<strong>Camille</strong>
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IOM IN YOUR COUNTRY

Overview

Trinidad and Tobago is one of the most prosperous countries in the Caribbean, primarily due to significant oil and natural gas resources, high levels of direct foreign investment and an expanding tourist industry. The “pull” factor is therefore strong; available datTrinidad and Tobago is one of the most prosperous countries in the Caribbean, primarily due to significant oil and natural gas resources, high levels of direct foreign investment and an expanding tourist industry. The “pull” factor is therefore strong; available data suggest that one-third of intra-Caribbean migrants reside in Trinidad and Tobago.

Trinidad and Tobago faces considerable security challenges and is an active transit point for regional and extra-regional irregular migration to North America and Europe. People smugglers are active, taking advantage of porous borders. Governments in the region, including Trinidad and Tobago, remain particularly concerned about the vulnerability of their borders to transnational organized crime networks and the attendant risk of those perceived vulnerabilities being exploited by terrorists. These same governments have noted a critical need to upgrade or restructure current migration management and border security systems by acquiring the necessary technological tools and strengthening migration officials’ professional capacity to better identify potential security risks. Achieving a balance between expeditious processing of bona fide travelers and effective deterrence of security threats is a key aim for all governments concerned. This is true also for Trinidad and Tobago in achieving its declared aim of becoming a developed society by the year 2020.

Emigration of skilled workers has been a problem for Trinidad and Tobago. Although the government supports emigration of unskilled workers, it had not developed a policy to entice educated and trained personnel to remain on the island. In recent years there has been a massive exodus of nurses from the government health services to international destinations, particularly in the US which is of particular concern of the government. To fill the gaps, the Government has recruited health workers, including doctors, from Cuba, Nigeria and the Philippines. Construction workers employed in turnkey projects have been recruited from China and India.

IOM Port of Spain Office

IOM has maintained an effective office in Trinidad and Tobago since 2006. Following a migration assessment in 2005 and at the request of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, IOM’s project for Strengthening Technical Capacity in Trinidad and Tobago (STC in T&T) worked to bolster the capabilities of the Immigration Division and other law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The US State Department-funded project, which began in 2006 and ended in late 2008, focused on irregular transit migration by third-country nationals, as well as significantly contributed to national and bilateral efforts to enhance regional security.

The programme focused on four main areas:

  1. Providing analysis and advice to ensure adoption of international best practices, migration laws, policies and procedures;
  2. Designing and incorporating a comprehensive training regimen for immigration officials;
  3. Providing technical advice and assistance to complement the introduction of a new automated integrated border control system conforming to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards; and
  4. Providing advice to assist with contingency planning for sudden mass migration outflows in the Caribbean region.

The project team worked closely with the Ministry of National Security. IOM oversaw the implementation of the STC in T&T project and undertook complementary actions in areas such as human trafficking, labour migration and other areas of migration management.

In 2009, IOM entered into an agreement with the Government to continue to provide technical services to Trinidad and Tobago. A small presence in Port of Spain, funded by the Government, served to coordinate services provided through other projects. IOM has thus been able to maintain the links with the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and keep access open to the Organization and its advisory and information services. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago retained the office within the Ministry of National Security and funded the maintenance of the IOM Office to fulfill the agreed Terms of Reference.

Migration Health

IOM Port-of-Spain has provided informal contributions to policy discussions in the IOM-International Labour Organization (ILO) Study on the Migration of Health Workers, and has participated in the Consultation on ILO’s Action Programme on the International Migration of Health Care Workers: the Supply Side in February 2007.

Migration and Development

IOM has similarly participated in the development and discussions regarding a project of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and IOM on sharing migration data in Caribbean English-speaking countries. A project is now underway to assess the situation on migration data-sharing in the Caribbean in four pilot countries, of which Trinidad and Tobago is one.

Data Sharing Mechanism (Pilot Project)

IOM, with financial support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM, Department of State) and with the co-operation of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), is conducting a study to determine the feasibility of sharing data among CARICOM countries to improve migration controls. The methodology was developed under IOM auspices for countries in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. The resultant Data Sharing Mechanism (DSM), a web-based application accessible by participating states, has given government officials a more complete picture of migration patterns to support operational decisions and the policy making process.

