Borders and (im)Mobility along Migration Routes
Join us for the next session of the EUI Migration Working Group.
‘Refugee Journey Duration and Economic Integration in Receiving Countries’ by Eroll Kuhn, Max Weber Fellow (EUI)
Refugees face difficult journeys to receiving countries. These journeys often include waiting periods in transit countries as refugees plan and collect resources for the next leg of transit. Sociological theories of waiting suggest that longer sojourns in transit countries may hamper subsequent economic integration in receiving countries. However, studying the effect of journey duration on economic integration is difficult due to data constraints and endogeneity issues. In this paper, I leverage a natural experiment. For refugees who entered Switzerland through the European Refugee Relocation Program, waiting periods for relocation from Greece and Italy varied quasi-randomly from three to seventeen months. My analysis shows that longer waiting periods did not reduce subsequent labor market participation in the general population, but female refugees who waited longer worked less after arrival. These conditional results lend credence to a psychological mechanism underpinning journey effects, and have implications for our understanding of policymaking, asylum seeker integration, and the gendered risks that arise during refugee journeys.
Crossing the Border on TikTok: Documenting Irregular Journeys through Novel Social Media Platforms by Moaz Abdelrahman and Andrew Fallone, School of Transnational Governance researchers (EUI)
The rising popularity of the new social media app TikTok coincides with the appearance of new accounts that both document irregular journeys and advertise smuggling services. In the absence of sufficient regular migration pathways into Europe, information on social media regarding irregular journeys can provide individuals with concrete and immediate next steps. With the existence of evidence that migrants implicitly distrust smuggling services providers, migrants seek trustworthy sources. TikTok is a catalyst in diminishing this distrust by enhancing transparency in documenting individual journeys and disseminating information. Native dialectics are used in these TikTok videos, which eases the communication, and TikTok’s For You page and hashtags features provide easy access to this mode of social capital. Discourse analysis was used to understand the divergent narratives of individuals documenting their own irregular journeys without the assistance of smuggling services, and the advertisers of smuggling services on TikTok. The engagement of the audience with such is compared to explore the resonance of different content. The preliminary findings of our analysis reveal that content from migrants traveling independently receives greater attention and engagement than that of individuals advertising their services, potentially indicating the higher level of trust that a lack of profit-motive can confer.