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In the news: EU court cites three countries on failures to admit asylum seekers

By from TNH English. Published on Apr 03, 2020.

The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland violated EU quota agreements to host arrivals from Greece and Italy.

Yemen floods, Myanmar information bans, and COVID-19 disruption (nearly) everywhere: The Cheat Sheet

By from TNH English. Published on Apr 03, 2020.

A weekly read to keep you in the loop on humanitarian issues.

How a local response can halt this global crisis

By Jagan Chapagain from TNH English. Published on Apr 03, 2020.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent has always been a collection of hyper-local units and branches. That’s going to be key for COVID-19.

IOM, UNAOC Launch 2020 PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival Call for Submissions with New Award Categories

By jojusayan from News. Published on Apr 03, 2020.

New York – This year brings the twelfth edition of the PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival, a joint initiative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).  

Today, as the two partners announce their 2020 call for video submissions, IOM and UNAOC also announce the creation of two new award categories for the festival, as well as drawing attention to this event’s importance in light of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.  

“Youth and film hold the power to bring about positive change, to shift divisive narratives, and to promote peace and dialogue,” said Mr. António Vitorino the Director General of IOM. “As the whole world fights COVID- 19, it’ clear that the virus does not discriminate against anyone, including migrants. Therefore, now is the time to show the key role of the PLURAL+ themes of social cohesion, diversity and prevention of xenophobia in defeating the virus and build a better world together.” 

Added the High Representative for UNAOC, Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos: “As we fight together against a global pandemic, it is a time for solidarity, not divisiveness. Compassion, not xenophobia. Kindness not hatred.”  

With increasing interest and participation for over a decade, PLURAL+ has become a premier global platform for youth media distribution.  

Every year, PLURAL+ invites young people up to 25 years of age to submit original and creative short films conveying constructive messages related to the themes of migration, diversity, social inclusion, and the prevention of xenophobia.  

Since 2009 over 3,000 video entries from more than 115 countries have been submitted. Winning videos subsequently have been re-screened or rebroadcast in dozens of festivals, movie theaters, and television networks around the world, as well as in schools and global conferences. Combined, these entries have received more than one million views on various online platforms, including YouTube.   

Entitled “The Future We Want,” the first new award category invites young filmmakers to submit videos focused on the future of migration, diversity and social inclusion, ae swell as prevention of xenophobia. The award category was created in the context of the 75th anniversary of the UN and the organization’s efforts to foster a global conversation on the theme of cooperation in building a common future.  

The second new category, the #forSafeWorship Award, invites youth to express views and perspectives on how to foster peaceful co-existence among different faiths. This category was created in the context of the UN Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites, developed by UNAOC and launched in September 2019.   

UNACO’s Mr. Moratino explained: “In this context, the voices and perspectives of young people are more needed than ever. With our new PLURAL+ award categories, we are providing even more opportunities for young filmmakers around the world to be recognized for their creative visions,” 

PLURAL+ video entries must be between one and five minutes and can be from any genre—animation, documentary, music video, comedy. A panel of international jurors will select one PLURAL+ Award winner in each of three age categories (up to 12 years; 13 to 17-year old; 18 to 25-year old). 

IOM and UNAOC will jointly select three videos to receive Special Awards for:  

  • Prevention of Xenophobia  
  • The Future We Want   
  • #forSafeWorship Award.   

PLURAL+ partner organizations will also award a multitude of prizes and professional opportunities to several young filmmakers.   
 
PLURAL+ winners will be invited, with all expenses paid, to participate in the PLURAL+ Awards Ceremony later in the year. There also will be a series of side events providing opportunities for professional development. 

The deadline to apply for PLURAL+ is Friday, 19 June 2020, at midnight EST. For more information and to submit a video, visit: https://pluralplus.unaoc.org/  

For more information, please contact, Ms. Rahma Gamil Soliman at IOM NY rsoliman@iom.int and Mr. Thibault Chareton at UNAOC thibaultc@unops.org 

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Friday, April 3, 2020 - 12:00
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IOM Director General, António Vitorino and High Representative for UNAOC, Miguel Ángel Moratinos with the winners and International Jury Members at PLURAL+ 2019 Awards Ceremony, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Photo: UNAOC/2019. 

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COVID-19 Forces Huge Numbers of Ukrainians Home to Face Fraught Future

By jojusayan from News. Published on Apr 03, 2020.

Kyiv – The largest country completely within Europe, Ukraine is facing a myriad of complex challenges in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus has caused at least a dozen deaths, and the number of confirmed cases is approaching 1,000.  

The country’s creaking economy and the conflict in the East are among the reasons up to three million Ukrainians were working abroad when the pandemic hit; over 1.4 million are internally displaced. Large numbers of expatriates rushed home before Ukraine closed its border: 37,000 on 27 March alone, the last day border crossings were open. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine assisted over 145,000 Ukrainians returning home; many others made their own way back. Some returned because their jobs abroad vanished overnight, others to be with their families, particularly their elderly parents. 

Apart from the challenges posed to a woefully under-resourced health system, the pandemic also finds a country searching for a way to overcome massive job losses nationwide. According to the estimates, up to 700,000 Ukrainians have already lost their jobs during the first weeks of the quarantine – those working in the internal ‘grey’ economy, whose workforce totals around 3.5 million.   

“The COVID-19 outbreak, consequent business closures and economic slowdown in the EU and near abroad caused a surge in returning migrant workers to Ukraine, posing a number of protection concerns and placing further weight on the far-reaching socioeconomic impact of the pandemic,” said Anh Nguyen, Chief of Mission at IOM Ukraine.   

