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New Project on Refugee and Immigrant Settlement in Greece

Principal Investigator and Population Europe expert Kostas Rontos of the Department of Sociology at the University of the Aegean is leading a new project entitled, “The perspective of a permanent refugees’ and immigrants’ settlement in Greece: Revealing the demographic and sociο-economic consequences and their importance for the Greek society’s acceptance”. The project will be conducted in collaboration with the University of Thessaly, the Athens University of Economics and Business and the German Jordanian University. The current scientific research is funded by the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (HFRI).

Greece became an epicentre of the 2015 mass migration wave as refugees entered the country through Southern European gateways. Evidence-informed migration policy can successfully integrate these newcomers and mitigate xenophobia, but to do so, robust empirical evidence must monitor the significant socioeconomic and demographic effects on the region, as well as attitudes towards migrants and refugees in Greek society and state policy responses to migration.

Consequently, the project will include a) a primary survey to investigate attitudes and perceptions concerning long-term residence of immigrants-refugees and the determinant factors that shape these views, and b) analysis of data leading to the systematic investigation of demographic, social and economic consequences with regard to permanent settlement of the above mentioned populations. The project will also survey organisations such as local government, NGOs, and the UN Refugee Agency.

Rontos’ new project aims to actively promote inclusive and effective refugee and migrant integration practices through mapping out and utilizing existing ones and developing and disseminating new ones. Furthermore, one of the key aspects of the research is to identify, produce and disperse innovative research material to tackle anti-immigrant sentiments, ethnic discrimination and prejudice. The research findings will offer invaluable insight and significantly contribute to existing knowledge on the issue under study so as to bring about subsequent amendments to the institutional framework as well as enhance the effectiveness of implemented immigrant integration policies. Furthermore, takeaways can be used to improve integration policies at the local, national, European and international levels.