UQ Migrant Smuggling Working Group
Current projects

The UQ Migrant Smuggling Working Group is, at any one time, involved in a broad range of research activities on the many facets of the smuggling of migrants phenomenon. This involves student-led short-term projects spanning over several months, Higher Degree by Research theses, and long-term studies involving staff and students on the criminology, methods, and perpetrators of migrant smuggling and on domestic and international laws and policies preventing and combating the smuggling of migrants. This website outlines current research projects.

Preventing migrant smuggling; promoting safe migration

Andreas Schloenhardt

This project aims to enhance the ability and preparedness of States to manage migration flows and respond to refugee crises.  It involves several papers, presentations, and other research activities that serve to develop innovative, sustainable, and politically acceptable strategies that incentivise the use of safe and legal avenues of migration and asylum seeking.  Research outcomes involve short-, medium- and long-term strategies as well as practical mechanisms that prevent the smuggling of migrants, discourage irregular migration, and protect the rights of migrants.

Smuggling of migrants in Austria

Andreas Schloenhardt

This project brings together 12 undergraduate and postgraduate students from the University of Vienna who explore topics relating to the smuggling of migrants in Austria. Subject matter ranges from the levels and characteristics of smuggling, international and European law, domestic offences, the work of government agencies, and measures to protect smuggled migrants and removed convicted smugglers.  The research will be compiled in an edited book published by NWV in the second half of 2017.

The criminal justice response to smuggling of migrants in Indonesia

Xavier Goffinet

This project outlines and analyses the criminal justice response of Indonesia to smuggling of migrants.  It explores levels and characteristics of migrant smuggling in Indonesia, identifies existing laws and law enforcement measures, assesses these against the standards set by international law and best practice guidelines, and develops recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of existing measures whilst protecting the rights of smuggled migrants.

Smuggling of unaccompanied minors

Joseph Lelliott

This project examines the smuggling of unaccompanied minors.  It explores the causes, levels, and characteristics of this phenomenon and analyses relevant international laws and domestic practice in Australia, Austria, Italy, South Africa and the United States.  Research goals are to document and analyse the phenomenon at global and national levels, examine existing laws and other measures aimed at preventing and combating the smuggling of unaccompanied minors, and develop strategies and recommendations for law reform in order to ensure the protection and humane treatment of minors in the irregular migration process.

A Complex Construct: Australia’s Reputation through the Lens of Australia’s Actions towards Asylum Seekers and Refugees, 2001–2017

Nicola Barnett

This project examines the nature and complexity of Australia’s reputation through the lens of Australia’s actions towards refugees and smuggled migrants.  Arguing that state character is integral to state reputation, this study analyses statements made by state actors, international organisations and NGOs that embody judgments of Australia’s character, based on Australia’s actions in this arena, as well as Australian government discursive responses to these judgments.

Smuggling of migrants to Australia by air

Georgina Papworth

This project examines the patterns and levels of smuggling of migrants by air to Australia, including the use of fraudulent travel and identity documents to facilitate such smuggling.  Furthermore, the project updates research conducted by the Working Group in 2011 and explores the question whether the reduction in authorised boat arrivals to Australia explains the surge in unauthorised air arrivals since 2014?

Visa requirements and entry restrictions — and their impact on smuggling of migrants in Australia

Max Ward

This project explores the impact of visa requirements and other pre-arrival entry restrictions on the levels and patterns of smuggling of migrants in Australia.  In particular, it examines whether such measures are able to stop, prevent, and reduce the smuggling of migrants or whether they push migrant smuggling further underground or displace smuggling to other routes and methods. 

Border controls and document checks at borders, airports, and seaports: legal frameworks and practical measures in Australia

Thanapol Pattanarsi

This project explores the impact of various border control measures on the levels and patterns of smuggling of migrants.  In particular, it examines whether controls and document checks at Australia’s borders, airports and seaports are able to stop, prevent, and reduce the smuggling of migrants or whether they push migrant smuggling further underground or displace it to other routes and methods. 

‘Building a “beautiful” wall’: The impact of proposed border fortifications along the US-Mexico border

Beliz Ozturk

One of the most prominent and controversial promises made by Donald Trump in the 2016 US-presidential election campaign involved the suggestion to build a wall along the border to Mexico.  This project explores the details of this proposal and, in particular, its likely impact on levels and characteristics of the smuggling of migrants from Mexico and other parts of Latin America to the United States.

‘Shoot them, if necessary’: The use of force to prevent illegal entry in Australia

Isabelle Peart

This project examines the policies, laws and other measures relating to the use of force to stop illegal entry into Australia.  In particular, it explores the question how much force can be threatened and applied to stop persons from entering a country/crossing a border unlawfully?

Smuggling of migrants from Kosovo to Austria

Andreas Wintersperger

The smuggling of migrants from Kosovo, one of Europe’s economically least developed ‘countries’, has made headlines for many years and led the Austrian Govrnment to adopt strong deterrent measures in 2015.  This project explores the levels and patterns of smuggling activities along this route, including the available data, profile and background of the smuggled migrants, smuggling methods (including information on costs/fees), and the profile and networks of the smugglers.