Stockholm University has obtained a grant from the Swedish Research Council (VR) for the three year project “Agents of Migration: A comparative study of migration intermediaries in three labour market sectors”.

Principal investigator is Linn Axelsson, Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University. Charlotta Hedberg, Department of Geography and Economic History, Umeå University, participates in the project.

Despite growing evidence that intermediaries play a crucial role in organising international migration, there is a considerable lack of knowledge about how they operate. This project aims to address this gap by providing a comparative analysis of migration intermediaries and the national regulatory frameworks in sending and receiving countries that condition their operations. In order to account for the dynamics and complexities of the relationship between government regulations and migration intermediaries and move beyond the separation in earlier research between actors involved in the global circulation of higher and lower skilled labour, comparisons are made between three sets of labour migration intermediaries – (1) intra-company transfers, placement agencies and immigration services providers, (2) recruitment agencies and social networks and (3) staffing agencies – who organise the international migration of labour across three different sectors of the Swedish labour market – information technology, the restaurant and the wild berry industries. Qualitative methods will be used in three research sites by a team of researchers with significant experience in researching labour migration to Sweden. By applying a comparative analytical lens to significant migration actors that have received limited empirical attention, the project will make important contributions to migration studies and to the understanding of labour migration to Sweden.