Migration Profiles

What are Migration Profiles?

Migration Profiles (MPs) were initially proposed by the European Commission in the Communication on Migration and Development in 2005 [COM (2005) 390], and conceived as a concise statistical report, prepared according to a common framework, which could make it easier to understand "at a glance" the migration situation in a particular country. IOM first tested the Migration Profile concept in Ecuador and Senegal in 2006 and has subsequently prepared Migration Profiles for more than over 40 countries around the world. Over time, migration profiles have undergone considerable transformation in format, content and objectives: from being a means to bring together data from a wide range of sources, to a more elaborate process involving consultation with many different actors in an effort to help identify and develop strategies to address data gaps and produce the evidence required to inform policy. Indeed, MP exercises have recently evolved into more comprehensive approaches, so-called 'Extended Migration Profile (EMP)', supported by the European Commission (EC). An Extended MP exercise consists in 1) extending the range of themes discussed in the report (e.g., including also social and human development aspects and/or a migration impact analysis), 2) implementing complementary capacity building activities run in parallel with the development of a country report (e.g., conduct a data assessment, setting up an institutional framework, carry out specific thematic studies), and/or 3) preparing all MP activities in consultation with the government and a broad range of stakeholders including the civil society.

"A Migration Profile is a country-owned tool, prepared in consultation with a broad range of stakeholders, which can be used to enhance policy coherence, evidence-based policymaking and the mainstreaming of migration into development plans." (IOM, 2011)

How are Migration Profiles used?

Migration Profiles go beyond simply compiling a statistical report on migration. They also provide a framework for bringing existing information from different sources together in a structured manner at both national and regional levels and a means to identify and develop strategies to address data and policy development needs. Migration Profiles intend to strengthen the evidence base and to encourage evidence-based migration policy making. In particular, Migration Profiles aim to:

  • Map out national and international data sources on diverse migrant categories and their characteristics;
  • Present recent statistics on migration stocks and flows in a concise and internationally comparable way;
  • Compile and present data on the impact of migration on development.
  • Support an interagency coordination platform, leading to better information flows, more coherent policy actions and enhanced cooperation modalities.
  • Develop an understanding of which evidence is needed to support policies on migration and the mainstreaming of migration into development plans;
  • Ensure that the required evidence is produced and available on a regular basis, using a systematic framework.
  • Enable policymakers to access the existing body of evidence in a simple and time-efficient way;
  • Build policymakers' skills and practices in correctly interpreting available migration evidence and applying it directly to their policy making decisions.
  • Promote discussion about migration policy, coherence and coordination between a large range of ministries.
  • Support national and regional initiatives to mainstream migration into development plans through country analysis and monitoring and evaluation of outcomes.
  • Facilitate regional processes such as Regional Consultative Processes and Regional Economic Communities through information-sharing at the regional level.

Rather then an end to itself, a Migration Profile is the beginning of a process. In order to become a policy making tool, Migration Profiles need to be government-owned and updated regularly.

Developing a Migration Profile

The new guidance tool Migration Profiles: Making the Most of the Process explains in detail what a Migration Profile can entail and how governments and implementing partners can develop and conduct a Migration Profile exercise. This tool had been developed by IOM in 2011 - based on its experience in implementing Migration Profiles processes - and consists of two parts:

Part I entitled A Practical Guide describes the three key stages of a Migration Profiles process (planning, implementation, launch and follow-up), provides step-by-step guidance throughout whole process, and stresses the importance of consultation and government ownership.

Part II entitled A Framework for Developing a Template offers a revised and extended template which provides a "menu" of thematic modules might be included in a Migration Profile report depending on the interests of the country concerned, indicates relevant indicators and possible data sources, further elaborates key migration topics and includes new themes (e.g., internal migration, migration and environment, social development, health), and has a greater focus on impact analysis in addition to trends overview.

Additional resources

Migration Profiles Repository

In response to recommendations from governments, the IOM, in close cooperation with the European Commission (EC), created the Migration Profiles Repository within the framework of the GFMD Platform for Partnerships. The Migration Profiles Repository offers key information on the Migration Profile and Extended Migration Profile concept and methodology, gathers existing country profiles in one central location, and provides useful guidance tools and background information on Migration Profiles.