IOM, in partnership with WHO and the UN Country Team, is ready to assist Ukraine to respond to COVID-19, to provide operational and technical support in the area of migration and health, and to prepare for the much-feared second wave. The organization is currently reallocating available resources to assist in the fight against COVID-19.   

As part of the Joint UN COVID-19 Response in Ukraine, IOM Ukraine is seeking USD 28,500,000 to help mitigate the immediate, short- and medium-term consequences. About two thirds of that total requested is for Ukraine’s eastern conflict area, where distribution of hygiene kits to medical facilities is to take place, along with repairing sanitation and water supply systems.  

The conflict in eastern Ukraine is entering its seventh year this month, with 3.4 million people in dire need of humanitarian assistance and protection. Of those, nearly two million live in the non-government-controlled areas. 

“In times of public health and economic crises, it is important not to leave behind those most vulnerable people who have been going through ordeals because of the protracted conflict, and to adequately respond to their exacerbated needs,” added IOM’s Nguyen.  

Other actions being considered by IOM include supporting Ukraine’s immigration, border and health authorities to respond to COVID-19. IOM also plans to provide psychosocial support to frontline practitioners as well as vulnerable migrants and children of Ukrainian labour migrants who are unable to return due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.  

Communication with communities, migrants and travellers to enable access to timely and correct information and prevent stigmatization of returnees is another priority.   

Experts estimate that there are approximately 3 million Ukrainian migrant workers abroad at any given time, majority in Europe with Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic and the Baltic states, among the EU Member States.  

Private remittances sent by migrant workers to Ukraine in 2019 amounted to USD 12 billion (over 10% of the national GDP). Families of migrant workers rely on remittance money to meet basic needs in nutrition and shelter, as well as education and health care.   

According to an IOM in-house assessment among former victims of trafficking conducted in mid-March, 60 per cent of beneficiaries lost their source of income either because their jobs fell under quarantine restrictions or because their clients were unable to pay for services/products. 
 
A majority of Ukrainian migrants abroad are employed in spheres where they would not be allowed to work during lockdown periods. Furthermore, when these businesses reopen it is likely that governments in those countries will preference their own citizens first. 

Watch video. 

For more information please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel: +38 044 568 50 15, +38 067 447 97 92, Email: vzhluktenko@iom.int    

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Friday, April 3, 2020 - 12:30
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Ukrainian borders guards and medics meet a train carrying evacuees from the Baltic states back to Ukraine at Kyiv Central Station, where they carried out health checks and provided information on COVID-19 to passengers. Photo/video: State Border Guard Service of Ukraine

Ukrainian borders guards and medics meet a train carrying evacuees from the Baltic states back to Ukraine at Kyiv Central Station, where they carried out health checks and provided information on COVID-19 to passengers. Photo/video: State Border Guard Service of Ukraine

Ukrainian borders guards and medics meet a train carrying evacuees from the Baltic states back to Ukraine at Kyiv Central Station, where they carried out health checks and provided information on COVID-19 to passengers. Photo/video: State Border Guard Service of Ukraine

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IOM Recognizes Efforts in Europe, Middle East to Protect All Migrants’ Access to Public Health

By jojusayan from News. Published on Apr 03, 2020.

Geneva —The International Organization for Migration (IOM) recognizes the decision of governments across Europe and elsewhere to aid migrants impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

For example, Portugal this week opted to grant temporary residency rights, including access to health care and social security, to all immigrants and asylum seekers whose application is still being processed during this moment of heightened concern over the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Amid public health emergency, IOM has monitored migrant communities that often are among the most vulnerable anywhere—because of their households’ precarious living and working conditions, or because of a lack of proper documentation that may limit access to healthcare or the fear of accessing those services due to their irregular status.  

Therefore, Portugal’s decision to grant access to basic services provides a much-needed lifeline for many who would otherwise be left unprotected and exposed to greater health risks. This is an example of an inclusive response that demonstrates solidarity with those most in need and recognizes the human dignity of all while seeking to protect all from COVID-19. IOM believes in every emergency, no one should be left behind. 

IOM notes similar efforts that bend towards generosity and integration are being exhibited throughout the world.  

The French government extended all residence permits by three months starting on March 16,  thereby guaranteeing access to health care and social security for those who might otherwise be vulnerable due to expirations during the pandemic.  

In Greece, although asylum services starting March 13 were temporarily suspended—including registration of asylum requests, asylum interviews and appeals in asylum cases—the asylum service stated applicants' cards and residence permits due to expire during the suspension would remain valid. 

In the UK, the visas of those whose leave expired on January 24, 2020 or after and are in the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to COVID-19, will be extended until 31 May 2020. Further, all National Health Services for coronavirus are accessible and free for everyone regardless of their immigration status in the UK. This includes coronavirus testing and treatment, even if the result is negative. 

The Slovak Republic has extended residency permissions for non-citizens as an exceptional crisis measure. Meanwhile, this week the government of Qatar announced that migrant workers in quarantine or undergoing treatment will receive full salaries. 

IOM is convinced that now is the time, as the world faces together this deadly virus, to demonstrate social cohesion, diversity and prevention of xenophobia in building a better future, with dignity for all. 

For More information please contact:  Safa Msehli at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 403 5526. Email: smsehli@iom.int 

Ryan Schroeder at IOM Brussels Email: rschroeder@iom.int tel + 32 492 25 02 34 

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Friday, April 3, 2020 - 12:45
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COVID-19 Pandemic Poses Grave Risk to Communities in Displacement Camps

By jojusayan from News. Published on Apr 03, 2020.

Geneva – For millions of people seeking refuge from violence or disasters in camps around the world, the potential impact of COVID-19 could be catastrophic. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been rapidly adapting its global operations in anticipation of an outbreak of the virus in the camps where it works. 

