Closing the tap: restrictive policies to reduce irregular migration flows on the Central Mediterranean Route

Gabriele Restelli

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Abstract

Responding to growing immigration concerns, European countries have increasingly
resorted to restrictive entry policies in recent years. While migration literature tends to
support this policy lever, reporting a significant association between restrictive
legislation and immigration flows, findings are generally based on measures of
regular migration only. This paper complements available evidence using innovative
data on irregular flows between 2003 and 2016 on the Central Mediterranean Route
(CMR) to provide a critical analysis of the use of restrictive regulations as a migration
management tool. It finds that such restrictions, rather than deterring irregular
migration, are likely to push more people into the asylum system. Reducing access to
legal pathways has no significant effect on the volume of irregular migrants
apprehended on the CMR, while it increases the number of those that seek
regularization through asylum application.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScienza e Pace
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2021

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute

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