IOM Launches Asia-Pacific Migration Data Report 2020

Bangkok – The International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s Asia-Pacific Regional Data Hub (RDH) has published the Asia-Pacific Migration Data Report 2020, which explores the complex and multifaceted aspects of migration in Asia and the Pacific to provide evidence and guidance to improve the social conditions of people living in the region. It also highlights the main areas where updated relevant information on migration trends is still missing or needs improvement.

The Report was virtually launched and introduced yesterday (26-08) by Ms. Elizabeth Collett, Special Adviser to IOM’s Director General. The event included a presentation of the Report’s findings by the RDH team, as well as a discussion led by several external speakers from IOM, UN ESCAP, UNFPA, UNHCR, and the Asian Development Bank.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Collett said “2020 was un unparalleled year, marked by overlapping crises. The outbreak of COVID-19 disrupted most migration movements, as border closures and containment restrictions reduced mobility worldwide”.

The Report is very timely considering that in 2020, the region was recorded as the place of origin of one-third of the world’s international migration stock and hosted 15 per cent of the total migrant global population. Migration in the region has been motivated by economic opportunities and labour demand from abroad, emerging conflicts, natural disasters, and the effects of unsustainable development.

In 2020, however, the outbreak of COVID-19 substantially altered this migration landscape, as border closures and containment measures affected mobility to, from and within the region. In light of this, Asia and the Pacific represent a fundamental element to understand and manage the current migration dynamics worldwide.

As COVID-19 continues to affect migration movements well into 2021, the Report 2020 sheds light on the latest dynamics of migration in the region and analyses how these interact with national and international policies introduced in response to the pandemic.

The Report offers evidence-based insights and highlights the main challenges concerning data availability, comprehensiveness and comparability, and offers a set of recommendations to improve all these areas.  As noted by­ Ms Collett  “improved and up-to-date information is more crucial than ever to better understand migration pathways and drivers, as well as to design effective and comprehensive policies to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration.”

The Asia-Pacific RDH team lead, Chandan Nayak, further explained the need for more collaboration among UN agencies and the international community to develop comprehensive information on migration and on projects such as those undertaken by the RDH, including the Migration Data Report.

The migration and mobility landscape are dynamic, diverse and complex, characterized by circular and seasonal migration, regular and irregular migration, large populations of refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced populations and stateless persons, as well as south-north and south-south migration patterns,” Nayak said.

“Drivers of migration, mobility and displacement in the region are multiple, varied and inter-connected,” he added.

Understanding and analyzing such a complex context requires leveraging expertise from actors and agencies with different focuses and specializations.

The need for a reliable, nuanced, and harmonized evidence base on migration trends is also underscored in Objective 1 of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) which calls for collecting and utilizing accurate and disaggregated data as a basis for evidence-based policies.

The Asia-Pacific Migration Data Report 2020 is the flagship publication of the RDH, and follows another foundational document developed by the team and presented earlier in May 2021, the Regional Secondary Data Review.

For more information, please contact Chandan Nayak, Asia-Pacific RDH Team Lead at Tel: +66657261183, Email: or Itayi Viriri, Senior Spokesperson for Asia and the Pacific at Tel: +66659390934, Email: