Migration Law

What is International Migration Law?

International migration law (IML), which is the international legal framework governing migration, is not covered by any one legal instrument or norm. Instead, IML is an umbrella term covering a variety of principles and rules that together regulate the international obligations of States with regard to migrants. Such broad range of principles and rules belong to numerous branches of international law such as human rights law, humanitarian law, labour law, refugee law, consular law and maritime law. IOM works to increase knowledge and acceptance of the legal instruments that protect migrants’ rights, as well as the ratification and implementation status of these instruments. It also assists States in developing migration policies and legislation that conform to IML in order to manage migration more effectively and in a manner consistent with international law.

In order to more effectively carry out its work on IML, IOM has established the International Migration Law Unit.

Since there is no single instrument or norm covering all the relevant rights and duties of migrants, it is important to collect information on IML and frame it in an accessible and comprehensible way. IOM seeks to consolidate IML information and make it more easily accessible through legal research and its online migration law database. IOM also works to disseminate information on IML in order to spread awareness to academics, government policy makers, International Organizations (IOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

The IML Unit consults with governments on migration legislation to make the legislation more effective and to bring it more in line with regional and international standards. The Unit also carries out training and capacity building activities on IML.