Abstract

This report presents an overview of migration trajectories of irregular migrants who arrived in Belgium before 2016. Moving away from the legal/illegal framework, it details irregularities encountered en route to Europe, in terms of border crossings, life in transit, capacity building and how aspirations shape decision-making.
Based on in-depth semi-structured interviews with 35 migrants, our findings indicate that a migration journey is neither linear nor straightforward, and can, more often than not, occur phases. Aspiration and individual/familial capabilities are central to the temporality of migration, as they determine what migrants can access via smugglers and legal routes. Over time class, gender, education levels and financial resources become critical in decision-making and potential outcomes for migrants. The report outlines three phases of irregular migration: pre departure, en route (in transit country and from there into Europe) and arrival in the country of destination. Determinants of mobility, aspirations, access to and availability of information, and other resources change in each phase. Even in circumstances where migrants have little control, we find that conscious decision-making plays a critical role in the final outcome.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherHorizon 2020, HumMingBird Project
Number of pages23
VolumeCountry Reports on the Migration Experiences of Settled Migrants WP9 (2023).
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023

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