“Based on decades of experience in camp management and migration health, we see the arrival of COVID-19 in camps as an inevitability, not a possibility, and have been preparing with this in mind,” said IOM’s Director General António Vitorino. 

“The fact that cases have been identified in a Mainland Greece camp administered by IOM yesterday emphatically drives home the gravity of the situation.” 

                                                       IOM Responds to COVID-19 in Camp

There are a total of 41.3 million people internally displaced as a result of conflict and 25.9 million refugees living in situations of displacement globally, the most vulnerable of whom often end up in camps.  

As co-lead of the global Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster, IOM works alongside governments to care for and uphold the rights of people in camps or camp-like settings. In 2019, IOM carried out CCCM activities in 1,117 displacement sites in 23 countries, reaching 2.4 million people. The Organization also provided health services to 2.8 million people globally. 

As cases begin to emerge in countries dealing with severe displacement crises such as Burkina Faso, Bangladesh, Greece and Syria, IOM is increasingly concerned about the impact COVID-19 will have on the health of people living and working in the camps and in nearby communities.  

IOM is also concerned that COVID-19-related restrictions will inhibit our ability to deliver humanitarian assistance to those who rely on aid their survival. Mobility restrictions within camps could also hamper the ability for camp populations to work and provide for themselves and their families. 

The Organization’s Health and CCCM teams are working with authorities around the world to implement measures that prevent the spread of COVID-19 in camps and ensure its operations remain safe and effective. 

Physical distancing and isolation are extremely difficult in densely populated, overcrowded camps where land is already limited. Additionally, most people do not have adequate access to the clean water and sanitizing agents necessary to stop widespread transmission, nor access to national health facilities. 

Furthermore, these settings are challenging places for the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions to live. The threat this virus has on their health is particularly worrying. 

Health centres inside camps are ill-equipped to respond to the high numbers of patients who could be infected. This is particularly worrying in places like Northwest Syria or Yemen where conflict has already destroyed the majority of the health infrastructure. 

In addition to producing Operational Guidance specifically related to COVID-19 for camp managers, IOM has been working pre-emptively with authorities and health cluster partners on several priorities: 

  • Increase, improve and advocate for more hygiene facilities, such as hand-washing stations at camp entrances, communal facilities and gathering points; 
  • Train staff and community leaders to screen for symptoms; 
  • Secure additional land to expand living spaces, distribution sites and construct new temporary health facilities; 
  • Implement measures that allow for physical distancing such as scheduled timeshares of communal facilities or reduced movement within camps; 
  • Re-purpose existing structures for isolation facilities and, in some locations, equip and support mobile clinics and medical teams; and 
  • Stock up on personal protection equipment (PPE) for health staff who may come into contact with people who become ill. 

“In health crises throughout the world, the leaders of the affected communities are the most effective first responders,” said DG Vitorino. “At the same time, migrants, regardless of their circumstances, must be systematically included into national health systems if we are to beat COVID-19.”

The Organization is also disseminating factual, up-to-date information about COVID-19 to help dispel myths and decrease stigmatization. All measures are being implemented in consultation with camp communities, adapted to local contexts and their evolving challenges. 

“We require solidarity and sustained support from the international community to curb the threat the virus poses in humanitarian settings, particularly through the interagency Humanitarian Response Plan and IOM’s COVID-19 Global Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SRP),” added DG Vitorino. 

IOM is addressing the mobility aspects of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic with a funding requirement of USD 116.1 million. 

Learn more about IOM's COVID-19 Response and Global Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SRP).

For more information, please contact: Angela Wells, IOM Public Information Officer for the Department of Operations and Emergencies, Email: awells@iom.int, Phone: +41 79 403 5365

Paul Dillon, IOM Managing Editor, Email: pdillon@iom.int, Phone: +41 79 636 9874

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Friday, April 3, 2020 - 15:39
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IOM manages the camps in Cox’s Bazar which is home to over 850,000 Rohingya refugees where the Organization is also one of the main health, protection and WASH actors.  Photo: IOM/Olivia Headon

IOM is training staff on how to deliver humanitarian aid while ensuring physical distancing and isolation in densely populated, overcrowded camps. Photo: IOM Somalia

IOM staff prepare to distribute food baskets and core relief items to all refugees and migrants in Ritsona camp in Greece. Photo: IOM

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IOM Raises Concern Over Increasing COVID-19 Cases Recorded in Greece Mainland Refugee and Migrant Camp

By cdangelo-martinez from News. Published on Apr 02, 2020.

Athens - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is concerned that twenty-three migrants have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Ritsona open accommodation site in Central Greece. The IOM-managed camp, which hosts 2,700 people, reported its first confirmed case on Tuesday.   

“This development confirms the fact that this fast-moving virus does not discriminate and can affect both migrant and local communities,” said Gianluca Rocco, Chief of IOM’s Mission in Greece. “Everyone is at risk. Migrants and refugees in Greece are susceptible to the virus as much as the Greek community.”   

The Ritsona site is one of 30 open accommodation facilities on the mainland of Greece, which in total accommodate just over 25,000 people, including 252 unaccompanied children. Following the national COVID-19 protocols, the Greek authorities have placed the site under quarantine for the next fourteen days, advising residents to remain in their accommodations. The authorities are carrying out contact tracing and further testing in the camp.  

“It is critical that everyone, including migrant and refugees on the mainland and the islands, are ensured equal access to health services, including prevention, testing and treatment, especially in times like these” Rocco said.  

“Immediate inclusion of all migrants in the national response to COVID-19 is not only a humanitarian measure, but essential to public health policy in Greece.”     

