Migration research is the scientific analysis of migration flows, in other words, movements of persons or groups of persons either across an international border or within a State. Migration research involves various disciplines, including political science, sociology, human geography, cultural and social anthropology, history, economics, and law; migration research is thus often referred to as an interdisciplinary field of work. Especially with the progress of globalization, migration research has come to play an increasingly prominent role in recent decades, among other things as a basis for policy decisions. It can be assumed that migration research will become even more relevant in future.

IOM’s Global Approach

IOM conducts research that is designed to guide and inform migration policy and practice. The organization provides a unique space for consultation between researchers and policymakers. Research results are disseminated through numerous publications worldwide. IOM’s global research activities focus on a variety of issues related to migration management, including migration trends and data, international migration law, migration and development, remittances to countries of origin, health and migration, counter-trafficking, labour migration, irregular migration, integration and return migration.

Within migration research, the IOM Country Office for Austria focuses on supporting policymakers in the development and implementation of migration policies and practices. Accordingly, the expertise of the IOM Country Office for Austria comprises Austrian and international migration law in addition to other relevant disciplines. The research work of the IOM Country Office for Austria is aimed at contributing to an improved understanding of migration issues, fostering social and economic development through migration, and at protecting the dignity and well-being of migrants.

Research and Migration Law in Austria

Migration research is conducted in various institutions in Austria, such as universities, research centres, international organizations and non-governmental organizations. Research activities are also carried out in other specialist fields that are related to or overlap with migration.

The most common subject of migration research in recent years has been migration law, with asylum law receiving particularly strong attention. In addition, research is conducted into settlement and residence law, employment law and citizenship law. Research into the influence of European law on Austrian legislation is a further area of activity. The main focus within these research activities is the interpretation of legal texts as well as their compatibility with human rights and international legal standards.

Austrian migration law is shaped to a large extent by international legal requirements and European law. The human rights standards of Austrian migration law are defined by the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. In the area of asylum, the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees plays a central role. How migration law in Austria is specified in detail is mainly determined by EU regulations and directives, which seek to harmonize legislation across EU Member States. These legal instruments define competence in the particular case for asylum applications, the reception of asylum seekers, the asylum procedure and the granting of international protection. Other matters covered include family reunification and the immigration of groups such as students, researchers and highly qualified individuals, as well as short-term visas and mobility rights within the EU.

Conferences and workshops

Migration researchers in Austria have numerous opportunities to present their work. The Policy Research and Migration Law Unit regularly participates in conferences in Austria and other countries. In recent years IOM has actively participated, for example, in the Annual Conference on Migration and Integration Research in Austria, the Dialogforum organized by the Department for Migration and Globalization of the Danube University Krems, as well as in international conferences such as the International Metropolis Conference. Furthermore, IOM is regularly invited to hold presentations on topics within the framework of workshops at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna and other institutions.

As the National Contact Point Austria in the European Migration Network (EMN), the IOM Country Office for Austria regularly organizes its own conferences, for example the annual National EMN Conference in Vienna.

Completed Projects

Detailed information on completed projects is available below:


IOM Austria, Policy Research and Migration Law Unit


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