‘Street-level’ agents operating beyond ‘remote control’: how overseas liaison officers and foreign state officials shape UK extraterritorial migration management

Ostrand, Nicole and Statham, Paul (2020) ‘Street-level’ agents operating beyond ‘remote control’: how overseas liaison officers and foreign state officials shape UK extraterritorial migration management. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. pp. 1-21. ISSN 1369-183X

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Abstract

Extraterritorial migration management perspectives on how states try to enforce immigration controls beyond their juridical borders are strongly influenced by ‘remote control’ metaphors. This is conceptually limited and outdated. Most research fails to sufficiently acknowledge agency by a destination state's officials acting abroad, foreign states and their officials, when evaluating extraterritorial measures and ‘outcomes’. We study UK liaison officers abroad, specifically, how they see their efforts to implement extraterritorial immigration control through interactions with foreign state officials. Our approach links inter-state relations to the social world of on-the-ground ‘street-level’ interactions between officers abroad and their foreign counterparts. The empirical analysis draws from original interviews and official sources. We compare factors accounting for the UK's activities and perceived ‘outcomes’ across USA, France, Thailand, Egypt and Ghana. Findings show the UK's extraterritorial migration management results from a very long chain of decisions and actions, by foreign and UK state actors, operating at different institutional-levels, with uncontrollable local circumstances abroad. Realising extraterritorial goals depends strongly on liaison officers’ agency, ‘soft power’ over foreign officials and foreign officials’ willingness to cooperate. Meanwhile liaison officers’ ‘feedbacks’ importantly influence Home Office decision-making. Against the simplistic one-way causality of ‘remote control’, this is ‘street-level’ agency beyond ‘remote control’.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2020 06:58
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2020 07:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/92940

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