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The role of institutions

This video discusses the impact that different institutions can have upon migration over a period of time.
We have seen in the previous unit that when migration is already underway, social networks represent a key element in shaping new migrant trajectories. Let us now analyse another element– institutions– which also play a role in the continuation of migration. Criminal networks, such as smugglers and semi-legal intermediaries, are sometimes the first institutions migrants get in contact with. They facilitate the arrival of migrants via irregular channels, providing forged documents, means of transport, and jobs in the black markets in the country of destination. NGOs and charity organisations support migrants in finding accommodation, jobs, or legal support to regularise their situation. This is another set of institutions migrants find on their path.
Migrants’ associations, based on common religious, cultural, or professional identities, can encourage new arrivals and facilitate their members’ social integration. Trade unions and worker organisations are other important institutions, as they provide migrants with support and protection in case of abuse in the workplace. International organisations also play an important role, as they set normative standards on the rights of migrants, especially for migrant workers and children.
But the institutions that have the greatest impact on migration are governments. In fact, they can decide to adopt restrictive policies on migration to create obstacles for the departure or arrival of migrants, such as by tightening border control, limiting options for visas, and migrants’ jobs. Governments can also facilitate migration– for example, by signing agreements on labour recruitment programmes that favour flows from specific countries.
We now know that institutions can make a great difference, as they can influence migrants in their decision to leave their country and choose their destination.

Here we discuss the impact that different institutions can have on fostering ongoing migration over a period of time.

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Why Do People Migrate? Theories

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