The study was initiated by visits to CARICOM member states Barbados, Guyana, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago from March 23 to April 22, 2009. The study found significant differences in the extent to which each nation records the data, and variances as to which ministry or department is responsible for maintaining the records. However, the assessment also established that there was sufficient relevant information available to establish a data sharing initiative without imposing any major new collection requirements on participating countries.

Regulating Migration

Migration Dialogues

IOM Port-of-Spain provides technical expertise for the annual IOM Caribbean Seminar on Migration Management. Government participation is coordinated with MRF Washington. The Seminar is jointly organized with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), since there are cross-cutting topics of interest, such as contingency planning for mass outflows of people, trafficking in persons, or protection (refugee and consular). IOM convened a Caribbean Counter-Trafficking Conference on October 26-28, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The conference brought together key stakeholders across the region to stimulate national and regional cooperation and exchange information and best practices. The agenda highlighted counter-trafficking efforts in the areas of prevention, protection, and prosecution. Also, there were facilitated discussions to explore emerging topics in the Caribbean to address mixed migration flows (e.g., cross-border vulnerable migrant groups and individuals, asylum seekers, stranded migrants and intercepted migrants).

Voluntary Returns

With funding provided by United Kingdom Assisted Voluntary Return programmes, IOM Port of Spain has provided reintegration assistance to at least 70 returnees from the United Kingdom since 2007. There are four programmes, supported with funding through IOM London, that facilitate the voluntary return and reintegration of migrants from the UK to Trinidad and Tobago. The programmes are as follows:

  • Voluntary Return and Reintegration of Detained Migrants (VRR-DM)
  • Assisted Voluntary Return of Irregular Migrants (AVRIM), specifically aimed at migrants who have no legal status in the United Kingdom
  • Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme (VARRP), targeted at asylum seekers
  • Assisted Voluntary Return of Family and Children (AVRFC), focused on families and children who have or have not touched the asylum system.

Countering Human Trafficking

IOM offices in Port of Spain and Washington work to strengthen the local capacity with trainings for representatives of:

  • Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs),
  • Community-Based Organizations (CBOs),
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and
  • Government Ministries.

A “Train the Trainer Course in Counter Trafficking” was also conducted for the above-mentioned representatives. This course was a three-day intensive session designed to develop a cadre of competent facilitators to meet future training needs in the area of human trafficking. Local trainers were encouraged to conduct briefing/training sessions and were provided with materials from the Trainer’s kit such as DVDs, public service announcements (PSAs), capacity building modules workbooks, charts and case studies.

Since the beginning of the Technical Cooperation on Migration project (March 2009), IOM has cumulatively trained a total of 471 persons on various aspects of trafficking of persons.

Under the Strengthening Technical Capacity (August 2006-October 2008) 710 participants were trained in countering human trafficking.

In November 2009, a Cabinet-appointed Counter Trafficking Task Force was mandated to address various aspects of human trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago. The Task Force included representatives from Government Ministries, civil society and IOM. It completed its work mandated by Cabinet August 2010, resulting in the Trafficking in Persons Policy Framework. A draft Counter Trafficking bill has since been prepared.

Capacity Building

At the request of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, IOM’s project for Strengthening Technical Capacity in Trinidad and Tobago (STC in T&T) has worked to bolster the capabilities of the Immigration Division and other law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The US State Department-funded project, which ended in late 2008, focused on irregular transit migration by third-country nationals, as well as significantly contributed to national and bilateral efforts to enhance regional security. The programme focused on four main areas:

  • Providing analysis and advice to ensure adoption of international best practices, migration laws, policies and procedures;
  • Designing and incorporating a comprehensive training regimen for immigration officials;
  • Providing technical advice and assistance to complement the introduction of a new automated integrated border control system conforming to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards; and
  • Providing advice to assist with contingency planning for sudden mass migration outflows in the Caribbean region.

The project team worked closely with the Ministry of National Security. IOM oversaw the implementation of the STC in T&T project and undertook complementary actions in areas such as counter trafficking, labour migration and other areas of migration management.

