What is the evidence of the impact of communication campaigns to deter irregular migration from developing to developed countries? To include media campaigns, but also targeted community focused messaging, social mobilisation, and other possible approaches.
Understanding the decisions to leave is a key part of the success of communication campaigns to deter irregular migration. However there is very little evidence on the impact and effectiveness of these campaigns and anecdotal evidence suggests that they have limited, if any, effect on migrants’ decisions to leave.
Irregular migration is the movement of people that takes place outside the regulatory norms of the sending, transit and receiving countries (IOM definition), although there is no universally accepted definition. These campaigns generally occur in countries of origin and are not intended to stop migration, but rather to inform of the risks and dangers of irregular routes, smuggling or trafficking (Pécoud, 2010). Understanding the decisions to leave is therefore a key part of their success.
There is extremely little evidence on the impact and effectiveness of these campaigns, with no publically available evaluations. Even where they are evaluated, attributing reduced migration to a specific programme is difficult. Anecdotal narratives in the literature suggest that information campaigns have very limited effects on migrants’ decisions to leave, as other factors play a more important role in this decision. Conditions of poverty, inequality, conflict and lack of economic opportunities at home, and reports from trusted social networks about conditions abroad, play a much stronger role in migrant decision-making.
Browne, E. Impact of communication campaigns to deter irregular migration (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1248). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2015) 9 pp.