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The aim of this paper is twofold. Firstly, it attempts to provide a conceptual framework for the analysis of immigration policy effects. As pointed out by Hollifield (2008), the challenge of theorists of international migration is not simply to demonstrate that the state and politics matter, but to show how. By proposing an encompassing conceptualisation of the effects of immigration policy on the stock and flow of immigrants, the paper makes a first step in overcoming this challenge. However, as immigration policies have different effects on different categories of immigrants, the paper aims at providing clarity on the categorisation of immigrants and the relationship between the different categories. The categorisation of immigrants is thus discussed and the interplay between regular immigrants, asylum seekers and irregular immigrants is outlined. Secondly, immigration policy and immigration policy effects are defined and five types of immigration policy effects are identified: 1) admission effects, 2) deterrence effects, 3) deflection/substitution effects, 4) magnet effects and 5) a definition effect, and their effects on the three categories of immigrants are hypothesised.



Working paper

Publication Date





1 - 28

Total pages



Immigration policy, immigration policy effects, categories of immigrants, interplay, regular migration, irregular migration, asylum