Syrian Unaccompanied Minors Journeys to Germany and initial experiences upon arrival

Raphael Kamp,

Unaccompanied minors form a distinct, vulnerable group of asylum-seekers, wherein there is less evidence available on their decision-making processes. This chapter investigates: 1) how Syrian unaccompanied minors make their decisions to come to Europe; 2) how they experience their journeys and make decisions en route; and 3) how these decisions influence their short-term integration in Germany. Seventeen Syrian unaccompanied minors were interviewed in the border area of Städteregion Aachen in Germany in 2016. The results illustrate that Syrian unaccompanied minors form a heterogeneous group with different degrees of autonomy in their decision-making to come to Europe. Similar to other research with unaccompanied minors, this research details the difficulties of the journey and the multiple challenges faced en route. Transnational networks are a central reason for choosing Germany, however, upon arrival, many minors were not in contact with relatives and were not able to bring their nuclear family to Germany via family re-unification. The results provide further evidence for the need for assistance to minors during their journeys, support upon arrival, and the need to prioritize family re-unification for unaccompanied minors.

About the speaker

Raphael Kamp is author, policy analyst and lecturer for migration, integration and the social protection system in Germany. His book "Grenzenlos - Warum wir illegale Migration neu denken müssen" was published in Spring 2019. Moreover, he currently works as social worker in a refugee integration project in Germany. Raphael Kamp has been working in different areas of residual youth welfare, including trauma pedagogy and emergency foster care. This also included the foster care of unaccompanied minors. He holds a Master of Science in Public Policy and Human Development with a specialization in Migration Studies from the United Nations University and Maastricht University.

Venue: 0.16/0.17

Date: 16 October 2019

Time: 13:00 - 14:00  CEST