Information consumption and decision-making of irregular migrants

Under the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s (DIBP) Collaborative Research Program, Professor Sharon Pickering has led two research teams across two research projects on information consumption and decision making of irregular migrants in the South East Asia region.

The first research project was completed in 2015 with the publication of the Occasional Paper ‘Information consumption and decision making of irregular migrants in Indonesia’. With a focus on irregular Afghan and Iranian migrants in transit in Indonesia, this research provides a deeper and more detailed understanding of the motivations of irregular migrants in Indonesia surrounding their migration decisions. The Project analysed the patterns of information consumption of Iranian and Afghan irregular migrants (including 30% female participants) in five key embarkation sites in Indonesia, which informed their decisions about onward journeys. This research mapped common stories or ‘narratives of mobility’ that recur and are told in the multiple movements that irregular migrants undertake in order to reach a final destination, including Australia. For this project a total of 140 interviews were conducted throughout Indonesia.

The second research project, ‘Women’s decision-making and information sharing in the course of irregular migration’ was completed in 2016. With a focus on stateless Rohingya women migrants in transit in Malaysia, this research maps women’s decision-making and information sharing during migration journeys from Myanmar, through South East Asia and onwards, including to Australia. For this study research data was collected through 350 surveys and 35 interviews.

Both of these research projects contribute to and strengthen the evidence base that helps to inform policy and operational deliberations at government level on gender and irregular migration journeys in the region with implications for Australia as a destination country.

Chief Investigators Professor Sharon Pickering (Monash University), Associate Professor Claudia Tazreiter (UNSW), Rebecca Powell (The Border Crossing Observatory, Monash University).

Funder Department of Immigration and Border Protection – Australian National University Collaborative Research Programme.

Date of Award 2014-2016