Migration, Transit and the Informal: Homeless West-African Migrants in Copenhagen

Bidragets oversatte titel: Migration, transit og det uformelle: Hjemløse vestafrikanske migranter I København.

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In the last couple of years, Copenhagen has been receiving new types of visitors: young, resourceful men from southern Europe in search of job opportunities. Many are of West-African origin, and have lived many years in Spain and Italy. As a result of the economic recession, they are now moving northwards. Being Schengen residents, their entry is legal, but obtaining a work permit remains almost impossible. Instead, a wide range of geographical areas are being scrutinized for alternative income opportunities. Therefore, they relapse into a position as modern ‘ hunter-gatherers’ surviving through a mix of private charity, collection of bottles and informal odd jobs, moving between the Nordic capitals as opportunities for income generation arise.
The emergence of such hyper mobile and flexible proletariat challenges many of our perceptions on migration. Conceptions of integration, citizenship and minimum wages and – standards may need reconsideration just as the self-image of private charities may need adjust to a new group of users, who are only here on transit. The paper investigates the motivations of these new migrants, their survival strategies and the strategies put forward to avoid the potential downward spiral of surviving as a homeless migrant in Copenhagen.
Bidragets oversatte titelMigration, transit og det uformelle: Hjemløse vestafrikanske migranter I København.
TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Homelessness
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)131-151
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - 15 jun. 2017


  • West-African migrants
  • Homelessness
  • Informal street work
  • Copenhagen

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