Consultant (home based)

Closing date

Position Title: Consultant - A2.3. Research on irregular migration

Duty Station: Home based

Duration: 5 months

Estimated Start Date: Immediate

Closing Date: 18 Aug 2021

1. Introduction

Established in 1951, IOM is a Related Organization of the United Nations, and as the leading UN agency in the field of migration, it is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. IOM works closely with governmental, intergovernmental, and nongovernmental partners.

2. Nature of the consultancy

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in China will develop a discussion paper on irregular migration. The paper will present an updated overview of irregular migrants from China in the EU and complement a reference guide on return and readmission, which IOM will also develop under the MMSPII project.

The research on irregular migration from China to the EU aims to contribute to the cooperation between the EU and China in the field of irregular migration, and, in particular, on return and readmission of irregular migrants. Under the first phase of the EU-China Dialogue on Migration and Mobility Support Project (MMSP, 2015-2018), several steps and actions were taken to support this cooperation, such as workshops on return and readmission, exchange visits to several EU MS where Chinese officials from the Bureau of Exit and Entry Administration could better understand the European implementation and operation of return and readmission agreements with non-European countries; and a seminar on seminar on identification techniques related to the return of irregular migrants. These initiatives showed that the EU and China have more common ground than differences in migration management, including management of irregular migration. Continued collaboration and knowledge exchange between China and the EU can contribute to a better mutual understanding and an effective support to the ongoing EU-China Mobility and Migration Dialogue (MMD) and discussions on the EU-China agreement on cooperation in combatting illegal migration (CIMA).

3. Purpose of the research

The research on irregular migration from China to the EU will be developed in the framework of the ‘*EU-China Dialogue on Migration and Mobility Support Project Phase II’*, funded by the EU and implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in China. In particular, this research will contribute to the MMSPII first specific objective, which is: ”*to support the EU-China Mobility and Migration Dialogue (MMD), including the* *implementation of the second phase of the MMD Roadmap and its ongoing negotiations (on Visa Facilitation Agreement (VFA) and cooperation in combatting illegal migration (CIMA)), contributing to better management of migration and mobility between the EU and China*”.

This research aims to offer an overview of irregular migration in the EU originating from China as background for the Reference Guide on Return and Readmission. The discussion paper will, therefore, provide the available, evidence-based information and data to continue strengthening knowledge and cooperation between the EU and China, and ultimately contributing to an effective return and readmission management between both regions. In particular, it will provide a snapshot of the current situation of irregular migrants in the EU originating from China and the limitations that the available data presents. The report will also aim to identify how irregular migration data can be strengthened, both in terms of data collection and presentation. In this sense, it will particularly focus on aligning migration data and the 2030 Agenda as well as the new IOM Migration Data Strategy.

4. Research approach

The discussion paper produced under this research should provide a background and overview of irregular immigration in the EU originating from China. The research will be desk-based and is expected to gather and analyse a combination of qualitative and quantitative publicly available data to provide an updated picture of the current situation of irregular migration of Chinese nationals in the EU. It will draw on databases, reports and other publicly available information and it will assess the gaps and challenges that the available data presents, as well as provide recommendations on how to address these.

The quantitative approach will seek to combine previous methodologies that have proven to be reliable to estimate irregular migration in the past when using secondary research methods, for example in Spain or the UK[1]. Although available examples provide reasonable estimations for irregular migrants when using secondary data, these methodologies must acknowledge their limitations.

The primarily limitation to the approach of basing the estimation of irregular migration from China on secondary data will rely on the availability of data that EU MS have. This is even more so considering the share of Chinese migrants that come to the EU regularly and then overstay their visa or come for a different purpose than the one for which they were granted a visa, who are very difficult to detect especially when moving within the Schengen area.

It is likely that not all EU MS will have available and comparable data (i.e. recent census carried out, with breakdown per nationality) that allows to provide a thorough picture of Chinese irregular migration in the whole of the EU, in addition to the data of apprehensions captured by Eurostat for the EU Member States. The study, therefore, contemplates the possibility that the report is narrowed down to one or a few EU MS case studies that do have recent and available data and information that allows to present a picture of Chinese irregular migration in their territory. At the beginning of the research, an assessment of the suggested methodology will be conducted in order to confirm the research approach to follow.

5. Contents of the discussion paper

Bearing in mind that the study could be narrowed down to one or a few EU MS’ case studies to present an updated situation of Chinese irregular migration in the EU and the contents will then be adjusted to reflect this, the overall expected outline of the report is as follows:

  1. Introduction and objective of the research

  2. Considerations over available methodologies in the EU context and review of available data at EU and national level (EU MS)

  3. Identification of the selected methodology (and countries) and limitations to the methodology

  4. Snapshot of irregular migration in the EU/selected EU MS originating from China: main statistics and trends

  5. Limitations, gaps and challenges of available irregular migration data

  6. Measuring irregular migration from China to the EU in the context of the 2030 Agenda: the need to strengthen data on irregular migration and how to get there

  7. Conclusions and Recommendations

There is no fixed number of pages expected for this discussion paper, as long as the points above are satisfactorily reported.

