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MAFE Working Paper n.34 «The ImPol Database: A New Tool to Measure Immigration Policies in France, Italy and Spain since the 1960s» by Cora Mezger and Amparo González Ferrer


Abstract: In this Working Paper we present a new database (ImPol) containing information that allows for the construction of quantitative indicators to measure the entry dimension of immigration policies that are comparable over time and across countries. The main goal of the paper is to document the dataset and to explain each of the steps we took in order to convert the qualitative information contained in various legal texts dealing with admission policies into quantitative data. The chosen approach, which relies on legal texts (policy inputs) rather than on policy outputs such as the number of visa applications1, also represents a contribution to the methodological discussion about challenges in constructing policy measures that has already received considerable attention in the area of measuring migrant integration policies (e.g., Migration Integration Policy Index (MIPEX); Citzenship Rights (Koopmans et al., 2012); the Support and Opposition to Migration (SOM) project). There have also been previous efforts in the area of immigration policies. The work on the ImPol database builds on Mayda and Patel (2004) and Ortega and Peri (2009) who collected information on a limited number of laws for 14 OECD countries covering the period 1980 to 2005. While changes over time can be analysed with these indicators, policy restrictiveness cannot be compared across countries, and only major changes in laws were considered. More recently, a large-scale project based on the analysis of legal texts, the “International Migration Policy and Law Analysis” (IMPALA) database project, has been initiated by a consortium of universities. It is currently still in the pilot phase.


The ImPol dataset was originally conceived as a tool to complement the individual survey data collection carried out in the context of the MAFE-Senegal Project. For this reason, the information collected so far is limited to France, Italy, and Spain, which are the main destinations of Senegalese migrants in Europe, and focuses predominantly on the period from the 1960s until 2008. The legal texts consulted reflect the general policy regime in the three European countries and are hence of use for analyses addressing questions about immigration from a variety of origin countries. In addition, we collected texts (bilateral agreements) addressing the specific case of the Senegalese. The type of information contained in the ImPol dataset can be used for a wide range of both contextual and statistical analyses. In addition, the dataset largely remains as work in progress, since both new indicators and new destination countries can be added to the existing one.

ImPol’s research area main task was to expand the dataset to include indicators on labour migration and especially temporary mobility, and to incorporate coding for the UK as a destination state. The ImPol team spent considerable time researching, and discussing indicators to measure restrictiveness and an appropriate methodology to measure labour migration policies both across our countries and diachronically. ImPol team to date have devised indicators and created a new methodology for measuring labour migration policies through occupational types to encompass a range of skill levels.  Coding has been preliminary completed for the UK, France and Italy. At this stage the team is verifying coding decisions with appointed lawyers in each country to ensure interpretations are correct, and coding for Spain is being conducted. The ImPol team have also conducted semi-structured interviews with policy implementers and stakeholders in some of our destination states (UK and France) to explore issues around policy implementation and gaps between law and practice. The next stage involves analysing results, and launching ImPol as an online tool for researchers and policymakers. ImPol will be officially launched next year.

ImPol’s list of legislation and policies for Spain, Italy and France until 2007 is part of the Population Europe Resource Finder & Archive (PERFAR) that offers a broad collection of policies related to population developments throughout Europe, a catalogue with links to socio-economic and demographic data, and an online repository for related research results.


You can go directly to the Migration section of PERFAR by clicking here.



Working Paper 8: Coding Legal Regimes of Immigration Entry to the EU with a Focus on Labour Migration

by Erica Consterdine and James Hampshire


Abstract: In this paper we outline the developments the Work Package 8 (WP8) team have  made to the Immigration Policy Index (ImPol) to meet the needs and objectives of the  TEMPER project. One of the main objectives of TEMPER is to take full advantage of the ImPol tool, in combination with other instruments to analyse the effect that varying degrees of flexibility in conditions of entry, stay and return have on mobility patterns to the EU from different countries of origin, and different types of migrants. Consequently the WP8 team has expanded ImPol to include work-related migration by different skill levels to enable comparisons between different types of labour migration policies. We have devised indicators to measure policy restrictiveness by a.) Admissions and eligibility, b.) The rights granted to migrant workers, and c.) The circularity, return and transitions permitted on different types of labour migration policies. We do this through a unique methodology, which allows researchers to codify different types of work migration diachronically and in a consistent, transparent way.