The phenomenon of EU migrants who go abroad to beg, collect bottles, trade and do other types of informal “street work” (Adriaenssen 2011) has featured on the political agendas of most European countries over the last decade. While the EU framework was intended to encourage the free movement of labour, there is little regulation in place to address the free movement of poverty. As unwanted mobility from EU member states can no longer be stopped at the borders, European states have come to depend on internal policing and regulations in attempts to regulate these practices. Thus far, there has been little research into this particular form of mobility and the related institutional responses.
This project addresses this knowledge gap. Drawing on theories of economic sociology and institutional theory, we will explore the causes for and outcomes of this mobility, its organisation and the development and impact of policies and discourses in countries of destination. As this mobility in many ways represents an “extreme” case of transnational migration and ethnic relations, knowledge about the mechanisms involved may challenge or strengthen assumptions within existing theories. The project will therefore engage with wider theoretical debates within the field of migration studies.