Successful collaboration begins with a shared language, hence the need for a glossary. This joint effort of contributors from several teams ensures, on the one hand, terminological and conceptual coherence across not only our theoretical approaches, but also the qualitative case studies and quantitative research conducted in OPPORTUNITIES. On the other hand, our glossary facilitates communication between the academic side of the project and the fieldwork conducted by NGOs, uniting our teams working from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Mauritania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Senegal.

For more information about the Structure and Objectives of the Glossary, click here...)

According to the European Migration Network (EMN) Glossary the term irregular migration refers to the “movement of persons to a new place of residence or transit that takes place outside the regulatory norms of the sending, transit and receiving countries.” It is important to note, however, that there is no common understanding of the term; rather, the meaning of “irregular” depends strongly on contextual factors such as the different perspectives of destination and sending countries. In a Senegalese context, for example, potential candidates for irregular migration are often impoverished members of the rural population who move to urban centers, where they first work in the informal sector and then try to escape to Europe (Tandian and Tall 2010).

⇢ see also: Illegal entryMigration

References and further reading:

European Commission. 2020. European Migration Network (EMN) Glossary. URL:

Tandian, Aly, and Serigne Mansour Tall. 2010. Regards sur la migration irrégulière des Sénégalais : vouloir faire fortune en Europe avec des pirogues de fortune [Technical Report, Migration Policy Centre]. CARIM Analytic and Synthetic Notes 2010/50. URL:

Category: D

Work Package: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

[CG / RS]