Migration Policy and Legislation

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IOM’s objective is to support the development of comprehensive and evidence-based migration policies and legislation in line with international norms and standards.

Due to the complex and dynamic nature of population flows in the South Eastern Europe and Central Asia (SEEECA) region, migration management priorities of governments increasingly encompass all types of migration flows and cover all four pillars of migration management. These are: migration and development, facilitating migration, regulating migration, and addressing forced migration. While states have been more actively engaging in migration dialogue and cooperation, and their capacity to manage migration has improved in recent years, ensuring such a comprehensive approach remains a challenge.

Key gaps in the region which IOM works to address include:

  • lack of reliable data on migration processes;
  • lack of institutional coherence and coordination;
  • weak legislative and policy basis for migration management
Supporting Migration Policy and Legislative Development | IOM Austria - Regional Office

Diaspora Days in Moldova

From August 18-20, IOM together with representatives of the Moldovan Government, international organizations and diaspora groups participated in "Diaspora Days 2017". Above, the Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Octavian Calmic speaks on a panel with the Minister of Education, Culture and Research, the Head of Diaspora Relations Bureau, the Program Manager of Swiss Cooperation Office and the Chief of IOM Mission to Moldova.

IOM promotes migration policies and legislation which are coherent, comprehensive, and in line with national priorities and current migration realities, and which correspond to international norms and good practices. IOM also encourages synergies between migration and other relevant policy areas, such as development and poverty reduction, health, labour, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

IOM provides the following assistance to governments:

  • capacity-building to stakeholders involved in migration policy and legislation development;
  • assistance in the establishment or reorganization of relevant governmental structures;
  • legal research to support governments in acceding to and implementing  international and regional instruments related to migration and migrants’ rights, including the EU acquis;
  • technical review of draft legislation, policies and strategies to ensure consistency and to mainstream migration considerations;
  • technical advice and assistance in the development of new regional regulatory mechanisms and the alignment of national migration policies and legislation.

IOM has assisted the Government of Moldova in developing strategies aimed at economic growth and poverty reduction in the contexts of migration and Diasporas. The National Development Strategy 2012-2020 and National Strategy “Diaspora 2025” include considerations and inputs from IOM, which works closely with the Bureau of Diaspora Relations and the Government of Moldova, as well as civil society and academia to formulate policy. IOM has also provided support to the Governments of Albania and Ukraine in drafting policies and roadmaps.

With more than 60 years of worldwide operational experience, and over 27 years in the SEECA region, IOM is uniquely positioned to build on its experience and provide guidance on migration policy. The RO provides information, advice and support to develop effective national and regional migration management policies and strategies designed to guide migration policy and practice.

The Regional Office keeps abreast of migration trends and forecasts with a division dedicated to analysing regional policy and developments. The landscape of bilateral and multilateral partnerships, unions, organizations, and dialogues continue to change in a diverse region which encompasses EU candidates and potential candidates, Eastern Partnership States, Eurasian Union Members and Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, to name a few. The policy arm of the regional office in Vienna maintains information on the dozens of regional dialogues, integration processes, organizations and initiatives in SEEECA and provides support to country offices in formulating position papers and inputs when participating in these processes. 

Conducting its own proprietary research as well as commissioning studies from experts, the RO publishes reports on regional facts and trends, leveraging the crucial knowledge-base of local staff throughout the region. The RO also engages with scholars, universities, thematic experts, other organizations and institutions to produce cutting-edge research, and to promote knowledge sharing among those working in the field of migration.

Strategic objectives in this region include:

  • Contributing to IOM's efforts to inform and shape migration policy agendas through policy-oriented research;
  • Supporting and strengthening research expertise within the region;
  • Developing and implementing research projects; and reviewing final reports/research/studies for publication;
  • Providing technical expert advice to governments and institutions;
  • Supporting efforts to enhance research capacities of governments and other bodies in order to contribute to sound policy-making;
  • Identifying, promoting and fostering strategic and technical partnerships in the area of migration research;
  • Initiating research/studies in strategic areas of interest designed to enhance and improve IOM's programme delivery.

In an ongoing study commissioned by IOM through the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Migration Governance Index, IOM has recently concluded the first phase of its analysis. Moldova and Turkey were selected as two of 15 pilot countries in the study, and Phase 2 includes Kazakhstan and Serbia.

The goal of the Migration Governance Index is to ensure a consistent and objective method of evaluation for countries migration policies. The project involves the development of a policy-benchmarking framework to assess the extent to which national migration policies facilitate orderly, safe and well managed migration.

The New York Declaration and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

For the first time on 19 September 2016 Heads of State and Government came together to discuss, at the global level within the UN General Assembly, issues related to migration and refugees. This sent an important political message that migration and refugee matters have become major issues in the international agenda. In adopting the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, the 193 UN Member States recognized the need for a comprehensive approach to human mobility and enhanced cooperation at the global level.

Annex II of the New York Declaration set in motion a process of intergovernmental consultations and negotiations culminating in the planned adoption of the global compact for migration at an intergovernmental conference on international migration in 2018.

RO Vienna has actively encouraged, organized, and facilitated national and sub-regional consultations in the region, ensuring all states the opportunity to provide input to the preparatory and stocktaking processes of the global compact.

More on International Dialogue on Migration and other consultation mechanisms.

Migration and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

On 27 September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, an ambitious, global framework to support sustainable development activities over the next 15 years.  Migration is one of the core themes present in the 2030 Agenda both as an issue to act upon, as well as a key enabler of sustainable development. This is creating numerous opportunities for IOM to use its leading role in the field of migration to inform government priorities and influence priorities of development partners, by developing timely and relevant programming in the field. The goal is to ensure that migration realises its full potential as a catalyst for inclusive growth and sustainable development, to make migrants agents of sustainable development and to ensure that sustainable development fosters the well-being and safety of migrants and of the communities to which they belong.

A new context: In 2016, two developments strengthened IOM’s leading role in implementing migration aspects of the SDGs. First, with IOM joining the UN and becoming a member of the UN Development Group (UNDG), it can now play a key role in bringing the multidimensional aspects of migration to the core of the work of UN Country Teams. Second, the New York Declaration and subsequent negotiation process toward a Global Compact on safe, orderly and regular migration (GCM) will provide a global framework in which IOM can exert its leadership in the migration field. Given the close interrelation between the two processes, all actions taken towards achieving the SDGs will contribute to the GCM, and vice versa.

The approach: In order to live up to the expectations of Member States for IOM to deliver on its core migration mandate, IOM must make the 2030 Agenda a central aspect of its programmes and activities and demonstrate the relevance of the organization to that agenda. This document will therefore focus on concrete ways in which IOM can deliver its assistance to governments and partners in achieving the SDGs. It outlines a four-step approach that consists of:

  1. Raising awareness and understanding of migration aspects of the SDGs
  2. Prioritizing a small number of migration-related SDG targets
  3. Building statistical and M&E capacity to monitor and report on migration-related SDG targets
  4. Developing and implementing concrete projects and monitoring progress towards achieving migration aspects of SDGs

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted unanimously by the United Nation’s 193 Member States during the Post-2015 Summit in September 2015. This wide-ranging and ambitious agenda includes the 17 SDGs, marking the culmination of more than two years of negotiations and consultations among and with stakeholders from Member State delegations, UN agencies, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations, the private sector and civil society.

Migration is included for the first time in the global development framework, recognizing well-managed migration’s integral role in and immense contribution to sustainable development. The SDGs are now driving policy planning and implementation across borders and across sectors, recognizing the interlinkages between migration and development and the fundamental contributions of migrants.

Read more on migration, IOM and the Post-2015 development agenda