How to “solve” migration: A practical guide

The challenge of managing migration has grown dramatically over the past few decades as more and more people are driven to move out of their homes by diverse economic, political, social and environmental factors.

To start with, most migratory movements are regular: they take place legally through regulator channels and legal means. By contrast, irregular migration occurs when a person enters, stays or works in a country without the necessary authorization or documents required under immigration regulations.

Migration is a social phenomenon caused by a broad variety of reasons including the search for better economic or educational opportunities, the desire for family reunification, climate change or disasters.

However, migration that is not safe, orderly and regular results in problems that the world is currently seeing unfold, like the thousands of migrants that have died or gone missing along dangerous migration routes; or the proliferation of migrant smuggling and human trafficking.

In response to the growth of irregular migratory movements many countries are looking towards border control as a solution: closing ports of entry to deter migration.

It is true that efficient border management policies and tools, help prevent irregular migration, dismantle organized criminal networks, and protect the rights of migrants. They are an essential part of migration governance, but not the only part.

Beyond border control, countries can approach migration from a holistic point of view which seeks to take advantage of its potential to boost countries´ economy while also addressing the risks of the process and the causes that drive people out of their countries.

Here are a few recommendations based on IOM’s Migration Governance Framework:

  • Countries should promote stability, education and employment opportunities and reduce the drivers of forced migration, including by promoting resilience, thereby enabling individuals to make the choice between staying or migrating.
  • The collection, analysis and use of credible data and information on, among other things, demographics, cross-border movements, internal displacement, diasporas, labor markets, seasonal trends, education and health is essential to create policies based on facts, that weighs the benefits and risks of migration.
  • Regional cooperation, can help minimize the negative consequences of migration and preserve its integrity. It can also contribute to regional and global development goals by improving human capital through sustainable development and ensuring longer-term economic growth.

Migration has the potential to bring positive socioeconomic outcomes for both society and migrants. For countries to reap these benefits, their policies and practices need to advance the socioeconomic wellbeing of migrants and society, while adhering to adherence to international standards that respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of individuals within a state’s territory without discrimination based on nationality, race, gender, religion or migration status. 


How will COVID-19 affect the achievement of the goals of the 2030 Agenda?

How will COVID-19 affect the achievement of the goals of the 2030 Agenda?
Categoria: Migration Governance
Autor: Laura Thompson

 

There is no doubt that the current pandemic has a broad humanitarian, social and economic impact in the short, medium and long term, which in turn may affect or delay the achievement of many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at different levels and in various ways.

The most evident impact, obviously, is on Goal 3, which seeks to guarantee a healthy life and promote well-being. The pandemic has put enormous pressures on health systems not only in relation to the treatment and management of the virus, but also affecting the ability to care for patients who have other diseases and increasing the risk of complications in populations with compromised health states. The pandemic has given greater visibility to the importance of universal access to health systems regardless of people's migratory status. However, the pandemic will also have implications for other aspects of the 2030 Agenda.

 

Impacts beyond health

COVID-19 is also having a negative impact on the employment, economic and social situation of many households around the world, and on their ability to meet their needs, even the most basic ones. The economic crisis that the countries of the region are facing and the growing unemployment will be decisive in this regard, since apart from the pandemic, Latin America and the Caribbean reached an unemployment rate of 8.1% at the end of 2019, according to the International Labor Organization. And according to ECLAC projections, labor unemployment will rise to 11.5% in the same region, as a result of the contraction of economic activity by COVID-19.

Unemployment and the loss of purchasing power affect more severely migrant populations, since they are very often employed in the informal sector of the economy and have more precarious contractual working conditions, particularly women migrant workers. In the case of Latin America and the Caribbean, informal work engages around 50% of the total number of people employed. The increase in unemployment will impact the scope of Goal 8 (on full and productive employment and decent work for all), but also Goal 1 (the fight against poverty), Goal 2 (the eradication of hunger, food security and better nutrition), Goal 5 (gender equality and empowerment of women and girls), and targets 5.2, 8.7 and 16.2, on trafficking and exploitation of people. ECLAC also emphasizes that Latin America and the Caribbean is already suffering a fall of -5.3% in GDP, the worst in its history.

Likewise, this pandemic could accentuate existing inequalities in societies, as well as the vulnerabilities of certain population groups, and consequently delay the achievement of Goal 10, which seeks to reduce inequalities between and within countries. In this context, migrants are one of those vulnerable groups that have been particularly affected by the pandemic and that are often left behind or forgotten in social protection and economic relaunch plans, or have limited access to them, either because of language barriers or because of their immigration status. All of this despite the enormous contribution that migrant workers make to the operation of essential basic services in many countries, as has become evident during this crisis.

Additionally, a decrease in the amount of international remittances is projected, which, according to the World Bank, would be reduced between 10% and 19.3% by 2020. Remittances are a fundamental component in the economy of some countries in the region, where they can amount to between 5% and 20% of the national Gross Domestic Product. A significant reduction in remittances would jeopardize the ability of many households in those countries to meet their most basic needs and their ability to invest in improving nutrition, education, and reducing child labor, among others, further emphasizing existing inequalities.

Finally, at the state level, due to the economic slowdown we are experiencing and urgent health needs, it is very likely that there will be a decrease in social spending or a reorientation of available resources, potentially at the expense of the more comprehensive vision contained in the Sustainable Development Goals, again affecting the scope of the transversal objectives of the 2030 Agenda.

 

Recovery and SDGs: the same path

But this should not lead us to pessimism and to think that we have lost the fight to achieve the SDGs. On the contrary, it is essential at this time to work together and forcefully to identify the additional difficulties that the current pandemic presents in achieving the 2030 Agenda. We must redouble our commitment and our efforts to ensure that the impact of the pandemic is incorporated into national plans and international assistance, as well as that the different realities and vulnerabilities of some specific groups are incorporated.

For this we must work from now on to ensure the universal attention of the health and education systems; in reducing remittance transfer costs (a topic included in Goal 10), as El Salvador is already doing, creating more resilient and inclusive cities in line with Goal 11 or strengthening forms of regular migration for migrant workers and decent working conditions (Goal 8).

The time is now: all organizations, governments and individuals have an important role in ensuring that the efforts for our Latin American region and the world to recover from the serious effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are aligned with the 2030 Agenda and that we make sure we do not leave anyone behind.