Legal status at migration and migrant networks

Mao-Mei Liu, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

This paper investigates whether – and how – migrant networks differentially impact legal and unauthorized migration and advances prior work by uncovering some of the mechanisms-at-work, testing social capital theory against competing explanations, and distinguishing between legal/unauthorized entry and legal/unauthorized stay. The literature has largely neglected legal status at migration. Using the longitudinal MAFE-Senegal data (2008) collected in Africa (Senegal) and Europe (France, Italy and Spain), this paper employs a competing risks discrete-time event history analysis to estimate the likelihood of unauthorized and legal 1st-time migration to Europe. Preliminary results indicate that the migrant network hypothesis is robust for both legal and unauthorized migration; but competing explanations appear to apply primarily to legal entry. Effects are gendered: strong ties increase all types of female migration, and weak ties, male migrations. Yet, strong ties especially facilitate male legal entry, while weak ties do so for female unauthorized entry.

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Presented in Poster Session 3