The regularisation of irregular immigrants remains one of the main controversial policy options in regard to policies towards irregular migrants. While there is an increasing realisation that in some contexts regularisation may be an appropriate and necessary response to the sustained presence of irregular migrants, notably in humanitarian cases such as migrants who cannot be returned or who have family or other strong ties to their country of residence, opposition against regularisation remains strong, often based on principled considerations. However, very little is still known about wider impacts of regularisation, and in particular the impact of regularisation on those regularised.
Objectives: The objectives of this feasibility study are threefold:
• To determine the feasibility of conducting a comparative survey on the labour market performance of regularised immigrants in seven European countries;
• To identify the best design for an empirical study of the labour market performance of regularised and irregular migrants and prepare draft tools for an implementation of the survey;
• To provide tentative results on labour market trajectories of regularised migrants on the basis of exploratory qualitative research conducted in the course of the feasibility study.
An earlier study conducted by ICMPD between 2007 and 2009 ( “Regularisations in Europe”, REGINE) had identified the overall extent of regularisation, the different forms, rationales and target groups of regularisation, while linking regularisation to the complex causes of irregularity, differing patterns of irregular migration and different overall policy responses to irregular migration across the EU. Yet as a study largely based on desk research and limited primary data collection amongst public authorities and other stakeholders, the study was unable to provide robust evidence regarding the wider impacts of regularisation, including the impact of regularisation on labour market trajectories of regularised migrants. The REGANE study sets out to address this gap.
In its feasibility study phase, the study has three aims. First, it will assess the feasibility of conducting a quantitative survey amongst regularised and non-regularised migrants in 7 European countries; second, it will explore the best design for a quantitative empirical study of labour market trajectories of regularised migrants; and third it will undertake explorative qualitative research involving research with relevant experts, public authorities and migrants, thus not only preparing the ground for the implementation of the quantitative survey but also providing preliminary results regarding labour market trajectories of regularised migrants. The quantitative survey prepared through this feasibility study itself is planned to be implemented in a second phase of the project. It expected to provide the first systematic comparative assessment of individual level impacts of regularisation on those regularised in Europe.