Should I stay or should I go? Mobility opportunities, limitations and motivations of West African migrants living in Rotterdam

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The rise of 'Fortress Europe' has caused a shift in migratory routes as the European Union's outer borders are hardened which results in adjusting migration trajectories. Migrants get stopped along the way due to border control and visa access, which can result in prolonged phases of immobility. This thesis builds upon mobility and immobility literature in order to provide an insight into the mobility experiences of West-African migrants in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. As this research aims at exploring mobility and immobility experiences, a theoretical framework will be used that focuses on im/mobility literature, border studies, the threshold approach and incorporates the importance of choice and chance. The mobilities turn has caused a shift towards the acknowledgement of phases of immobility within mobility processes, which resulted in defining the factors that make people stay instead of move, the threshold approach. This research builds upon that approach by adding choice and chance, as these factors might not be as present in migration processes as sometimes perceived. Sociocultural environment, one's nature of their stay and social network are all factors that influence a migrant's position in his or hers host society. This results in various mobility and immobility experiences as each individual chooses to deal with these factors differently. Limited knowledge of the Dutch language, a lacking legal document and no social network are examples of such experiences that limit migrants in their being. This research shows that a migrant's position in his or hers host society is not necessarily one they chose deliberately and by themselves. In doing so, it has shown that mobility does not end after having settled down but can manifest itself in unexpected ways.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen