How Do Countries Govern Migration? Country Profiles Published on Migration Data Portal

Migration Research

Geneva – Migration has become a major political issue over the past few years at the local, national and international levels, yet there has been little attention paid so far to how states currently govern migration.

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is initiating a conversation by supporting voluntary states in taking stock of their migration governance through the Migration Governance Indicators (MGI).

On 25 May, MGI country profiles for 12 countries were published on the Migration Data Portal with the aim of sharing best practices, but also to better understand common challenges. Besides the 12 country profiles published today, another 27 profiles will be published on the Migration Data Portal in the coming months. 

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The profiles summarize the key findings from a set of approximately 90 indicators. These are based on the six policy areas that IOM considers to be the building blocks of effective migration governance as defined in the Migration Governance Framework (MiGOF), the first and so far only definition of well-managed migration policy.

This points out to the idea that not only national laws on entry and exit are relevant for immigrants, emigrants and host societies, but also many others pertaining to health care, education and the labour market, as well as the existence of bilateral migration agreements between states, national disaster plans and state engagement with diasporas.

The MGI is not intended to measure policy or institutional outcomes, nor to rank countries on the design or implementation of their migration policies. Rather, the MGI is a tool based on policy inputs, which looks at the comprehensiveness of national migration policies and offers insights into areas that could be further developed. It also does not pretend to provide a one-size fits all approach to migration governance, but rather recognizes that all countries have different realities, challenges and opportunities that need to be taken into account.

The MGI is meant to spark a discussion within governments, and with other relevant stakeholders in the country, on their migration policy structures and whether these structures, that often have been in place for several years, still address the main challenges and opportunities of today’s reality.

“Not only do these profiles give us a snapshot of how migration is governed across countries, the aim of the MGI is to help governments plan and subsequently implement migration policies in-line with their commitments under the 2030 Agenda, and in particular under Target 10.7,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

“Looking forward, we hope to gradually roll out the MGI in a greater number of countries, and build mechanisms to ensure that these assessments are the starting point of a concrete plan of action to enhance migration policies,” Ambassador Swing added.

Governments interested in taking part are encouraged to contact their local IOM office.

The reports are available here.

For more information, please contact:
Maurizio Busatti at IOM HQ in Geneva, Tel: +41 22 717 9 581, Email:
Frank Laczko, at the Global Migration Data Analysis Centre in Berlin, Tel: + 49 (0) 30 278 778 20, Email: