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International Program

International Program

Two adults and two children wearing face masks at a migration health centre in Nigeria
IOM/Natalie Oren

Many countries are reopening for international travel and migration after the shutdown forced by the pandemic. Yet there is still no consensus on whether and how to use travel measures to prevent the spread of future variants of COVID-19 or respond to the next public health crisis. This commentary lays out four guiding principles for building an inclusive and effective global mobility system.

A woman in a winter coat receives food from a woman in an orange safety vest at a train station in P
Subcarpathian Voivodeship/IOM

Recent displacement crises—ranging from Syria, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Myanmar, South Sudan, to most recently Ukraine—have imposed huge stresses on the humanitarian protection regime. Yet individual countries and regional organizations have been innovating to meet the challenge and expand the options available for protection, in some cases bypassing beleaguered asylum systems. This commentary traces the rise of more ad hoc approaches.

Woman wearing a white sweater and face mask and carrying luggage looks at airport information board
Maria Korneeva/iStock.com

Despite high hopes that international movement would be revived in 2021 after the deep chill in 2020 with designation of a global pandemic, cross-border mobility remained limited as migrants and travelers faced complex rules, high costs, and uncertainty as new COVID-19 variants emerged. This report assesses global mobility in 2021, including changing use of travel restrictions, their impacts on mobile populations, and efforts to safely restart migration and travel.

Three women, one in a headscarf and holding a baby, walk in the countryside in Devon, UK
© UNHCR/Andrew McConnell

Public opinion of refugees and asylum seekers is often portrayed as a binary, reflected in stories of them as “threats” or “benefits.” Yet in reality, people can hold a variety of competing beliefs and concerns about forced migrants and their impacts on society. This report explores these different narratives, the contexts in which they flourish, and the types of initiatives that have been used to try to boost solidarity and ease tensions.

Participants in a horticultural development project, organized by the IOM Coordinating Office for th
Natalie Oren/IOM

Emigrants and their descendants can play a critical role in the development of their countries of origin or ancestry. In fact, many such countries have policies that seek to leverage their diaspora’s contributions. Much less attention has been paid to how destination countries with large international development programs are engaging their resident diasporas—or could be engaging them—in the development of countries of origin.

Woman holding a passport and mobile phone with a vaccine credential app in her right hand and yellow
iStock.com/portishead1

Digital health credentials that verify a person’s COVID-19 vaccination, testing, or recovery status are a central part of efforts to restart international travel and migration. This report explores these credentials’ use to date and persistent challenges, including those related to international coordination and technical compatibility between systems. It also recommends strategies to more fully leverage their potential and make them more inclusive.

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