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Global data on migration

Citizenship and migration have to a large extent remained national matters; there is no World Migration Organisation and international migration law is an umbrella term covering a variety of principles and rules that belong to different branches of international law. Global data on for example migration flows, national migration policies, forced displacement and remittances are provided by the International Organisation for Migration’s Migration Data Portal, the Migration Policy Institute’s Migration Data Hub, and the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) – the latter with a focus on Europe and immigrant integration.

While there is no lack of data, an interesting new initiative – the Global Mobilities Project – aims to create a Global Mobilities Database to overcome the compartmentalization of most of the current empirical research:

Mobility across state borders is a key feature of our age. The number of transnational asylum-seekers, migrants, tourists, students, and refugees, not to mention the number

of cross-border phone calls and online interactions, has grown rapidly—and often exponentially—over the last decades … Thus far, however, empirical research on the topic has remained compartmentalized, with most studies being restricted to a particular country pair or region; migration scholars focusing on migration, education scholars on student exchange, and so forth. To date, no project has aimed at collecting a comprehensive, up-to-date global database of the many different forms of human mobility, from long-term resettlement to everyday commuting, and, then, analyzed them simultaneously in an integrated way.

There is a clear trend to advance overarching instruments that remedy the scattered nature of the migration field. The Model International Mobility Convention, developed by academics and policy makers and finalised in 2017, similarly tries to bring all those who cross state borders under a single framework:

In 213 articles divided over eight chapters, the Convention establishes both the minimum rights afforded to all people who cross state borders as visitors, and the special rights afforded to tourists, students, migrant workers, investors and residents, forced migrants, refugees, migrant victims of trafficking and migrants caught in countries in crisis. Some of these categories are covered by existing international legal regimes. However, in this Convention these groups are for the first time brought together under a single framework.

Author: Dr. Olivier Vonk

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