Migration and Development

FullSizeRenderThe interdisciplinary research under this research theme  focuses on the relation between the receiving countries (immigration) and the sending countries (emigration) and its dynamics. While most research in the past was directed towards the determinants of emigration and the problems of integration of the immigrants in the receiving countries, the research group brought together in MACIMIDE emphasises that effects go both ways not only in financial and knowledge streams (remittances) but also by transferring and transforming societies across borders. Development is broadly defined here as: an individual, household or community’s improved standard of living including poverty reduction with strong emphasis on human development.

Key research areas: Migration and poverty; remittances and remittance channels; return migration and reintegration; social remittances, skills and knowledge transfers; migration and human development; migration and the left behind; circular migration; migrant entrepreneurship; the external dimension of EU migration policy; mobility partnerships.

Research Theme Leader: Dr. Melissa Siegel (Maastricht Graduate School of Governance & UNU-MERIT)

Research projects

  • Migration and multi-dimensional poverty (2013-2015). This project analyses specific dimensions of poverty at the micro level focusing on the cases of Ethiopia, Burundi, Afghanistan and Morocco. It asks how does/do migration/remittances affect different dimensions of poverty.
  • Migration and the left-behind (2013-2015). This study looks specifically at the left behind in the context of increasing feminization of migration by assessing the effects on those who stay behind, specifically children. It builds on previous work in Moldova and Georgia where migration has become highly feminized as well as in African countries.
  • The Labour Market Impacts of Forced Migration (2013-2015). This project is conducted in collaboration with the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) and studies the labour market implications of forced migration situations. It looks at two different case studies in the African Great Lakes Region: forced migration in and from Burundi and forced migration to Tanzania.
  • IS Academy on Migration and Development: Migration, a World in Motion (2009-2014). This research initiative sponsored and promoted by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs from within the Ministry-supported research institute, the IS-Academy. The project investigates the impact migration has on development of home countries and communities through the collection of data on Afghan, Burundian, Ethiopian, and Moroccan migrants living in the Netherlands. The information collected about the situation of these migrant households in the Netherlands—as well as their contributions to family and communities left behind—will help guide more robust, evidence-based migration and development policy in the future. The data collected from 1000 households in the Netherlands will be matched by data collection in each of the countries of origin, a process that will enable the effects of migration to be understood as a holistic, multidimensional process. Within this project, the following migration and development themes are explored in depth: circular migration, return, remittances, brain drain, and EU external migration policy.
  • Volkswagen Foundation Project Europe’s Global Linkages and the Impact of the Financial Crisis: Policies for Sustainable Trade, Capital Flows, and Migration (2011-2013). This project researched three main areas: (1) International Trade, FDI, and Financial Frictions; (2) International Banking, and (3) International Migration. The research conducted in the area of International Migration research focused on three aspects: (a) Migration, Trade, and FDI: Complements or Substitutes – A Global View, (b) Immigration, Outsourcing, and Host Country Employment and (c) Transnationalism and Migrant Heterogeneity.
  • Migrant and Refugee Integration in Global Cities: The role of Cities and Businesses (2013-2014). This project was conducted in collaboration with The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration (THP) and studies the economic and social integration of migrants and refugees in cities. It focused specifically on efforts undertaken by the private sector and city governments – both separately and in partnership – to provide protections and create greater opportunities in employment markets and communities.
  • Study on Children and Elderly left behind in Moldova and Georgia (2010-2013). Funded by the European Commission as part of a larger research programme investigating EU cooperation with third countries in the realm of migration and asylum, the study on the effects of migration on children and the elderly left behind assesses the impact recent wide-scale migration has had on some of Moldova and Georgia’s most vulnerable groups. This study provides a comprehensive overview of the conditions of children and the elderly who have been abandoned by migrating caretakers. The study assesses the economic, psychological, social, and institutional effects of migration on family members left behind and suggests ways in which states can mitigate the negative effects of migration via the formulation of more responsive and responsible social/social protection policies. The study is carried out in conjunction with the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (Germany) and the International Centre for Social Research and Policy Analysis (Georgia) with support from the International Organisation for Migration mission in Chisinau, Moldova.
  • UNHCR Shelter Assistance Evaluation Afghanistan (2012-2013). This project assessed UNHCR Shelter Assistance Evaluation UNHCR’s Shelter Assistance Programme that provided nearly 216,000 units of shelter to vulnerable returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) throughout Afghanistan since 2012.