As the official site management support agency for Ritsona, IOM continues to work in the facility under strict safety protocol. With support from the European Commission, IOM is distributing food baskets and hygiene kits to all residents as an immediate response to the quarantine, which will limit access to the supply of food from the outside. At the same time, the Greek authorities are establishing quarantine spaces in all camps as an additional measure to support the public health services’ management of the situation.  

IOM, with EU funding, is present in all 30 open accommodation facilities on the mainland. Cleansers and soaps were distributed to all residents. All working spaces and common areas are being disinfected.   

The Organization is raising awareness about the virus by translating and disseminating guidance informing refugee and migrant communities about how to protect themselves and lower the risk of infection.   

“Information and immediate action to ensure the safety of staff, camp residents, and ultimately all of society are top priority right now,” said Rocco.   

The COVID-19 cases on the mainland also raise concern for the migrants in the Reception and Identification Centres on the five islands of the North-Eastern Aegean where overpopulation makes it extremely difficult to take necessary precautions, such as physical distancing between people and vigilant hygiene, to better manage response to the spread of the virus.  

As analysts have suggested, migrants and refugees now on the Greek islands should be moved to the mainland as soon as possible. IOM stands ready to assist with the construction of adequate accommodations to meet the need.  

“The threat of COVID-19 makes it even more urgent to decongest the camps on the islands. IOM is contributing to these efforts with the creation of new accommodation arrangements on the mainland,” said Rocco.   

In this regard, IOM is also establishing a temporary voluntary return mechanism for people on the islands who decide to return to their home countries. In collaboration with the European Commission and the Greek authorities, the implementation and duration of this programme will be adjusted in accordance with COVID-19 related measures taken by states, such as the closure of airports or other travel restrictions.  

“This is however not an easy task and needs further measures and support from EU member states. We renew our call for European solidarity with Greece on the urgent relocation of the unaccompanied children and other migrants to European countries willing to share the responsibility. Now more than ever we are all in this together.”  

As the leading agency on Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster, IOM works alongside governments globally to care for and uphold the rights of people in camps or camp-like settings. In 2019, IOM carried out CCCM activities in 1,117 displacement sites across 23 countries, reaching 2.4 million people. 

 

For More information please contact:  

Christine Nikolaidou at IOM Greece, Email: cnikolaidou@iom.int tel + 356494006875  

Ryan Schroeder at IOM Brussels Email: rschroeder@iom.int tel + 32 492 25 02 34 

Safa Msehli at IOM Geneva Email: smsehli@iom.int tel: +41794035526  

 

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Thursday, April 2, 2020 - 17:39
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IOM staff prepare to distribute food baskets and core relief items to all refugees and migrants in Ritsona camp. Photo: IOM

IOM staff establishing a quarantine space in Ritsona camp in Greece.  Photo. IOM

Press Release Type: 

Africa Deepens its Approach to Migration Governance, But Are Policies Translating to Action?

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Apr 02, 2020.

While migration once was a lower-priority topic for African governments, the last decade has seen a deepening in governance. Policymakers have integrated migration into their national development strategies and mainstreamed it across policy domains such as health and education. The actions are promising on paper, yet questions remain about the extent to which they will translate to more effective migration management.

Coronavirus and aid: What we’re watching, 2-8 April

By from TNH English. Published on Apr 02, 2020.

Stranded migrants, aid roadblocks, and quarantine worries: this week’s updates on how COVID-19 is disrupting humanitarian efforts around the globe.

Stay or go? An international aid worker’s coronavirus dilemma

By Annika Hampson from TNH English. Published on Apr 02, 2020.

COVID-19 is forcing countless aid workers in crisis zones to make an impossible decision. One humanitarian explains why she chose to leave.

In the news: Aid groups blocked from Burundi coronavirus quarantine sites

By from TNH English. Published on Apr 02, 2020.

The “unsanitary” sites lack adequate supplies of food and water, according to Human Rights Watch.

American Government Provides Financial Support to Fight Trafficking in Persons in Lesotho

By jojusayan from News. Published on Apr 02, 2020.

Maseru – With the overall objective to combat trafficking in persons in Lesotho, the US Government will provide financial support to the project titled Strengthening the Response of the Government of Lesotho and Civil Society to Address Trafficking in Persons. The International Organization for Migration (IOM), known as the United Nations Migration Agency, will implement the project for a period of 24 months until March 2022.

This project aims to strengthen the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) response including the identification, protection and referral of potential victims of trafficking at district and national level. Among other things, it will support the TIP Multi-sectoral Committee representing various Government Ministries, law enforcement agencies,  judiciary and Non-Governmental Organizations to deliver on their mandates to prevent, identify TIP cases and enhance protection of victims of TIP. A review of the legal environment and standard operating procedures is envisaged; to raise awareness among women, children and potential labour migrants on TIP and enhance self-protection and reporting mechanisms and safe migration practices. This will be made possible through partnership with Local government and NGOs to carryout TIP sensitization activities targeting border communities in particular, vulnerable women, out-of-school youth, school going children, and potential labour migrants.

IOM will implement the project with the Ministry of Home Affairs as a key counterpart and will collaborate with other Government Ministries and NGOs active in the fight against trafficking in persons. Furthermore, IOM will ensure greater engagement with local government and communities to realize the project’s objectives.

This project was made possible through support provided by the United States Department of State.                                             

For more information, contact Eriko Nishimura at IOM Lesotho, Email: enishimura@iom.int

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Thursday, April 2, 2020 - 08:41
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IOM Steps Up Response for Migrants Stranded in Niger Amidst COVID-19 Lockdown

By cdangelo-martinez from News. Published on Apr 01, 2020.

Niamey – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Niger is currently assisting 2,371 stranded migrants across the country in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and is concerned about the significant number of migrants still arriving in Niger despite a nationwide lockdown.  

