- To study migration processes as a system linking countries of origin, transit, and destination in order to account for the complexity of migration flows within their territorial and transnational contexts.
- To analyse migratory paths and identify the forms of precariousness encountered by migrants in order to identify and understand the impacts of migration policies on migrants and their families.
- To explain how and why some migration regions and paths evolve.
- To generate useful and insightful knowledge to develop public policies that promote positive migration outcomes.
Geographical spaces of research
The members and students of the Chair conduct research on various types of migration in Quebec, Canada, and in several countries on different continents. Migrants and their various categorizations (temporary migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, migrant workers, skilled migrants, families), which sometimes refer to legal and administrative status, sometimes to life situations, are at the heart of the Chair’s work.
Numerous migratory flows take place throughout the Americas. They include permanent or temporary, voluntary or forced migration, as well as irregular and transit migration. The Chair is conducting several projects on these different forms of migration. It focuses on migratory trajectories (arrival in Canada, interprovincial movements), integration and forms of precariousness.
The Chair is pursuing pioneering and important work on temporary migrants in the province of Quebec and Canada, giving them visibility. It focuses on the forms of precariousness they may experience, the impacts of the temporary nature of their status, their difficulties in accessing rights and services and the abuses to which they may be subjected, as well as their strategies and their capacity for action (agency). The Chair has developed the large-scale PARTEMP (PARtenariat sur les migrants Temporaires en EMPloi) project, which is the result of collaboration between researchers at Université Laval and community and government organizations in the greater Quebec City area.
Other projects are studying the situation of temporary migrant workers from South and Central America, particularly from Mexico and Guatemala. Since the 2020 pandemic, they are increasingly the object of discourses framing a so-called essential workforce and often subject to Canadian and Quebec economic needs, without benefiting from the services to which Canadian citizens and Quebec residents are entitled. The Chair is also continuing the research it began in Mexico several years ago on the actors who assist migrants in their migratory processes and paths. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Mexico was the second most important country of origin for international migrants in 2021.
Some research compare Canada’s migration policies with those of other countries, or the variations in their application between the different Canadian provinces. The analysis of political and media discourses on migrants in Quebec and in Canada is also part of the Chair’s concerns.
The situation of asylum seekers and refugees in Quebec is the subject of several research studies. These migrants have become more prominent in Quebec’s public and political discourse since 2017, following an increase in arrivals at the land border with the United States.
The Mediterranean region and the Middle East
From a migration point of view, the Mediterranean region is characterized by transit situations in which people, fleeing armed conflicts, are on the move and waiting in different territories. Several recent projects of the Chair have focused on Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Turkey. Since 2014, according to the IOM, Syria is the country that generates the largest number of refugees in the world. Turkey remains, for the past 5 years, the country that hosts the largest number of refugees (3.6 million in 2021, mostly Syrians). Researchers are analyzing forced migration in the Middle East and the dynamics of solidarity that emerge in the host countries, as well as the links between social class and the pathways to exile. The Chair has also produced a documentary film on Syrian refugees in Turkey was.
Western and Eastern Europe, Central Asia
The significant influx of migrants to Europe in 2015 was the subject of the first documentary film produced by the Chair, “Witnessing Exile”, which focuses on the Balkan route and the solidarity that emerges along the road. The Chair is also interested in the relationship between migrants and the city (Paris, Rome, Brussels), and in particular in the wandering of migrants in urban spaces, in the relationship between residents and migrants and in urban camps. Researchers also study and map the trajectories of migrants.
The Chair develops a new area of research on Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24, 2022, provoked a very large exodus of Ukrainians who took refuge first in the countries bordering Ukraine (Poland, Romania, Russia, Hungary, Moldavia, Slovakia), as well as in Europe and Canada. This war profoundly disrupts migration in the region.
In 2021, according to the IOM, the Russian Federation was the 4th largest destination country for migrants in the world (after Saudi Arabia) while occupying the third place in terms of the number of emigrants. Nearly five million migrants from Central Asia were living in the Russian Federation by the end of 2021. Most of them are labor migrants from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in search of a better salary in the Russian Federation mainly, but also increasingly in Kazakhstan. They leave their countries because of high unemployment and poverty. Harsh political regimes, ethnic tensions and climatic disasters in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are also driving people to emigrate. This exported labor force allows these countries to benefit from remittances, but contributes to the breakup of families. The war in Ukraine will have a significant impact on labor migration from Central Asia and Russia.
At a global scale, Asia is an important migratory area. Asia is also a continent where many migrant workers live in precarious situations. The Chair has a long track record on migration in Asian territories, including research on labor migration, gender, migration policies and migrant transnationalism. The Chair is involved in a new project on the migration of health care workers. It studies the implementation of a bilateral agreement between Vietnam and Germany for the training, recruitment and hiring of Vietnamese nurses in Germany. Migration between Southeast Asia and East Asia is also being researched (in particular, migration pathways between Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam).
Our research and student members are involved in a wide range of field activities, training and dissemination of research results around the world.