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Advancing Alternative Migration Governance

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ADMIGOV (Advancing Alternative Migration Governance)

Reporting period: 2020-02-01 to 2021-07-31

AdMiGov's central goal is to asses well-managed migration policies and develop comprehensive indicators for "good" migrations governance, in line with current UN standards. Sustainable Development Goal 10.7 and the New York Declaration were starting points. Facilitating orderly, safe, and responsible migration and mobility of people, through implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies, is important for society because it relates to a better implementation of basic human rights of people all over the world.

The project is structured arround two interrelated parts that address, respectively, the key moments and places where migration governance intervenes, and the key structuring principles of migration governance. The first part focuses on the most relevant moments and places where migration governance of the EU and the Member States intervene. This primarily centres on Entry, Exit, and more complex mixed schemes. The second part focuses on practices on the ground in the light of the principles of protection and sustainable development. Protection, as grounded in international law, provides attention to the rights of citizens in general with special attention to refugees and undocumented migrants as target categories, and to human rights and protection gaps as central issues. In the case of EU and EU Member States’ migration governance, such protection gaps are expected to manifest themselves typically in places where crisis management of asylum migration is installed. The principle of Sustainable Development, as formulated in the SDG2030, addresses economic inequality, political instability and development as root causes of migration, but also the other way around: migration and migrants as potential remedies for inequality and instability. The crucial question here is what migration governance does/can do to create conditions for a positive contribution to migration and development at the micro, meso and macro levels both in the country of origin but also on Europe's labour market.

The approach aims to address the specific challenge of multilevel migration governance, and in particular the discussion on migration governance models that would be applicable to the EU and its member states:
1) Investigate whether the assumptions currently informing the development of global migration governance regimes correspond to the practices in place, and needs identified by refugee and migration governance actors and practitioners;
2) Identify, across different areas of concern for migration governance (entry – circulation - exit and the principles of protection and sustainable development), initiatives, measures and practices that are found to be either efficient or desirable by the actors and practitioners of migration governance;
3) Develop, on the basis of this evidence, proposals for alternative and innovative migration governance models, including indicators for good migration governance.
Between Feb 2020 and July 2021, the ADMIGOV team implemented its theoretical frame that was laid out earlier in our paper on “good” migration governance (Passetti 2019, see: https://admigov.eu/upload/Deliverable_71_Passetti_Indicators_of_Good_Governance.pdf)
Most of the fieldwork was finished inside and outside Europe. The full list of reports can be found in the publication section of the AdMiGov website. The reports contain many suggestions to improve the quality of migration governance.

The COVID-19 pandemic - that started in February 2020 - had a lot of consequences for the ongoing research, both in terms of methods and in terms of content. Research in that period was arranged with digital methods, and the research reports from this period highlight the sometimes extremely negative impact of the pandemic on migrants' life. Not only was migration restricted by COVID travel rules, but the pandemic also influenced the living conditions of migrants, that often deteriorated to an unacceptable level. In the middle of all these difficulties,

A few striking conclusions are:
Our work in on refugees in Greece, Turkey and Lebanon has shown that the conditions in which refugees live in camps, fail to meet any of the humanitarian standards that are laid out by the UN principle of protection, and regulated with the Spheres Standards. The three reports show how the situation only got worst during COVD-19 (Pallister-Wilkins et all 2021; Karadag & Ustubici 2021; Trovato & Al Akl 2021, link: https://admigov.eu/new/protection-of-refugees-in-greece-lebanon-and-turkey/36

Our work on seasonal and temporary migration in Spain, Poland, the Netherlands, and Germany showed the bad working and housing conditions in the agricultural sector during the pandemic (Matusz, 2021, Guell & Garces 2021, and Doomernik et al 2021, link: https://admigov.eu/new/circular-and-temporary-migration-during-covid-19-in-poland-spain-the-netherlands-and-germany/33

Our work on the “governance of Exit” includes for instance deportation regimes, assisted voluntary return programs, and re-integration policies in the countries of origin. It was striking to find out that assisted voluntary return accompanied by long term re-integration in the country of origin receives less funding and support in EU countries than forced removal, while they seem more cost effective (Kalir et all 2021; Dubow & Kushminder 2021; link: . https://admigov.eu/new/reports-published-on-the-governance-of-exit/38)

Our work on the aspirations of potential migrants and people in transit in Turkey, Lebanon, Ethiopia, and Mali has shown that there is still a lot to improve to make development interventions sustainable in a long-term perspective in such a way that they would limit migration. If a legal status and livelihood options are lacking and suppression of human rights remains a problem, onward migration is for many interviewees the only way out (Kuschminder et al 2021, Ustubici et al 2021, Cleas et al 2021).
In the work done so far, AdMiGov reports have addressed the tensions between the current practice of migration management on the ground and UN principles, human rights, refugee protection, workers’ rights and development goals. The reports have many suggestions to improve these relations and ease tensions that currently impact an effective and fair migration governance.

A full list of reports can be found in the publication section of the AdMiGov website (link: https://admigov.eu/page/output/31).


For those who prefer to watch a video in a less academic style instead of reading a reports, there are two Massive Open Online Modules (MOOCs) available in the series of six. See the AdMiGov video channel at: https://video.uva.nl/channel/ADMIGOV/23077

The project also cooperated in a webinar series to present results and discussions on the subject. It is entitled "Zooming In on Migration and Asylum", together with three other H2020 consortia on migration (TRAFIG, MAGYC and MIGNEX). In these discusdons the dilemma's become very clear, also because of the input of participants from the policy circuit. The full list of the discussion videos is available via this link https://trafig.eu/events/zooming-in-on-migration-and-asylum
border management in Spain