Social and Labor Integration of Asylum Seekers in Rural Mountain Areas – A Qualitative Study
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Migration into Europe affects the Alps in various ways. The recent influx of refugees and a higher number of asylum requests has presented governance challenges for mountain communities. In Italy, the responsibility of regions to host asylum seekers increased when a national system was implemented to distribute asylum seekers throughout the country. This study explored the impact of current distributions through the analysis of 2 rural mountain municipalities in the northeast Italian Alps in the Autonomous Province of Bolzano (also known as South Tyrol) in which reception facilities for asylum seekers have been established. A qualitative research approach offered empirical insights into the functioning of the reception system and governance in these communities. Our social network analysis of the research data, focusing on the labor integration of asylum seekers, indicated that stronger relational linkages among actors in rural mountain communities may facilitate access to the labor market for asylum applicants.