Abstract: This article examines the relationship between irregular migration, access to information and migration decisions. Using semi-structured interviews of thirty irregular return migrants who failed to reach their European destinations through Libya, I show that irregular return migrants from Ghana rely predominantly on interpersonal sources, including colleagues, neighbors, friends and relatives, for information on migration. Return migrants seek information from those who have relevant experience with that kind of migration. Existing research focuses on information from ‘formal’ sources such as traditional print media, social media, library or workshops. Here I argue that this focus on access to information conceals the activities and practices of irregular return migrants who perceive European destinations as ‘greener pastures’ and seek information to travel through dangerous routes. Most irregular return migrants interviewed in this study indicated they had access to information from ‘informal’ sources often shared as ‘jokes.’ Although irregular return migrants perceive the information they gather through their everyday activities as reliable, their interactions involve complex and unstructured social processes.
Keywords: decision-making; information access; information sources; irregular migration; return migrants