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The Spotlight Report on Global Migration (SRGM) focuses on key issues affecting migrants at the grassroots, national and regional levels. It brings grassroots organizations, activists and communities’ voices to the forefront in speaking to decision-makers at the policy-level.

Report overview

Advance a rights-based global migration policy

The project and its activities will help to generate momentum for progressive position concepts for a development-oriented, gender-responsive and rights-based global migration policy in the global policy arena. The focus will be on the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration at global, regional and national level and the related forums. States will report on implementation at the first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) in 2022.

Inform advocacy at the IMRF 2022

The IMRF’s 2022 Global Review of the progress on implementing the Global Compact for Migration offers an opportunity to feed into the process through generating evidence that captures migrant experiences from the ground and presents civil society in the processes. The Spotlight Report will inform advocacy efforts to examine progress and emerging issues for migrants from a human rights perspective.

Elevate migrant voices and perspectives

The overall goal of the publication is to contribute to the improvement of the lives of migrants by elevating their voices and ensuring their relevant perspectives are visible and evidenced in advocacy efforts to further the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and other human rights mechanisms focused on migrant protection.

Topic overview

The report will contain six articles targeted at decision-makers in the context of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration as well as policy makers in general. The following topics will be addressed:

Rights-respecting regular pathways are a keystone for solutions that reinforce safe, orderly and regular migration, protection of all migrants, and the rebuilding of employment and economies. Too many migrants today remain limited in their options to migrate safely because of constraints associated with their training, skill level, and the sector(s) in which they seek or are offered employment, or discrimination related to their national origin, race or gender. States should therefore commit to broaden the availability of regular pathways across a wider spectrum of sectors, and with more flexible options to remain, leave and return, to be joined by family members, and to be able to use migration to respond to their real-life situations, dangers, and hopes. This includes long-term regular options for climate-displaced migrants. States’ treaty commitments to receive asylum-seekers must be fulfilled, as well as the commitment to non-refoulement, not returning asylum-seekers to countries where they would be at risk.

Migrants’ access to public services and justice is key to their ability to protect and claim human rights, including economic and social rights, regardless of migration status. Central to this is combatting racism, xenophobia and discrimination.

Nationality, citizenship or migration status should never be a barrier to accessing services and justice. “Firewalls” are needed that prohibit the sharing of information between immigration authorities and service providers, so that undocumented migrants are able to access services without fear of detection, detention or deportation.

National, subnational and local policies, strategies and plans including service delivery systems should be inclusive; taking into account all aspects of migrants’ basic rights such as health, education, food, social and other public and social services as well as access to justice.

The modus operandi of migration management is replete with the flagrant violation of international refugee law (IRL) principles like non-refoulement that do not allow any person to be sent back to the territories inimical to her/his life, liberty and security. Criminalization of international migration, increasingly privatized and digitalized, has pandered to many human catastrophes. International law affirms that states are legitimate in controlling, securing and administering their national borders. However, there are international instruments, agreements, and understandings whereunder rights of migrants, immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers are protected on a binding basis. These international arrangements envisage non-discriminatory and rights-based procedures to seek asylum in another country.

The administrative confinement put migrants in a very vulnerable situation where they get highly abusive treatment. While there is a continued demand for cheap labour, primarily provided by irregular migrants, at the same time these migrant workers are criminalized and often detained. Detention put migrants in a very vulnerable situation where many get highly abusive treatment, lack of due process, and increased economic precarity for their families. Detention has differential impacts on women and LGBTQI+ migrants.

Migrant workers are (and always have been) essential workers, at all skill and wage levels/ and States and societies need to recognize their contributions and treat them accordingly, with labour rights, decent work and pay.

Temporary (circular, sponsorship, or guest-worker) labour migration programs systematically and structurally expose migrant workers to exploitation by recruiters, employers and others and should not be used as a solution to labour shortages, humanitarian crisis, climate change, or irregular migration.

Recognizing workers’ agency, the freedom of association, right to organize and join unions and bargain collectively for decent work, the right to strike, and protections from the worst forms of child labour, should be guaranteed for all workers regardless of their migration status or sector, and should be built into all regular pathways. All workers, especially agriculture and domestic workers, should be under full coverage of national labour laws and protections that are consistent with international labour standards, including ILO Domestic Workers Convention (C189), ILO Violence and Harassment Convention (C190), and ILO Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (C182), without discrimination against migrants among them.

Border policies, practices and procedures must ensure the centrality of human rights and dignity of all migrants. However, some States have used “safe, orderly and regular migration” as a justification for exclusionary, restrictive and security-centered migration policies in border regions. Militarization of border enforcement against migrants, “push-backs”, border externalization, and the criminalization of migration, have appalling consequences for migrants.

Protection at borders must be systematized, recognising and ensuring the human rights of all migrants.

Civil society should be involved throughout the design and implementation of regularization programs and their humanitarian and solidarity efforts should not be criminalized.

The world is reeling from the global pandemic and the urgency to address the climate crisis—including the loss of biodiversity and degradation of environment, food sovereignty, desertification, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and more. Yet governments are not responding to this urgency. Migration policy needs to catch up with this reality, recognizing rights of those displaced due to climate and the need for avenues for safe migration that offer long term solutions.

Climate-related events, which are already occurring, are drivers of migration, putting migrants in vulnerable situations. It is essential to improve support, protection and assistance to people migrating in the context of climate change, and create new, flexible and rights’ respecting regular pathways adequate to the magnitude of current and future climate change and environmental impacts, along lines agreed in the Global Compact on Migration. Such initiatives should plan for the long-term impacts of climate change, not just respond to the acute crises. They should recognize many forms of climate-related displacement (internal, circular, cross-border) and the complex and mixed drivers of migration that include climate, economic realities, gender and race, among others.

Spotlight videos

The report also includes a set of videos designed to bring its topics to life and to highlight grassroots voices.
You can see the videos here.