- Un nouveau centre pour relever un défi mondial: le Migration Policy Centre (MPC)
- Новый центр в ответ на глобальный вызов: Центр Миграционной Политики (MPC)
Migration is the result of an imperfect world, wracked by inequalities, a world that sets people on the move. All nations have migrants, either emigrants or immigrants, and generally both, who represent, at the same time, a hope and a worry with regard to major societal issues such as progress, welfare, cohesion, security and rights. It is thought that migration brings a net positive gain to the global economy. At the sending end migrants’ remittances improve the lives of families and communities left behind and, at the receiving end, migrants’ contribution to the labour force increases the productive capacities of the host economy. Whilst it is sometimes feared that migrants will bring some of world’s misery to the wealthiest nations, there is a widely-shared sense that a world without international migration would be a more dangerous place; migrants are bridges, not only between labour markets and economies but, perhaps more importantly, between systems of values and cultures.
The European Union has become the world’s second receiver of international migrants and, once the current financial and employment crisis is over, it will again need sustained flows of migrants to maintain its competitiveness at a global level. Migrants will also help Europe to address its internal demographic imbalances, imbalances that are gaining unprecedented momentum. There is no doubt that policy making on immigration and the integration of migrants will remain high on the EU agenda in the coming decades.
The mission of the Migration Policy Centre (MPC) founded in January 2012, with the support of the European Union, as part of the RSCAS, is to conduct research on global migration to serve migration governance needs at the European level. This means developing, implementing and monitoring migration-related policies to assess their impact on the economy and on society more generally. From the outset MPC core research will tackle two major developments profoundly affecting migration and the way that migration is perceived by public opinions and polities: the economic downturn in Europe and the radical political changes unfolding in the Arab world.
Regarding the economic crisis in Europe, the MPC will concentrate on the relationship between immigration and:
- welfare systems, to determine whether and under what conditions migrants’ contribution to the social contract is positive or negative;
- employment, to identify sectors where migrants are complementing, or, on the contrary, competing with, natives;
- innovation, to see what balance between highly-skilled migration and investment in natives’ education may best restore Europe’s advantage in terms of global competition;
- the outsourcing of jobs, to assess whether immigration can offer an alternative to firms’ moving capital out of Europe to third countries where labour is cheaper and more abundant.
Regarding the Arab Spring, research will focus on the effect that currently unfolding events will have on migratory and refugee movements; on the way in which new governments, political parties, civil associations and other migration stakeholders in the Arab region will envision and deal with migration-related issues, including the link with diasporas; and on the intentions of young men and women regarding migration. Being triggered by social movements – a first for the contemporary Arab world – political changes can be expected to affect migration, but no one can predict in what direction and with what force migration will be taken up. If revolts produce regimes that are responsive to peoples’ demands and install trust, economically- and politically-speaking, one might expect emigration to gradually slacken and even for some return migration to take place. However, the opposite must be expected if revolts stall and fail to provide economic security and freedom. In this context the building up of scenarios to investigate the short- and long-run consequences of the uprisings on migratory movements, both those originating in and destined for the Arab region, is the best that research can bring to policy-making.
Moreover, the MPC will pursue the creation of regional migration observatories along migratory routes to the EU. This will take as its point of reference a model pioneered by the CARIM-South observatory in 2004 to document and to analyse migration in seventeen countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean and of Sub-Saharan Africa.
All these regional observatories will rely on the same pillars: a network of country-based experts, which the observatory connects across countries and disciplines; a database comprising three modules – demographic, legal, social and political; and a research agenda that constructs systematic knowledge-bases fit for comparison. Because standardisation is a built-in property of the various regional observatories, their studies lend themselves well to inter-regional comparison and, ultimately, to the construction of a unique system of observation spanning various regions.
Two new observatories were created in 2011: one in the Eastern neighbourhood of the European Union and one in India. We briefly describe both here.
CARIM-East: the lands across the eastern EU border have been at the core of dramatic changes in European migration policy since 1991, when the collapse of the Soviet Union was expected to cause a massive and unmanageable outflow. The bloc’s collapse certainly resulted in an unprecedented surge of asylum seekers to the EU and forced many governments to re-think their refugee policies. It also pushed many people to search for jobs in the EU by using existing networks or by building new ones. But its impact was much more than just this. The region witnessed the largest movements of people, not only East-West but also East-East, since World War II. CARIM-East is a pilot project conducted in partnership with the University of Warsaw. It covers seven countries neighbouring the EU to the east.
CARIM-India: this project is carried out in partnership with the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, the Indian Council for Overseas Employment in Delhi, and the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. With the rise of India as a major political and economic player on the world stage, the EU has become increasingly interested in strengthening trade ties, educational cooperation and mobility with India. Key issues for all EU countries include attracting highly-skilled labour from India in science, ICT and engineering; promoting European universities as attractive and prestigious destinations for Indian students; better managing Indian migration flows, not least combatting irregular migration; and improving government and policy-maker awareness of the main concerns and challenges facing Indian migrant populations integrating in their respective countries. The Indian government, which has grown increasingly cognisant of the importance of its worldwide diaspora, is keen to tap the potential of its diaspora in Europe, not only economically via remittances and foreign direct investments(India is the largest recipient of remittances in the world), but through greater knowledge of the profile of the Indian population in various European countries.
Three other projects started in 2011 will also continue through 2012.
Know Reset, a project conducted in partnership with the European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), aims at building up knowledge for a concerted and sustainable approach to refugee resettlement in the EU and its member states. It comes at a key moment when EU asylum policy has made important steps towards the definition of a Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and the creation of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). Resettlement is a durable solution offered by states on a voluntary basis to refugees already recognised by UNHCR and a way to relieve countries of first asylum of the burden of refugees who cannot be either repatriated to their home country or locally integrated.
As a member of the ACP Observatory on Migration, led by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), MPC also coordinates two other studies. The first, on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Haiti, in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake, assesses needs and makes recommendations for improving the management of population displacement. The second is a study on intra-regional labour migration within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), dedicated to uncovering obstacles that limit the development of labour migration within the ECOWAS region and to searching out policy measures that facilitate intra-regional labour mobility.