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Irregular Migration: Counting the uncountable. Data and trends across Europe

Final Report Summary - CLANDESTINO (Irregular Migration: Counting the Uncountable. Data and Trends Across Europe)

The CLANDESTINO Project is a response to the need for supporting policymakers in designing and implementing appropriate policies regarding undocumented migration. The project has aimed to:
(a) provide an inventory of data and estimates on undocumented migration (stocks and flows) in selected EU countries;
(b) analyse the data compiled comparatively;
(c) discuss the ethical and methodological issues involved in the collection of data, the elaboration of estimates and their use;
(d) propose a new method for evaluating and classifying data/estimates on undocumented migration in the EU.

The project addressed these aims in selected EU countries (Greece, Italy, France and Spain in Southern Europe; the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany and Austria in Western and Central Europe; Poland, Hungary, Slovakia in Central Eastern Europe). It also looked at transit migration in countries / regions used as key 'stepping stones' by undocumented migrants en route to the EU, notably Turkey, Ukraine and one Maghreb country. Where relevant, the project considered factors affecting the shift between legal and undocumented status among migrant populations.

The CLANDESTINO project has concentrated on the following main areas:
1) discussing and assessing the different methods used to estimate irregular migrant populations in Europe;
2) critically discussing and making recommendations regarding the ethical aspects of research on irregular migrant populations;
3) constructing a database on irregular migration in Europe.
The database is supported by 12 country reports on 12 EU Member States (Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, United Kingdom). The reports outline the size and main demographic features of the irregular migrant population in each country, discuss the main flows into and out of irregular status, assess how the policies in force in each country effect irregular migration, and seek to make policy recommendations at the national and EU level. It is also supported by 12 policy briefs, one for each country studied, so that the findings of the project are made available to a wider user community. Each of the 12 policy briefs has been prepared in English and in the national language of the country that it refers to;
4) The project has also studied the dynamics and mechanisms that affect irregular transit migration in Europe focusing in particular on three EU neighbouring countries: Morocco, Turkey and Ukraine. The project has produced three project reports and three policy briefs for these countries, as well as a comparative analysis of the dynamics of transit irregular migration in and around the EU;
5) Comparative analysis: The analysis concentrated on six dimensions: an estimation of the size of irregular migration in the EU27; a comparative analysis of methods used in different countries to produce data and estimates on irregular migration; a comparative analysis of flows into and out of irregular status; a comparative analysis of irregular migration definitions and of the ways in which policies construct 'illegality'; a critical comparative assessment of irregular migration control policies; an analysis of the political discourses surrounding policy making on irregular migration; and last but not least, a comparative analysis of the links between irregular migration and informal work in Central Eastern and Southern EU Member States. The six research papers produced (one for each of these dimensions) constitute part of a special issue on irregular migration currently under submission to the journal 'International Migration'.

Regarding the academic dissemination of our work, we have prepared a volume on 'Irregular migration in Europe: Myths and realities', to be published by Ashgate, Aldershot, available in bookstores since April 2010. We have also completed a special issue on 'Irregular migration in Europe: A comparative perspective on data, policies and discourses' (provisional title), which was submitted in November 2009 to the journal 'International Migration'. We have contacted the editors and they are highly interested in our work. Of course, final publication will be subject to peer-review.

In an effort to disseminate of our work to a wider user community including NGOs, policy makers, journalists and think tanks. We have realised 12 field-visits, one in each of the countries studied. We have organised two regional workshops, one in London in March 2009 focusing on Northern and Western European countries and one in Athens in April 2009 focusing on Southern and Central Eastern Europe. A meeting with policy makers was organised on 13 November 2009, coordinated by Ms Giulia Amaducci, the CLANDESTINO project officer within the European Commission. Lastly, each partner has made numerous interventions in the press, has written blog articles and has met with policy makers, or organised closed discussions with academics, politicians and journalists on irregular migration in their country and in Europe.

The project's main findings have been organised in seven main areas:
1) methodological problems and solutions in studying irregular migration in Europe;
2) ethical questions in research of irregular migration;
3) estimates of the size of the irregular migrant population in the European Union;
4) a brief assessment of EU policies on irregular migration;
5) a critical review of the policies on irregular migration in selected EU countries;
6) a critical analysis of discourses on irregular migration in the EU;
7) an analysis of irregular transit migration in three EU neighbouring countries.

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