23/01/23 – PhD Defence of Talitha Dubow on migrant decision-making in the Western Balkans

Migrant decision-making is not simply a one-off decision to leave a country of origin in order to reach a specific destination country. Rather, migrants may revisit and revise their decision-making and plans in response to new information, experiences, opportunities and constraints. Based on qualitative interviews conducted with Afghan, Albanian, Iraqi and Syrian nationals, this dissertation examines the decision-making of irregularised migrants (people who migrate outside of – or are excluded from – legal channels for migration) over the course of their migration trajectories towards and through Europe. Chapter 4, the first of the four empirical analyses, provides an exploratory study of the strategies adopted by Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian refugee families in order to overcome controls on their movement and access to asylum. Chapter 5 examines the lived experiences and resistance to return demonstrated by rejected Afghan asylum-seekers who are subject to prohibitions on access to basic welfare in the Netherlands. Chapter 6 investigates how Albanian asylum-seekers have navigated information and uncertainty in pursuit of their migratory aspirations and over the course of their migration trajectories. Chapter 7 examines in greater depth the return decision-making of rejected Albanian asylum-seekers in Germany and highlights the role of opportunities for legal re-migration to the EU, and the perceived legitimacy of the return orders received, in motivating acceptance of assisted return. Taken together, these studies contribute insights on three under-studied aspects of migration decision-making. These are: 1) family-level decision-making; 2) the role of social, psychological and emotional factors; and 3) the role of policies in migration decision-making. For more information click here, to watch the defence click here.