  • Diaspora Engagement in Development: An Analysis of the Engagement of the Tunisian Diaspora in Germany and the Potentials for Cooperation (2012-2013). Funded by GIZ, this project examined the characteristics of the Tunisian Diaspora in Germany, the level and structures of their organizations and their engagement in development.
  • Mid-Term Evaluation of ILO’s Decent Work Across Borders Project (2013). The overall objective of the project was to promote the circular migration of professionals and highly skilled personnel in the health care sector through the development of a pilot scheme of specialized employment services and a system of skills testing and certification. The midterm evaluation assessed whether the project is on the right track towards achieving the stated objectives. The evaluation will also serve to inform organizational decision-making and ensure transparency and accountability to the donor.
  • Knowledge Exchange on Civic Integration (2012.2013). The International Civic Integration Knowledge Exchange training programme was sponsored by the Dutch Ministry of Internal Affairs. In partnership with Panteia/Research voor Beleid, the project involved the organization of an International Civic Integration Network. This project was primarily about international knowledge exchange. Key aspects of the project were three working visits (trainings) in France, Germany and the UK to establish networks for the sharing of ideas and experiences; and a concluding training in the Netherlands. Preparatory country reports were prepared to ensure that the working visits were tailored to the specific context. The main project deliverables included reports of each of the training visit which described the process that has taken place, a summary of the activities, the outcomes of the meeting, learning points, and some concrete points for further discussions which culminated in the production of a final report which answered key knowledge questions.
  • Evaluation of the ILO Strategy on International Labour Migration (2013). This project evaluated ILO strategy on international labour migration focusing on its strategy, methodology and results and providing guidance on priorities for the future.
  • Background paper for the European Report on Development 2013: Policy Options and Feasibility for Governing Labour Migration (2013). The European Report on Development (ERD) is the main output of the “Mobilizing European Research for Development Policies” initiative, supported by the European Commission and seven EU Member States: Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The objective of the ERD 2012-2013 is to provide an independent contribution to the emerging debate on a possible post-2015 framework. The chapter on migration will delineate elements and possible aspects of labour migration and mobility, which would be valuable for a post-2015 multilateral framework for development from the perspective of developing countries. In addition, it aims to answer how the EU as external actor could support better mainstreaming of key issues regarding labour migration in a future framework. The commissioned background paper on a multilateral framework for labour migration will feed into the last part of the migration chapter, which will indicate elements and ideas for the integration of labour migration into a future global framework for development and a possible mode of governance. It will help the chapter authors to reflect on possible future options of multilateral governance regarding labour migration and assess the incentives and disincentives of developed as well as developing countries to cooperate on labour migration governance on an international level.
  • Independent Evaluation of the Swiss Migration Partnerships (2014-2015). The overall objective of the evaluation was to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the Swiss Migration Partnerships with the Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Nigeria and Tunisia, five years after the signing of the first agreement. The main objectives of the evaluation were: to provide information on the added value of migration partnerships compared to other forms of bilateral cooperation; to take stock of how migration partnerships are implemented and to what extent the objectives set in this instrument are achieved and to reflect on the effects of migration partnerships.
  • Evaluation of the GIZ Returning Experts Programme (2014). UNU-MERIT and Maastricht School of Governance worked with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) and the Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM) on a short-term evaluation of the Migration and Development Programme Returning Experts Component. The Returning Experts offered support to migrants in Germany wishing to return to their country of origin and work in a development related capacity. This project examined the role of the returning experts in transferring knowledge to the country of origin.
  • Final Evaluation of the Decent Work Across Borders Project (2014). The overall objective of the project is to promote the circular migration of professionals and highly skilled personnel in the health care sector through the development of a pilot scheme of specialized employment services and a system of skills testing and certification. The midterm evaluation assesses whether the project is on the right track towards achieving the stated objectives. The evaluation will also serve to inform organizational decision making and ensure transparency and accountability to the donor.
  • Comparative Research on Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) (2014). Funded by the Government of Australia and supported by IOM, this project aims to inform policies and programmes for assisting the voluntary return and reintegration of migrants, including irregular migrants and unsuccessful asylum seekers. This aim will be achieved via three objectives: (1) analysis of the migrant return decision, including factors that motivate or impede irregular migrants from returning voluntarily; (2) development of a framework for defining and measuring sustainability of approaches to voluntary return and reintegration; and (3) an assessment of what factors determine sustainable return and reintegration.
