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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

Somali migrants disembarking.
Articles
Policy Briefs
January 2019
By  Andrew Selee, Jessica Bolter, Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian and Miryam Hazán
Policy Briefs
January 2019
By  Andrew Selee, Jessica Bolter, Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian and Miryam Hazán
Commentaries
January 2019
By  Meghan Benton and Aliyyah Ahad
Registration of Nigerian migrants for voluntary return
Venezuelans on streets of Cucuta

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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.

Lesvos became a major focal point in Europe's migration crisis as more than half a million migrants and asylum seekers transited the Greek island in 2015. Describing the work of ad hoc volunteer-led efforts and professional aid organizations, this article delves into the evolution of the aid response across the island and the challenges of integrating humanitarian operations.

Europe's defining challenge in 2015 was the exponential growth in the number of asylum seekers and migrants arriving on its shores. The European Union and its Member States were slow to respond, and reactive when they did. As trust among Member States and between national and EU-level authorities began to erode, the European Union has found its ability to implement a comprehensive response severely handicapped.

Global displacement reached a new high with nearly 60 million people worldwide displaced internally or externally in the greatest number since record-keeping began. The trend continued in 2015 as conflicts in places such as Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen drove millions of people to leave their homes and seek refuge in other communities or across borders.

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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.

A local volunteer in Spain watches the children in a sponsored refugee family as they play.
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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