Women and children in front of a contact point for refugees
Migration Policy Institute
Andrew Selee, Susan Fratzke, Samuel Davidoff-Gore, Luisa Feline Freier

Expanding Protection Options?

Flexible Approaches to Status for Displaced Syrians, Venezuelans, and Ukrainians

Faced with displacement crises that have stretched asylum systems to their limits, countries have increasingly begun to use alternatives to traditional protection tools to provide displaced individuals with legal status and access to certain rights and forms of assistance. While such approaches are not completely new, they have gained prominence through national responses to three of the largest displacement crises of the post-World War II era: displacement from Syria, Venezuela, and Ukraine. The principal host governments in these three crises chose to provide legal status to millions of protection seekers by using existing immigration policies or new temporary statuses, rather than refugee or asylum systems.

This report—part of the Beyond Territorial Asylum: Making Protection Work in a Bordered World initiative led by MPI and the Robert Bosch Stiftung—examines each of these three cases, identifying similarities in the approaches taken to offering protection while recognizing the differences. The study explores the factors underpinning government decisions and their medium- to long-term implications, concluding with thoughts on what can be learned for future international displacement crises.

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