As of 31 March, 34 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Niger and three have sadly passed on. In order to contain the spread of the virus, the Government of Niger has imposed several restrictions, including border closures, curfews and travel bans within the country, and a mandatory two-week quarantine for people arriving in the country.  

Video - COVID-19 Assistance in Transit Centres  

The stranded migrants are hosted in IOM’s six transit centres, three temporary transit sites used to quarantine recent arrivals at the border with Algeria and two transit houses in Niamey recently opened to cope with the sudden increase of stranded migrants as a result of border closures.  

As these places continue to operate at their full capacity, IOM Niger is concerned about a possible outbreak of the virus in one of its centres and is doing everything possible to ensure migrants stay safe and healthy, including through the installation of hand-washing stations, awareness raising and regular checks for COVID-19 symptoms.  

Video - 4 Prevention Measures 

As the migrants wait to return to their countries of origin through IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programme (AVRR), tensions at the transit centres are running high.   

“We know there is a crisis out there, but it pains me to know we were supposed to leave last week; we even had our tickets,” said Mohamed, 24, a migrant from Chad. “I really hope the situation changes soon. I want to go home.”  

Watch Interview with Mohamed 

In collaboration with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and local authorities, IOM is currently assisting 764 migrants in Assamaka, at Niger’s border with Algeria as they finalize their 14-day quarantine period. The migrants come from 15 different countries of origin, most notably Niger (391), Mali (140) and Guinea Conakry (101). Among them are many vulnerable persons, including children, pregnant women and injured individuals.  

IOM and the Regional Public Health Directorate (DRSP) in Agadez organized a joint mission last week to Assamaka to assess the situation and the health needs of this vulnerable group.   

“The fight against COVID-19 requires a joint approach,” said Chegou Yami, DRSP Director for the Agadez region.  “We can only succeed in this fight if we join forces, maximize our resources and act now.”  

At the site, IOM provides shelter, food, water, core relief items, psychosocial and medical assistance and has reinforced its capacities to ensure it can cater to this large group. However, migrants continue to arrive in Assamaka, making it increasingly complicated to place them in quarantine, especially as new arrivals need to be separated from pre-existing groups.   

Further inland in Arlit, a main crossing point between Assamaka and Agadez for migrants, traders, truck drivers and smugglers, there is an urgent need to ramp up the capacity to host new arrivals in quarantine sites. In collaboration with local and regional authorities, IOM has identified a quarantine site in Arlit where recent border crossers can be hosted and receive assistance.  

Additionally, the Nigerien army notified IOM last week that 256 people have been found at the border with Libya after having been abandoned by smugglers. Among this group, were migrants from nine nationalities, with the majority from Nigeria (104), Ghana (53) and Burkina Faso (34).  

The Ministry of Interior’s Directorate of Civil Protection, regional and local authorities and IOM’s team in Dirkou worked together to quickly identify a solution and are now moving this group from Madama to a site in the outskirts of Agadez where IOM provides humanitarian assistance as they undergo their quarantine period.  

“While the borders are officially closed, we still see migrants arriving in Niger from neighbouring countries that need to complete 14 days of mandatory quarantine,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger.   “This, together with the many other migrants stuck in IOM’s transit centres in Niger, is putting an enormous strain on the limited resources and capacities of the Government of Niger and IOM.”  

Since borders have officially closed and internal movements curtailed, IOM is worried about the devastating impact this situation will have on the livelihoods and coping mechanisms of host communities in Niger.  

“Unless we can all come together to support the Government of Niger, this crisis could have devastating consequences on the local population and migrant communities,” Rijks added.  

Amid this humanitarian emergency, IOM continues to work closely with the Government of Niger and diplomatic missions of countries of origin, to explore the possibility of creating a humanitarian corridor for the voluntary return of migrants who show no signs of COVID-19 and who have already undergone the mandatory two-week quarantine.   

UN agencies in West and Central Africa are currently assessing the need for a humanitarian corridor and are asking governments to facilitate the movements of UN personnel and transportation of goods to provide humanitarian aid across the region.  

Migrants are assisted at the transit centres in Niger in the framework of IOM’s Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration supported by the European Union.   

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger at Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email: mchiriac@iom.int.   

For more information on the regional response, please contact Florence Kim at IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa Tel : +221 78 620 62 13, Email: fkim@iom.int 

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020 - 14:52
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Migrants staying at the transit centres are regularly sensitized about COVID-19 prevention measures. Photo: IOM/Daniel Kisito Kouawo

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Coronavirus in the city: A Q&A on the catastrophe confronting the urban poor

By Andrew Gully from TNH English. Published on Apr 01, 2020.

Coronavirus response in the world’s megacities will require major changes in how international aid groups operate.

In Kashmir, slow internet throttles doctors’ coronavirus response

By Umar Lateef Misgar from TNH English. Published on Apr 01, 2020.

On lockdown once again, Kashmir’s schools, aid workers, and doctors struggle to prepare for COVID-19 amid months of internet restrictions.

In the news: Ethiopia postpones election amid coronavirus concerns

By from TNH English. Published on Apr 01, 2020.

The landmark vote is seen as a critical test for Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela During COVID-19 Crisis: As Needs Soar More Inclusive Measures and Aid Are Essential

By cdangelo-martinez from News. Published on Apr 01, 2020.

Joint UNHCR-IOM Press Release 

Geneva, 1 April 2020 – With the Coronavirus pandemic testing health care systems around the world, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) are calling attention to the challenges facing refugees and migrants from Venezuela.  

“At a time when the world’s attention is focused on COVID-19, and as governments and populations, particularly health workers, heroically come together to combat this virus,  we should not lose sight of the needs of the millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants,” said Eduardo Stein, joint UNHCR-IOM Special Representative for refugees and migrants from Venezuela.  

