9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS09 Research Methods in Ethnic and Migration Studies

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Challenges in Measuring Integration and Undocumented Migration Building I, 2E5

Research Methods on Undocumented Migration in Southern Europe

Since early 1980s, former traditional emigration countries in Southern Europe have experienced increasing immigration from less-developed countries, namely from Africa. A significant share of total immigration, in absolute and relative figures, is composed of illegal foreigners.

Undocumented migration takes on many different forms which greatly depend on immigration regulations, border regimes and physical characteristics, and policing. Experts, however, aggregate several subtypes and variations of this form of immigration in three basic groups: those who illegally or clandestinely cross a border, those who cross a border by using falsified documents, legal documents one is not entitled to, or legal documents for illegal purposes, and those who stay in a country after one´s legal status has expired.

Undocumented migration is hardly captured by the official surveys. Despite the importance of this phenomenon, undocumented migration is difficult to measure and to estimate. Some experts argue however this form of migration is not completely undocumented. Some indicators and approaches can be used to estimate it as shown by past experiences. Their availability depends largely on country specific conditions (i.e. resources, willingness, among others).

In this presentation we will discuss research methods implemented by three southern European countries, former traditional emigration countries, to measure, estimate and deal with undocumented migration, as well as examining the main results of the procedures proposed.