E.g., 08/11/2020
E.g., 08/11/2020

International Program

International Program

Falk Lademann

Most EU Member States closed their borders to travel from neighboring countries in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. While internal borders in the Schengen zone largely reopened in time for summer holidays, there is a lingering sense they could snap shut anew. Though the reflexive introduction of border controls speaks to an inherent lack of trust between states, the 2015-16 migration crisis offers lessons on how to begin to rebuild trust, as this commentary explores.

Jens-Olaf Walter

COVID-19 has chilled many forms of human movement, from travel to temporary and permanent migration, refugee resettlement, and returns, among them. While a safe restart of travel is a precondition for a return to economic and societal normalcy, restarting mobility will not be like flicking a switch, particularly amid disagreements over the costs societies can and should absorb in the name of protecting public health, as this commentary explains.

Nicolas Vigier

As European asylum systems are tested again by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has injected the need for social distancing during processing and in reception centers, it appears lessons learned during the 2015-16 migration and refugee crisis may be fading. Chief among them: A number of Member States have phased out their buffer capacity. This MPI Europe commentary explores the diametrically different approaches taken to asylum during the pandemic.

Claus Bunks

As governments have reacted to the coronavirus pandemic by closing borders, seasonal workers have been kept out, raising a pressing question: who is going to produce the food amid agricultural labor shortages? Policymakers in the Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America have responded by seeking to recruit residents, lengthen stays for already present seasonal workers, and find ways to continue admitting foreign seasonal labor, as this commentary explores.

Dipartimento Protezione Civile

Travel bans, border closures, and other migration management tools did not prove effective at blocking COVID-19 from spreading across international borders. Yet as governments have shifted from containment to mitigation with the coronavirus now in community transmission in many countries, these restrictions are a logical part of the policy toolkit in the context of social distancing and restricting all forms of human movement, as this commentary explores.

International Organization for Migration

Europe's refugee resettlement capacity has grown dramatically, with resettlement places more than doubling since 2014, even as European countries have become an emerging center for innovation. As Europe accounts for a rising share of resettlement worldwide, will European policymakers claim a leadership role in shaping the global resettlement agenda or fall into this position by default?

Recent Activity

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Sign left by No More Deaths activists in Arizona
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Migrants returning to Ethiopia
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City view in Marrakech
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Theresa May speaks to reporters
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South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia.
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Reports
May 2016
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou
Reports
May 2016
By Sunder Katwala and Will Somerville
Policy Briefs
April 2016
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Richard Alba, Nancy Foner, and Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan
Reports
March 2016
By Elizabeth Collett, Paul Clewett, and Susan Fratzke

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Kenyan migration to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries has been on the rise over the last few decades, spurred by rising unemployment and instability in Kenya combined with the GCC region's economic growth and proximity. While both sending and origin countries benefit economically from this new migration, it presents significant challenges for these governments, particularly in the area of labor rights, as this feature article explores. 

One of the least developed countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has experienced significant migration outflows and inflows tied to political and economic crises in recent decades. While most Congolese migrants head to neighboring countries, destinations have diversified, with an uptick in those leaving for opportunities in Europe and beyond. This country profile explores historical and contemporary patterns of migration to and from DR Congo.

Afghanistan, once the world's largest origin of refugees, is increasingly experiencing mixed migration, including seasonal and permanent outflows for both economic and humanitarian reasons, internal displacement, and refugee returns. This feature article examines the current trends with a focus on return migration and the development impacts at the intersection of displacement and urbanization.

The complex push and pull factors driving child and family migration from Central America to the United States have changed little since the 2014 crisis. Despite some fluctuation in arrival numbers, recent trends suggest the characteristics of an enduring phenomenon. This Policy Beat explores the latest developments in U.S. policy responses, including enforcement operations, development assistance, and family detention.

Drawn by generous asylum policies and the region's welcoming reputation, hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers arrived in Scandinavia in 2015. As the unprecedented flow overwhelmed the asylum systems of Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark, lawmakers began to recalibrate their policies, tightening asylum benefits in a number of significant ways, as this article explores.