“COVID-19 has brought many aspects of life to a standstill – but the humanitarian implications of this crisis have not ceased, and our concerted action remains more necessary than ever. We are urging the international community to boost its support for humanitarian, protection and integration programmes, on which the lives and welfare of millions of people depend, including host communities.” 

The current global public health emergency has compounded an already desperate situation for many refugees and migrants from Venezuela, and their hosts. Funding to support them is urgently needed.  

Many depend on insufficient daily wages to cover basic needs such as shelter, food and healthcare; others have no roof over their heads. With growing fear and social unrest, Venezuelan refugees and migrants are also at risk of being stigmatized.  

Governments in the region have been leading and coordinating the response to ensure those leaving Venezuela can access rights and documentation. But as national capacities become stretched to a breaking point, the wellbeing and safety of Venezuelans and their host communities is at risk.  

Millions of refugees and migrants, and the communities hosting them, continue to need urgent support, particularly as the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic begins to be felt across Latin America and the Caribbean.  

The coordination of the humanitarian response for refugees and migrants from Venezuela is conducted through a Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform (Response for Venezuelans-R4V), complemented by eight national or sub-regional platforms. Platforms are operating through a sector approach with the participation of 137 partners. In addition, WHO-PAHO leads the health-related aspects of the COVID-19 response. 

The Regional Platform has activated a critical revision of all operations in the region to prioritize essential protection and life-saving actions and promote the inclusion of refugees and migrants in national programmes. In close coordination with WHO-PAHO, the R4V is also collaborating with national and local authorities to address the new challenges and deliver basic support to Venezuelan refugees and migrants, as well as to host communities. 

While maintaining physical distancing measures, partners are implementing a number of prevention and response activities in the main locations where refugees and migrants from Venezuela are hosted. These activities ensure people can adequately access information, clean water, soap and appropriate waste disposal. Organizations are working around the clock to find innovative ways to continue supporting the most vulnerable individuals in the current context while also supporting national authorities to set up observation and isolation spaces for potential positive COVID-19 cases.  

So far, the Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) launched in November 2019 to respond to the most urgent needs of refugees and migrants from Venezuela in 17 countries, as well as the local communities hosting them, has received only three per cent of the requested funds, which could put at stake the continuity of lifesaving programmes throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. 

For more information on this topic, please contact: 

In Geneva: 

Shabia Mantoo, UNHCR (mantoo@unhcr.org) +41 79 337 7650 

Angela Wells, IOM (awells@iom.int) +41 79 403 5365 

 

In Panama: 

Daniela Rovina, IOM (drovina@iom.int) +507 6312-8294 

William Spindler, UNHCR (spindler@unhcr.org)  +507 63827815 

Olga Sarrado, UNHCR (sarrado@unhcr.org) +507 6640 0185 

 

For background information please consult the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform website: R4V.info 

 

 

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IOM and UNHCR provide humanitarian, protection and integration services to millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants across Latin America and the Caribbean. Photo: Muse Mohammed/IOM

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Humanitarian Protection in an Era of Pandemic

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Mar 31, 2020.

The Rights and Health of Refugees, Migrants and Stateless Must be Protected in COVID-19 Response

By cdangelo-martinez from News. Published on Mar 31, 2020.

OHCHR, IOM, UNHCR and WHO - Joint Press Release  

Geneva - In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, we are all vulnerable. The virus has shown that it does not discriminate - but many refugees, those forcibly displaced, the stateless and migrants are at heightened risk. 

Three-quarters of the world’s refugees and many migrants are hosted in developing regions where health systems are already overwhelmed and under-capacitated.  Many live in overcrowded camps, settlements, makeshift shelters or reception centers, where they lack adequate access to health services, clean water and sanitation. 

The situation for refugees and migrants held in formal and informal places of detention, in cramped and unsanitary conditions, is particularly worrying. Considering the lethal consequences a COVID-19 outbreak would have, they should be released without delay. Migrant children and their families and those detained without a sufficient legal basis should be immediately released. 

This disease can be controlled only if there is an inclusive approach which protects every individual’s rights to life and health. Migrants and refugees are disproportionately vulnerable to exclusion, stigma and discrimination, particularly when undocumented. To avert a catastrophe, governments must do all they can to protect the rights and the health of everyone. Protecting the rights and the health of all people will in fact help control the spread of the virus. 

It is vital that everyone, including all migrants and refugees, are ensured equal access to health services and are effectively included in national responses to COVID-19, including prevention, testing and treatment. Inclusion will help not only to protect the rights of refugees and migrants, but will also serve to protect public health and stem the global spread of COVID-19.   

While many nations protect and host refugee and migrant populations, they are often not equipped to respond to crises such as Covid-19. To ensure refugees and migrants have adequate access to national health services, States may need additional financial support. This is where the world’s financial institutions can play a leading role in making funds available. 

While countries are closing their borders and limiting cross-border movements, there are ways to manage border restrictions in a manner which respects international human rights and refugee protection standards, including the principle of non-refoulement, through quarantine and health checks. 

More than ever, as COVID-19 poses a global threat to our collective humanity, our primary focus should be on the preservation of life, regardless of status. This crisis demands a coherent, effective international approach that leaves no-one behind. At this crucial moment we all need to rally around a common objective, fighting this deadly virus. Many refugees, displaced, stateless people and migrants have skills and resources that can also be part of the solution. 

We cannot allow fear or intolerance to undermine rights or compromise the effectiveness of responses to the global pandemic. We are all in this together. We can only defeat this virus when each and every one of us is protected. 

