State of the Art Conference 2021 25 March 2021

Panel Discussions

Panel discussion: External dimensions of EU migration policyInternational cooperation is a sine qua non for migration policies, both within the European Union and with third countries. Last year, the European Commission presented its so-called Migration Pact, in which it proposes various ways to renew international migration management. This panel sets out to discuss these plans and place them in a broader perspective. Primarily focusing on the external dimensions of EU migration governance, such as partnerships, return and readmission, and regional development, policy makers and experts share their views on success and failure factors.

Chair: Nanda Kellij (Ministry of Justice and Security, MPI Brussels)
Participants: Monika Sie Dhian Ho (General Director of the Clingendael Institute); Philip Bob Jusu (Representative of the African Union in Brussels); Hugo Brady (Senior Strategic Advisor at the International Centre for Migration Policy Development), Daan Huisinga (Netherlands Deputy Director General for International Migration), Joost Klaarenbeek (Netherlands Special Envoy for Migration)
Panel discussion: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on migration (policy)Both policymakers and migrants grapple with the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. This panel discusses what lessons ought to be learned for the post-pandemic era. Certain developments have already come to the fore: the direct effect of this pandemic on labour migration, asylum applications and return migration; the challenges related to border control; but also how policy responses to job loss, permit extensions, and welfare provision have been ad-hoc. When looking to the future, moreover, questions arise about free travel zones and vaccination passports, about further digitalisation of procedures, and about the long-term impact on various forms mobility.

Chair: Paul Bekkers (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Participants: Monique Kremer (Chair of the Dutch Advisory Commission on Migration), Hanne Beirens (Director of the Migration Policy Institute Europe), Marie McAuliffe (head of the Migration Research Division, International Migration Organization), Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh (professor and director in several migration research units at University College London), and Magnus Ovilius (European Migration Network).

Subsessions Round 1

1. Development aid to prevent irregular migration: illusion or solution?Huge amounts are spent on development activities supposed to address the so-called ‘root causes of irregular migration’. While there seems to be a broad political consensus to do so, some scientists have expressed doubts. According to the well-known ‘migration hump’, economic growth and development in low and lower middle income countries would initially lead to more outward migration, not less. Aid would therefore be counterproductive. The debate has picked up recently, with other studies arguing in favour of aid as a policy instrument to prevent irregular migration. This workshop will provide the ‘state of the art’ knowledge on this essential question not only for migration policymakers but equally those working in development cooperation.

Experts: Jan Bade (Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ethiopia), Naomi Leefmans (University of Amsterdam) and Anna Knoll (European Centre for Development Policy Management)
2. Complexity unraveled: a deeper look into migrant decision-making Do the assumptions about migrant decision-making underlying migration policy reflect reality on the ground? Effective policy presupposes understanding of what complex factors drive migrants, how their decision-making process develops over time, and what the impact of policy is on their decisions. The aim of this workshop is to better understand migration pathways by focusing on the experiences of migrants and to analyse the complexity of migration decisions.

Experts: Bram Frouws (Mixed Migration Centre) and Katie Kuschminder (Maastricht University); others TBC
3. Legal migration pathways: European practiceExpanding existing and opening new legal migration routes could be a recipe for filling labour market gaps while at the same time better cooperating on irregular migration with third countries. Is it desirable and feasible?

Experts: Monika Sie Dhian Ho (General Director of the Clingendael Institute); others TBC
4. Understanding the context and evolution of trafficking in human being from Nigeria, via Italy to the NetherlandsIn this session, we will attempt to go beyond the “well-known” trafficking narrative about Nigerian women and attempt to fill in the knowledge gaps focusing on the context and cultural aspects of Nigerians who live in Edo State (Nigeria), Sicily (Italy), and Amsterdam.

Experts: Mariia Shaidrova (University of Tilburg), Alessandra Canizzo (IKENGA, Voice of the World, Palermo), Mabel Ikoghode (Girls Power Initiative, Benin City)
5. How to deal with ethical dilemmas in migration policy? For policy-makers, the migration domain is fraught with dilemmas. Overcrowded camps, the death toll on the Mediterranean or abuse of migrants in Libya have existed for years on Europe’s periphery and raise questions about the ethical boundaries of migration policy and how to balance various interests. Such questions are linked to the role that civil servants have, or ought to have, in policy making. They are supposed to develop and implement policies that are democratically legitimised, which at the same time may give rise to ethical questions. How are civil servants to cope with dilemma’s and tensions in their work, how are they to relate to political decisions and what room for discretion do they, or should they, have?
The workshop will explore ethical dilemmas in policy making and identify ways to deal with the mechanisms that shape this work context.

Experts: Jos Philips (Ethiek Instituut Utrecht University)
6. Building the resilience and self-reliance of refugees: Unpacking strategies for perspectives in the regionResilience and self-reliance are common concepts in policies and programmes related to migration management and displacement. They are championed in particular by European Union and United Nations Development Programme in relation to refugee reception in the region. However, what is meant by building 'resilience' in refugee-hosting countries or by enhancing refugees' 'self-reliance'? In this workshop, we will unpack these buzzwords and share recent research on the policy and practice of resilience-building and enhancing refugee self-reliance. In particular, we will examine the underlying assumptions behind such strategies and analyze their implications – on both the short-term and the long-term - for refugee hosting countries and refugees themselves. The session will focus on ongoing research conducted in the Syria region, discussing the findings and their implications for policymakers and (donor) practice.

