Emmanuelle Auriol, Alice Mesnard, Tiffanie Perrault, 26 May 2022

The current restrictive migration policies in many industrialised countries often ignore the labour market needs for low-skilled foreign workers and favour human smuggling. This column argues that carefully designed temporary visa schemes combined with internal and external controls can be effective in reducing human smuggling and controlling economic migration. Combining a regulated market for visas with tighter sanctions against employers of undocumented workers can help governments overcome the constraints they face when seeking to prevent temporary workers from overstaying, especially if the wage differentials between origin and destination countries are large.

Guido Friebel, Miriam Manchin, Mariapia Mendola, Giovanni Prarolo, 02 February 2019

There is a general understanding that illegal migration only exists because of the smuggling industry. However, there is no reliable information on how migrants’ intent to leave their home country and come to Europe, for example, depends on the availability of smuggling services. This column uses data on migrant flows arriving at European borders after the effective opening to Libyan refugees of the central Mediterranean migration route, following the 2011 fall of the Gaddafi regime, to estimate the supply elasticity of the lucrative smuggling industry. Findings indicate that when the smuggling distance between country-pairs gets shorter, there is an increase in individual intentions to migrate.

Emmanuelle Auriol, Alice Mesnard, 04 June 2012

Is there a way of eliminating human smuggling? This column argues it can be done that by legalising migration through the sale of visas at a price that pushes smugglers out of business. The resulting trade-off between eliminating human smuggling and controlling migration flows can be dealt with the right policy mix of traditional repressive instruments and innovative pricing tools.


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