Migration: putting people first
The movement of people from regions scarred by conflict, persecution and lack of opportunity has brought chaos in Europe and elsewhere. Reconciling the need to provide a new home for those in need with the requirement to preserve the cohesion of communities who receive displaced people is one of the most pressing policy questions of our time.
Here are eight specific actions to alleviate the current crisis and develop a longer-term strategy to support refugees and host communities.
1. Improve the efficiency and fairness of the asylum process
This will require more funding and staffing for immigration administrations, better access to information and documentation on migrants, and training so staff can implement procedures and determine cases quickly and accurately.
Changes to family reunification rules, extensions of temporary worker programs, temporary protection and humanitarian visa schemes would enable genuine refugees to gain faster entry to their destination.
2. Make better use of resources
Some countries waste funds through bureaucratic inefficiencies and inadequate project management. This can be addressed by better management, budgeting and control systems.
3. Boost efforts to tackle illegal migration
Pressure is growing on destination countries to ensure that they manage their borders effectively.
This requires better use and coordination of IT systems and technologies for dealing with asylum administration and visa applications, and for sharing information among national authorities.
Curtailing human trafficking and smuggling is critical to developing a longer term solution.
4. Create a stronger legal framework and policies to manage economic migration
While admissions of third country nationals remain at the discretion of these countries, a clear policy on legal economic migration could help ensure that countries attract the right talent to meet the collective needs of their economies.
5. Improve communication with migrants and the public in host nations
The use of digital channels is a vital way of reaching migrants, given the presence and use of smartphones.
More research, data and analytics documenting the benefits of migration, framed around a commitment to human rights, could help alter the political discourse and public opinion.
6. Introduce measures to accelerate social and economic integration
Investment will be needed to set the right foundations for integrating migrants into workforces and local communities.
This includes, for instance, providing the legal means to participate in the labor market; recognizing existing educational and professional credentials; providing further education and training; working with employers to match skills and boost employment opportunities; and help for migrants to learn local languages.
7. Return third-country nationals to their country of origin
In the EU, this can be achieved by strengthening the implementation of the Return Directive; widening the role and mandate of Frontex, the EU agency that manages cooperation between national border guards; and creating an integrated system of return management.
8. Equip the asylum system to better respond to future crises
This means investing in stronger early warning mechanisms and intervening earlier to help alleviate problems and reduce the long-term costs and impact.
Marc E Andersen, International Government and Public Sector Leader, EY LLP.
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