How Migrant Resource Centres affect migration decisions: Quasi‐experimental evidence from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq and Pakistan

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Several Migrant Resource Centres (MRCs) have been set up in South Asia jointly by national governments of origin and destination countries. Their objectives include encouragement of potential migrants to seek regular rather than irregular routes and to ensure the safety of those migrating, regardless of status. Of theoretical note, their activities utilise innovative, highly personalised counselling. This article provides quasi-experimental evidence of the effect of four activities – telephone and online counselling, and college outreach and pre-departure sessions – on 2215 randomly allocated users of the MRCs' services across six MRCs in four countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq and Pakistan. The effects are a large reduction in self-reported likelihood of migrating irregularly, and a strong increase in awareness of safe options and who to contact for assistance whilst migrating. The effects are consistent across activity type and MRC location, although magnitudes vary. These findings have implications for our understanding of how the decision to migrate is made, what interventions are effective and why.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-119
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Migration
Issue number4
Early online date22 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

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