Norwegian version of this page

Transnationalism from above and below

Migration management and how migrants manage (MIGMA)

Returned Nigerian migrant in Benin City planning to re-migrate explains her route to Europe. Photo: S. Plambech

About the project

Transnationalism from above and below: Migration management and how migrants manage (MIGMA) examines European attempts to return Nigerian migrants, enacting a project of exclusion and excision in the pursuit of governance.


MIGMA will offer a theoretically informed empirical exploration of legal instruments central to the sustainability of current migration management, and explore their effects and efficiency. The aim of the research is to contribute with knowledge relevant to European policy development, by linking migration management to wider circuits of migration and understanding it in a broader comparative framework.


The phrase ‘migration management’ has come to replace ‘immigration control’ and puts a more positive spin on it. Borrowed from the corporate world, the term ‘management’ suggests control and efficiency, and glosses over the multiple conflicts that are often involved, within states, between states, and between states and migrants. Is it possible to manage migrants who prefer to manage their own lives?

Managing rejected Nigerian asylum seekers is particularly challenging, due to a combination of factors including a high prevalence of criminal activity, transnational human trafficking networks, vulnerable victims of human trafficking, high rates of disappearances from reception centres, escalating violent conflict in Nigeria and the refusal of Nigeria to enter into a readmission agreement. Some of these factors are also conducive to the re-migration of returned asylum seekers following their return to Nigeria, undoing Norway’s efforts and increasing costs.



MIGMA is financed by the Research Council of Norway.




UiO’s partners in the project are the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) and the Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen (UiB).


  • May-Len Skilbrei (2020). Taking on the categories, terms and worldviews of the powerful: the pitfalls of trying to be relevant. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power.  ISSN 1070-289X.
  • Maja Janmyr & Zehra Özlem Gürakar-Skribeland (2020). Human Rights References in Norway’s Readmission Agreements: (How) Do They Protect?. Nordic Journal of Human Rights.  ISSN 1891-8131.  38, s 18- 39
  • May-Len Skilbrei (2018). Manoeuvring in tricky waters: Challenges in being a useful and critical migration scholar., In Synnøve Økland Jahnsen; Rebecca Powel & Andriani Fili (ed.),  Criminal justice research in an era of mass mobility.  Routledge.  ISBN 978-1138284128.  2.
  • Erlend Paasche; May-Len Skilbrei & Sine Plambech (2018). Vulnerable Here or There? Examining the vulnerability of victims of human trafficking before and after return. Anti-Trafficking Review.  ISSN 2287-0113.  s 34- 51
  • Erlend Paasche (2018). Elites and Emulators: The Evolution of Iraqi Kurdish Asylum Migration to Europe. Migration Studies.  ISSN 2049-5838.
  • Erlend Paasche & May-Len Skilbrei (2017). Gendered Vulnerability And Return Migration. Temida.  ISSN 1450-6637.  20, s 149- 166

