Migration Policy Institute
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This Bangkok launch of the MPI-IOM Issue in Brief "A ‘Freer’ Flow of Skilled Labour within ASEAN: Aspirations, Opportunities and Challenges in 2015 and Beyond" explored the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community and its vision of a freer flow of skilled labor, as well as other migration issues affecting the region.
The number of people around the world forcibly displaced by conflict or persecution reached its highest total since World War II, with more than 51.2 million fleeing their country or displaced within it, the UN refugee agency reported in 2014. An estimated 13.6 million people have been displaced by conflicts in Syria and Iraq alone, constituting what the UN High Commissioner for Refugees dubbed a mega-crisis.
After years of gridlock, increasing pressure from immigrant advocates, and several delays in 2014, President Obama announced sweeping executive actions to provide deportation relief to as many as 5.2 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States. The plan sparked a political firestorm among Republicans who vowed to use all tools at their disposal to block the actions, ensuring that immigration will continue to be a flashpoint for the remainder of the president's term.
In 2014 governments in Europe, North America, and Australia reacted to significant mixed flows of humanitarian, economic, and family-stream migrants with a range of new policies. These came as some migrants presented themselves to authorities for processing rather than trying to evade U.S. or European border controls, with the knowledge that backlogs and little political will for the removal of vulnerable populations might allow them to stay for extended periods.
Fears regarding the spread of the deadly Ebola virus following an outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone prompted governments around the world to regulate travel from and within West Africa. Travel bans, airport health screenings, closed borders, and traveler quarantines were among the policies implemented. International organizations argue such restrictions drive possibly symptomatic travelers to illegally bypass borders and encourage dishonesty in the exit screening process.
New migration patterns at the U.S. Southwest border, including a shift in border crossers from primarily Mexican men to Central American families, and from the California and Arizona borders to the Rio Grande Valley, have important implications for U.S. border policy and enforcement strategies, raising questions of what consequences might deter unauthorized Central Americans while still meeting international obligations to protect vulnerable migrants.
Skilled labor migration is particularly important for developing countries seeking growth and looking to fill skills shortages. How can Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) facilitate “freer” flows of skilled migration? This joint policy brief with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) explores the challenges and prospects for cooperation.
The Migration Information Source’s annual Top 10 examines key migration developments of 2014. The Top 10 touches down around the world: from Africa, where the Ebola outbreak prompted quarantines, travel controls, and bans; to Europe, confronting rising humanitarian flows; to the Middle East, where the migrant worker regulation system is under ever sharper attack; and to Asia, where reform to China's hukou system could benefit more than 100 million internal migrants.
Increasing numbers of Westerners heading to Syria and Iraq to join jihadist organizations like ISIS have governments concerned about possible attacks at home by returning fighters. Several thousand fighters from Europe and other Western countries are believed among the foreign nationals involved in conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Lawmakers scrambled in 2014 to respond with new policies, including seizing passports, stripping citizenship, and criminalizing travel to "no go" zones.
Mass cases of exploitation and abuse of migrant workers have drawn international scrutiny and criticism of the kafala system in Gulf Cooperation Council countries and private recruitment practices in Southeast Asia. With Qatar under scrutiny amid a frenzied construction boom in advance of the 2022 World Cup, international organizations and human-rights groups in 2014 stepped up their campaign for worker protection reforms.
Driven by rising migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, the Bay of Bengal, the Red Sea, and elsewhere, as well as by the challenges to border-control policies implicit in maritime migration, representatives of states, civil society, and international organizations gathered in December 2014 under the auspices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to discuss ways to limit the loss of life and foster international cooperation. This commentary explores the issues and challenges surrounding irregular maritime migration.
In recent years emigration from Mexico has declined, the country's stable economy has drawn an increasing number of international migrants, and the pace of transmigration to the United States has quickened. Amid these changing realities, punctuated by a spike in migration of unaccompanied minors from Central America in 2014, Mexico is confronting a new role as migration manager: balancing increasing enforcement and protection of migrants' rights.
2014 marked the quiet demise worldwide of the traditional points system for selecting skilled immigrants. Canada, which in 1969 invented the points system, in 2015 will join other countries in adopting a hybrid system that places more emphasis on a demand-driven system. This article examines how following the economic crisis, governments have revamped, hybridized, or ended such programs.
With a range of policies in 2014, China sought to address changing large-scale migration patterns within the country and beyond. This year included promises to reform the hukou registration system and thus enable an estimated 100 million internal migrants to access social services in the cities where they live, schemes to entice the return of emigrant professionals, and crackdowns on corrupt officials who send their families and money abroad.
A discussion with MPI experts of the less-examined aspects of President Obama's executive actions on immigration, with respect to immigration enforcement, legal immigration, and immigrant integration.
Migration to the United States from the Korean peninsula, largely from South Korea, owes its roots to political, military, and economic factors, with an estimated 1.1 million Korean immigrants in the United States. Korean migration to the United States has stalled in recent years, and even declined, with a small but growing number of immigrants and their U.S.-born children returning to Korea, as this article explores.
A day-long conference in Brussels, co-sponsored by the International Labour Office and the European Commision’s Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion, where panelists discuss the dynamics by which migrants get stuck in low-skilled work, and the role of training and employment services in helping them progress in their occupations. The conference concludes a project and series of reports prepared on the Labor Market Integration of New Arrivals in Europe.