Call for Papers: Managing International Migration? Visa Policies, Politics, and Practice [EN]

Workshop, 28 September 2015
We invite abstracts on the theme of Managing International Migration?, Visa Policies, Politics, and Practice for a cross-regional, one-day workshop to be held on or around 28 September 2015 at the University of Oxford, UK.

Please send a 200-word abstract to by 17 July 2015. Final papers will be expected by mid September.

States are increasingly attempting to externalize migration controls beyond their borders. Visa policies, politics and practices are a primary form of this extraterritorial bordering. Visa policies are informed by diverse considerations from international relations to economic policy, migration management and security. They define and distinguish between un/desired and il/legitimate visitors and migrants, creating a global hierarchy of mobility by differentiating countries and their citizens into those who do and do not require visas.

Despite their broad reach, the implementation of visa policies is not straightforward. Visa policies have negative effects on bilateral trade, travel and foreign direct investment, and may conflict with foreign policy goals. Moreover, visa policies are interpreted by street-level bureaucrats, manipulated by immigration advice agencies, confronted with individual aspirations, and undermined by unlawful activities.

We are interested in a variety of methodologies, disciplinary perspectives, and comparative approaches. Some of the research questions that have animated this call for papers include the following:

– How to conceptualize and theorize of visa policies and politics?
– How are visa policies constructed and what are the trade-offs and goals behind these policies? How do national identities or state security interests affect visa policies?
– How do organisational cultures and bureaucrats’ practices shape policy implementation?
– What is the influence of non-state actors (lobby groups, advice agencies, visa processing centres) on policy design, policy outcomes and policy diffusion?
– How do visa policies in the ‘global north’ compare to those in the ‘global south and east’?
– How has EU visa liberalization evolved? Relation between national and supranational policies?
– How do visa policies regulating different types of mobility compare (e.g. exit and entry visa; tourist, family, labour and study visas)?
– How do visa requirements shape the perceptions, behaviour and strategies of would-be travellers/migrants?
– What are the determinants of visa overstaying?
– What are the research gaps in the literature on visa policies?

We envisage a minimum of three panels with three papers each, hence a total of at least nine papers and ample time for discussion. We are planning for a mix of existing, recent and ongoing research papers. We aim to publish a collection of (previously unpublished) papers from this and a parallel workshop in Canada. We have limited funding to contribute towards travel and accommodation costs.

Franck Düvell, University of Oxford
Federica Infantino, University of Oxford
Ċetta Mainwaring, University of Waterloo

Bordering Europe Abroad: Schengen Visa Policy Implementation in Morocco and Transnational Policy-Making from Below

Soutenance de thèse de Federica Infantino

Institut de Sociologie, Avenue Jeanne 44, 1050 Bruxelles
Université Libre de Bruxelles, Salle Henri Janne, bâtiment S, 15ème niveau
Novembre 2014 à 10h00

The constitution of the European visa regime has deservingly received much scholarly attention. It has been analyzed as part of the policy toolkit that displaces migration control away from the edges of the territory of Europe. Nevertheless, the street-level implementation of this European policy in national consulates remains understudied. This dissertation sheds ethnographic light on Schengen visa policy implementation that is conceptualized as bordering policy. By delivering Schengen visas, state and nonstate organizations achieve the filtering work of borders; this dissertation therefore investigates the day-to-day bordering of Europe abroad and using a comparative approach and focusing on from the theoretical perspective of street-level policy implementation. The analysis builds on a comparative case study: it focuses on the visa sections of the consulates of two old immigration countries, Belgium and France, and one new immigration country, Italy, which implement visa policy in a same third country, i.e. Morocco. This study highlights cross-national differences of visa policy day-to-day implementation that are due to shifting historical backgrounds, national sense-making of visa policy, and distinct organizational conditions. However, the comparative research design and the inductive epistemological approach deployed have revealed processes of transfer at the implementation level, which result in transnational policy-making from below. Informal interactions between actors constitute a ‘community of practice’ based on the desire to share local and practical knowledge rather than expert knowledge in order to address problems linked to day-to-day implementation. The street-level view of visa policy implementation in a comparative perspective reveals that bureaucratic action is aimed at stemming undesired regular migration rather than irregular migration.

La construction d’un régime européen de visas représente un domaine de recherche important. Ceci a été analysé comme un des instruments politiques qui déplacent le contrôle migratoire au delà des limites du territoire européen. Cependant, la mise en œuvre dans les consulats nationaux reste très peu étudiée. Cette thèse analyse la mise en œuvre de la politique du visa Schengen conceptualisée comme politique des frontières. Par la délivrance du visa Schengen, organisations étatiques et non-étatiques réalisent le travail de filtrage des frontières. Cette thèse investigue la construction quotidienne de la frontière européenne à l’étranger en privilégiant la perspective théorique de la mise en œuvre des politiques publiques. L’analyse s’appuie sur un cas d’étude comparé. Elle se concentre sur les services visas des consulats de deux anciens pays d’immigration, la France et la Belgique, et un nouveau pays d’immigration, l’Italie, qui mettent en œuvre la politique du visa dans un même État tiers : le Maroc. Cette étude met en évidence des différences nationales importantes qui sont dues aux différents passés historiques, à l’attribution d’un sens national à la politique du visa, aux conditions organisationnelles distinctes. Toutefois, la méthodologie comparative et l’approche épistémologique inductive choisis ont permis de mettre en exergue des processus de transferts au niveau de la mise en œuvre qui constituent l’action publique transnationale par le bas. Les interactions informelles entre les acteurs constituent une ‘communauté de pratiques’ basé sur le désir de partager un savoir pratique et local qui sert à adresser des problèmes liés à la mise en œuvre au quotidien.