View all works in Cristin

  • Maja Janmyr & Zehra Özlem Gürakar-Skribeland (2020). Tenk nytt om returavtalene. Klassekampen.  ISSN 0805-3839.
  • Erlend Paasche & May-Len Skilbrei (2019). Human Trafficking, Migration and Borders Under Pressure.
  • Erlend Paasche (2019). Return and reintegration in Iraqi Kurdistan.
  • May-Len Skilbrei (2019). Norwegian immigration policy.
  • May-Len Skilbrei (2019). Det tosidige målet i arbeidet mot menneskehandel – dilemmaer.
  • Zehra Özlem Gürakar-Skribeland (2019). Migration, Return and Human Rights: The Curious Case of Turkey.
  • Zehra Özlem Gürakar-Skribeland (2019). The Return Directive: Migration, Asylum and Illegality.
  • Erlend Paasche; May-Len Skilbrei & Sine Plambech (2019). What happens after victims of trafficking return to Nigeria?.
  • Erlend Paasche (2018). Class, risk and ‘going with a purpose’: Nigerian postgraduates reflect on irregular migration.
  • Erlend Paasche & Jørgen Carling (2018). Representations of return migration in Nigerian cultural production.
  • Erlend Paasche (2018). Class, risk and going with a purpose.
  • Jørgen Carling (2018). Unity and Diversity in Contemporary International Migration.
  • Zehra Özlem Gürakar-Skribeland (2018). Discussion on the Model International Mobility Convention.
  • Tara Matilde Søderholm (2018). MIGMA researchers participate in Oslo Migration Conference 2018.
  • May-Len Skilbrei (2017). Hva er menneskesmugling?.
  • Zehra Özlem Gürakar-Skribeland (2017). Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Turkey.
  • Zehra Özlem Gürakar-Skribeland (2017). The situation for refugees in Turkey one year after the EU-Turkey deal.
  • Zehra Özlem Gürakar-Skribeland (2017). Application of the Return Directive in light of the proposed amendments to the Common European Asylum System.
  • May-Len Skilbrei (2017). Displacing Sex for Sale.
  • May-Len Skilbrei (2017). Migration as Exception: ananalysis of contemporary European debates over migration.
  • May-Len Skilbrei (2017). Utlendingslov og straffelov i tandem.
  • Erlend Paasche (2017). Crime goes to the movies: The case of Nollywood.
  •  (2017). Syrere i Tyrkia skjelles ut.
  •  (2017). Making sense of migration through popular culture.
  •  (2017). Push factors for Nigerian migration.
  •  (2017). Syriske flyktninger fanget i limbo.
  •  (2017). NRKs Dagsrevyen.
  •  (2017). Migration from the cradle to the grave.
  •  (2017). From Nollywood to Norway.
  •  (2017). Om migrasjon og Film fra Sør.
  • Tara Matilde Søderholm (2017). Bringer Nollywood til Norge.
  • Emma Villman & Tara Matilde Søderholm (2017). Migrasjon fra vugge til grav.
  • Tara Matilde Søderholm & Per Jørgen Ystehede (2017). Filmfestival som forskning og formidling.
  • Erlend Paasche & May-Len Skilbrei (2017). Forskningsformidling 2.0.  ISSN 1894-8995.
  •  (2017). Nollywood. Spesialvisning av nigeriansk film på festivalen Film fra Sør.
  • May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2016). Lansering av MIGMA på Litteraturhuset.
  • May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2016). Presentasjon av MIGMA.
  • May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2016). Immigration, Crime and Citizenship Working Group.
  • May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2016). Kvikklunsj UiT – Kjønnsperspektiver i migrasjonsforskning.
  • May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2016). Panel: Den gode samtalen om migrasjon - hva gjør tilstrømningen med oss?.
  • May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2016). Chair of session: How the current ‘migration crisis’ challenges European criminologists.
  • May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2016). The Politics of Migration Research: How do and how should researchers permform in the public Space?.
  • May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2016). Unequal returns.
  • May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2016). Ledet panel: L'Europe face aux migrations globales : les politiques de crimmigration.
  • May-Len Skilbrei (2016). Hvem, hvordan og med hvilken rett? Sosialt arbeid i et samfunn preget av mobilitet og omskiftelighet.
  • May-Len Skilbrei & Sine Plambech (2016). Sexarbeid & menneskerettigheter.
  • May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2016). På flukt: Grensekontroll på bekostning av rettigheter?.
  • May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2016). Debatt om norsk asylpolitikk på Menneskerettighetsuka.
  • May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2016). The impact of an image: Alan Kurdi and the civil society’s response to the refugee crisis.
  • May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2016). The role of research in migration management.
  • May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2016). «’Rapists are not welcome here!’ The sexual turn in contemporary immigration debates».
  • May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2016). “Apart or together? Debates on the relationship between prostitution and human trafficking”.
  • May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2016). Immigration, Immigration control, penal policy and crime – European diversities and convergences.
  • May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2016). Migrations: la traite d’êtres humains et la prostitution.
  • May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2016). Future returns.
  • May-Len Skilbrei (2016). The Role of Return in European Migration Management.
  • May-Len Skilbrei & Nicolay Borchgrevink Johansen (2016). The increase in the Us-Them divide in penal policy.
  • May-Len Skilbrei (2016). Pulling the brake.
  • Dace Dzenovska & May-Len Skilbrei (2016). Coherent Selves, Viable States: Eastern Europe, Statehood and Migration - comments by M.L. Skilbrei.
  •  (2016). Nigerianske migranter risikerer livet for drømmen om Europa.
  •  (2016). Nigerianske migranter risikerer livet for drømmen om Europa.
  •  (2016). Nigerian migrants risk their lives for the European dream.
  •  (2016). Nigerian migrants risk their lives for the European dream.
  •  (2016). Reinforcing the already “known”.
  •  (2016). Working for a more effective and humane return.
  •  (2016). Holder elendigheten nede.
  •  (2016). Paasche to speak at the world’s largest anti-corruption conference.
  • Maria João Guia & May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2016). How the current ‘migration crisis’ challenges European criminologists. Newsletter European Society of Criminology.  ISSN 1729-8164.
  • May-Len Skilbrei & Anne Kielland (2016). Om å skyte seg selv i foten. Dagbladet på nett.
  •  (2015). Politiet ville ikke ha stoppet meg.
  • May-Len Østbye Skilbrei (2015). Being Nice, But not Naive. Border Criminologies Blog.

View all works in Cristin

Published Sep. 11, 2015 12:40 PM - Last modified June 26, 2019 1:32 PM