BIRMM Research Seminar with Catherine Xhardez

Wednesday 27 April 2022, 11:00 to 12:30

As part of the BIRMM research seminar series and in collaboration with EDGE, we are welcoming Catherine Xhardez to talk about her research. For this first research seminar, Catherine will be presenting her work on the role of subnational units in immigration policymaking across different federal systems.

Please register here to attend the seminar online.

Please register here by Monday 25 April if you'd like to attend in-person. The research seminar will take place in-person and will be followed by a lunch at 12.30 at the Brussels School of Governance. Exact location is shared after registration and a few days before the event you'll also receive a detailed email on how to reach us.


Ever increasingly, governments at the subnational level are responsible for and/or taking part (or aspire to do so) in immigration matters, although this policy area was traditionally tied to the central state as a matter of sovereignty. This involvement is a major shift in and challenge to immigration and federalism study alike. Immigration federalism broadly refers to the involvement of multiple levels of government in immigration matters in federal contexts (such as Canada, Belgium, the US, Australia, India, etc.). Scholars studying immigration federalism have demonstrated the importance of considering the engagement of as well as the relationships between different levels of government in immigration policymaking, while yielding significant insights on how the politics of immigration plays out in federations. Yet, the very role and involvement of constituent units (CU) in federal systems raises critical questions: How are subnational units involved in immigration policymaking? Have constituent units become less or more active in immigration matters? Pointing to the need for an in-depth study of the subnational level, I argue that autonomy and asymmetry are key principles in conceptualizing the role of constituent units in immigration federalism, both from a theoretical and empirical perspective. First, building on migration studies insights, I develop a conceptual framework to analyze constituent units’ role and involvement on five dimensions: selection, settlement, integration, enforcement, and citizenship. Second, to demonstrate the heuristic scope of this multidimensional framework, I empirically study the evolution of Canadian provinces’ involvement in immigration. More generally, my presentation shows that immigration is an increasingly important topic for federalism scholars and reciprocally that federal institutions must be taken seriously by immigration politics scholars.

Discussant: Djordje Sredanovic, post-doctoral researcher at GERME - Université Libre de Bruxelles

To support the presentation, a work-in-progress paper will be circulated a couple of days before the event to registered participants. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to