Migrants’ Mobility in Central and Eastern Europe”
– A Policy Analysis of
International Organization for Migration’s Practices
Agreements abolished internal borders between Schengen member states
allowed for the free circulation of goods, capital, services and its
Simultaneously, the Agreements reinforced European Union’s (EU)
borders and set out to harmonize its immigration and asylum policies. Policies and practices of the EU
of migration created, in Balibar’s terms, a ‘double regime
of the circulation
of people’, i.e. a regime that facilitates and encourages the
of the EU citizens while simultaneously restricting the mobility of
Country’ nationals. Moreover, the recent process of EU
especially the strict application required from the Candidate states of
Schengen acquis in the matters of border control and visa
transformed this double regime into ‘multiple regimes’ of
among the EU, the Candidate and the non-Candidate states.
migration regime requires the EU Candidate states to apply
and visa regulations towards the non-Candidates. Hence, the Czech
included Ukraine, Russia and Belarus in their proposal for new visa
Other measures, such as the ‘Safe Third Country’ rule,
migrants’ mobility. For example, Safe Third Countries such as
EU-like asylum regulations that enable Polish authorities to deport
undocumented migrants from Polish territory to the detention camps in
and Belarus. Additionally, Candidate states are also expected to sign
re-admission agreements, amend their Aliens’ Law and the
introduce) laws against human trafficking.
shift the responsibility for border protection and interception of
migration from the EU to EU Candidates, and turn the latter into a kind
‘buffer zone’ or into the EU’s new migration
‘gatekeepers’. Critical scholars
and policy makers have pointed out that the above listed practices
endanger the stability of geo-political relations in Eastern Europe,
yield detrimental results to the EU as a whole since the strict
application of the
Schengen border and visa regimes not only undermines the freedom of
persons between CEE and fSU achieved in the post-1989 period, but also
new power-hierarchies within the region.
While it is
certainly true that the EU
policies have a
crucial say on the matter of migration, the recent years have seen an
stronger presence and impact in
of an intergovernmental agency, namely International Organization for
(IOM). This research project scrutinizes the legitimacy and objectives
in the ‘management’ of migratory movements in(to) Europe.
have started researching the impact of EU policies on individual
states as well as on the region as a whole; however no one has yet
the position IOM occupies and the
plays in regulating migratory movements. Nevertheless, to say that IOM
yet come under scholarly scrutiny means underestimating the work done
by various NGO’s and groups concerned with migrants’
rights. Groups as various
as British Refugee Council (England), Agista, Noborder (Germany), de
de illegaal (The
Netherlands), and La Strada
(Poland) have initiated a debate about IOM, and argued that IOM pursues
control approach instead of rights-based approach to migration. The most comprehensive
criticism of IOM activities so
far has come from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. They
documented the involvement of various IOM field missions in activities
violate the basic rights of migrants such as managing arbitrary
and impinging on migrants’ right to seek asylum. My current Ph.D.
‘trafficking’ in women has brought to the fore a number of
other similar IOM
activities, especially relevant for the region: intercepting of
discouraging of ‘irregular’ migration,
encouraging of (premature) ‘voluntary’ returns,
and implementing EU border-regimes.
self-stated objectives are “to help migrants with all their needs
and to assist
governments in managing migration for the good of all”.
With regard to the geo-political stability of the region, the research
questions the content and implementations of these objectives,
relationship to EU’s policies of immigration control. In order to
do so, this
project aims at producing a comprehensive and detailed picture of
IOM is running across the region. The project will not focus on IOM
that concern the health of migrants or war compensations, but will
exclusively on those Programmes that impact migrants’ mobility
curbing ‘irregular’ migration by discouraging it (e.g.
campaigns), channeling it into state sanctioned forms of
(e.g. interception, deportation), or ‘containing’ it (e.g.
border-regimes). The produced
map will be
intersected with the EU admission requirements and their effects on
and non-Candidates in the matter of migration. The aim of this
comparison is to
test the hypothesis whether IOM’s activities can be interpreted
and implementing Schengen’s migration- and border-regimes in CEE.
offering immediate and
and introducing a debate about IOM’s practices in the region
matters of human rights compliance as well as transparency and
of IOM’s projects in general. The target groups for the debate
one, the local and international civil society organizations promoting
migrants’ rights; and two, IOM’s national field offices,
UNHCR and CEE Governments. In case my research proves that IOM is
impinging on a number of migrants’ rights, the policy implication
would be that
IOM ends its border control approach and adopt instead a right-based
puts the well-being of migrants at the center of its interventions.
collected initially through reports, articles, and websites on IOM or
IOM itself. Subsequently, I will visit the IOM headquarters in Geneva
undertake there a fieldwork of four weeks. During that period, I will
extensive interviews with IOM officials responsible for the region.
Geneva, I also intend to undertake a research on IOM itself, namely its
history, organizational structure, finances and decisional procedures.
aspects are fundamental in better understanding the status of IOM and
relationship to the EU as well as to individual States in the region.
these data will help me to understand IOM’s position and
the EU, they will be crucial in developing recommendations compatible
national immigration policies in
collected the initial data and completed the fieldwork in Geneva, I
establish contacts with a number of national IOM offices in the region.
order to understand better how various Programmes are decided upon,
and carried out, I will undertake a selected number of short research
(one week long) to the locations of differential types of IOM projects.
project will result in one research and two policy papers: a research
one policy paper will target civil society organizations protecting
rights, and the second policy paper will address UNHCR, the Governing
of the IOM, and CEE Governments.
Even though the
realization of this proposal is designed to be achieved within one
project is also future oriented. It aims at laying the ground for a new
research project developing an analytical framework to understand fully
scope of IOM’s work. If IOM plays a crucial role in the
‘management’ of borders,
an operation that pertains traditionally to the nation-state, it is
to investigate whether IOM could be seen as one of ‘new global
which has emerged out of the modification of the global economy, and is
a crucial role in processes of its transformation through the
management of migratory movements, as Human
Rights Watch and Amnesty International’s
concerns underline. How
to achieve effective rights-based policy interventions in this changed
political landscape will depend on development of appropriate
to adequately grasp the current transformations of sovereign power in