In a new study published in Nature Communications, PRIO researchers use a machine-learning analysis framework to identify leading predictors of contemporary asylum migration to the European Union. The study finds little evidence that climatic shocks or deteriorating economic conditions predict near-future arrivals of asylum seekers in Europe, contrasting commonly held notions of economy- and climate-driven asylum migrants. Instead, indicators capturing levels of political violence and violations of physical integrity rights in countries of origin are important predictors of asylum migration flows, suggesting that migrants are continuing to use the asylum system as intended – i.e., to seek international protection from a well-founded fear of persecution – despite the fact that most applicants ultimately are rejected refugee status. The article is a product of the ERC-funded CLIMSEC project and is published as open access.
Schutte, Sebastian; Jonas Vestby, Jørgen Carling & Halvard Buhaug (2021) Climatic conditions are weak predictors of asylum migration, Nature Communications 12: 2067.