Middle East and North Africa

Migration has long shaped the Middle East and North Africa, with countries in the region often simultaneously representing points of origin, transit and destination. Demographic and socioeconomic trends, conflict and, increasingly, climate change are among the multitude of factors that influence migration dynamics in the region.

The migration context in the Middle East and North Africa can be broadly characterized as consisting of three closely interrelated patterns: (a) forced migration and internal displacement as a result of multiple, acute and protracted crises across the region, particularly in Iraq, Libya and the Syrian Arab Republic; (b) complex irregular migration flows, driven by a mix of economic and other factors, within and transiting through the region, particularly to and through North Africa and towards Europe, as well as towards Gulf countries; and (c) the movement of (regular and irregular) labour migrants both within and from far beyond the region, with Gulf countries acting as the principal magnet for migrant labour.

Across the region, IOM implements the Organization’s full programmatic spectrum, including movement and resettlement;  emergency preparedness and response; post-crisis transition and recovery; migration health; labour migration and migration and development; counter-trafficking and migrant assistance, including return and reintegration assistance for stranded migrants; immigration and border management; and migration policy and research.

IOM’s objectives for the MENA region are to: 

  • Enhance capacity, knowledge and dialogue on migration, migration management, and migration policymaking among states, civil society and other stakeholders in the region; 
  • Contribute to safe, protected, and regular migration, in full respect of the human rights of all migrants, and with a view to improving development outcomes of migration for migrants and societies in countries of origin and countries of destination;
  • Improve preparedness for and responses to the migration dimensions of humanitarian crises, with a focus both on vulnerable mobile populations and affected communities.  

IOM works towards these objectives through its operations, direct assistance to migrants, support and technical assistance to governments, and research and advocacy.

Across the Middle East and North Africa, IOM employs approximately 1,500 staff and has offices in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia and Yemen.