PRIME is an international research and policy project that analyses the conditions and politics of irregular migrants in Europe

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What we are doing

We are conducting research on how national institutions shape the conditions of irregular migrants across Europe to develop contextualised and more effective policy responses.

We are a consortium of leading migration research institutions in Europe.

Click the logos to see our research teams.

What we want to understand


The diverse experiences of irregular migrants.


The interests and attitudes of communities that host them.

Institutional contexts

The institutional contexts that shape those experiences and responses.

Policy tools

The contextualized policy tools needed to respond.

Our approach is


in the voices and experiences of irregular migrants and host communities in Europe


in understanding how irregular migrants’ gender, age & ethnicity affect their experiences


in identifying effects and dynamics across institutional contexts

Our focus

We focus on understanding how these domains vary across institutional contexts in different European countries & sectors :


What legal labour rights and access to social protection do irregular migrants have across different European countries, and what are their experiences with accessing rights  in practice?

Host Economy

How do national policies and institutions shape the supply of migrant labour? What leads to a dependence on (irregular) migrant labour and what barriers are there to alternatives?

Work & Family Life

What are the factors that shape irregular migrants’ access to work opportunities, what are their work conditions, and how do they impact their families?


What are the experiences of irregular migrants in their first country of arrival in Europe? Why do some migrants move to other countries within Europe, and how does this mobility affect their conditions and experiences?

Interests & Attitudes

What are citizens’ policy preferences toward irregular migrants?  How do institutional actors and interest groups perceive their own interests, and how do they manage value conflicts?

Strategies & Policy tools

What have been the experiences and effects of different policy responses to irregular migrants across European countries? How do different countries manage competing interests and value conflicts?

Research design

We are conducting:

Large-scale surveys

Over 10,000 respondents

Qualitative interviews

Over 300 interviewees

Comparative analysis

Across 8 countries and 4 sectors​

with irregular migrants, employers, policy actors, interest groups, and residents across 8 countries:
Austria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the UK;
and 4 employment sectors:
agriculture and food processing, care, waste management and recycling, restaurants.

logo europa

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.