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Call for papers, special issue of Health Policy

Health policies and mixed migration – lessons learnt from the ‘European refugee crisis

Edited by Bernd Rechel, Kayvan Bozorgmehr, Nora Gottlieb and Ursula Trummer

Large numbers of migrants take their chances in a desperate bid to reach better lives each year. Recently, many of them have arrived in countries within or bordering on the Schengen area. Migration poses particular challenges, risks and opportunities to receiving communities, sending communities, and not least to those who are on the move, including specific health hazards before, during and after the actual migration process. Migration therefore represents an important public health issue.

The “refugee crisis” has pushed migration back high on the political agenda in many European countries. The recent population movements have been characterized by mixed migration; i.e., movements driven by a complex array of factors and consisting of diverse migrant groups such as refugees, asylum seekers, economic migrants, unaccompanied minors, and others. Yet the debates on how host societies ought to address the needs of increasingly diverse migrant groups are mostly driven by emotion and political interests, rather than taking stock of the large and growing body of evidence on migrant health and health care. The political discourse often frames the arrival of migrants as an acute crisis, a problem and a threat; while far less attention is paid to the good practices, the success stories, to those things that work. All the while, the recent “refugee crisis” can offer opportunities for learning from the array of different approaches to migrants’ health needs, and to appreciate the insights as relevant for all health policy-makers and health systems as they face the challenges and opportunities of a globalized, super-diverse reality.

Health Policy will publish a Special Issue to contribute to the debate through the exchange of good practices, and to facilitate the development of better health policies for migrants in particular and for diverse societies in general. The specific objectives are:

  • to inform the policy debate by providing the latest evidence on lessons learnt and good practices from the recent “refugee crisis” in Europe;
  • to review how issues of policy design, management, planning, financing, health workforce development, monitoring and assessment are currently addressed in different migration contexts;
  • to discuss how health policies should take into account different technical, ethical, social and legal aspects related to migration;
  • to analyse the economic costs and benefits for health systems arising from health care utilization, health expenditures and contributions to health systems, e.g. in form of taxes, social insurance contributions or labour;
  • to foster comparative research and the development of approaches transferrable to other local, national and regional contexts;
  • to supply those involved in designing, operating and assessing health policies with tools, frameworks and concepts with the aim of improving the care for migrants, and of minimizing burdens and risks to the health workforce.


Papers submitted for publication in this Special Issue should offer new and constructive insights for the discussions on health policies for migrants in Europe. We welcome qualitative and quantitative research, cross-country comparative research and in-depth material in one country or region, as well as well-founded insights from the field. With funding from the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies three to five papers of the Special Issue will be selected for Open Access publication.

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