People 'on the move'

The theme ‘people on the move’ brings together research on groups of migrants and refugees who are still ‘on the move’ or who are just recently arrived at the destination country, as for example asylum applicants, transit migrants, returnees or victims of human trafficking.

African Migration Pressures: Root Causes and Cooperative Policy Responses

Description: As an important force of development in both sending and destination regions, migration forms a top-priority issue in the global policy debate. In order to assess the impact of future migrant flows and to develop appropriate policies to manage them, knowledge of their size, composition and distribution is crucial. The project will provide a deeper understanding of the root causes of migration with a specific focus on the role of financial incentives and constraints. In particular, we will focus on Central, Eastern and Western Africa and analyze people’s capacity to respond to economic, climatic and political shocks by migrating either internally or internationally. Based on the expected allocation of future migrants across destinations delivered by the first objective, we will then disentangle for which countries new international arrangements on migration are the most pressing and which type of agreement or partnership (intra- or interregional) is most suited for which countries.
Promoter(s): Ilse Ruyssen
Researcher(s): Sara Salomone
Department / Research group: Department of Economics 
Faculty: Faculty of Economics and Business Administration

Analyzing conflict mobilities from Uganda’s Nakivale Refugee Settlement: embedding refugee mobility into the broader migration (hi)story of Central-East Africa

Description: This research project examines to which extent conflict dynamics and refugee policy structures (including camp-like settings, refugee rights, refugee policies) have an impact on broader mobility patterns and dynamics in the war-torn Central-East African region. The aim is to understand mobility as an essential part of social life-making processes and to explore the political, regional and historical dimensions of these wartime mobilities. Given a context wherein refugee camp-settings have become extremely important in regional (mobility) dynamics, this research takes the refugee camp as the spatial and analytical starting point from which to study these dynamics. This approach provides a fresh perspective and deeper understanding of conflict mobility in a region commonly known as one of the most protracted situations of displacement in the world and to which the international community has so far failed to find appropriate answers.
Promoter(s): Koen Vlassenroot
Researcher(s): Jolien Tegenbos
Department / Research group: Conflict and Development Studies
Faculty: Faculty of Political and Social Sciences

Community expectations and support structures: An exploration of return experiences of Cameroonian returnees.

Description: In Cameroon, international migration is coupled with specific socio-cultural expectations regarding an increase of wealth and sharing of resources. However, it remains unclear how this community expectations influence the everyday experiences of Cameroonian migrants who return to their country. This project addresses three main goals, (1) by investigating the concrete community expectations towards returnees and (2° by mapping the governmental support structures that are available for returnees; (3) this research aims to reveal how community expectations and formal support structures influence the return experience. As such, the research project contributes to knowledge on how differences in post-return wellbeing emerge.
Promoter(s): Ilse Derluyn , Ine Lietaert
Researcher(s): Presca Esseh Wanki Kang
Department / Research group: Social Work and Social Pedagogy
Faculty: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences

Human mobility in the face of major environmental problems

Description: As an important force of development in both sending and destination regions, migration forms a top-priority issue in the global policy debate. In order to assess the impact of future migrant flows and to develop appropriate policies to manage them, knowledge of their size, composition and distribution is crucial. The project will provide a deeper understanding of the root causes of migration with a specific focus on the role of financial constraints. In particular, we will analyze people’s capacity to respond to severe environmental problems by migrating either internally or internationally. Based on the expected allocation of future migrants across destinations delivered by the first objective, we will then disentangle for which countries new international arrangements on migration are the most pressing and which type of agreement or partnership (intra- or interregional) is most suited for which countries.
Promoter(s): Ilse Ruyssen
Researcher(s): Els Bekaert
Department / Research group: Department of Economics
Faculty: Faculty of Economics and Business Administration

I cross the border and carry with me… Cross-border civil status: a private international law issue from a human rights perspective

Description: The increasing mobility of people leads to the worldwide circulation of documents that record the civil status of people (e.g. birth, marriage, death). The recognition of these documents traditionally belongs to the field of private international law which aspires cross-border harmony and continuity in the life of people. A noble objective, yet hard to put in practice. As a result, some people carry a different civil status (e.g. unmarried) in their host country in comparison with the status in their country of origin (e.g. married). Such discrepancies - also called limping legal relations - generate legal uncertainty and unpredictability. This research aims to study a new approach to cross-border civil status. Departing from the right to respect for private and family life, the research will examine whether and to what extend the human rights approach is able to reduce the negative effects of limping legal relations (increasing the cross-border portability of a certain civil status).
Promoter(s): Jinske Verhellen
Researcher(s): Sarah Den Haese
Department / Research group: Internationaal Privaatrecht
Faculty: Faculty of Law