IOM’s project, “Children Affected by Migration in the Caribbean,” aims to enhance national capacity to address the needs of children who stay behind when their parents or legal guardians migrate, children who migrate accompanied or unaccompanied, and children who return to their country of origin/birth in the region. Trinidad and Tobago was an important member of the Children Affected by Migration in the Caribbean working group led by IOM, UNICEF, and the CARICOM Secretariat. The working group developed a framework and proposed action in the thematic areas of data collection and usage, policy and procedures, social services, education, health, psycho-social issues, and investment in human and financial resources.

To find out more on these activities, please visit http://www.iom.int/countries/united-states-of-america/general-information

Movement, Emergency and Post-Conflict Migration Management

Resettlement Assistance

For more than 60 years, IOM has played a vital role in resettlement around the world. IOM works closely with governments, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), non-government organizations and others. The Living Water Community is the UNHCR Liaison in Trinidad and Tobago and therefore works closely with the local IOM office in the resettlement of refugees residing locally.

IOM Port of Spain assistance includes the following activities:

  • Medical screening and counseling to ensure that refugees are fit to travel and meet the requirements of the host country. This includes the provision of treatment if and when needed.
  • Cultural orientations to give refugees realistic expectations of resettlement through briefing them about the life, basic adaptation, and culture in the resettlement country.
  • Pre-departure orientations on traveling by air, packing, and importance of travel documents.

IOM Port of Spain assisted 14 persons in their resettlement to third countries. Nine of them have already been resettled to the USA and five are in the process and expected to be resettled in the first quarter of 2011.

General Programmes

Stranded Migrants Facility

IOM Port of Spain office is sometimes requested by NGOs to provide humanitarian emergency assistance to migrants, particularly those who find themselves in difficult migratory circumstances for which funding is not readily available.

The objective of the Stranded Migrants Facility is:

  • To provide a flexible and quick humanitarian assistance to stranded migrants in difficult circumstances for whom support is not readily available from existing programmes
  • To derive, from the information collected in providing such assistance, a clearer picture of changing trends in irregular migration in order to assist the international community in formulating counter-measures that can be used in the future.

IOM Port of Spain has assisted in the return of two migrants under the Humanitarian Assistance to Stranded Migrants scheme:

  • Migrant returned to Senegal in September 2008
  • Migrant returned to Guinea in February 2011

ACP Observatory on Migration

The African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) Observatory on Migration is an institution designed to produce data on South-South migration for migrants, civil society and policy-makers and to enhance research and data collection capacities for the development of nationally focused, evidence-based policy making for the improvement of migrants’ conditions and the strengthening of the migration-development nexus. It is an ACP Secretariat Initiative, empowered by an IOM-led international research consortium, funded by the European Union, with the financial support of Switzerland.

The main objective of the Observatory is to create a network of research centers and private researchers to provide policy makers, civil society and the public at large with reliable and harmonized data on ACP migration. It will focus its attention on migrants’ situations and will foster the inclusion of migration into pilot countries’ development strategies. The Observatory was officially launched in October 2010 in Brussels, Belgium. While currently based in Brussels, the Observatory will be based in one of the 79 ACP countries as of 2013.More Info

Current Projects

  • Technical Cooperation in Migration
  • Data Sharing Mechanism
  • African, Caribbean, Pacific Observatory on Migration
  • IOM London Assisted Voluntary Return Programme
  • Stranded migrants
  • Refugees Resettlement
  • Children Affected by Migration in the Caribbean

Completed Projects

  • Strengthening Technical Capacity in Migration
  • Aspects of Caribbean Counter Trafficking Initiative

Last updated:
Main text: March 2011
Facts and figures: March 2016

CapitalPort of Spain
Population (2015):1.4 million
Area:5,128 km sq
Languages :English
Currency:Dollar (TTD)
GDP per Capita PPP (2014):not available
HDI Rank (2014):64 of 188
Remittances (2014 estimate):USD 131 million
Net Migration Rate (2015-2020):-0.7 migrants/1,000 population
Immigrants (2015):3.7%
Women as a Percentage of Immigrants (2015):51.2%
Population under 15 (2015):20.8%
Adult HIV Prevalence (2014):not available

International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Ministry of National Security
Temple Court 2, 50-62 Abercromby Street
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Tel: +868 627 69 69
Fax: +868 625 50 09

For more information about career opportunities in IOM, visit the Recruitment page.