Chapter 12: The irregularity maze: investigating asymmetries and discontinuities in the interaction between migrants geographic mobility and regulatory frameworks
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While political and legal discourses tend to portray the distinction between regular and irregular migration as a binary one, this essay illustrates how irregularity and regularity can be better considered as the extremes of a continuum of legal and bureaucratic situations, which make migrants more or less irregular in the eyes of different states and institutions at different levels of governance. The trajectories of migrants who hold a regular status in a member state, but work and reside elsewhere in Europe are an important case in point to understand how local, national and European policies play out in migrants’ lives. By joining a socio-legal analysis with ethnographic research (H2020 TRAFIG project), our essay shows the risk of a chronicisation of migrant irregularity in Europe resulting from the conjunction of immobilising administrative procedures, inefficient expulsion policies, unsuccessful regularisation campaigns and precarisation of labour markets.

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