9.1 million
English, Dutch
ADULT HIV PREVALENCE (2022) percentage

Migration in the Caribbean has been and continues to be an extraordinary driving force in shaping the region’s identity. From the tragedy of slavery to today’s vibrant diasporas throughout the world, and communities comprised of generations of migrants who came to the region seeking opportunity, the Caribbean has unique features where mobility is as much a building block of society, as it is an aspiration.  

Facing the growing challenges of the increasing impacts of climate change, an ageing population, growing labour gaps and complex political dynamics, the region will need to leverage migration as a transformative tool to maximize opportunities while mitigating some of the most important governance challenges.  

Being a region made up of small island developing states (SIDS), countries of the Caribbean have developed in a distinct manner relative to their neighbours in the Americas. With relatively small economies of scale, the region is dependent on imports, industries like tourism, and remittances. Caribbean nations have higher population densities close to coastal areas, and as a result, climate disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, and flooding can have costly impacts. Experts predict that extreme weather will increase in frequency and intensity in the coming years, and, without proper investments in preparedness and climate adaptation efforts, the likelihood of displacement and long-term migration as a result of crisis may increase. 

The region is also shifting demographically, characterized by an ageing population as well as dominant outward migration of people following the possibility of greater economic opportunities in places like the United States and Canada, and the United Kingdom. Labour gaps across the region in a number of skilled sectors have emerged as a consequence. While CARICOM’s labour movement pathways within the region are one solution, due to common labour gaps and dependence on industries like tourism, there may need to be a strategic emphasis on attracting labour from outside the Caribbean to find a sustainable path forward, a relative cultural shift for a region that has considered itself mostly as a region of origin.  

IOM’s Coordination Office for the Caribbean is based in Barbados. Since 2023, this Sub-Regional Coordination Office has functioned there, covering 21 countries and territories, with a focus on the coordination function, and providing coverage of countries without a physical IOM presence in the Dutch and English speaking part of the Caribbean.


IOM has staff and operations in the following countries:

  • Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Curacao, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, The Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago. 

Activities have been undertaken to support good migration governance in:

  • Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and Grenadines, Sint Maarten, the British Overseas Territories - Turks and Caicos, Montserrat, Anguilla, Cayman Islands, and the British Virgin Islands.

IOM Coordination Office for the Caribbean

In July 2023, IOM published its first ever Strategy for the English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean: Migration for Sustainable Development in the Caribbean (2023 – 2026), guided by the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).This short document aims to align the IOM Migration Strategy for the Caribbean with the framework provided by IOM Strategic Plan, issued January 2024, to better promote and advocate for the implementation of its three institutional priorities applied to the mobility context in the Caribbean:  

  1. Save lives and protect people on the move: IOM will support governments to improve preparedness and emergency response to environmental disasters, and improve humane protection mechanisms and safeguards for migrants, including through improving counter-trafficking referral mechanisms and provision of assistance for those on the move.  
  2. Facilitate pathways for regular migration: IOM will support governance structures that promote safe, orderly and regular migration pathways through coordinated policy approaches and improved safe border governance. IOM will also facilitate pathways that are both climate-adaptive and target labour gaps to promote human development. 

  3. Drive solutions to displacement: IOM will collaborate with whole-of-government and whole-of-society to build resilience and adaptation to the impacts of climate change, address the negative socioeconomic drivers of migration, reducing insecurity and violence and fostering social cohesion.

Contact Information

International Organization for Migration 
UN House 
Hastings, Christ Church 

Email: IOMCaribbeanOffice@iom.int  
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/IOMCaribbean1  
Twitter: https://twitter.com/IOM_Caribbean