Experts: Rosanne Anholt (VU University), Nora Stel (Radboud University), others TBC
7. Gendering migration: addressing the intersections of gender, race, migration and receptionIn many policy briefings, migrants are depicted through stereotypes and oversimplifications. Consequently, many immigration laws and policies in Western liberal democracies lack a thorough consideration of gender. Recent scholarly contributions argue that as a result policies on e.g. human trafficking, asylum reception, labour participation and family reunification are indifferent to the diversity of experiences. Public migration boards that work to the best of their ability when combatting human trafficking might still overlook the organisational roles women have in human trafficking networks. Likewise, large sums made available for asylum reception can still oversee the tailored needs of women and sexual minorities. IOM has therefore advocated for a deepening of the gendered understanding of migration. This session will focus on policy reforms that emanate from the incorporation of a gender perspective.

Experts: Parvati Raghuram (Open University), Tine Davids (Radboud University Nijmegen), Saskia Bonjour (University of Amsterdam), Natalie Welfens (University of Amsterdam)

Subsessions Round 2

8. EU border management interventions in Africa: impact beyond numbersThe European Union’s (EU) interventions to control migration increasingly extend beyond the EU external border. A variety of measures have been implemented, including measures to enhance capacity of border control of partner countries and higher reception of migrants and refugees in the region (by means of e.g. voluntary returns or funding Emergency Transit Mechanisms). Increasingly the approach has also been securitised. Thus, what is the broader impact of these measures? Can they be considered as durable solutions in order to control (or contain) irregular migratory flows or are the still many blind spots? What is the impact on communities in countries of origin and transit? How does the impact of these policies square with other stated policy EU policy objectives in the region? This session will explore these questions with the objective of carving out long-term policy suggestions.

Experts: Johannes Claes (Clingendael Institute), Amanda Bisong (European Centre for Development Policy Management), Tsion Abebe (Institute for Security Studies Africa)
9. International (legal) framework of migration policy In 2018 two (new) international frameworks were adopted in the field of asylum- and migration. The Global Compact for Refugees (GCR) and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). The GCM was thoroughly debated in the public domain. What are these Compacts really about and how can they be of use? What other international rules come into play?

Experts: Maarten den Heijer (University of Amsterdam and of the Supervisory Board of UAF), Andrea Vonkeman (UNHCR, The Netherlands) and Tesseltje de Lange (Radboud University Nijmegen and the Dutch Advisory Committee on Migration Affairs)
10. Return and readmission policy: success and fail factors Effective return and readmission of migrants without a right of residence is dependent on the cooperation of countries of origin, which in practice is not always easy. This session sets out to discusssuccess and fail factors in return and readmission cooperation. It does so on the one hand by diving into the dynamics of Moroccan and Tunisian governments, so illuminating the perspective of countries of origin. On the other hand current research on return and readmission agreements between various Member States and countries of origin helps to pinpoint what makes cooperation successful.

Experts: Katherina Natter (Leiden University); Arjen Leerkes (Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Erasmus University Rotterdam and the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC) of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security)
11. Dealing with migration: third-country cooperation and externalization of EU migration policy The EU and member states seek cooperation with countries of origin and transit in order to regulate migration towards Europe. The 2016 EU-Turkey statement is one example of such cooperation. During the past five years, the EU-Turkey statement had a range of effects, including the decrease of irregular arrivals in Europa, as for example a WODC report from 2019 makes clear. The question remains how to make third country cooperation effective on the long term. This session starts with the lessons learned from the past years and then continues to explore how to give shape to the relationship in the future.

Experts: Ahmet İçduygu (Koç University), Tamer Kilic (International Center for Migration Policy Development)
12. Where data changes imaginaries: how to adjust migration projections based on new data analyses? Good migration data, including about irregular migration, are a conditio sine qua non for solid and well-informed migration policy. On the supply side, a proliferation of data centres and institutions in recent years has resulted in an exponential increase in available data. One may ask what this abundance of data does for policymaking. In what form are data presented, how do policymakers process and use such copious supply of data and how are data used to influence imaginaries of the future?

Experts: Danny Dorling (Oxford University), Jane Linekar (Mixed Migration Centre), Erik van Kampen (Ministry of Justice and Security)
13. Overcoming barriers to employment for refugees in refugee-hosting regionsAccording to UNHCR more than 70% of refugees worldwide live in neighbouring countries in their region of origin. Countries like Turkey and Uganda are at the forefront of the global displacement crisis. The Netherlands is both a financial donor to host countries within these regions of origin and a host country for refugees itself. Although the context and scale differ, the Netherlands and host countries in refugees’ regions of origin face similar challenges. And they have both learned many lessons through years of hosting refugees. There is value in sharing experiences and exploring which effective approaches can be replicated and scaled up from local to global and vice versa.

Experts: Jolanda Asmoredjo and Kirsten Tinnemans (Verwey-Jonker Instituut), Tobias Ebert and Victoria Baumann (GIZ, Ethiopia), and Marlet Schreuder (City of Amsterdam)
14. The Venezuelan migration crisis in the Dutch Caribbean: a perspective on small island nations responses to large arrivals of migrantsThe Dutch Caribbean were in the postwar period characterised by emigration towards the Netherlands. However, in recent years an ever increasing number of Venezuelans arrived on the Leeward Antilles. Driven from their homeland by economic chaos and political unrest, Venezuelans often end up being exploited in neighbouring countries. While much is already written about the situation of Venezuelan refugees in countries such as Colombia, Brazil or Peru, much less is known about their situation in the Dutch Caribbean. This session seeks to make good this gap in our knowledge about a part of the Dutch Kingdom.

Experts: Gerardo González (Leiden University), Rosemarijn Hoefte (University of Amsterdam), Natalie Dietrich Jones (University of the West Indies)