| Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy

IRMA – Governing Irregular Migration: States, Actors and Intermediaries

International migration has intensified during the last two decades. Europe has been receiving increasing numbers of migrants from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Part of this international movement of people takes place illegally, notably involves either unlawful border crossings or overstaying (with or without visa). European countries that are situated at the southern and eastern borders of the EU find themselves particularly exposed to irregular migration and asylum seeking pressures. Public opinion often has a feeling that irregular migration is out of control and that national governments are not doing enough to stop it.

This project asks two main research questions:

1.     How do migration control policies affect the plans and actions of prospective (and actual) irregular migrants?

2.     Why some policies are more successful than others?

In seeking to answer these questions, we assume that migrants (and their households) are independent social agents. In formulating and executing their plans, migrants interact with state actors and policies (at destination and/or transit countries) and with non-state, local or transnational actors (NGOs, international organisations, smuggling networks, employers). In order to answer the above two research questions we need to learn more about four empirical issues:

(a) how migrants make and change their plans despite legal restrictions at destination countries,

(b) which are the actors (national, local, transnational, state or non-state) that affect their decisions and actions,

(c) how do these actors affect the decision making of potential migrants, their plans and actions.

(d) why specific actors are more effective than state policies in shaping migrants plans and decisions.

In investigating the above four questions and in answering the two more general policy related concerns stated above, the project achieves a better understanding of the actors and factors that are involved in the governance of international irregular migration.

The empirical research undertaken in this project concentrates on three migration systems within which irregular migration is an important component of overall migration towards Greece:

  • Migration System 1. Balkans to EU migration system:Albania to Greece;
  • Migration System 2. Eastern Europe to EU migration system:Georgia and Ukraine to Greece;
  • Migration System 3. Southeast Asia to EU migration system:Pakistan and Afghanistan to Greece.

The project is funded by the Greek General Secretariat for Research & technology through the Action “ARISTEIA”.

Duration: 26 September 2012 – 25 September 2015

Research Team: Prof. Anna Triandafyllidou (co-ordinator), Dr Angeliki Dimitriadi, Ms Eda Gemi (assistant co-ordinator), Ms Michaela Maroufof and Ms Marina Nikolova.

For more information visit the project’s website.

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