MIGSYS studies the links between the migration plans of individual subjects and the migration policies of sending and receiving states. Our contention is that migrants and their households are independent social agents that make choices and plans, execute these plans, and/or adapt them in accordance with changing circumstances and to their own needs and expectations. In formulating and executing their plans, migrants interact with state policies and other external factors operating in the sending, receiving or in both countries.

Migrants receive and process information about receiving state policies and other issues that affect different aspects of their migration project (i.e. legal migration policy, housing and welfare benefits, labour law and working conditions, ethnic discrimination issues, but also informal labour markets, border control policies, asylum seeking opportunities, human trafficking networks, possibilities of regularising after illegal entry, possibilities of moving on to a second destination country).

Such information may be more or less accurate and complete, and is usually mediated through formal and informal networks in the country of origin and in the receiving country, the media, non-state agents (e.g. specialised travel agencies, marriage brokers, NGOs, religious organisations) and criminal networks (human traffickers).

MIGSYS is based on a comparative ethnographic approach. The research consortium studied the migration projects and experiences of several groups of migrants (selected based on ethnicity, country of origin and/or transnational migration networks) in different migration systems. In particular, we took under consideration four systems:

* a European East-West migration system (EU countries and Eastern Europe, including Russia and some CIS states);
* a Mediterranean system (EU countries and North African states);
* a European-Asian system (EU countries and the Indian subcontinent, Indonesia and China);
* and a South-North American system including the US, Canada, and countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean.


Project co-ordinator: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) Athens, Greece

Researchers: Dr. Anna Triandafyllidou, Dr. Ruby Gropas