Migration Letters 2021-03-25T09:42:55+00:00 Migration Letters Open Journal Systems <p><a title="Migration Letters" href=""><em><img style="padding: 0 15px; float: left;" src="" alt="Migration Letters" height="200" /></em></a></p> <p><strong>Migration Letters</strong> is an international leading scholarly journal for researchers, students, scholars who investigate human migration as well as practitioners and quick dissemination of research in the field through its letter type format enabling concise sharing of short accounts of research, debates, case studies, book reviews and viewpoints in this multidisciplinary field of social sciences. Migration Letters is the first-ever letter-type journal in migration studies launched in 2004. It is following a strict double-blind peer review policy for research articles. <strong>Migration Letters</strong> is published bimonthly in January, March, May, July, September, and November.</p> <p>ISSN: 1741-8984 | e-ISSN: 1741-8992 | The abbreviated title of Migration Letters journal is: Migrat. Lett. | <strong>Migration Letters</strong> is abstracted and indexed widely including by SCOPUS and Web of Science.</p> Transnational (Im)mobilities and Informality in Europe 2020-10-19T08:19:26+00:00 Ignacio Fradejas-García Abel Polese Fazila Bhimji <p><em>People around the globe rely on informal practices to resist, survive, care and relate to each other beyond the control and coercive presence of institutions and states. In the EU, regimes of mobility at multiple scales affect various people on the move who are pushed into informality in order to acquire social mobility while having to combat border regimes, racialization, inequalities, and state bureaucracies. This text explores how mobilities and informality are entangled with one another when it comes to responding to the social, political, and economic inequalities that are produced by border and mobility regimes. Within this frame, the ethnographic articles in this special issue go beyond national borders to connect the production of mobility and informality at multiple interconnected scales, from refugees adapting to settlement bureaucracies locally to transit migrants coping with the selective external borders of the EU, or from transnational entrepreneurs’ ability to move between formal and informal norms to the multiple ways in which transnational mobility informally confronts economic, social and political constraints. In sum, this volume brings together articles on informality and mobility that take account of the elusive practices that deal with the inequalities of mobility and immobility.</em></p> 2021-03-25T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 Migration Letters Localising Informal Practices in Transnational Entrepreneurship 2020-10-19T15:23:15+00:00 Laure Sandoz <p>In recent academic literature, transnational migrant entrepreneurs tend to be represented as active agents capable of mobilising resources situated in different countries to develop new businesses. Mobility, however, is an unequally distributed resource, and restrictive migration regimes limit the possibilities of individuals to become entrepreneurs. This article focuses on the role of informal practices in the business strategies of migrants who develop their activities across national borders. Based on ethnographic research in Barcelona, Spain, it argues that, in a context of unequal access to formal resources, resorting to informality is crucial for many entrepreneurs as it enables them to expand their options for social mobility and achieve personal goals that would otherwise remain unreachable. At the same time, the article proposes a critical perspective on the notions of informality and entrepreneurship. It highlights that these concepts rely on context-dependent norms set by certain social groups and challenged by others, which influence who can become an entrepreneur in specific environments. While certain categories of migrants are favourably positioned with regard to these norms, others are hindered by them and therefore are forced to engage in alternative entrepreneurial activities. </p> 2021-03-25T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 Migration Letters Informality on Wheels: Informal Automobilities Beyond National Boundaries 2020-10-19T08:29:30+00:00 Ignacio Fradejas-García <p><em>This article unpacks informal practices related to modernity’s quintessential mobility machine: the car. Based on ethnographic fieldwork among low-wage Romanian immigrants in Spain who maintain transnational connections with their regions of origin in Romania, this paper addresses the role of the automobile system and of informal practices in migrants’ daily work and life mobilities. I contend that informal automobilities are a set of livelihood strategies and infrapolitical activities that use cars to confront the constraints of geographical and social mobility regimes. The result is a heavily controlled car system that also provides the flexibility to move informally between formal rules in order to make a living. The transnational approach allows us to go beyond earlier accounts of informality that focus on the local and/or national scale by treating the car as a translocal object embedded socially and economically in transnational relationships. These conclusions contribute to increasing our knowledge of post-structural informality and mobility, but they are also relevant to understanding how a future carless or post-car world would impact on the populations that need, or exploit, the automobile system to survive and would oppose unequal mobility regimes</em>.</p> 2021-03-25T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 Migration Letters Health and Care in the Estonian–Finnish Translocal Context 2020-10-26T18:30:40+00:00 Pihla Maria Siim <p><em>This article presents an ethnographic study of everyday care practices in the Estonian–Finnish context, drawing on theories of transnationalism and translocality. Based on interviews and participant observation, the article analyses translocal care from the point of view of Estonian families, members of which live or work in Finland. The Estonian–Finnish transnational space exists in practical, everyday terms, i.e. people transport goods from one place to another and use familiar services in their country of origin. Family responsibilities do not disappear with geographical distance, and there is a willingness to continue normal habits of care without interruption. However, the social policies framing care are still predominantly national. The article scrutinises gendered translocal practices related to bodily experiences and to self-care, and the multiplicity of ways in which (informal) translocal care affects the everyday lives of family members.The article uses the approach of bounded mobilities to look at social inequalities and hierarchies in the context of (im)mobilities. In the case of Estonia, intergenerational family solidarity is a requirement established by law, meaning that Estonians living abroad are obliged to provide maintenance for family members. For this reason, Estonia is an interesting case of informality intertwined with formality.