- 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.
Numerous migratory flows are spreading throughout the Americas. These flows include permanent or temporary migration, as well as irregular and transit migration. The Chair leads numerous projects on these diverse forms of migration.
The Chair participates in two funded projects focusing on the situation of asylum seekers. An increase in the number of asylum seekers crossing the Canadian land border in 2017 has led to greater media and political attention in Quebec. Mireille Lajoie (Master’s student, Geography) studies political discourse on asylum seekers, and Véronique Tessier (Master’s student, Geography) is interested in trajectories of asylum seekers migrating in family units. The Chair is also focusing on refugees’ migration processes, insertion, and family reunification. Ana-Brigitte Poveda (Master’s student, Geography) analyses refugees’ spatial insertion in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. Jacob Bruel-Courville (Master’s student, Geography) studies the role of community organisations in processes of refugees’ family reunification. Guillaume Haemmerli (PhD student, Geography) analyses quantitative administrative data to better understand trajectories of Vietnamese refugees admitted in Canada since the late 1970s. Marcus Fraga (PhD student, Sociology) compares migration policies in Sweden and Quebec and studies the effects on refugees’ insertion trajectories.
The Chair team is still investigating the situation of temporary farm workers, research initiated by Danièle Bélanger (Chair, Geography) more than 15 years ago. To more deeply understand the relationship between migratory regimes and the labour market, current projects explore other employment sectors where many migrants with a precarious status are working. The pandemic shed a crude light on these essential workers, making such an investigation all the more important. Capucine Coustere (PhD student, Sociology) studies the trajectories of young temporary migrants working in the hospitality sector in Quebec.
The Chair is also pursuing research, initiated in Mexico, on the actors assisting migrants in their procedures and migratory trajectories. The team is leading a brand new project on the role of federal constituency offices in providing immigration services in Canada. Claudine Boucher (Master’s student, Geography) applies a gender analyses to the practices of assistants in federal constituencies when providing immigration services.
The Mediterranean region and the Middle East
From a migration point of view, the Mediterranean region is characterised by migrants in transit fleeing armed conflicts who are being displaced and must wait in different territories. Turkey, a country at the heart of the current migration crisis, opened its borders to refugees from Syria in October 2011, granting them temporary legal protection. Following the growing intensification and complexity of the conflict, Turkey became a waiting territory: in 2021, a total of 3.7 million Syrian refugees were living in Turkey. Danièle Bélanger obtained an initial research grant to investigate these issues (Surviving Immobility) and received an Insight Development Grant in June 2017 for a project in partnership with Cenk Saraçoğlu from the University of Ankara. This collaboration continues through the analysis of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on Syrian refugees in Turkey. Myriam Ouellet (PhD student, Geography) explores the gender dimension of refugees’ migration with young exiled male Syrian deserters seeking asylum in Syria’s bordering countries (Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan).
The first documentary produced by the Chair “Witnessing Exile” explores the 2015 migration to Europe along the Balkan route. The Chair is especially interested in migrants’ relation to cities and the relationships of migrants and residents in urban settings. This project, led by Annaelle Piva (PhD student, Geography), analyses urban camps in Paris and Rome as revelatory spaces in cities.
Often a neglected area in research on major migratory flows, the Asia region is an important migration hub on a global scale and a continent where numerous migrant workers are living in precarious situations. Danièle Bélanger has a long roadmap on migration in Asia territories, including a focus on labour migration, gender, migration policies, and migrant transnationalism. The Chair is participating in a new project on the migration of healthcare workers that studies the deployment of an agreement between Vietnam and Germany to train, recruit, and hire Vietnamese nurses for work in Germany. Naoko Sunai (PhD student, Geography) works on the migratory system and infrastructure between Southwest and Southeast Asia. She studies the trajectories of undocumented Vietnamese migrant women in Japan and Taiwan.