For more information and media requests, please contact: 

IOM: Leonard Doyle Director, Media and Communication Division Spokesperson of the Director General. +41 22 717 95 89, Email: ldoyle@iom.int or media@iom.int 

OHCHR: Rupert Colville, +41 22 917 97 67, rcolville@ohchr.org 
 
UNHCR: Cecile Pouilly, + 41 79 108 26 25, pouilly@unhcr.org 
 
WHO: Tarik Jašarević, +41 793 676 214, jasarevict@who.int 
 

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 18:52
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ICYMI: Burkina Faso’s spiralling crisis

By from TNH English. Published on Mar 31, 2020.

Watch this conversation exploring the crisis in Burkina Faso – from the needs on the ground to the dynamics of the conflict, the new threat of coronavirus, and the challenges of reporting.

Expert Podcast: Meeting Seasonal Labor Needs in the Age of COVID-19

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Mar 31, 2020.

Governments are facing urgent pandemic-related questions. One of the more pressing ones: Who is going to harvest crops in countries that rely heavily on seasonal foreign workers? In this podcast, MPI experts examine ways in which countries could address labor shortages in agriculture, including recruiting native-born workers and letting already present seasonal workers stay longer. Catch an interesting discussion as border closures have halted the movement of seasonal workers even as crops are approaching harvest in some places.

Bangladeshi Communities Make Protective Masks for Frontline Workers Combating Coronavirus

By jojusayan from News. Published on Mar 31, 2020.

Cox’s Bazar – The COVID-19 pandemic poses a major threat to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees and local community members In Cox’s Bazar, one of the world’s largest and most crowded refugee camps. 

The rapid spread of the disease, which has infected over 785,000 people and left over 37,800 dead worldwide, has led to a global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), particularly surgical and other masks, which are needed by health workers, patients and people coming into close contact with those who are sick.   

IOM has initiated a project in Cox’s Bazar to produce 6,000 washable cloth masks for frontline Cyclone Preparedness volunteers and Fire Service and Civil Defence personnel who have been working with UN Migration to raise awareness of the disease and communicate ways to avoid infection.  

The masks will also be given to Village Development Police from Cox’s Bazar Sadar, Ramu, Moheshkhali, Ukhiya and Teknaf subdistricts, known as upazillas. 

The initiative, launched by IOM and its NGO partners, Prottyashi and Nongor, which have set up operations at Ukhiya and Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar respectively. Prottyashi and Nongor were approved by the Directorate General of Health Services and Cox’s Bazar Civil Surgeon. The masks will be distributed in coordination with upazilla administrators. 

IOM has provided 14 sewing machines to the Nongor hub at Shamlapur, Teknaf while Prottyashi has own set up at Ukhiya. About 35 local people, including 25 women, are now making masks at the two hubs.

“These cloth masks, by minimizing person-to-person exposure, also support the efforts of the Government and need to be combined with other measures such as regular hand washing and maintaining social distancing,” said Patrick Charignon, IOM’s Head of Transition and Recovery in Cox’s Bazar. “This initiative is also a much-needed livelihood activity which supports vulnerable, households headed by women, who are making the masks.”  

Cox’s Bazar Deputy Commissioner Md. Kamal Hossain welcomed the effort and has asked IOM to coordinate with respective upazilla administration offices and keep his staff up to date on distribution.  

IOM, with other UN agencies and NGOs, is working with the Government to raise awareness and prepare the response to potential COVID-19 cases across Cox’s Bazar. It is engaging with the District Commissioner and the Civil Surgeon to ensure that the right messages are being shared with both Bangladeshi and Rohingya communities. 

In addition to hygiene promotion, soap distribution and the installation of hand-washing stations will also be key in preventing people from becoming infected.  

IOM is also working to ensure that the health facilities that it supports in Cox’s Bazar are equipped to cope with an expected influx of patients. It is increasing the number of isolation beds in its two Primary Health Care centres (to 44), procuring PPE for health workers, stockpiling medicine and training health workers. 

For more information please contact Tarek Mahmud at IOM Cox’s Bazar. Tel: +880 17 52 380 240, Email: tmahmud@iom.int 

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 13:00
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Local communities make protective masks for frontline workers combating the coronavirus in Cox’s Bazar. Photo: IOM 

Local communities make protective masks for frontline workers combating the coronavirus in Cox’s Bazar. Photo: IOM 

Local communities make protective masks for frontline workers combating the coronavirus in Cox’s Bazar. Photo: IOM 

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A Race Against the Clock: Meeting Seasonal Labor Needs in the Age of COVID-19

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Mar 31, 2020.

As governments have reacted to the coronavirus pandemic by closing borders, seasonal workers have been kept out, raising a pressing question: who is going to produce the food amid agricultural labor shortages? Policymakers in the Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America have responded by seeking to recruit residents, lengthen stays for already present seasonal workers, and find ways to continue admitting foreign seasonal labor, as this commentary explores.

Immigrant Workers Are Vital to the U.S. Coronavirus Pandemic Response, But Disproportionately Vulnerable

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Mar 27, 2020.

WASHINGTON — Six million immigrant workers are at the frontlines of keeping U.S. residents healthy, safe and fed during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Migration Policy Institute (MPI) analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data issued today. While the foreign born represented 17 percent of the 156 million civilians working in 2018, they account for larger shares in pandemic-response frontline occupations: 29 percent of all physicians in the United States, 38 percent of home health aides and 23 percent of retail-store pharmacists, for example.

COVID-19 in Latin America: Tackling Health Care & Other Impacts for Vulnerable Migrant Populations

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Mar 27, 2020.

Immigrant Workers: Vital to the U.S. COVID-19 Response, Disproportionately Vulnerable

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Mar 26, 2020.

