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ODI Insights: the governance of mobility

​Many see the migration of non-EU citizens into EU member states as a defining problem of our time. Driven largely by domestic political concerns about the adverse effects of immigration – whether actual or perceived – several EU governments have responded by formulating a range of policies designed, on the one hand, to deter people from coming and, on the other, to create difficulties and discomfort for those who do 'make it'. 

This leads us to some important and highly policy-relevant research questions:

  • To what extent do the formal policies of governments in popular migrant destination countries actually govern the decision-making processes of migrants and asylum seekers?
  • And in what ways do these policies limit or mediate the broader development impacts of international migration?
Through primary qualitative research, we will explore drivers of EU immigration in general, and the role of state policies in particular.

This will be done through in-depth interviews with migrants who have recently arrived in three European capital cities (Berlin, London, Madrid) in order to generate evidence on why and how they made the journey. This will effectively allow us to ‘follow the policy’, and to explore just how policy ideas and practices filter down through the various ‘chains of intermediaries’ that so often accompany and enable cross-border movement.

In addition to this primary research – which forms the bulk of the project – we will also conduct a policy mapping exercise in order to illustrate the nature and evolution of European border regimes, at both the EU level as well as at specific country level (UK, Germany, Spain), since 1995.


Richard Mallett

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