  • Diaspora Engagement in Development: An Analysis of the Engagement of the Kenyan Diaspora in Germany and the Potentials for Cooperation (2014-2015). This project examined the characteristics of the Kenyan Diaspora in Germany, the level and structures of their organizations and their engagement in development.
  • Diaspora Engagement in Development: An Analysis of the Engagement of the Nigerian Diaspora in Germany and the Potentials for Cooperation (2014-2015). This project examined the characteristics of the Nigerian Diaspora in Germany, the level and structures of their organizations and their engagement in development.
  • Routes to Europe (2014-2015). This project, commissioned by the WODC, reviews irregular migrants routes to Europe. This review will comprehensively examine both the primary routes or irregular entry and the determinants of irregular migration to Europe and the Netherlands in particular.
  • Irregular Migrants’ Decision Making Factors in Transit (2014-2015). Irregular Migrants’ Decision Making Factors is a research project funded by the Collaborative Research Programme of the Australian National University and the Australian Department of Immigration and Border and Protection’s Irregular Migration Research Programme. This project examines how irregular migrants decide to: 1) stay in a country of transit; 2) pursue onward migration; or 3) return to their country of origin? It also considers how conditions in transit and policy settings influence individual decision making? Fieldwork will be conducted in Turkey and Greece to address these questions in 2015.
  • Measuring Policy Coherence for Migration and Development (2014-2015). UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance have been commissioned by KNOMAD to prepare a background paper on policy coherence for migration and development. The primary purpose of the paper is to develop a dashboard of indicators that can be used by domestic policymakers to assess the extent to which their policies are in line with global development goals. As migration looks set to have a place in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, efforts to promote better monitoring and evaluation of government efforts to promote the positive aspects of migration while mitigating the negatives, represent an important contribution.
  • Irregular Migration from Afghanistan: Determinants of Irregular Migration (2014). Based on the IS Academy: Migration and Development survey of 2,005 households in Afghanistan this project examines the determinants and processes of irregular migration from Afghanistan. The paper will use quantitative analysis to compare households with an irregular migrant to all other households in the sample. The results will provide an understanding of the reasons and processes of irregular migration from Afghanistan and if there are any characteristics that would make a household more likely to have an irregular migrant.
  • Irregular Migration from Afghanistan: Experiences of Irregular Migration (2014)This research project will examine the reason, decision making factors, processes and experiences of irregular Afghan migrants in their migration from Afghanistan to the Netherlands. Afghans are still the largest asylum seeking population in the world and the number of irregular Afghan migrants is growing in Western countries. This project will provide an understanding of the decision making factors involved in Afghan irregular migration, their experiences in transit and the reasons for the destination choice of the Netherlands. The project will explore the interplay between migrants agency and structural conditions in Afghanistan and the Netherlands in determining voluntariness and choice in irregular migration.
  • Background Paper for the World Migration Report: Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Cities (2014). This project, commissioned by IOM, involves the preparations of a background paper on Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Cities for the World Migration Report 2015. This paper reviews literature on the main drivers and obstacles to immigrant entrepreneurship in cities as well as the effects of it. In addition, an overview of possible interventions to support immigrant entrepreneurs is provided.
  • Background Paper on the Role of Migration in the Post-2015 Development Agenda (2014). This paper, commissioned by IOM, synthesised the currently available evidence on the linkages between migration and the Millennium Development Goals. The paper then discusses options for the inclusion of migration in the Post-2015 Development Agenda by considering the relevance of a goal similar to the MDG 8 on Global Partnerships or as including migration as an enabler of other development goals.
  • Migration and Health (2013-ongoing). This project investigates the linkages between internal/international migration and the health outcomes of particular immobile population sub-groups (e.g., children, women, elderly). Many recent global health dilemmas—such as the spread of the Ebola virus—have highlighted how population movements can affect public health.
  • Essays on migration and entrepreneurship – Can migration make the entrepreneur? (2014-2017). This project will study to what extent migration experience can contribute to making the entrepreneur. In order to unpack migration as a learning process possibly shaping entrepreneurial education and experience for better performance, a multi-level approach will be adopted, focusing on the interactions of micro-, meso- and macro-level determinants of entrepreneurship performance and migration experience – immigration, emigration and return, or not moving.