Six million immigrant workers are at the frontlines of keeping U.S. residents healthy and fed during the COVID-19 pandemic, representing disproportionate shares of physicians, home health aides, and retail-store pharmacists, for example. They also are over-represented in sectors most immediately devastated by mass layoffs, yet many will have limited access to safety-net systems and to federal relief, as this fact sheet details.

Crisis within a Crisis: Immigration in the United States in a Time of COVID-19

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Mar 26, 2020.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the intersection of U.S. immigration and public health policy, and the unique challenges that immigrants face. This article analyzes the Trump administration’s introduction of some of the most stringent immigration restrictions in modern times, the often disparate fallout of the outbreak on immigrant communities, the status of federal immigration agency operations, and more.

Migration & Coronavirus: A Complicated Nexus Between Migration Management and Public Health

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Mar 24, 2020.

This webinar, organized by MPI and the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School, discussed migration policy responses around the globe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and examined where migration management and enforcement tools may be useful and where they may be ill-suited to advancing public health goals. 

Amid an Unfolding Humanitarian Crisis in Syria, the European Union Faces the Perils of Devolving Migration Management to Turkey

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Mar 20, 2020.

The high-stakes gambit taken by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to allow tens of thousands of asylum seekers and migrants free movement to the Greek border demonstrated the fragility of the EU-Turkey deal and the European Union's broader approach to outsource migration management to third countries. This article examines the causes for the tensions, the EU approach to external partnerships, and a hardening European attitude towards unwanted arrivals.

Migration & Coronavirus: A Complicated Nexus Between Migration Management and Public Health

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Mar 19, 2020.

Green Cards and Public Charge: Who Could Be Denied Based on Benefits Use?

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Mar 12, 2020.

On this webinar, MPI experts discussed the public-charge rule and released estimates of the populations that could be deemed ineligible for a green card based on existing benefits use. They examined the far larger consequences of the rule, through its "chilling effects" and imposition of a test aimed at assessing whether green-card applicants are likely to ever use a public benefit in the future. And they discussed how the latter holds the potential to reshape legal immigration to the United States. 

Understanding Which English Learners Are Counted on School Accountability Measures—and When

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Mar 12, 2020.

WASHINGTON – The federal Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) requires states to publicly report annual performance and graduation rates for students in a range of areas, breaking out results for subgroups with unique characteristics, including English Learners (ELs). The objective is to help schools identify and close achievement gaps experienced by historically underserved groups of students.

Expert Podcast: Understanding How English Learners Count in ESSA Reporting

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Mar 11, 2020.

This podcast features a discussion between MPI's Margie McHugh and Julie Sugarman about how to understand the varying composition of states' English Learner (EL) subgroup under ESSA, and why understanding these technical differences matters when making decisions about how ELs and schools are faring. They also talk about different groups of ELs: newcomers, students with interrupted formal education, and long-term ELs, and data collection around these different cohorts.

Which English Learners Count When? Understanding State EL Subgroup Definitions in ESSA Reporting

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Mar 11, 2020.

States publish a wealth of data about their English Learner students’ academic achievement and other outcomes such as graduation rates. But the answer to the question “Who is an EL?” is not always the same. This brief explains how the EL subgroup varies across states and types of data, and why it is important to understand these differences when making decisions about how ELs and schools are faring.

As Governments Build Advanced Surveillance Systems to Push Borders Out, Will Travel and Migration Become Unequal for Some Groups?

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Mar 10, 2020.

As governments seek to push their borders out by amassing ever more data on travelers and migrants, their creation of increasingly complex border surveillance systems and use of risk-assessment technologies could ease mobility for some while rendering other groups immobile based on hypothetical risk profiles and decisions that are not publicly known and cannot be challenged, as this article explores.

As Brussels seeks fresh ideas to reform the Common European Asylum System, innovative member state responses offer a wealth of lessons–and some caution

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Mar 04, 2020.

Brussels and Gütersloh, 05.03.2020 — Anticipated reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), which was high on the agenda as nearly 2 million asylum seekers arrived at Europe’s door in 2015-16, quickly fell victim to EU Member State competing views on what constitutes equal burden-sharing, domestic politics around migration and the urgency of first addressing overtaxed national asylum systems.

Chasing Efficiency: Can Operational Changes Fix European Asylum Systems?

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Mar 04, 2020.

Brussels is searching for bright ideas on how to fix the Common European Asylum System. While recent EU-level legal reforms have stalled, this report examines the many innovative, operations-focused approaches Member States have used since the 2015-16 migration crisis to improve registration and reception systems, asylum case processing, and options for returning failed asylum seekers.

MPI Estimates No More than 167,000 Non-Citizens Could Be Ineligible for Green Cards Based on Current Public Benefits Use

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Mar 03, 2020.

WASHINGTON – While the new Trump administration public charge rule is likely to vastly reshape future legal immigration based on its test to assess if a person might ever use public benefits in the future, the universe of non-citizens who could be denied a green card based on current benefits use is quite small.

The Public-Charge Rule: Broad Impacts, But Few Will Be Denied Green Cards Based on Actual Benefits Use

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Mar 03, 2020.

While the Trump administration public-charge rule is likely to vastly reshape legal immigration based on its test to assess if a person might ever use public benefits in the future, the universe of noncitizens who could be denied a green card based on current benefits use is quite small. That's because very few benefit programs are open to noncitizens who do not hold a green card. This commentary offers estimates of who might be affected.

Welcome

Welcome to the Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement

The Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement aims to build on strong institutional engagement by the University with one of the greatest societal challenges of the 21st Century, that of human movement, dispersal, mobility, and migration to create a transdisciplinary centre of research excellence.

 We do hope you will get involved