E.g., 04/01/2015
E.g., 04/01/2015

Regional Migration Study Group

Regional Migration Study Group

The Regional Migration Study Group is an MPI-led initiative that aims to promote human-capital development in North and Central America as a key to strengthening the competitiveness of the region as a whole.

Why?

Migration shapes and defines the U.S. relation­ship with Mexico and, increasingly, much of Central America to an extraordinary degree. Thus, getting migration and the issues that fuel and surround it right is vital to the region’s long-term stability, prosperity, and its competitiveness in a fast-changing and unforgiving global economy. Yet prior to the Study Group’s inception in 2010 there were few systematic conversa­tions about what a collaborative, regional approach to these issues might look like.

What Has Been Done?

In the three years since its founding, the Regional Migration Study Group—consisting of two dozen former officials, civil-society leaders, policy intellectuals, and specialists in the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras and co-chaired by former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, and former Guatemalan Vice President and Foreign Minister Eduardo Stein—has pursued its mission to develop and promote a longer-term vision of how to build a stronger social and economic foundation for the region by enhancing the region’s human-capital infrastructure.

The Study Group's First Phase

The first phase of the Study Group's work culminated with a final report that outlines the powerful demographic, economic, and social forces reshaping Mexico and much of Central America and changing longstanding migration dynamics with the United States. With 14 findings and recommendations for policymakers in the region, the report offers a forward-looking, pragmatic agenda, focusing on new collaborative approaches on migration and human-capital development to strengthen regional competitiveness. Read the final report here.

In the Study Group’s first phase (2010-2013), MPI joined forces with the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Latin America Program/Mexico Institute, a partnership that was named one of the top 20 collaborative relationships among think tanks by the 2013 Global Go To Think Tank Index, published by the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program. In the same ranking, the Study Group’s ground-breaking report Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration & Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America was named the 11th best report in the world produced by a think tank in 2012-2013.

This core report marked the culmination of the Study Group members’ thinking and analysis, laid out in 29 publications (21 reports, and a special issue of eight articles in MPI’s online journal, the Migration Information Source), biannual formal meetings, and regular meetings and briefings with policymakers throughout the region.

The key lesson from this work is that building up the region’s human capital—through education and workforce development reforms that gradually develop common standards in key sectors across the region—will offer better economic opportunities for the region’s citizens, creating an engine for growth in each country and strengthening the region’s competitiveness.

What Is Next?

Today, in the second phase, the Study Group promotes its recommendations with policymakers, the business sector, and civil society in the region, and works on further projects to develop and certify human capital. Focus issues that guide the thinking in 2015 and beyond are human-capital development in high-growth sectors with large pools of available jobs in the middle-skill range. Vocational and technical education skills are key in 21st century labor markets where jobs for workers are not necessarily secured by attaining the highest educational levels, but by making smarter educational choices. 

Going forward, the Study Group is identifying, analyzing, and promoting regional efforts for the harmonization of qualifications and standards across North and Central America. Expected benefits from adopting common regional standards—including in education, program accreditation, and licensure and registration regulations—abound: Increased quality of educational standards, greater collaboration and knowledge exchange across borders through the building of denser networks between educational and training institutions, and the potential for greater mobility are among the low-hanging fruits common standards can create.

For these fruits to ripen in the future, however, collaboration across sectors is indispensable. The Study Group gives special emphasis to concrete on-the-ground initiatives in the region, fostering an inclusive approach that brings together stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, governments, and intergovernmental organizations alike. Combined with high-level consultations with the regions’ key policymakers, the Study Group works to shape the discussion around complex issues of human-capital development, and to provide policy recommendations grounded in nonpartisan research, delivering facts and evidence. 

 

Recent Activity

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Fact Sheets
February 2013
By Philip Martin and J. Edward Taylor
Fact Sheets
February 2013
By Peter A. Creticos and Eleanor Sohnen
Fact Sheets
February 2013
By Allison Squires and Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez
Video, Audio
February 7, 2014

This panel discussion offers perspectives on border policy management from leading officials in the Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. governments, and showcases the MPI book, "Managing Borders in an Increasingly Borderless World."

Video
February 5, 2014

During this public briefing in Guatemala City (conducted in both English and Spanish), the Co-Directors of the Migration Policy Institute-convened Regional Migration Study Group, MPI President Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Senior Fellow Doris Meissner, presented the Study Group’s final report, Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration and Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America.

Video, Audio
May 6, 2013

A panel discussion on the release of the Regional Migration Study Group's final report, Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration & Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America, outlining its findings and offering recommendations to policymakers in the region.

Video, Audio
April 5, 2013

This discussion with Mexico's new Ambassador to the United States focused on changing dynamics in Mexico, and their implications for both Mexico and the U.S.

Recent Activity

Reports
March 2015

Amid aging populations and the growth of chronic diseases, the demand for skilled health-care professionals is on the rise in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This report explores the policy implications, benefits, and challenges of harmonizing nursing qualifications in the region, suggesting that a more collaborative approach could result in greater supply and quality of nurses.

Video, Audio
February 7, 2014

This panel discussion offers perspectives on border policy management from leading officials in the Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. governments, and showcases the MPI book, "Managing Borders in an Increasingly Borderless World."

Video
February 5, 2014

During this public briefing in Guatemala City (conducted in both English and Spanish), the Co-Directors of the Migration Policy Institute-convened Regional Migration Study Group, MPI President Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Senior Fellow Doris Meissner, presented the Study Group’s final report, Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration and Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America.

Reports
August 2013

La migración ha contribuido a dar forma y definir las relaciones entre Estados Unidos y México desde hace más de un siglo, y las relaciones con Centroamérica aproximadamente durante los últimos 30 años. A veces, incluso la migración se convierte en la lente a través de la cual se consideran todos los otros aspectos de esta relación.

Reports
July 2013

Este reporte analiza algunos de los factores económicos que han influido sobre los flujos migratorios de México a los Estados Unidos, con el fin de construir escenarios sobre cómo dichos flujos podrían evolucionar en el futuro cercano. El análisis examina tres diferentes periodos en la historia reciente de la migración de México a los Estados Unidos.

Video, Audio
May 6, 2013

A panel discussion on the release of the Regional Migration Study Group's final report, Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration & Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America, outlining its findings and offering recommendations to policymakers in the region.

Reports
May 2013

This final report from the Regional Migration Study Group outlines the powerful demographic, economic, and social forces reshaping Mexico and Central America and changing longstanding migration dynamics with the United States. It offers a forward-looking, pragmatic agenda for the region, focusing on new collaborative approaches on migration and human-capital development to strengthen regional competitiveness.

Video, Audio
April 5, 2013

This discussion with Mexico's new Ambassador to the United States focused on changing dynamics in Mexico, and their implications for both Mexico and the U.S.

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