1st Edition

The Foreign Policy of Irregular Migration Governance State Security and Migrants’ Insecurity in Italy and Australia

By Gabriele Abbondanza Copyright 2025
    144 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Irregular migration is one of the most momentous phenomena of the 21st century. A life-changing process for migrants themselves, it also entails a number of significant challenges for destination countries and their local populations. Consequently, irregular migration is now a heavily-debated and polarising issue in most receiving states. However, the multiple perspectives on this phenomenon are rarely assessed together, and states’ role in shaping national and international responses remains understudied, which hinders a comprehensive understanding of irregular migration governance.

    To address this issue, this innovative book investigates irregular migration by concurrently analysing the viewpoints of migrants, states, and their local populations. To that end, it builds on multidisciplinary insights from international relations, migration studies, and other disciplines, and adopts Italy and Australia as two highly-relevant yet rarely-compared case studies, with a focus on their migratory foreign policies. In arguing for a multidisciplinary and holistic interpretation of irregular migration, it sheds new light on an influential and permanent feature of our times through key theory, security, and policy implications, as well as with relevant proposals. It also provides an assessment of unfolding trends, novel insights, and potential future outlooks based on the latest data and published research.

    This book is a valuable resource for academics, migration and security professionals, policymakers, diplomats, journalists, and students.

    1.  The foreign policy of irregular migration governance: an overview 2.  A theoretical framework for irregular migration: migrants’, states’, and local populations’ perspectives 3.  Italy's and Australia's foreign policy on irregular migration: 2000-2024 4.  The security implications of irregular migration: state security, migrants’ insecurity 5.  The policy implications of irregular migration: gaps, alternatives, extraterritorial processing reconsidered, conundrums, and external validity 6.  The theoretical implications of irregular migration: the need for eclectic approaches 7.  Irregular migration governance in the 21st century: current trends, novel insights, and future outlooks


    Gabriele Abbondanza is Marie Curie Fellow at the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain; Associate Researcher at the University of Sydney, Australia; and Associate Fellow at the Istituto Affari Internazionali, Italy. He specialises in Australian and Italian foreign policy, irregular migration, great and middle power theory, and the Indo-Pacific. He has published widely on these subjects, and currently teaches a number of courses related to international relations and migration studies. He frequently contributes to media, public, and institutional debates concerning his fields of expertise.

    “This book makes a major contribution to the foreign policy of irregular migration by bringing together dominant theoretical approaches with relevant policy implications in two paradigmatic case studies. A must-read for scholars and students interested in understanding the challenges of irregular migration governance in our days.”

    Claudia Finotelli – Associate Professor, Complutense University of Madrid

    “This book examines the understudied foreign policy components of irregular migration governance, looking - with theoretical eclecticism - at migrants, states, and their local populations. Through the analysis of the highly relevant – and controversial - cases of Italy and Australia, the author engages with stimulating conceptual and empirical elements around the irregular migration process. The findings reveal a convergence towards restrictive foreign policies of the two countries, which have progressively focused on border security, at the expense of growing insecurity for migrants. This research also has the merit of exploring several policy-related insights that could foster the public debate on migration.”

    Fabrizio Coticchia – Full Professor, University of Genoa

    “This most timely book sheds new light on the under-investigated foreign policy components of the governance of irregular migration, an issue that is nowadays at the fore of attention and in constant evolution. The book convincingly highlights the increasing role played by foreign policy among migration policies. It does so by aptly blending, back and forth, a large array of theoretical considerations with the outcome of empirical research focused on an original and fruitful comparison of two most interesting case studies, Italy and Australia, underlying all along the contrast between states’ security and migrants’ insecurity.”

    Joaquín Arango – Emeritus Professor, Complutense University of Madrid