</em></p> 2021-03-25T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 Migration Letters Informal Practices in Illicit Border-Regimes: The Economy of Legal and Fake Travel Documents Sustaining The EU Asylum System 2020-10-27T14:38:45+00:00 Romm Lewkowicz <p><em>On their route to secure asylum in the EU, asylum seekers rely on various strategies involving both licit and illicit paper practices. Based on ethnographic research with asylum seekers on the move between Turkey, Greece, and Germany, this article takes the realm of legal documents to probe the economy of legality and illegality that sustains the EU asylum system. Looking at how asylum seekers differentiate between their papers, the article demonstrates how efficacy rather than legality is the organizing principle through which papers are evaluated. Rather than being preoccupied with whether a paper is legal or illegal, ‘unauthorized’ migrants on the move evaluate papers on the scale of strong/not strong or dangerous/safe, asking what is more likely to work or pose less threat, and in what circumstances. The notion that both licit and illicit papers have a fickle efficacy in producing legality problematizes common policy and scholarly conceptions of the counterfeit as an informal space that is either external to the law or a perversion of it. Instead, it highlights how the European border and asylum regime exploits the legal/illegal distinction to criminalize asylum-seeking while obscuring how illegality is systematically embedded within it.</em></p> 2021-03-25T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 Migration Letters Supporting Searchers’ Desire for Emplacement in Berlin: Informal Practices in Defiance of an (Im)mobility Regime 2020-10-21T10:38:26+00:00 Fazila Bhimji Nelly Wernet <p><em>The article traces the ways in which refugees in precarious legal and economic circumstances in Lagers (refugee camps) in Germany participate in informal practices to reverse their displaced positions. More specifically, the paper demonstrates how refugees work in conjunction with a Berlin-based solidarity group in order to find access to informally organized housing outside of the formal bureaucratic state system. The study shows that refugees’ engagement with informal structures must be understood as struggles towards emplacement and formality. Much scholarship has discussed the economic aspects of informality in the global South and post-socialist countries. However, there is little discussion on how refugees may engage in informal practices within the nation-state in order to find emplacement and achieve formality. The article additionally demonstrates how informal acts are co-produced between citizens and refugees in the process of searching and offering of living places outside state defined formal systems. Thus, informality needs to be understood as resistance against displacement, struggles towards emplacement and formality. The study draws on ethnographic data and on-going participation in a Berlin-based grassroots group, Schlafplatzorga, which supports refugees on an informal level with temporary accommodation.</em></p> 2021-03-25T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 Migration Letters Temporal Intersections of Mobility and Informality: Simsars as (Im)moral Agents in the Trajectories of Syrian Refugees in Turkey and Germany 2020-10-21T07:31:55+00:00 Hilal Alkan <p><em>During the Syrian conflict that sparked after the insurgency in 2011, 5,6 million Syrians sought refuge in other countries. This article looks into the informal practices that have significance in the trajectories of refugees who fled first to Turkey and then to Germany. These informal practices are directed at the facilitation of spatial and social mobilities between and within these two countries: a) cross-border migrant smuggling and, b) employment and real estate brokerage. The accounts of the research participants point to a differential moral worth attached to these two modalities of informal facilitation: they value the work of smuggling and detest the idea of other types of brokerage. These views are in direct contrast to the views by the respective states, and the article discusses the reasons behind the asymmetry of moral assessments between the refugees’ accounts and the perspective of the two states. It is argued that refugees’ differential assessment is related to how their experiences of time changed between their flight and settlement in their new homes, as well as their perception of borders. </em></p> 2021-03-25T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 Migration Letters ‘Are We An Experiment?’ Informality as Indispensable for Syrians’ Resettlement in the UK 2020-10-31T15:43:55+00:00 Caroline Blunt <p><em>This article unpacks the status and significance of informal social infrastructures within the Syrian Vulnerable Person’s Resettlement Scheme (SVPRS) in one region of the UK to offer a case study exemplifying an enduring and renewed political embeddedness of informalities as an idiosyncratically British way of governing migrant incorporation and producing social order. From the perspective of the scheme’s formal design, this was ‘bottom-up’, ‘community-led’ activity for community or ‘social’ integration. For refugees this was the existence and availability of a quality of sociality productive of a sense of existence and a viable and possible life, in other words, defining – above and beyond discrete domains or material things - what had been hoped for and expected from resettlement. Where this ‘informal social infrastructure’ was available, refugees conveyed an experience of positive processes of life, resonating with discussions of existential movement. Where unavailable refugees conveyed experience of a persistent or even worsened sense of biographical interruption that forced migration has been likened to. The article aims to contribute to informalities scholarship in relation to the imbrication of informal-formal as means of governance and attest to the significance of informalities to the reduction of uncertainty, production of stability. </em></p> 2021-03-25T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2020 Migration Letters