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International Program

International Program

Travelers arrive at a U.S. airport wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic
Glenn Fawcett/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Around the world, governments are grappling with how to combat the COVID-19 pandemic while also managing the economic fallout of policies put in place to stop the virus’ spread. Global migration has dropped sharply amid border closures and travel restrictions. This reflection takes stock of policy responses to the pandemic thus far, and of the challenges (and some opportunities) on the horizon for migration systems, labor markets, and integration of newcomers.

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.

Recent Activity

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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
Reports
March 2016
By  Joaquín Arango

Pages

While Poland held a generally positive opinion of immigration throughout the early 2000s, public attitudes toward refugees have shifted decidedly rightward since the onset of Europe's migration and refugee crisis. This article explores the complex, intersecting anxieties at play in Poland and the role of political rhetoric in stoking these sentiments

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.

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Audio
July 14, 2016

The UK vote to exit the European Union has given new momentum to euroskeptic, anti-immigration movements elsewhere. Experts discuss the political and policy lessons that can be learned from Brexit and applied to debates in Europe and North America, including how to address public anxiety over immigration and identity while managing migration in a globalized economy.

Video, Audio
June 16, 2016

Swedish and U.S. government officials, and MPI's Kathleen Newland discuss global and national responses to rising displacement, innovations in managing migration processes, and attempts to address the dysfunctional aspects of international migration, in a discussion organized by MPI and the Embassy of Sweden to the United States.

Video, Audio
May 25, 2016

A discussion on how the politics and migration policies of the British government influenced the decision to hold the "Brexit" referendum, how public attitudes towards immigration might influence the decision whether the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, and how the outcome might impact migration policy in the United Kingdom and European Union more broadly.

Video, Audio
April 13, 2016

Experts discuss how European governments have responded to pressure brought by the recent influx of migrants and refugees, and how the EU asylum reception system can be strengthened to better respond to fluctuation in needs for capacity, improve efficiency a

Video, Audio
March 31, 2016

MPI Europe expert analysis and discussion with UNHCR and Italian NGO representatives on what is being done and what can be done to connect Syrians and other refugees with opportunities to settle, work, and live outside the immediate region of the Syrian conflict.

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