Moving Beyond “Root Causes:” The Complicated Relationship between Development and Migration

Moving Beyond “Root Causes:” The Complicated Relationship between Development and Migration. Migration Policy Institute. Susan Fratzke and Brian Salant. January 2018.

 As policymakers in Europe and other high-income countries search for ways to reduce unmanaged migration, they are paying new attention to addressing the drivers of migration, in particular the lack of economic opportunities in countries of origin.

The logic, embedded in the European Commission’s 2015 European Agenda on Migration for example, suggests that if development assistance can improve livelihood prospects in countries of migrant origin, outward migration will decrease.

However, the nature of migrant decision-making and the complex relationship between migration and development suggest development assistance may be a blunt tool for reshaping migration patterns—and indeed one that could increase migration flows over the short term. Numerous studies have found that as countries become richer and their citizens have more resources at their disposal, emigration increases, at least initially. And while employment may decrease the likelihood that an individual will migrate in some contexts, in others it appears to increase those prospects.

Little solid research has been done on the extent to which development policies reshape migration, but the brief suggests shifting the focus of development assistance away from increasing individuals’ skills and assets toward the creation of opportunities at the local, regional, or national level. Investments in the broader economic or governance structures that are a prerequisite for economic growth and stability may offer more alternatives to emigration in the long run. In the shorter term, destination-country policymakers may need to accept the idea of working with, rather than against, migration trends to reap the development benefits of migration. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 19 pages, 797.53 KB].


EU Migration Partnerships: A Work in Progress

EU Migration Partnerships: A Work in Progress. Migration Policy Institute.  Elizabeth Collett and Aliyyah Ahad. December 2017.

 While EU ambitions to cooperate with migrants’ countries of origin and transit stretch back more than two decades, they took on fresh urgency following the 2015–16 European migrant and refugee crisis, when migration management rocketed to the top of the policy agenda. In 2016, the European Union introduced the Migration Partnership Framework to guide EU and Member State engagement with third countries and embed migration objectives within broader foreign and development policy domains. In addition to sharpening existing tools for collaboratively tackling migration objectives, the framework draws on the strength of bilateral relationships between Member States and third countries and reorganizes the bloc’s financial commitments.

 This report critically examines whether this approach has put the European Union on track to reach the framework’s stated aims—strengthening borders, stepping up the return of migrants without authorization to stay in Europe, and addressing the root causes of migration—and, if not, what adjustments are needed.

 By taking a close look at the migration landscapes in four partner countries (Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Mali, and Niger) and how key socioeconomic and political factors in each affect EU engagement, the report illustrates some of the challenges inherent to this new generation of partnerships. Chief among them are identifying the right partners, reconciling divergent EU and partner-country priorities, setting clear benchmarks and conducting robust evaluation, and modulating how progress is communicated to European publics. While EU policymakers acted quickly to launch the framework following the crisis, the authors find a number of areas in need of review if these migration partnerships are to have the desired lasting impact. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 55 pages, 1.61 MB].

Tracing the Channels Refugees Use to Seek Protection in Europe

Tracing the Channels Refugees Use to Seek Protection in Europe. Migration Policy Institute. Susan Fratzke, Brian Salant. September 2017.

As European policymakers and advocates increasingly express interest in developing managed, legal alternatives to the dangerous, unauthorized journeys many refugees undertake when searching for protection, there is a pressing need to inform the debate with reliable and comprehensive data—both on how protection seekers currently enter Europe and how new pathways are likely to be used.

Yet as this report explains, it is “nearly impossible” at present to obtain a clear picture of how protection seekers enter Europe and what legal channels are available to them. Still, while incomplete, data from EURODAC, Eurostat, Frontex, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and national databases, suggest several important trends. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 32 pages, 1.65 MB].

Protection through Mobility: Opening Labor and Study Migration Channels to Refugees

Protection through Mobility: Opening Labor and Study Migration Channels to Refugees. Migration Policy Institute. Katy Long and Sarah Rosengaertner. October 2016.

With the rapid increase in the number of refugees and displaced persons worldwide, this report examines the role that legal labor and study mobility might play in connecting refugees with better opportunities, and how such mobility could work in concrete terms and as a complement to the traditional protection system. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 50 pages, 1.85 MB].

Strengthening Refugee Protection and Meeting Challenges: The European Union’s Next Steps on Asylum

Strengthening Refugee Protection and Meeting Challenges: The European Union’s Next Steps on Asylum. Migration Policy Institute. Madeline Garlick. June 2014.

With the European Council meeting in late June 2014 to adopt strategic guidelines on asylum and migration policy, amid strains resulting from Syrian refugee migration and other flows, this MPI Europe policy brief identifies challenges and proposes a forward course. The brief recommends increased engagement by Member States in practical cooperation as a way to strengthen implementation and consolidation of existing EU laws and achieve more consistent asylum decision-making. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 12 pages, 1.52 MB].

Global Government, Mixed Coalitions, and the Future of International Cooperation

Global Government, Mixed Coalitions, and the Future of International Cooperation. Center for Global Development. William D. Savedoff. July 5, 2012.

William Savedoff looks at the long history of global multipolarity and forecasts what recent geopolitical changes mean for the future of international cooperation. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 21 pages, 476 KB].