This panel explores migrants' lived experience of the bureaucratic immigration procedures of their destination country. It also seeks to reflect upon the (re)production of racialized, classed and gendered privilege and inequalities inherent in institutionalized immigration policies and practices.
For many migrants, the experience of crossing national borders does not start on the road. It starts before one even leaves the premises of her home and starts engaging with the various and often complicated processes of visa/residence permit application. For them, the lived experience of bureaucratic immigration procedures constitutes the greater part of their route toward their aspired destination. Finding and filling the necessary paperwork in which one has to expose and justify her claim to move, providing proofs of admissibility, dealing with delays in file processing, interacting with, and getting interviewed and screened by immigration clerks, are all part and parcel of the migration route itself. However, the degree of friction encountered along the (bureaucratic) path is often contingent on the classed, gendered and racialized identity of the migrant. This panel explores the engagement of individuals with the various national bureaucratic procedures that shape their experience of immigration, whether they reach their destination or not. It asks how migrant actors of different backgrounds develop coping or resistance strategies, the resources they mobilize and the emotions that emerge from the immigration process and that contribute to shaping their experience. It also seeks to reflect upon the (re)production of racialized, classed and gendered privilege and inequalities inherent in institutionalized immigration policies and practices. The panel welcomes empirical papers that explore the lived experience of immigration formalities, including administrative discrimination, might it be from the perspective of economic migrants, marriage or family migrants, lifestyle migrants or elite professional migrants.