Protecting Irregular Migrants in Europe: Variations in vulnerability, host country needs, and policy effectivenes

Project Details


PRIME – Protecting Irregular Migrants in Europe seeks to understand how and why the conditions of irregular migrants vary so dramatically across Europe. Led by the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, the other participating institutions are the University of Bristol, the University of Uppsala (Sweden), the University of Warsaw (Poland), the University of Zagreb (Croatia), the University of St Gallen (Switzerland) and the Danish Refugee Council.

‘Irregular migrants’ includes a very wide range of statuses and experiences that vary between countries, between sectors of employment, and by gender and nationality/’race’. This project examines how national institutional contexts – not only immigration and asylum law and policy, but also the regulation of work, welfare state policies, and sectoral differences – shape the causes and consequences of irregularity. It also examines the role of gender ‘race’ and public attitudes in shaping migrants’ experiences of their legal status.

PRIME will provide a new comparative institutional approach to understanding the conditions of irregular migrants in Europe and how they are made vulnerable. Understanding ‘irregularity’ as a complex, gendered and ‘nationalised’ status it will conduct large-scale surveys, structured policy analysis, and qualitative interviews with irregular migrants, employers, policy actors, interest groups and voters across eight European countries. It will thereby generate new analysis on how migrants’ outcomes and experiences are shaped by national socio-economic institutions (including national labour market regulations and welfare institutions), sectoral policies, the actions and interests of migrants and social attitudes.

Protecting Irregular Migrants in Europe is a Horizon Research and Innovations Actions project number 101095113. This work was funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under the UK government’s Horizon Europe funding guarantee [grant number 10066522].

PRIME is coordinated by Martin Ruhs (Lead, Migration Policy Centre (MPC), European University Institute (EUI) and Bridget Anderson (MMB).

Learn more about our EU-Horizon partner projects: DignityFIRM, i-CLAIM, and MIrreM.

This project is associated with the MMB Challenge on Bordering, control, justice

Effective start/end date1/04/2331/03/26


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