Institutional multilingualism in settings of asylum and migration: a linguistic-ethnographic study of global English use in lingua franca and interpreter-mediated interaction at the Belgian asylum authorities

Description: The project aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of global English use in dialogic and triadic asylum interaction at the Belgian asylum agencies. It provides a linguistic-ethnographic analysis based on interview data (both authentic asylum interview data and semi-structured interviews with asylum applicants, officers and interpreters) gathered at different asylum agencies. Adopting an integrated approach to the participation structure of the asylum encounter (incorporating both dialogic and triadic interaction strategies and research perspectives), this study aims to contribute to both fundamental and applied research insights into global English use in migration encounters where English has no official status. The project will explore how such different practices of multilingualism pragmatically and indexically impact on the interaction between the participants and by extension how they affect the discursive construction of socio-legal identities in the asylum process.
Promoter(s): Katrijn Maryns
Researcher(s): Katrijn Maryns
Department / Research group:
Department of Linguistics
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Philosophy

Legal and administrative assistance to asylum-seekers in Belgium

Description: The project’s main objective is to strengthen protection standards for asylum seekers through safeguarding procedural rights and improving access to qualitative legal advice. The project aims to achieve the following outcomes: - Improved quality of legal assistance and information for asylum seekers, including for those in border detention facing risks of refoulement. - Improved access to a qualitative asylum procedure in Belgium. - Deepened scientific knowledge on legal, linguistic and other aspects of the asylum procedure, with a particular focus on detention. To achieve these outcomes, we will develop a new dynamic of legal and administrative aid to individual asylum cases, bringing together the expertise of experienced lawyers, legal practitioners and academics from different disciplines and putting this shared knowledge at the disposal of lawyers and other practitioners to improve the quality of the legal aid they deliver to asylum seekers.
Promoter(s): Ellen Desmet, Katrijn Maryns
Researcher(s): Marjan Claes
Department / Research group: Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication - MULTIPLES
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Philosophy

MOBILISE: Determinants of ‘Mobilisation’ at Home & Abroad: Analysing the Micro-Foundations of Out-Migration & Mass Protest

Description: The MOBILISE project asks: when the state fails to respond to the economic or political needs of citizens, why do some people mobilise by protesting in the streets while others ‘mobilise’ by crossing borders? And how do the choices of protest and out-migration relate to each other? Connecting theoretical expectations from the migration and protest literatures, we examine: a) whether similar factors drive the choice to migrate and/or protest at the individual level; b) how context affects this mobilisation; c) whether these choices are independent of each other or mutually reinforcing/ undermining. MOBILISE employs a multi-method (nationally representative panel surveys, online migrant surveys, focus groups, life-history interviews, social media analysis) and a multi-sited research design. It covers Ukraine, Poland, Morocco and Argentina, which have recently witnessed large-scale emigration and protests and follows migrants from these countries to Germany, the UK and Spain.
Promoter(s): Toma Sorana, Onuch Olga, Sasse Gwendolyn
Researcher(s): Toma Sorana
Department / Research group: Department of Public Health and Primary Care
Faculty: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Refugee relief during the First World War: Belgian refugees in Birmingham (1914-1919)

Description: The First World War can be identified as a total war since it affected every level of society, far beyond the front. The violence against civilians caused an unprecedented stream of refugees, which induced in its turn an explosion of humanitarian help. In this view, the Great War can be seen as a catalyst for the transition of charity towards a professional and institutionalized social work. Furthermore, the war was a decisive turning point in which the initial outlines of the current (inter)national policies regarding refugees and human rights were drawn. In Belgium 250.000 Belgians fled to England, of which 5.000 stayed in Birmingham. During the war a layered network of relief work was established to meet the needs of these refugees. Consequently, the central research question of this study is: “How did the Belgian exile during the First World War challenge and influence social work and the underlying networks and what were post-war effects on the further development of social work?”
Promoter(s): .N.N.
Researcher(s): Jolien De Vuyst
Department / Research group: Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy
Faculty: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences

Return and Reintegration of Ethiopian Forced Returnees from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in North Wollo, Ethiopia: Process, Challenges and Impacts