  • Diasporas and Peace – The Engagement of the Syrian Diaspora in the contemporary conflict (2014-2018). The aim of this project is to provide a broader understanding of the role and contribution of diasporas to conflicts and peace building in the country of origin. Given the context specific nature of diaspora engagement, it is essential to understand the interests, aspirations, institutions, and objectives of diaspora communities. The aim is to investigate the context-specific factors that created the Syrian diaspora, as well as to analyse the nature, dynamics and ways of the engagement in order to derive theoretical conceptualisations that could explain the complexity of the field.
  • Social transfers and remittances: complements or substitutes for reducing poverty? (2014-2017). This project looks at the relationship between migration and social protection. Specifically, it looks at the interaction between remittances (private transfers) and social transfers (public transfers) and at the different ways they affect expenditure patterns and poverty.
  • Student migrant, refugee or both? Exploring refugee agency and mobility through tertiary education (2013-2016). This project seeks to move beyond characterizations of displacement as spontaneous and lacking agency by understanding how tertiary education shapes forced migration processes in South Africa, Kenya, and Uganda.
  • Moving Back or Moving Forward? Return Migration After Conflict (2013-2014). This project looks at voluntary and involuntary return migration after conflict, within the migration and development debate.
  • There and back again: (Re) integration of Trafficked Persons (2012-2016). The goal of this project will be to look at factors that influence (re)integration of persons trafficked. The focus will be on one of the most severe and highly prevalent –trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Additionally, it will deal with women, as the primary targets of this type of trafficking. Finally, geographically, the research will draw from origin as well as destination countries.
  • Essays on Migration and Entrepreneurship (2011-2016)The objective of this project is to investigate the linkages between migration and entrepreneurship using different case studies to highlight different aspects of the process of a migrant becoming an entrepreneur in their home and/ or destination country.
  • Essays on Migration and Development in (Post-) Conflict Afghanistan (2011-2015). This project explores the link between migration and development taking into account those context-specific issues of conflict, vulnerability, insecurity and poverty within the (post-) conflict setting of Afghanistan.
  • The impact of graduate flows on the economic and innovative performance of firms and regions (2011-ongoing). The project analyses how graduate flows impact on firm-level productivity, on the degree of education-job match, as well as on academic collaborations among institutions located in different countries.
  • The Psychosocial Health of Children ‘Left Behind’ by Migrant Kin in Moldova and Georgia (2010-2015). This project examines the relationship between different forms of kin migration (that of a mother, father, grandparent, or other member of co-resident family) and child psychosocial health outcomes are modelled using household survey data collected in Moldova and Georgia.
  • The role of the origin country state in migration processes: an exploration of the Caribbean region (2010-2015). The study examines the way states of origin countries affect migration patterns, examining in particular the role of independence, the establishment of border regimes and post-colonial ties. After an analysis of the long-term effects of borders and post-colonial ties on migration patterns in the Caribbean region, the study examines these process in three in-depth case studies – Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana – drawing new insights on how states in origin countries shape the volume, timing, motives, composition and destination of migration.
  • An Evaluation of Tax-benefit systems impact on the welfare of frontier workers. The case of Luxembourg and Belgium (2009-2014). The goal of the project was to assess the impact of the differences in social security systems and taxes in the European Union’s context (looking at the selected country cases) and how these affect the income of individuals who reside in one country, but commute daily or weekly to another country for work, while keeping their residence place constant (called ‘frontier workers’).
  • Female Return Migration and Reintegration in Ethiopia (2009-2014). The objective of this project is to increase understandings of reintegration, including an examination of the processes of reintegration, and how different return migrants reintegrate.
  • Simultaneity in transnational migration research: Links between migrants’ host and home country orientation (2009-2014). This project explores concurrently the integration of Afghan, Burundian, Ethiopian and Moroccan migrants in the Netherlands, and their economic and social contacts with their family and friends in their home country. The research contributes to transnational migration research and reveals that there is a positive link between integration and home country engagement.
  • The economic and social effects of remittances and return migration after conflict: A case study on Burundi (2009-2015). The main purpose of this project is to study the effects of remittances and return migration on the economic and social lives of households and communities in the aftermath of conflict, using unique survey data from a conflict-affected context, Burundi.
  • Ethnic segregation in housing, schools and neigbourhoods in the Netherlands (2009-2014). Exploring the rich spatial and neighbourhood-level data available in the Netherlands, this research aims to explain the determinants of ethnic neighbourhood segregation.
  • Highly skilled migration and new destination countries: How government policies shape destination choices (2009-2014). This project focuses on the effects of government policies on the choice of a destination country for highly skilled migrants.