The first article from our Understandings Irregular Migrants Decision Making Factors in Transit project has just been published in Migration Policy Practice entitled ‘Afghans in Greece and Turkey seeking to migrate onward: Decision-making factors and destination choice’. This is a short descriptive overview of the decision making factors of Afghan migrants in Turkey and Greece. The article highlights that the majority of Afghan migrants in Greece and Turkey want to migrate onwards and that their primary destination choices are Germany and Sweden. Below is a summary of the key findings of the article.
“Three implications for policy emerge. First, it is clear that decision-making by Afghan migrants in transit is complex, dynamic, and influenced by a range of factors across the transit and intended destination country, as well as individual and network variables. Migration and non-migration policies clearly have an influence on these variables. For example, the ability of policy levers decisively to influence migrants’ decision making factors is not clearly demonstrated.
Second, conditions in their transit country are central to Afghans’ decisions whether to migrate onwards or stay. Poor living conditions and unemployment, combined with the perception of better conditions in the intended destination country are central drivers for onwards migration from the transit countries. It follows that access to employment and better living conditions may impact the decision of Afghans to choose to stay in transit countries rather than migrate onwards. At the same time, it appears that legal status may not be an important anchor. This highlights that policies focused on improving living conditions for migrants in transit and increasing employment opportunities may be the most effective in increasing the number of people that choose to stay in transit countries. The proposal for special economic zones in Turkey by Alexander Betts and Paul Collier (2015) to increase industrial development is an example of one such policy that may achieve these objectives. In essence, policies should be focused on factors that enable people to stay in transit countries. For this to be sustainable, people clearly need to make a voluntary choice to stay meaning that adequate living conditions and employment are essential.
Third, the primary information source for Afghans seeking to migrate onwards from Greece and Turkey were network ties of family and friends, most commonly in the intended destination country. In contrast and contrary to current orthodoxy, social media and smugglers were not the primary information sources used by migrants to make decisions regarding their destination choices, in particular in Turkey. This is important to recognize for policy makers so as to not overinflate the role of social media and smugglers in migrants decision making factors and destination choices. Further research is required to elicit further policy implications.”
Access full article here: https://publications.iom.int/system/files/pdf/migration_policy_practice_journal_27.pdf