Does the EU enlargement decrease the undocumented migrations from central and eastern Europe: the experience of Brussels

Mila Paspalanova, Université Catholique de Louvin and Catholic University of Brussels

The goal of the current paper is to explore the reasons for the contemporary undocumented migrations of Central Eastern Europeans and to examine to what degree the process of accession to the EU has a potential to reduce the undocumented flows. The primary research groups are the undocumented Bulgarian and Polish immigrants in Brussels. Standardized questionnaires and semi-structured interviews with 180 undocumented immigrants reveal that the accession of a country to the EU does not reduce the migrants’ intentions for migrating irregularly, and does not result in increased motivation for return migration. For the Polish migrants, the traditionally longer lasting sojourn in Brussels before Poland’s accession, has been replaced by shorter trips; while the Bulgarian undocumented migrants tend to avoid pendular migrations and to settle permanently in Brussels unconditionally on their legal status. Preliminary results are also available about the patterns of sojourn and future plans of undocumented Romanians, Moldavians and Russians.

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Presented in Session 57: Managing regular and irregular migration