Irregular Migration

Irregular Migration

The Dilemmas of Transnational Mobility

Bill Jordan and Franck Düvell

Irregular Migration is an extremely timely and topical book, analysing the fundamental tensions at the core of present attempts to manage the movement of population in today’s world. Recent events around the globe have prompted a reappraisal of the emerging consensus on migration control.

Chapter 6: The Role of Support Organisations

Bill Jordan and Franck Düvell

Subjects: development studies, migration, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, migration, urban and regional studies, migration


As we have seen in Chapters 4 and 5, irregular migrants relied heavily on fellow nationals already in the country for support, especially during the early parts of their stays. They often received help finding their first accommodation and employment, and – in the case of migrants from Turkey – sustenance over longer periods when they met adversity. This corresponds with theories of ‘network’ (Boyd, 1989), ‘chain’ (Böcker, 1994; Wegge, 1998) and ‘secondary’ migration, all of which imply that flows of migrants to a particular country are related to the stocks of immigrants from specific countries of origin already settled there (Bauer and Zimmermann, 1997), through transnational links. Many of these networks are concerned with informal facilitation of migration (Banerjee, 1983; Fawcett, 1989), and form part of emerging transnational communities and social spaces (Glick-Schiller, Basch and Blanc-Szanton, 1992; Smith, 1994; Pries, 1996). They act as two-way communication channels between emigration countries, migrants and the host society, providing information about the migration process safety nets for newcomers, knowledge about the host society and options for settlement strategies. For migrants arriving in the UK in the 1990s, there already existed an organised infrastructure of campaigning and support groups and agencies in London, dating from earlier waves of immigration, originally from the New Commonwealth countries. These organisations were primarily concerned with responding to legislation restricting further immigration flows, and addressing the disadvantages experienced by immigrants in the UK by lobbying for equal rights (Sivanandan, 1982; Ramdin, 1987; Rex, Joly and Wilpert, 1992). This...

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