ICMPD's Research Unit aims to further knowledge on migration-related issues, to facilitate cooperation and synergy within and beyond the research community and to respond to an increased demand for a more policy-relevant research. ICMPD has built a reputation for research on international migration trends, patterns and policies in the wider European context based on comparative analysis. This work is policy-oriented and empirical with an interdisciplinary and international approach. 

More information about research in ICMPD can be found on the ICMPD Research Website


Irregular Migration & Return

Irregular migration & return  has been an  important  theme in the Research Unit’s work for a number of years. The research team has approached the issue in a variety of ways, from different perspectives and through a number of different activities. These activities include several policy briefs, studies like "Health Care for Undocumented Migrants in Switzerland" and projects, such as  the Clandestino project, which was a major European research project on irregular migration.


Trafficking in Human Beings

The Research Unit’s approach towards the thematic area of trafficking in human beings illuminates the various facets of the phenomenon and produces tangible results for stakeholders. Over the years, the Research team has carried out several projects and studies, including the annual Yearbook on Illegal Migration, Human Smuggling and Trafficking in Central and Eastern Europe, which has been published for more than 10 years and is one of ICMPD’s flagship publications.



Asylum has been a crucial topic for many of the activities implemented by the Research Unit in close cooperation with the Competence Centre for Asylum. Research on asylum has explored various asylum practices, procedures and flows. For example, the Research team carried out a study titled "Comparative Study on Country of Origin Information Systems - Study on COI Systems in Ten European Countries and the Potential for Further Improvement of COI Cooperation", which allowed for a comparative analysis of Country of Origin Information Systems in Europe.


Migration & Development

While none of the Research Unit's projects has specifically focused on migration & development, the Research Unit has engaged in numerous research activities relevant to issues of migration & development. It has provided input to initiatives pursued by the Competence Centre for Migration and Development.


Legal Migration & Integration

The Research team has carried out a number of projects, studies, etc.  dealing with topics in the thematic area legal migration & intergration, such as citizenship policies, statistics on migration and integration, the linkage of migration and integration policies, admission policies towards the highly skilled, recent graduates, families and religious persons, as well as legislation and employment policies.  Examples of such activities include the current project "Family Reunification – Barrier or Facilitator to Integration?" and the past study "Civic Stratification, Gender and Family Migration Policies in Europe".


Multi-thematic Activities

The Research Unit  has implemented  numerous projects, studies, etc.  that cut across the various topics and, thus, are multi-thematic in nature. Considering the many facets of migration, the phenomenon is dealt with comprehensively, addressing a multitude of themes within single projects, studies and policy papers. An example of such an activity is the recent project "PROMINSTAT - Promoting Comparative Quantitative Research in the Field of Migration and Integration in Europe".