Where Migration Policy is Made: Starting to Expose the Labyrinth of National Institutional Settings for Migration Policy Making and Implementation
“Where you sit determines where you stand” is one of the oldest adages of bureaucratic and organizational thinking. But what determines where you sit? That is: what determines the institutional setting within which different policy-making decisions will be made?
This report looks at what, over time, has determined the various departmental or ministerial locations of migration policy decision-making in different states. Why does one state have a ministry which is totally and solely devoted to migration matters, a second state put immigration in its entirety within a broader ministry dealing with all internal or all foreign affairs, and a third distribute migration policy making across two, three or four separate ministries? Why do some states have migration policy making and the implementation of the policies joined in one ministerial setting and others separate them?
Although there is much discussion about the need for ‘joined up’ policy making where migration is concerned and the linking of policy areas, e.g. migration and development, there has been little written on the domestic institutional context of policy decision-making and planning. Perhaps many people simply take it for granted that policies are drafted and managed within a specific institutional setting in the state they are most familiar with – and are dealt with differently elsewhere, and give it no further thought.