Youth mobilities of unaccompanied minors in border regions

Unaccompanied minors, i.e. youth under the age of 18 who seek refuge in a country but are not accompanied by a parent or other adult relative, are hosted in the Euregion in different ways, depending on the institutions and laws of the country where they are located (Belgium, The Netherlands or Germany). Their access to support networks and institutions differs as does their ability to be physically mobile. Generally, youth in border regions are involved in different types of mobilities. They move across borders for education, leisure and work on a frequent basis. They may live in one country and attend secondary or tertiary schools in another country; they arrange to meet their friends and family in neighbouring countries; and they vacation by visiting places not far from home but across borders. The Euregion is no exception to this phenomenon. However, there is very little research that investigates the way this everyday mobility impacts youth’s transitions into adulthood related to moves into higher education, employment, independent living, social belonging and active citizenship, and none looking at unaccompanied minors in particular. This project entails an ethnography of how unaccompanied minors between the ages of 15-18 live the border, what different mobility patterns they have and how these patterns shape their motivations, identities, conditions and transitions into adulthood. By understanding these dynamics, regions that are experiencing a decline in population such as the region of Limburg, can be aided in thinking about how to attract young people – future students and workers – to this area.

Researcher: Maha Naami (see profile)

Supervisors: Valentina Mazzucato, Katie Kuschminder, Janniek van de Looij (see profiles)