Due out: October 2021

Deadline for submissions: 7th June 2021

Externalisation is a strategy whereby States instigate measures beyond their own borders in order to prevent or deter the entry of foreign nationals who lack the requisite legal entry permission and who are thought likely to apply for asylum.

There are many examples of States using externalisation as a means of immigration/asylum management. In the 1980s the US intercepted Cuban and Haitian asylum seekers travelling by boat and processed their claims in offshore locations, while since the 1990s Australia’s Pacific Solution has followed a similar strategy. More recently, European countries have considered similar measures – intercepting boats in the Mediterranean to return asylum seekers to detention in Libya, for example, and drawing up plans for removals and remote processing. Other manifestations of such policies include visa controls, sanctions on transport companies, the expanded role of Frontex in Europe, and – in countries of origin and transit – deterrent-heavy information campaigns and incentives for States (such as Turkey) to block onward movement. Meanwhile, under pressure from the US, Mexico is detaining asylum seekers rather than allowing them to cross into the US.

At stake is not only the duty of States to ensure their asylum policies are in line with both the letter and the spirit of their international obligations but also the protection of asylum seekers worldwide.

There are safe and legal alternatives to the traditional routes to protection – often referred to as ‘complementary pathways’ – and these merit examination. These include labour mobility programmes, humanitarian visas and corridors, family reunion programmes and educational scholarships, which all serve as alternatives to more established pathways such as asylum or resettlement.

For this feature, we will welcome articles exploring the legal, ethical and logistical aspects of externalisation and of complementary routes to protection. This feature will provide a forum for policymakers, researchers, practitioners and affected communities to debate perspectives, share experience and good practice, and offer recommendations. In particular, the FMR Editors are looking for policy/practice-oriented submissions, reflecting a diverse range of experience and opinions, which address questions such as the following:

  • What are the different forms of externalisation currently being implemented? How, if at all, has externalisation changed (or how is it changing) over time?
  • How do asylum seekers, refugees and stateless people experience the practice of externalisation, and how are their experiences reflected in the debates on externalisation? Does externalisation affect different groups differently?
  • What can be learned from how States have made use of externalisation in the past and how should these lessons be put to use?
  • Can externalisation policies be implemented in ways that respect refugee/asylum and other human rights?
  • What have been the social, economic and political consequences of externalisation in countries affected by this strategy?
  • What are the issues at stake for transit States and other States asked to process asylum claims on behalf of destination States? What incentives have been offered in exchange for cooperation?
  • What are the challenges for transport providers?
  • How has the international humanitarian community responded to the phenomenon of externalisation? How has the legality of externalisation been challenged and with what results?
  • What is the current thinking on, and people’s experience of, other, ‘complementary’ pathways to protection and what can be learned from how they have been used and experienced to date?
  • How could the expansion of the use of complementary pathways affect the practice of externalisation? What role can or should be played by key actors such as the UN and inter-governmental and international legal bodies?
  • How can data on the implementation and consequences of externalisation, and on the development and use of complementary pathways, be gathered, used and shared?


Deadline for submission of articles: 7th June

We welcome articles of between 1,200 and 2,500 words. Please note that the maximum of 2,500 words includes any endnotes.

BEFORE WRITING YOUR ARTICLE: If you are interested in contributing, please email the Editors at fmr@qeh.ox.ac.uk with a few sentences about your proposed topic so that we can provide feedback. We will then notify you to say if we are interested in receiving your submission, and will at that stage provide you with further guidance and our submission requirements.

Please note: We ask all authors to give appropriate consideration to the particular relevance of their responses to persons with disabilities, to LGBTIQ+ persons, to older persons, and to other groups with specific vulnerabilities and characteristics, and to seek to include a gendered approach as part of their articles. We also ask authors to consider, where appropriate, the impact of climate change in their analysis and recommendations.

While we are looking for examples of good, replicable practice and experience as well as sound analysis of the issues at stake, we also urge writers to discuss failures and difficulties: what does/did not work so well, and why?

We are particularly keen to reflect the experiences and knowledge of communities and individuals directly affected by these questions. If you have suggestions of colleagues or community representatives who may wish to contribute, please do email us; we are happy to work with individuals to help them develop an article and very keen to have displaced peoples perspectives reflected in the magazine.


Interested in submitting an article for our ‘General articles’ section?

If you wish to propose a ‘general’ article (i.e. on a topic other than the feature theme) to be considered for the October 2021 issue, please contact the Editors at fmr@qeh.ox.ac.uk. Submission requirements apply – see above and at www.fmreview.org/writing-fmr. Contact us first with your proposed topic before writing your article. The deadline for submissions is 7th June.