper focuses on survey research. It will discuss an innovative recent effort to improve the Annual Survey of Refugees, a government survey fielded annually by the Office of Refugee Resettlement to collect information on the self-sufficiency and integration of recently arrived refugees. Recognizing significant limitations in the survey, a redesign was implemented to improve the usefulness of the data collected and the interview experience. A revised questionnaire was developed and pretested using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. The paper will report on the pretest findings, which include lessons for the content of the questionnaire as well as for survey administration and design which are relevant for the ASR and other surveys of vulnerable and multilingual populations.

The second paper focuses on multi-method research using program records from a practitioner at one of the nine national resettlement agencies. The paper will share findings from a multi-method research project drawing on administrative data on 700 clients and in-depth interviews with refugees and program staff and stakeholders. The project takes advantage of a rare source of detailed administrative data and combines it with qualitative information to develop new knowledge about effective workforce development policies and practices to help not only refugees but also other diverse populations move out of low-wage, low-skill jobs.

The third paper focuses on ethnographic research. It will discuss cross-national qualitative research conducted in the US, Germany, and Canada, three countries that are resettling Syrian refugees under contrasting policy and practice arrangements. It draws on rich longitudinal qualitative data which were collected over several years with newly arrived Syrian families. The paper provides a view on the contrasting incorporation strategies and impact of different resettlement strategies. This work on a population of particular policy interest and adding comparative data provide a rich international viewpoint.

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