A tale of two cities: Melilla and Calais

By: Myriam Cherti, Senior Researcher

Melilla and Calais are two European cities struggling to stem the flow of irregular migrants. One an enclave on the African coast, the other a port in mainland Europe, both are on irregular migration’s frontline. So, what do these two cities have in common? Can any shared lessons be drawn, based on their respective experiences? Can they tell us a tale of how not to manage migration?

Strength in numbers: l’union fait la force

Fence with barbed wireNot long after the Moroccan government decided to mount a campaign of regularisation, over 8,000 migrants have already been regularised (3,000 based on applications and another 5,000 women and children as priority cases) and are trying to make a new life in Morocco. Counter-intuitively, there has also been an increase in the number of instances of migrants trying to scale the fence en masse to make it into Melilla, a Spanish city bordering Morocco, in crowds of hundreds at a time. Indeed, only a few months ago, 400 irregular sub-Saharan migrants made it into Melilla by storming the 7 metre high border fence. It is one of several attempts that have taken place this year. This raises two main questions. First, is the new Moroccan regularisation policy unappealing, compared with the lure of a better life in Europe? Or, second, are these migrants who are attempting to cross the border unable to satisfy the criteria for regularisation (eg two years of Moroccan residence) and therefore have no option but to try their luck or face deportation?

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Posted in Flows and Dynamics, immigration, journey, migration | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s in a name? An overview of the latest COMPAS Breakfast Briefing

By: Ben Gidley, Associate Professor and Senior Researcher

In a week in which a government minister described parts of Britain as “swamped” by migrants and “under siege”, it is clear that the language we use to talk about migration is vitally important.

newsprintMany commentators, especially those who are broadly “pro-migration”, blame the media for creating a public discourse of hostility to immigration through its use of inflamed language and scare-mongering statistics. Others, especially those who are broadly “anti-migration”, defend the media as simply responding to public fears and concerns, reflecting back an issue on which voters feel passionate. But what evidence is there about the content of media messages on migration?

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Posted in event, media, migration, research, The Migration Observatory, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From New Helots to New Diasporas: a retrospective for Robin Cohen

By: Nick Van Hear, Senior Researcher and Deputy Director

Robin Cohen has been at the forefront of migration and diaspora studies for at least three decades, and as he passed his 70th birthday in the summer we thought it fitting to organise a retrospective of his work and contribution. What we nick-named the Robinfest took place early in October at the Martin School in Oxford. As well as reuniting old friends and comrades, the day and a half event proved to be a stimulating review of the various political and intellectual themes and threads with which Robin and others present have been engaged: international labour studies, African studies, the study of globalisation and cosmopolitanism, migration studies, and the study of diaspora and creolisation.

RCOn a personal note, I have known Robin for nearly forty years, since I was a doctoral student at Birmingham University, and during this time he has been a mentor, colleague and friend. To note one collaboration among several, in the 1990s I was at the Refugee Studies Programme in Oxford and Robin was at Warwick, though often floating around the Oxford migration studies scene, such that it was then. We thought it would be a good idea to get migration studies people spread in and around Oxford together in what we dubbed the Odyssey club. This turned out to be a sporadic gathering usually over dinner to chew the fat about migration. It was then that we realised that there was a significant number of scholars (a critical mass even) in and around Oxford doing migration-related work – a precursor perhaps of today’s vibrant migration studies scene at Oxford. I’m not saying we started it all, but those days and that grouping in some ways prefigured what we have in Oxford today: 70 or more migration-related researchers – one of the largest concentrations of such scholarship in the world. But that’s enough boasting about our place in the rise of Migration Studies.

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Immigration and ‘labour market tests’: Who should be protected against whom?

By: Martin Ruhs, Associate Professor of Political Economy and Senior Researcher

recruitment person for workThe great majority of labour immigration programmes (and almost all temporary labour migration programmes) in high-income countries operate “labour market tests”, which aim to ensure that employers recruit migrant workers only after having made every reasonable effort to recruit “local workers”. Labour market tests usually require employers to advertise their vacancies for a minimum period of time before applying for a work permit for a migrant worker. For example, the UK’s “resident labour market test” for employing non-EU workers is explained here (pages 83-91)  and Ireland’s version is here.

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Posted in emigration, immigration, integration, labour markets | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Human rights in health: migrants in low-skilled work in Asia

By: Hiranthi Jayaweera, Senior Researcher

Photo by: Tawhid Bahrain, COMPAS Photo Competition 2010

Photo by: Tawhid Bahrain, COMPAS Photo Competition 2010

As the construction boom in the West Asian (Gulf) countries continues, including building of the World Cup related structures in Qatar and the complex of international museums in Abu Dhabi, there is increasing attention and growing concern in the world’s media and human rights organisations about the situation of migrants recruited for low-skilled, low-paid work in these countries. Recent reports estimate that over 90% of the total workforce in some Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is made up of non-nationals.  While most of the migrants in the construction sector, and some in the service sector, are male, there is a continuing influx of female domestic workers in the region. In contrast to workers in high-skilled, high-paid jobs who largely tend to come from richer countries in the global north, the majority of migrants recruited for low-skilled jobs are from South and South East Asia.

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Posted in human rights, immigration, labour markets, Welfare | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment