Connection between refugee housing policy and belonging in Norway First Examiner:
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Since the 60’s, the number of refugees and asylum seekers in Norway has increased, resulting into more specific integration policies towards refugees by the Norwegian government. One part of the integration policy is housing of refugees. The housing of refugees in Norway is organised through so called dispersal, which means that refugees are settled evenly between the municipalities. The government of Norway is arguing that the spatial scattering of refugees is necessary for two reasons: 1) it gives the municipalities a better chance to offer services for refugees that are needed for their integration process; and 2) it creates more contact between the so called “ethnic Norwegians” and refugees when they come in contact with each other as neighbours. This thesis is evaluating the refugee housing policy’s implementation and the government legitimisation of the policy through interviews conducted with 12 refugees in Hordaland and Rogaland counties. Using the framework of belonging, the thesis builds up two main arguments: 1) the way the housing policy is implemented has a possibility in affecting the refugees’ belonging to the society, which is especially the case if refugees are settled in municipalities they do not want to live in, the waiting time in the reception centre for a house is long or when people face discrimination on the private housing market) and 2) the neighbourhood argument by the government that dispersal creates functional neighbourhoods by generating interaction between host population and refugees, lacks evidence.
Master's thesis in Migration and Intercultural Relations