On 23 and 24th March I was fortunate to be invited to speak at a conference on Afghan Migration hosted by the Australian National University: School of Demography in Canberra. There was a great mix of different types of scholars speaking on dynamics of Afghan migration across the globe. For my information on the event see the website here.
The paper I presented was part of the Understanding Irregular Migrants Decision Making Factors in Transit project, co-authored by Inez Roosen, and focused on the decision making factors for onwards migration or stay of Afghans in Greece and Turkey.
Migrants’ decision making in transit is influenced by a wide range of factors such as conditions in the transit country, perceived conditions in the destination country, information access and social networks, and policy incentives and disincentives. This paper examines the transit experiences and the decision making factors for onwards migration, staying or return of Afghan migrants in Greece and Turkey. Data was collected from May- July 2015 and this paper is based on surveys collected with 375 Afghan migrants in Athens (167) and Istanbul (208) and 15 follow-up qualitative interviews. It is striking that the majority of Afghan respondents had been living in Iran prior to coming to Greece or Turkey for at least one year (55%). Only 37 percent of respondents came directly from Afghanistan, with the remaining respondents coming from either Pakistan, Syria, or in the case of Greece, Turkey. At the time of interview, the majority of respondents were seeking to migrate onwards at 63 percent, with 34 percent planning to stay in the current country and only three percent planning to return to either their last country of settlement (mainly Iran) or Afghanistan. Of the Afghans that seek to migrate onwards the top destination choices are Germany, Sweden, and Austria. Using regression analysis, this paper examines factors that influence the decision to migrate onwards or stay in the current country of transit. The key independent variables of interest include reason for migration, conditions in the transit country, and the intended destination upon leaving the country of last settlement.