City Initiative on Migrants with Irregular Status in Europe (C-MISE) Phase I: 2017-19 | Phase II: 2020-21

Overview

The City Initiative on Migrants with Irregular Status in Europe (C-MISE) is a knowledge-exchange programme supporting European cities in sharing knowledge on city practices and policies responding to the presence of irregular migrants in their territory. C-MISE is facilitated by researchers at the Global Exchange on Migration and Diversity at COMPAS, is chaired by the City of Utrecht, and partners with the Eurocities Working Group on Migration and Integration. It is informed by extensive research carried out at COMPAS before and during the project, on national, regional and municipal policy and practice in this field.

C-MISE, which was launched in 2017, initially consisted of a working group of 11 European municipalities (including two ‘associate members’) from 10 European countries that met over a two-year period with four aims: to (1) build a stronger body of evidence on city practices in relation to migrants with irregular immigration status; (2) share learning on policy and practices in relation to service provision to adults and children; (3) develop and disseminate guidance material on key areas of service provision, relevant to municipalities across Europe; and (4) develop a shared, city perspective on ways in which irregular migrants could be mainstreamed into EU policy agendas. The cities in the working group were Athens, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Ghent, Gothenburg, Lisbon, Oslo, Stockholm and Utrecht (Chair). The cities of Helsinki and Zurich were Associate members.

By the end of the first phase of the project, C-MISE cities and COMPAS had held knowledge exchange meetings in Utrecht, Athens, Barcelona and Ghent and produced:

  • Extensive Guidance for Municipalities on local responses to irregular migrants (‘the Guidance’).
    Executive Summary: Deutsche | Ελληνικά | English | Español | Français | Italiano | Nederlands
  • A short documentary explaining why city representatives consider it is important for municipalities to take action in relation to irregular migrants. Plus there are 5 short clips on individual cities taken from the main video: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Ghent and Utrecht.
  • Several briefings and reports, including analysis of the challenges for city governments in managing municipal responses to irregular migrants and the impact of EU policy and funding on cities’ actions in this field. All these reports can be found in the ‘Outputs’ section.

Watch the documentary in full:

The Guidance and documentary have been widely disseminated by city networks including the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, the Intercultural Cities Network and Cities of Migration.

As the first-ever Europe-wide city dialogue on irregular migrants, C-MISE and its Guidance was a first response to cities’ need to find legal and effective measures to manage irregular migrants and the social and economic implications of their presence. C-MISE was confirmed to continue in in 2020 and 2021 to respond to cities’ need to:

  • disseminate expertise on city practices and the Guidance materials;
  • engage in dialogues with a broader group of cities and towns;
  • continue building city capacity and expertise to ensure cities’ participation in dialogues and reforms;
  • mainstream the issue of irregular migrants across city networks.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health, social, economic, and migratory frameworks of Europe required a re-thinking of traditional approaches to respond to the social needs of city residents, including those with irregular status, but also highlighted the need of local responses to reach out to and keep contact with less visible populations. C-MISE is therefore exploring ways for cities to respond effectively to the new challenges posed by the pandemic.

C-MISE has witnessed the interest and engagement of an increasing number of cities, of different sizes and from across Europe, that have identified the need to learn more from research and knowledge-exchange on best-practices with their peers in Europe and North America. Cities that have already engaged in C-MISE dialogues beyond the initial working group members have included Amsterdam, Bologna, Cork, Geneva, Milan, New York, Rotterdam, Sultanbeyli (Istanbul), and several others.

C-MISE activities in 2020-2021 will see the engagement of new cities and towns. Rather than through a working group, city representatives are invited to join the activities according to their interest in the topic. C-MISE will also support the organisation of webinars and city-led working groups discussing the issue at national level.

Therefore, city or town representatives interested in being on the invitation list to participate in C-MISE dialogues, or who would like further information on C-MISE, are invited to write to the co-Directors of the programme, Nicola Delvino (nicola.delvino@compas.ox.ac.uk) and Sarah Spencer (sarah.spencer@compas.ox.ac.uk).

Principal Investigator

Dr Sarah Spencer & Nicola Delvino

Researchers

Marie Mallet-Garcia

Rosaleen Cunningham (Communications)
Nathan Grassi (Administrative support)

Funder

Supported by a grant from the Open Society Foundations

Topics

CitiesCivil SocietyEuropean UnionIllegalityIntegrationWelfare

Regions

Europe

Theory

Our approach to knowledge exchange is based on recognition that researchers, policy makers and practitioners can make differing, complementary contributions to the exchange process and its outcomes. Rather than a one-way process of dissemination from academics to researcher users, it can be a rich-mix of mutual learning from each other. Academics not only provide evidence and analysis which helps to inform the policy making process but can facilitate a space for reflection on the frames through which policy challenges are perceived and their underlying assumptions. In brokering knowledge exchange, academics contribute to a process of change and impact outside of the academy. A fuller explanation of the Global Exchange’s approach to knowledge exchange can be seen at: https://www.compas.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/GEM-approach-to-knowledge-exchange-paper-030417-1.pdf

Methods

During phase 1 of C-MISE (2017-2019) a working group of 11 cities met on four occasions over two days, hosted by one of the participating cities. Their discussions were informed by research evidence, by their mutual exchange of knowledge, experience and ideas, and by external experts, including representatives of European institutions and of NGOs, who were invited to the meetings. Related activity included a City of Migration webinar, intra-city dialogue to share experience on particular areas of practice, and meetings with European institutions. In phase II (2020-2021), meetings addressing a range of themes recommenced with a wider group of cities; continuing on-line when COVID-19 restrictions prevented face-to-face knowledge exchange. In addition to pan-European meetings, Phase II also sees cities hosting meetings of cities within their own country, supported by the Oxford team. The initiative has a Steering Group of city representatives and invited experts which meets quarterly on line.

City Initiative on Migrants
with Irregular Status in Europe

Guidance for Municipalities

Download

Executive Summary

Deutsche Ελληνικά English Español Français Italiano Nederlands

Irregular migrants in European cities: How to respond?

Watch the short documentary here: https://youtu.be/bdohxNnlN-M