Mapping migrants’ administrative trajectories
This study combines two parts.
Part 1: a study of the trajectories of migrants as they move within the administrative system
First, the legal framework will be put in perspective with the experience of migrants through a study of the trajectories of migrants as they move within the administrative system, with a focus on how these trajectories interact with familial and professional pathways. We will use two rich administrative databases that have not been extensively exploited in the context of migration research in Belgium. Taken together, the National Register and the Crossroads Bank for Social Security (CBSS) contain detailed information on the different legal statuses that the migrants can successively hold, as well as on the evolution of the composition of the households in which they reside, and the changes in their socio-demographic and professional characteristics. These datasets are longitudinal by nature, making it possible to reconstruct the trajectories of migrants since their arrival in Belgium in an exhaustive way and in various domains.
Our analysis of administrative data will cover the period 1999-2014. A 15-year period is long enough to include various cohorts of migrants, who arrived in Belgium under different socio-political circumstances, and also allows for the study of long spells of the life histories. The analysis will include migrants from third countries, who arrived in Belgium when they were adults (aged 18 and over), regardless of the nationality and legal status with which they crossed the border. We will focus both on migrants who obtained a permanent residence status during their stay (whether or not they acquired the Belgian nationality) and on migrants with a temporary residence permit or those whose application for asylum or regularization for humanitarian reasons is still under consideration in 2014. The migrants who left Belgium during our reference period will also be included in the analyses in order to compare their trajectories with migrants who are still residing in Belgium. This means that we will exploit data from different parts of the National Register, including data from the “Register of Physical Persons”, the “Alien’s Register” as well as the “Waiting Register”.
Statistical analyzes to be carried out on this administrative database will be both descriptive and multivariate, making the most of the longitudinal nature of the data. Since our goal here is to study the interrelations between changes in the administrative statuses of migrants and changes occurring in their families and professionals careers during their stay in Belgium, we will construct typologies (or typical patterns of trajectories) using sequence analysis. We will then assess whether these typical patterns are associated with socio-demographic characteristics of migrants (such as nationality or gender), or they are merely a reflection of the type of status the migrants had at the time of their arrival in Belgium.
Part 2: A quantitative survey on migrants’ trajectories
While administrative databases are nearly exhaustive and provide an overall picture of migrants’ trajectories, they are limited due to several grounds. Little information on family changes, mobility, and professional trajectories is available, not to mention the lack of any data on intentions and aspirations. Moreover, behavior on the fringes of the law, or de facto situations that may be different from de jure situations, are not recorded in such databases. Finally, such data only cover periods starting when the migrants arrive in Belgium. As a result, they need to be completed by specific survey data.
An exploratory biographic survey will cover migrants’ lives both before and after they left their country, and will include any periods of transits or step migrations between their home country and Belgium. In addition to data on status (e.g. administrative situation, residence etc.) and events (e.g. regularization, family reunification), retrospective information on intentions and aspirations of migrants will also be collected.
– Sophie Vause, DEMO
– Dr Sarah Carpentier , DEMO
– Prof. Bruno Schoumaker