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  • Cecilie Øien and Silje Sønsterudbråten

No way in, no way out?

A study of living conditions of irregular migrants in Norway

  • Fafo-report 2011:03
  • Fafo-report 2011:03

In recent years, irregular migration has received increasing attention from the media, NGOs and politicians. The public discourse on immigration is highly politicised and polarised; this is evident in the public debate, in which irregular migrants are portrayed either as offenders – both in legal and moral terms – or as extremely vulnerable. This report explores different aspects of the living conditions of irregular migrants in Norway, based on qualitative interviews with 29 women and men from Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Kenya, Senegal, Burundi, Kosovo and Sudan. It focuses on the experiences and circumstances of people living without legal residence. The respondents in the study were all denied asylum, and over half of them had arrived in Norway in the last four to sixteen years. They uniformly expressed a sense of being in limbo, and an inability to foresee the end of the predicament in which they find themselves. Ending up with irregular status is not only attributable to migrants' unwillingness or inability to return to their countries of origin. Instead, we argue that this situation is also descriptive of the complex causal relationships in migratory and asylum processes.

  • Published: 26. January 2011
  • Ordering ID: 20194

Fafo researchers