Integration of Migrants in the Absence of Policy: Africa

  • DATE / TIME:
    2014•02•27    12:30 - 13:30

    Joint UNU-MERIT/School of Governance Seminar: “The Everyday Integration of Migrants in the Absence of Policy: Some African Examples”

    The featured speaker for this seminar will be Dr. Oliver Bakewell of the International Migration Institute.

    Analysis of international migration typically focuses on the interaction between the migrants and the destination state — in particular, its policies on immigration, integration and the settlement of migrants. International migration is widely associated with an increase in migrants’ vulnerability to economic and social exploitation, political repression and even violence. The integration of migrants into the destination society is seen as a crucial step for reducing this vulnerability.

    While it may be appropriate to focus on state policies in the case of highly developed states – where the administration reaches into nearly every corner of life – it must be questioned in poorer regions of the world, where the capacity of the state may be very limited, especially in remote border regions. Many countries in developing regions have very limited policies on migration, and the gaps between policy and practice may be enormous. Drawing on research in Zambia, the African Great Lakes and Morocco, Dr. Bakewell will discuss how different sets of migrants have integrated themselves, either in the absence of or contrary to government policies, arguing that the complex mix of interests and negotiations that might be agreed below the level of the state may, in practice, have much more significance for the lives of migrants than the best efforts of states or international organizations.

    For more information about this seminar, see the Future Events page on the UNU-MERIT website.

    About the speaker

    Dr. Oliver Bakewell has spent many years working with migrants and refugees as both a researcher and practitioner with a range of development and humanitarian NGOs. Currently, he is Co-Director of the International Migration Institute. His research is centered on the changing relationship between migration, diasporas and global development.