Description: The study aims at examining the return and reintegration of Ethiopian forced returnees from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its impacts on the recipient households and communities in North Wollo, where a considerable number of returnees are living. It also explores the determinants of success of reintegration and returnees' strategies to cope the challenges and problems that they have faced in the course of the reintegration process. Survey, interviews, focus group discussions and life history methods will be employed to gather the necessary data. The survey data to be collected will be analized through descriptive statistics and multiple regressions. In doing so, the study intends to contribute to the literature on return and reintegration.
Promoter(s): Ilse Derluyn, Lietaert Ine
Researcher(s): Tizazu Ashenafi Tirfie
Department / Research group: Social Work and Social Pedagogy
Faculty: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences

Return, Responsibility and Reintegration in Central Africa: A multi-disciplinary exploration into endemic violence and social repair

Description: Drawing from history, anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, political science and heritage studies, and focussing on the lived experience of those attempting to build or rebuild communities in conflict affected places of central Africa, this research contributes to a better understanding of how conflict-affected societies constitute or re-constitute themselves. It examines three overlapping categories of returnees: refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and ex-combatants in the borderland regions of Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan and Uganda. The research explores returnees relationships with each other, with the ‘stayee’ populations and their engagement with national governments, external organisations and actors. It wants to understand how standardised liberal peacebuilding approaches to return are relevant to people on the ground who negotiate conflict realities and their legacies on a daily basis.
Promoter(s): Koen Vlassenroot
Researcher(s): Koen Vlassenroot
Department / Research group: Conflict and Development Studies
Faculty: Faculty of Political and Social Sciences

Safe with the neighbours? Refugee protection and EU external migration policy in Turkey and Morocco

Description: The European Union increasingly looks to outsource its international responsibility to protect refugees to third countries. Its policy space is limited, however, by international refugee and human rights law. This project assesses legal and actual refugee protection in Turkey and Morocco. The research focusses on refugees' 'user's perspective' on fundamental human rights, through field work, as well as a critical evaluation of national protection frameworks against international law minimum standards, including the non-refoulement principle. Also it will be assessed if there exists an internationally shared responsibility to protect towards refugees, and what this could entail. Conclusions will include findings and recommendations for national asylum systems, the EU's external migration policy, and the international law framework.
Promoter(s): Ellen Desmet
Researcher(s): Ruben Wissing
Department / Research group: Department of European, Public and International Law / Migration Law Research Group
Faculty: Faculty of Law and Criminology

Study on registration and residence formalities for EU workers in Belgium

Description: This research provides an insight into the administrative procedures regarding the implementation of the Directive 2014/54/EU into Belgian law, a European directive that intends to better facilitate the right to free movement of workers. The research contains a critical analysis and description of the municipal practices in the three regions of Belgium, focussing on the registration and residence formalities for EU citizens who exercise their right to free movement. The research also includes an exploratory analysis of residence formalities in the following countries: Germany, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Italy. Lastly, the research will give possible recommendations regarding the law and implementation thereof as well as suggestions for more efficient and uniform municipal practices. The research is carried out in collaboration with the EU Rights Clinic of the University of Kent and Fragomen; it is funded by Myria – the Federal Migration Centre.
Promoter(s): Ellen Desmet
Researcher(s): Roos-Marie van den Bogaard
Department / Research group: European, Public and International Law
Faculty: Faculty of Law

The impact of flight experiences on the psychological wellbeing of unaccompanied refugee minors - CHILDMOVE

Description: This ERC project is a research project on the impact of transit and travel experiences on the psychological well-being of unaccompanied refugee minors. With this research project, we want to document the impact of the experiences these young people have during the time they are still travelling from home country to host country. We will conduct a longitudinal follow-up study of a large group of unaccompanied refugee minors, whereby our study starts from different countries (Libya, Belgium, Italy and Greece), crosses several European countries, and uses innovative methodological and mixed-methods approaches. This will increase our knowledge about the long-term impact of these experiences on these adolescents’ health, but also about the way in which care and reception structures for unaccompanied minors in transit and settlement countries can reduce this impact.
Promoter(s): Ilse Derluyn
Researcher(s): Malte Behrendt, Ine Lietaert, Marina Rota, Océane Uzureau, Sarah Adeyinka
Website: http://www.childmove.com
Department / Research group: Social Work and Social Pedagogy
Faculty: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences

The impact of terrorism on migration intentions and patterns

Description: In this project, we will analyse the influence of terrorist attacks on worldwide migration. First, we empirically investigate the extent to which terrorist attacks act as a push factor for emigration and as a deterring factor for immigration by reducing potential destination countries' attractiveness. To do so, we will make use of cross-country data since 1980 which allows to identify also heterogeneous effects across different types of countries (e.g. depending on countries' development level). Second, we combine individual-level survey data on migration intentions (internal and international) with regional information on terrorist attacks which garantuees a more accurate identification of the connection between migration behavior and individual exposure to terrorism and the mechanisms at play (e.g. income or psychological). We will also explore to what extent the results vary with individual or household characteristics.
Promoter(s): Ilse Ruyssen
Researcher(s): Killian Foubert
Department / Research group: Department of Economics
Faculty: Faculty of Economics and Business Administration

The precarious citizenship of refugees: an empirical study on how refugees become political

Description: In this research we focus on the precarious citizenship of refugees. We aim to not only take into account the citizenship practices, statuses and identities of migrants themselves but also how this interacts with citizenship discourses that are used within the migration and integration policies of Belgian governments. In this way, we want to contribute to the debate on how global migration is challenging and transforming citizenship. To do this, we will undertake a multi-method approach combining an ethnographic study including participant observation and in-depth interviews with young refugees in Belgium and a discourse analysis of the Flemish and Belgian integration and migration policies.
Promoter(s): Lesley Hustinx
Researcher(s): Rachel Waerniers
Department / Research group: Department of Sociology/ Centre for Social Theory
Faculty: Faculty of Political and Social Sciences

The role of social work in supporting ger residents in the development of aspirations to belong to the Mongolian society

Description: #VERW!
Promoter(s): Griet Roets, Ine Lietaert
Researcher(s): Terbish Bayartsetseg (Tsegi)
Department / Research group: Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy
Faculty: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences

The Russian migration towards Belgian cities. A network and life course analysis of Russian migrants in Brussels and Liege, 1880-1914.

Description: The aim of this research is to study the Russian presence in the Belgian cities of Brussels and Liege during the 1880s until the advent of WWI through a network and systematic life course analysis. The Russian migration acts as a case study for long distance migration in the nineteenth century. The turbulent climate in Russia, the economic recession and the suspicion for the rise in socialist ideas potentially created specific dynamics that characterised the Russian migration towards Western Europe. The main sources are the foreigners’ files, the municipal police archives and the archive of the Okhrana. As such, this research contributes to a further understanding of long distance migration and provides more insights into the dynamics between migrants and the receiving society. More importantly, by including a network and life course analysis, this study aims to significantly broaden the narrow focus utilised in past literature, where the emphasis was placed upon the political refugee.
Promoter(s): Christophe Verbruggen, Margot De Koster
Researcher(s): Maïté Van Vyve
Department / Research group: History
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Philosophy

Uncertainty in the context of conflict, displacement and encampment

Description: This project consist of a qualitative longitudinal study, in which 30 South Sudanese youngsters living in the Adjumani refugee camp (northern Uganda) are followed over a period of 2 years. Qualitative interviews in combination with visual approaches (photography, video, drawings) are used to understand how youngsters experience and deal with uncertainty in everyday life and in future. These engagements with the youngsters are completed with interviews with policy actors and aid workers, and extensive observations of daily life in the refugee setting. This project aims to gain a better understanding of youngster’s everyday experiences of uncertainty, and how these experiences relate to the social and political context of the refugee camp. In gaining insight in what a camp is and what kind of lives and experiences can unfold within it, this study aims to develop a critical reflection on camps and, ultimately, on the ways in which we are dealing with migration and refugees today.
Promoter(s): Wouter Vanderplasschen, Ilse Derluyn, Sofie Vindevogel
Researcher(s): Julie Schiltz
Department / Research group: Department of Special Needs Education
Faculty: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences

Unravelling the migration crisis: An analysis of EU refugee protection in the Mediterranean Sea

Description: Refugee issues have become extremely important in the European Union politics. The project will look at the issue of migration crisis in the Mediterranean Sea. It is based on the premise that most refugees and migrants are losing their lives at an alarming rate as they cross the Mediterranean Sea towards Europe. The recent actions by the EU in dealing with refugees arriving through the Mediterranean Sea have been viewed as a violation of the rights of these refugees and as contravening EU's commitment to protection of refugees' rights. However, at policy levels, it is important to explore how the new EU policies act against the fundamental concept of human rights protection. Moreover, the research will create additional literature to help understand the tensions between EU and refugees crossing via the Mediterranean Sea with the hope of offering recommendations on how the migration crisis in the Mediterranean Sea can be amicably solved.
Promoter(s): Marleen Easton, Daniel Mekonnen
Researcher(s): Fisseha Mehari
Department / Research group: Public governance, management and finance
Faculty: Faculty of Economics and Business Administration