Protecting Irregular
Migrants in Europe

PRIME is an international research and policy project that analyses the conditions and politics of irregular migrants in Europe. It seeks to understand how and why the conditions of irregular migrants vary so dramatically across Europe. The category of "Irregular(ised) migrants" includes an extensive range of statuses and experiences that vary between countries, between sectors of employment, and by gender and nationality/ethnicity. In that vein, the project examines how national institutional contexts – not only immigration and asylum law and policy but also the regulation of work, welfare state policies, and sectoral differences – shape the causes and consequences of irregularity. Breaking the mould of "methodological nationalism", it also examines the role of gender, ethnicity and public attitudes in shaping migrants’ experiences of their legal status.

Understanding "irregularity" as a complex, gendered and "nationalised" status, PRIME will provide a new comparative institutional approach to understanding the conditions of irregular migrants in Europe and how they are made vulnerable. It will achieve this through large-scale surveys, structured policy analysis, and qualitative interviews with irregular migrants, employers, policy actors, interest groups and voters across eight European countries (Austria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the UK) and four focus sectors (agriculture and food processing; recycling and waste management; HORECA and care). It will thereby generate new analysis on how migrants’ outcomes and experiences are shaped by national socio-economic institutions (including national labour market regulations and welfare institutions), sectoral policies, the actions and interests of migrants and social attitudes.

Stakeholder Meetings

PRIME is organising a stakeholder meeting in Austria on Monday, 16th of October 2023. The meeting will be held at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna (4th Floor, Hörsaal A [A0424], Universitätsstr. 7, NIG, 1010 Vienna). 

If you are interested in attending this meeting please RSVP by filling in this form by Friday, 29th of September 2023.



Funding Details and Partners

PRIME is an EU-Horizon Research and Innovations Actions project (grant no. 101095113). As as an associated partner to the Horizon grant, the work at USG is funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) [grant no. REF-1131-52104].

The project is led by the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence (Italy). Other participating institutions apart from the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) are the University of Bristol, the University of Uppsala (Sweden), the University of Warsaw (Poland), the University of Zagreb (Croatia) and the Danish Refugee Council (Denmark).

DignityFirm, i-CLAIM, and MIrreM are EU-Horizon partner projects of PRIME.

More details on the projet, funding and partners can be found on the PRIME website


Sandra King-Savic


Member Academic Board

Büro 52-7138
Müller-Friedberg-Strasse 8
9000 St. Gallen

Usman Mahar

Postdoctoral Researcher

Müller-Friedberg-Strasse 6/8

9000 St. Gallen