The concept of clandestine or illegal migration dates back to the 1930s but only became prominent during the 1980s and 1990s. It is an umbrella term that refers to a complex set of conditions and embraces various patterns. Instead of applying the conventional but crude legal/illegal dichotomy this article suggests a fine-tuned analysis of clandestine migration on a scale between the two poles. This contribution surveys the state of the art and discusses various approaches in clandestine migration research; it aims at clarifying as yet blurred definitions, discusses often problematical quantitative aspects, and gives an overview of various major patterns in clandestine migration. Finally, in reflecting on the specific conditions that determine clandestine migration, it argues that this phenomenon is a social construct of the 21st century.
Düvell, F. (2008) ‘Clandestine Migration in Europe’, Social Science Information, 47(4): 479-497