Understanding the nature of the movement of people across borders requires analysis of the nature of borders themselves, as physical, legal and metaphysical constructions. But it also requires consideration of the broad array of impacts – from the personal to the geopolitical – that arise from different kinds of movements across borders.

COMPAS conducts research that addresses current transformations of borders while considering public understandings and meanings of borders such as in the UK. COMPAS has also conducted research across Europe that provides a comparative inventory of data on migratory movements such as irregular migration (stocks and flows). Working with data on ‘clandestine’ migration required in depth consideration of ethical and methodological issues, as well as the factors affecting shifts between legal and ‘illegal’ status among migrant populations.

Other complementary studies have focussed on mixed and transit migration to Europe. The expansion of the European border control regime has moved responsibility from core countries to the peripheral EU countries and their immediate neighbours, such as Ukraine and Turkey. Research therefore investigated clandestine entry to the EU: the institutions, practices, relationships and networks that shape experiences of life on the move, the governance, policies and practices of border controls, and the interplay and dynamics influencing outcomes of migration in sending, transit and destination countries

Blog Posts

Rethinking EU Borders in the time of COVID-19

Elspeth Guild and Didier Bigo

Leaving Palestine

Nicholas Van Hear

Immigration Acts and health bills

COMPAS Communications

People Move

Ben Doherty

Illegality vs Irregularity

COMPAS Communications

Gendering Migration

Melanie Griffiths

Border Crossings and Gender in the Greek Detention System

Mary Bosworth, Sharon Pickering and Andriani Fili

Race and Racism

Rachel Humphris

Schooling, mobility and belonging

COMPAS Communications

Health and border control

COMPAS Communications

Re-Thinking ‘Risk’ in Migration

Esra Kaytaz, DPhil Social Anthropology

On borders and a wicked bird

COMPAS Communications

The Good Worker

Dace Dzenovska

Migration in Scotland

Carlos Vargas-Silva

Saudi Arabia and its immigrants

COMPAS Communications

Dream on

Nicholas Van Hear

It’s about time

Marthe Achtnich and Roger Norum, COMPAS DPhil students

The economics of forced migration

Carlos Vargas-Silva

New Lives and Dreams: The Results

COMPAS Communications

Dr Who and The Migrants

COMPAS Communications

The Light of Evidence

COMPAS Communications

No Way Out, No Way In

COMPAS Communications

Border Crossing: Material Culture & Experience

Marisa Macari, COMPAS DPhil Student


Biao Xiang

Legal but Unfair: The High Stakes of the UK Immigration Detention System

Stephanie Silverman, DPhil Politics and International Relations



Journal Articles

Transitory Legality: The Health Implication of Ending DACA

Marie L. Mallet & Lisa Garcia Bedolla

Push-pull plus: reconsidering the drivers of migration

Nicholas Van Hear, Oliver Bakewell & Katy Long

Bordering Practices in the UK Welfare System

Bastian Vollmer, Simon Güntner, Sue Lukes & Jo Wilding

Migrant Labour in Kazakhstan: A Cause for Concern?

Bridget Anderson, Blanka Hancilová

Editorial: Why No Borders?

Bridget Anderson, Nandita Sharma, Cynthia Wright

Gendering Borders: An Exchange

Bridget Anderson, Eithne Luibhéid

Working Papers

Internal borders and migration in India

Zovanga L. Kone, Maggie Y. Liu, Aaditya Mattoo, Çağlar Özden & Siddharth Sharma

Migrant Labour in Kazakhstan: A Cause for Concern?

Bridget Anderson, Blanka Hancilova

Other Publications

Research Brief

Understanding the dynamics of migration to Greece and the EU: Drivers, decisions and destinations

Heaven Crawley, Franck Duvell, Katharine Jones and Dimitris Skleparis

Research Brief

Unpacking a Rapidly Changing Scenario

Heaven Crawley, Franck Duvell, Nando Sigona, Simon McMahon, Katharine Jones


Border Security: Discourses and Practices in the UK

COMPAS Communications | April 2013 – 2016

Does Immigration Enforcement Matter (DIEM)?

COMPAS Communications | November 2013 - July 2017

The Coronavirus and Mobility Forum

COMPAS Communications | 2020

The ethics and politics of the refugee crisis

COMPAS Communications | May 2016- Mar 2017

Unravelling the Mediterranean Migration Crisis (MEDMIG)

COMPAS Communications | Sep 2015 - Aug 2016