E.g., 02/25/2024
E.g., 02/25/2024
International Program

International Program

Three refugee students at airport security check
© UNHCR/Alessandro Penso

Travel documents are critical facilitators of mobility. But for refugees, who cannot safely use a passport issued by their origin country, the lack of a usable travel document can shut them out of work, study, or other opportunities beyond their first country of asylum. This policy brief examines alternative documents that can facilitate refugees’ movement, key barriers to acquiring them, and strategies for overcoming these challenges.

Ukrainian adults and children arrive at a train station in Hungary
IOM/Muse Mohammed

The massive and rapid displacement of Syrians, Venezuelans, and Ukrainians presented neighboring countries with an impossible task: providing legal status and assistance, even though their asylum systems lacked the capacity to handle such a large influx. This report examines the costs and benefits of the flexible approaches taken to providing status in these three cases, identifying lessons for future crises.

A migrant worker cuts through a metal rod at a construction site in Qatar
Apex Image/ILO

With more people moving abroad for work and events such as the 2022 World Cup in Qatar highlighting the risks migrant workers can face, questions about how international recruitment occurs have received increased scrutiny. This policy brief explores the notable progress that has been made in establishing fair and ethical recruitment standards, and identifies key areas for future attention by governments, employers, and recruiters.

Motorcyclists and pedestrians travel a road between buildings in Arua, Uganda
© Cities Alliance

Small and mid-sized cities are some of the fastest growing in many parts of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa. Yet life in these cities can present a variety of challenges for migrants and displaced persons. This report examines these challenges in secondary cities in Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda, and how local, national, and civil-society actors are working to address them.

A Venezuelan man holds a passport in front of a sign for Ecuador's regularization process
IOM/Gema Cortes

Venezuelan displacement has prompted countries across Latin America and the Caribbean to launch policies and programs to register, regularize, and support the integration of arriving Venezuelans. However, the extent to which regular status has helped Venezuelans find work has varied from country to country, as this report discusses.

Motorbikes and cars travel down a road in a storm
Marcel Crozet/ILO

Reintegration after return is often a challenge, and doubly so for migrants returning to communities affected by climate change and environmental degradation. This brief explores the emergence of "green" approaches to providing reintegration assistance, including project types implemented to date, common challenges, and strategies for building a stronger case for climate-responsive reintegration programming.

Recent Activity

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Commentaries
February 2021
By  Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan and Diego Chaves-González
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Arrivals from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, depart a train in Moscow.
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Policy Briefs
February 2021
By  Camille Le Coz and Kathleen Newland
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Reports
May 2014
By  Patrick Simon and Elsa Steichen
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Policy Briefs
May 2014
By  Imelda Nicolas and Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza
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Reports
April 2014
By  Pieter Bevelander and Nahikari Irastorza
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Reports
March 2014
By  Elizabeth Collett and Milica Petrovic
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Reports
March 2014
By  Núria Rodríguez-Planas and Natalia Nollenberger
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Policy Briefs
March 2014
By  Rabab Fatima, Anita Jawadurovna Wadud and Sabira Coelho

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Afghanistan2008 RArnold UNHCR

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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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flickr   UNHCR   Exodus from the Bay of Bengal
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.

EVENT PH 2016.4.12 flickr European Union   Plenary debate on Greece with PM Alexis Tsipras   Marine Le Pen (ENF, France)
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. 

Event PH 2016.10.27 Kate Hooper and Kathleen Newland
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.

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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?

6061469430_bd517fcef9_z 2016 9.30 event   Kenya, Dadaab refugee camps. August 2011  flickr  IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation
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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Recent Activity

Commentaries
February 2021

Colombian President Iván Duque’s announcement that the estimated 1.7 million Venezuelans in Colombia will receive a ten-year protection status represents a bold, first-of-its-kind move in Latin America. However, translating this ambitious legalization into action will require both a massive logistical effort and long-term planning to assure social cohesion, as this commentary explores.

Articles

Climate change has had a devastating impact on many poor Central American farmers, which can contribute to food insecurity and may be prompting migration from the region's Dry Corridor. But the process is not straightforward. As this article explains, most poor farmers rely on a combination of buying, cultivating, and foraging for their food, which makes it difficult to predict how people will react to individual climate events.

Video, Audio
February 5, 2021

With Portugal assuming the EU Presidency in January 2021 and prioritizing progress on the EU Migration and Asylum Pact, this webinar features senior officials from the European Union, Germany (the last holder of the presidency), and Portugal to take stock of where conversations on the pact stand and Portugal’s plans for taking forward the negotiations. 

Expert Q&A, Audio
February 5, 2021

Climate change is already affecting how, whether, and where people migrate. But environmental change is likely to become more extreme, unless the world takes serious action now. How might changes made now impact what future migration looks like? This Changing Climate, Changing Migration episode features a conversation with Robert McLeman, a geographer and environmental studies expert at Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University, about the possible scenarios that lie ahead for the relationship between climate change and migration, depending on how countries act in the next few decades.

Articles

In recent decades Russia has been increasingly reliant on Central Asian migrant workers. Those workers, in turn, have sent back remittances that have been crucial for their countries of origin. Since 2015, many of these ex-Soviet countries have come together in the Eurasian Economic Union to solidify their bonds and ease migrants' passage to Russia. This article explores the bloc and how it reflects Russia's role in the region.

Policy Briefs
February 2021

Migrant returns and reintegration have been the subject of intense international debate in recent years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has added an extra layer of complexity as millions of migrants have been expelled or returned voluntarily. This policy brief explores the effects of the pandemic on migrant returns, reception, and reintegration, and how countries of origin and destination can improve their policies and partnerships going forward, with a focus on sustainable reintegration.

Articles

While intraregional migration is a pillar of the African Union's focus on enhancing regional integration and economic development, visa-free travel or visas upon arrival are a reality for only about half of the countries on the continent. Progress towards free movement for Africans has occurred mostly at a subregional level, as this article explores.

Expert Q&A, Audio
January 12, 2021

Reliable access to food—or lack thereof—can affect an individual’s decision to migrate. Climate change has the ability to exacerbate food insecurity, especially for farmers and others who live off the land, which can have repercussions for human mobility. In this episode of our Changing Climate, Changing Migration podcast, we talk with Megan Carney, an anthropologist and director of the University of Arizona’s Center for Regional Food Studies, to examine the role of food security in the connection between climate change and migration.

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