Law expert shares in €2.79 million grant for irregular migration research

A University of Leicester expert on migrants’ rights and immigration law is a member of an international consortium granted €2.79 million in Horizon Europe funding for a three-year project on Measuring Irregular Migration and related Policies (MIrreM).

Dr Alan Desmond, Lecturer at Leicester Law School, is the only legal academic in the international interdisciplinary consortium working on MIrreM. Amongst other roles, he will co-author a Handbook on Regularisation that will support evidence-based and targeted policymaking concerning regularisation in the EU, and he will act as the project’s country expert in respect of Ireland.

Irregular immigrants are individuals who are present in a country without the necessary and appropriate authorisation. This puts them at risk of expulsion, which means they are particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, and are often afraid to access services and rights to which they are formally entitled.

Irregular immigrants may come to be present in a country for a variety of reasons – through choice or, sometimes, as a result of human trafficking. The term has been under the spotlight after Olympic Gold medallist Sir Mo Farah revealed he was brought to the UK from Somalia illegally as a child and forced to work as a domestic servant.

Dr Desmond’s participation in MIrreM is a reflection of the international recognition of his expertise on the question of regularisation of irregular migrants.

The project will run from October 2022 to September 2025 and will cover 20 countries including the UK. Interdisciplinary researchers contributing to the project are based across Europe and North America, and will work under the coordination of the University for Continuing Education Krems in Austria.

Dr Desmond said: “I feel extremely privileged to be so centrally involved in a project that will develop innovative methods to produce new and much-needed data on irregular migration and regularisation.

“I am very excited to be part of an interdisciplinary international team that will inform the development of policy on irregular migration and regularisation in the EU, and perhaps further afield.”

Further information about the scope of the MIrreM project is available here.