Zvezda Vankova

Zvezda Vankova

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Dr Zvezda Vankova has been awarded a two-year Rubicon grant by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) to conduct research at the Law faculty of Lund University. Dr Vankova holds a PhD in Law from the Maastricht University. She wrote her PhD dissertation on “Circular migration from the Eastern neighbourhood to the EU – the rights of migrant workers in Bulgaria and Poland” as part of the Marie Curie’s TRANSMIC project. Prior to joining the Law faculty of Lund University, Dr Vankova worked at the Department of European and International Law & Institute for Transnational and Euregional cross border cooperation and Mobility of Maastricht University. 

Dr Vankova was the Central Research Coordinator of the 2015 edition of the Migrant Integration Policy Index and worked as a Policy Analyst at the Migration Policy Group in Brussels. As a Researcher and Program Coordinator at the Law Programme of the Open Society Institute Sofia (2005-2013), Zvezda Vankova was an active participant in the development of Bulgarian immigration and integration policy through policy and legal analyses, advocacy work and capacity-building activities. Zvezda was selected by UNHCR Bulgaria to monitor the National Program for Integration of Refugees in Bulgaria as an independent expert in the period 2012-2014 and served as the Country Co-coordinator for the European Web Site on Integration for Bulgaria. She also conducted an independent monitoring report into immigration detention facilities in Bulgaria. At the end of 2012, she co-founded the association Multi Kulti Collective, which aims to support the integration of foreigners into Bulgarian society.

Dr Vankova's research interests are in the field of migration law, human rights law and legal empirical research.


Current project: Refugees as Migrant Workers. Labour Migration as Alternative for Refugee Protection in the EU Context? | funded by the Dutch Research Council | duration 2019 – 2021 | principal investigator Dr Zvezda Vankova | amount 158 988 Euro

The newly adopted United Nations Global Compact on Refugees will serve as a non-binding framework for global governance in the field of international protection. The Compact reiterates the idea of facilitating labour migration for refugees as a complementary pathway for admission into a country. This project seeks to critically examine the feasibility of this idea in the EU context. Firstly, it focuses on EU law and international refugee and human rights law analysis. It tackles issues related to admission, rights of such refugee workers and challenges related to possible return. Secondly, the proposal incorporates an empirical research layer. This is the best way to examine the implementation challenges regarding the policy idea of admitting refugees as migrant workers. The empirical data is collected on the basis of interviews with stakeholders at both EU and national level. In order to assess the implementation obstacles at national level, Sweden and Germany are chosen as case studies as they have attracted most of the refugees in Europe as a result of the so-called “refugee crisis” whilst maintaining a “welcoming” approach to labour migration.


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