The project has identified several key sources to be consulted before defining the geographical scope and specific methodology for the research. This list is expected to be consulted as a guideline but researchers should expand the sources for consultation:

· FRONTEX annual risk analyses and other reports, and data. Frontex reports on aspects of irregular migration in the EU: detections of illegal border crossings, detections of suspected facilitators, detections of Illegal stay, refusal of entry, asylum applications and detections of false documents[2].

· Eurostat database, which includes EU MS’ monthly, quarterly and annual statistics on international migration and asylum including number of apprehensions of irregular Chinese migrants in the EU between 2015 and 2020 Statistics | Eurostat ( Eurostat also shares the series on Third country nationals refused entry at the external borders - annual data (rounded) [MIGR_EIRFS__custom_951285], reporting the number of Chinese citizens refused at sea (ports), air (airports) and land borders by EU + UK countries each year (until 2019, 2020 is still missing);

· EURODAC reports and statistics;


· Council of Europe;

· National census and other recent relevant surveys at the national level;

· National Ministries of Interior and Exterior databases (or other relevant ministries) and statistics;

· Information from court cases in (selected) EU countries, involving Chinese citizens for cases relevant to irregular entry and stay[3];

· Population databases (UNFPA, WB, OECD and national databases);

· UNHCR data on asylum;

· IOM’s EURCAP, GMDAC and other institutional sources (e.g. IOM’s AVRR and DTM networks);

· The Migration Data Portal;

· UNDESA reports (e.g. report on international migration (2020))

· EASO (e.g. “Overview of 2020 on the situation of asylum in Europe”);

· WB’s Global Bilateral Migration database and World Bank Open Data;

· The International Migration Institute (IMI);

· OECD’s International Migration Database;

· The Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD);

· Migration Policy Institute reports;

· EC Knowledge Centre on Migration and demography (KCMD) reports and data. For example the 2020 KCMD atlas of migration in EU Member States;

· Academic papers such as:

· Goodkind, D. (2019). The Chinese Diaspora: Historical Legacies and Contemporary Trends.US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau.

· Laczko, F. (2003). Europe attracts more migrants from China. Migration Information Source, 1.

· Skeldon, R. (2000). Myths and realities of Chinese irregular migration (No. 1). International Organization for Migration.

· Websites such as, where a list of sources of information is provided.



[3] The MMSPII project is engaging in a research on facilitation of irregular migration in China, focusing on open-source data coming from relevant Chinese court sentences. At the beginning of the research, a review of available information from court sentences in the EU could be done, to assess whether to include these as source of information for this research.

6. Deliverables and timeline: all deliverables should be submitted in English.

Inception report :

No later than 4 weeks after the signing of the contract. This report will include, at least: (i) the final methodology suggested by the researcher, (ii) the assumptions and limitations of the chosen methodology, (iii) EU MS (one or more, with explanation for the reason of choice) which will be the subject of the research, and (iv) sources of information and preliminary databases that will be consulted.

IOM will provide feedback to the inception report and approval of the methodology will be required from IOM.

Draft discussion paper (contents as set in the outlined contents in section 5 of these ToR):

No later than 12 weeks after the signing of the contract. The expected date is November 24th, 2021.

IOM China will coordinate with the EU and Chinese stakeholders to provide unified feedback to the consultant. Feedback will be provided no later than 2 weeks after receiving the draft discussion paper.

30% payment by December 2021

Final discussion paper, incorporating IOM’s feedback to the first draft:

Before December 22nd, 2020

70% payment by January 2022

The consultant will maintain close communication with the Research Consultant in IOM China, and other project team members when relevant. In addition to the submission of deliverables specified in section 6, IOM may request additional check-ins with the consultant. These monitoring activities may include phone calls for progress updates, additional requests of draft submissions, or others as agreed between both parties. The timeline above may be adjusted to reflect external factors such as availability of key informants to participate in interview.

7. Required skills and qualifications:

· Previous experience undertaking research in the field of irregular migration;**

· Experience carrying out qualitative and quantitative desk-based research;

· Experience with large datasets;

· Knowledge and experience in the field of migration management, preferrable in the EU, and the 2030 Agenda;

· Demonstrated ability to analyse data, present key findings and conclusions.

· Excellent drafting skills in English.

8. Performance indicators for the evaluation of the final discussion paper:

· Satisfactory completion of tasks indicated in the Terms of Reference;

· Level of adherence to the objectives and purpose of the research;

· Quality and robustness of the suggested methodology;

· Quality of the elaborated research and analysis;

· Quality of overall paper, adhering to IOM standards for published reports;

· Timely delivery as indicated in section 6;

· Performance of any other tasks indicated above;

· Reporting on the estimated number of working days assigned to each deliverable;

· Periodic and regular updates on the progress of the deliverables provided to IOM.

How to apply

· Prospective consultants shall submit their CV and motivation letter to in IOM China by August 18th, 2021, before midnight GMT+8.

· Only shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview in which they will be asked to briefly explain the methodology they would follow if they were selected, as well as their salary expectations.

· Please mark the subject line of your email with “Application –A2.3. Research on irregular migration Consultant”