In terms of expected impact, we hope to (1) make an innovative contribution to theoretical and empirical research in this area, and (2) provide a valuable input into the policy debate on migration in European countries and at EU level.
(1) Innovation. The project will promote innovation in four senses. First, the multidisciplinary approach applied in the research will be highly original. To be sure, there have been a number of attempts to apply a range of multidisciplinary approaches to the analysis of migration, but most have involved synthesising the research results of these approaches to produce common insights. This project will integrate interdisciplinary theories and concepts from the outset, in our design of the methodology for the empirical research.
A second important innovation will be the application and development of recent US approaches to modelling meso-level variables. This will include theoretical approaches to modelling identity-based aspects of migrant decision-making, as well as cutting-edge methodological approaches (e.g. experimental interviews).
Third, the empirical research component will provide an original contribution to knowledge on the impact of policy intervention on migration. There is already extensive research on the impact of migrant networks on mobility and integration, and a number of more general historical works on the consequences of policy interventions in the guest worker era. However, to our knowledge there has been no systematic interview-based research on how networks influence mobility or settlement patterns of specified migrant networks, following the expansion of legal migration programmes in Europe.
Fourth, the project will offer innovative analysis of the political and sociological context of knowledge transfer in migration policy. While there have been a number of contributions on the institutional context of EU policy making on immigration, none has addressed the specific question of patterns and constraints to the transfer of scientific knowledge, as has been done for other areas of European policy.
(2) Policy input. A number of demographic, global economic, and domestic socio-economic trends suggest that labour and skills shortages will become increasingly acute in the coming years and decades. Many EU countries, and the European Commission DG Justice and Home Affairs, have already responded by developing legislation or proposals for expanded labour migration programmes. However, current and future policy-making and public debates could benefit from a wider knowledge base on the possible (often unintended) consequences of expanded labour migration programmes. We hope that one impact of our project will be to contribute to this debate, through filling knowledge gaps, promoting knowledge transfer to European policy-makers, and generating more policy recommendations for minimising the unintended consequences of labour migration policies. This will be achieved, inter alia, through our series of policy briefs, internet dissemination, and international conference on the theme.