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International Program

International Program

Syrian refugees receive COVID-19 tests from IOM before resettlement to Europe
Muse Mohammed/IOM

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a range of (im)mobility challenges that the international community has few tools to address. This policy brief examines the valuable guidance offered by the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration on short-term emergency response and the longer-term reopening of international migration. It also considers how the pandemic is affecting the relationship between migration and development.

Venezuelan migrants and refugees at the border between Colombia and Ecuador
Angela Wells/IOM

More than 4 million Venezuelans have moved to other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, raising concerns about how these arrivals are affecting receiving communities. Some politicians and pundits have asserted that migration is leading to an increase in crime—a claim this issue brief finds misplaced based on examination of official data from Chile, Colombia, and Peru.

Venezuelans waiting at the Peru border for their documents to be processed
Muse Mohammed/IOM

As Latin American and Caribbean countries face a dual challenge—managing large-scale Venezuelan arrivals alongside the COVID-19 pandemic—reliable data on the characteristics of newcomers are essential to policymaking. This MPI-IOM fact sheet offers a profile of refugees and migrants in 11 countries in the region, including their demographics, labor market participation, remittance sending, access to health care, trip details, and intention to return to Venezuela.

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.

Recent Activity

Pages

Reports
November 2016
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Susan Fratzke
Reports
October 2016
By Meghan Benton and Alex Glennie
Books
October 2016
By Kathleen Newland, Elizabeth Collett, Kate Hooper, and Sarah Flamm
Reports
October 2016
By Katy Long and Sarah Rosengaertner
Reports
September 2016
By Christopher Horwood and Kate Hooper

Pages

The success of populist movements on both sides of the Atlantic in 2016, including Donald Trump's victory in the United States and the United Kingdom's vote to quit the European Union, have sparked an identity crisis in the West. Campaigns effectively tapped into the anxieties of voters who feel left behind by societal change and out-of-touch elites, while normalizing anti-immigrant rhetoric in mainstream discourse, as this Top 10 article explores.

With many countries in East Asia facing unfavorable demographic shifts in the form of aging populations, low fertility, and shrinking workforces, governments in 2016 continued to explore immigration as a potential policy solution. However, a tradition of cultural homogeneity and wariness among publics about increased immigration is leading policymakers to test the waters with very small steps.

In stark contrast to a Europe that is erecting new barriers and reinstituting border controls, other regions around the world are moving toward greater mobility for intraregional travelers and migrants. Regional blocs in South America and Southeast Asia have been working to ease intraregional movements of workers, and the African Union in 2016 launched a new biometric African passport.

Hong Kong is home to more than 340,000 foreign domestic workers, who can be found in one of every seven households. Despite efforts by the governments of Hong Kong and top sending countries, these workers remain uniquely vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. This article examines the conditions foreign domestic workers face, the policies governing their employment, and the challenges in protecting their rights.

Two years on, the Australia-Cambodia refugee relocation agreement—the first of its kind involving a traditional resettlement country relocating refugees to a country with no resettlement track record—has proven to be underwhelming in its outcomes. Only five refugees have been voluntarily relocated under the deal, of whom just one remains in Cambodia. This article explores where the deal went wrong and what lies ahead for Australia’s detained asylum seekers.

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Audio
May 11, 2017

This MPI webinar explores the recent “tech turn” in refugee protection and integration, and considers whether the tech community's interventions in this area are likely to have a lasting impact. Speakers discuss the most promising innovations and their broader implications for policymakers.

Video, Audio
April 12, 2017

Public anxiety about immigration and the fast pace of social change has reached a boiling point in many parts of Europe, contributing (in part) to the ascent of populist far-right parties. This discussion focuses on how the French election is unfolding, what we can learn from Brexit and the Dutch elections, and what these results portend (if anything) for the next round of political contests in Europe. Experts consider how governments can manage broader public concerns about rapid social change, economic opportunity, and security in ways that can reduce public anxiety over immigration and restore the public's trust. 

Video, Audio
October 27, 2016

Marking the release of All at Sea: The Policy Challenges of Rescue, Interception, and Long-Term Response to Maritime Migration, this book discussion explores the different facets of maritime migration and the challenges governments, civil society, the private sector, and international organizations face in tackling this issue together. Presenters discuss the overwhelming Mediterranean crisis and movements across the Bay of Bengal/Andaman Sea, the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden, in the Caribbean, and the waters around Australia; and the particular challenges for policymakers in each of these cases.

Audio
October 26, 2016

One month ago, world leaders gathered at the United Nations for a summit to discuss movements of refugees and migrants, however the absence of concrete commitments in the resulting New York Declaration disappointed many observers and the slow progress on multilateral cooperation around migration has particular salience for the European Union, since the arrival of more than 1 million asylum seekers to Europe in 2015. This panel brings officials together from a range of institutions mandated to consider the future of cooperation, whether bilaterally, regionally, or at the global level, and asks: What is possible, what is desirable, and what is likely?

Audio
September 30, 2016

MPI experts discuss outcomes from the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, the Leaders Summit on Refugees, and related private-sector meetings and how these efforts may gain momentum to change international responses to the complex threats refugees and migrants face.

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