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Video, Audio
February 17, 2016

MPI's Demetrios Papademetriou discusses the current policy responses to the refugee and migration crisis at EU and national levels, and possible options for dealing more effectively with the crisis and longer-term integration challenges.

Audio
February 8, 2016

Analysts discuss how private sponsorship programs for refugees, used by Canada and a handful of other countries, could alleviate some of the pressure from the European refugee crisis by allowing individuals, groups, businesses, and other entities to sponsor individual refugees for resettlement.

Audio
January 27, 2016

The Special Representative on International Migration for the UN Secretary-General, Peter Sutherland, and the former UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, T. Alexander Aleinikoff, preview upcoming high-level humanitarian protection and migration summits in 2016, focusing on likely agendas and what tangible results might occur.

Audio
December 16, 2015

This briefing in Bangkok launches the MPI-IOM Issue in Brief, Shortage amid Surplus: Emigration and Human Capital Development in the Philippines, which reviews the impacts of the Philippines' successful labor export policy on skills development and human capital growth within the country. While Filipino migrant workers contribute significantly to the national economy with the remittances they send home (over US $27 billion in 2014), this reliance on exporting labor raises an important question: Has the nation’s focus on preparing workers to leave compromised human capital development at home?

Video, Audio
December 15, 2015

An MPI Leadership Visions discussion with the Foreign Minister of Mexico, Claudia Ruiz-Massieu, for her first public appearance in Washington, DC. 

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Recent Activity

Articles

Hardline migration and asylum policies in the United States and Australia in 2018 hit turbulence when their effects on the most vulnerable—young children—provoked widespread public revulsion and prompted a retreat, at least temporarily. Still, public outcry over the treatment of child migrants and asylum seekers often runs up against the intractability of the problems facing governments and the lack of good solutions.

Articles

As industrialized countries are adopting harder-edge immigration and asylum policies to deal with real and perceived crises, humanitarian actors have sought to blunt the effects of those policies by launching rescue missions at sea, rendering direct aid to migrants in need, and offering legal assistance. A concerted pushback to this resistance emerged in 2018, with governments using legislative, legal, and other tools to fight back.

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Questions of how, when, and under what conditions migrants and asylum seekers can be returned to their origin countries have featured prominently in international discussions of migration in 2018. Crucially, so too has an increased interest on the part of both destination and origin countries in making reintegration assistance more effective to help ensure that return is sustainable.

Commentaries
December 2018

While the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration was formally adopted by 164 of the UN's 193 Member States, it's worth asking how it became a point of contention and ultimately was rejected by more than a dozen countries. The answer? A long lag time between negotiation and adoption, during which overheated claims against it went largely unanswered, as this commentary explores.

Articles

Faced with absorbing vast numbers of asylum seekers who headed to Europe during the 2015-16 migration crisis and the ongoing arrival of much smaller, but steady flows of Central Americans at the U.S.-Mexico border, EU Member States and the United States in 2018 took or explored significant steps to narrow asylum and harden policies.

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The world’s first international agreement on migration was approved by 164 countries in December 2018, but not without turbulence. U.S. withdrawal from the nonbinding Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, on grounds it could impinge on sovereignty, triggered similar actions by others, particularly in Eastern Europe. Amid ongoing political ripple effects, attention now turns to implementation of the deal's goals.

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With the United Kingdom’s scheduled March 2019 departure from the European Union around the corner and approval of an exit deal by the UK Parliament in deep disarray, the future for approximately 5 million EU nationals living in the United Kingdom and Britons resident in the EU-27 remained unresolved. This article examines the citizens' rights issues that have arisen and what Brexit, hard or otherwise, might bring.

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Despite the major focus by media and publics on a handful of refugee crises around the world, displacement situations worsened during 2018 in a number of countries that received much less attention, including the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan—where unending conflict, new displacement, rising starvation, and an Ebola outbreak made already complex situations even more dire.

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