GUIDELINE 15: Support migrants’ host communities

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Interventions should also address the impact on communities in the State of origin to which migrants return, host States from which migrants have fled, or States of transit to which migrants flee. Such communities may lack sufficient resources, services, and infrastructure to support migrants. If migrants receive assistance to the exclusion of members of host communities, perceptions relating to preferential treatment may create or exacerbate tensions and lead to discrimination, stigmatization, or social exclusion. An approach to post-crisis action that incorporates the needs of host communities is more likely to be successful than one that solely targets migrants and their families. Such an inclusive approach can foster community and social cohesiveness and stability in the long-term. This may be particularly important if migrants and their host communities continue to deal with the effects of crises years after they end.

The mass return of migrants to States of origin if not properly managed can also lead to adverse development impacts, including the loss of remittances, unemployment and underemployment, pressure on infrastructure, resources, services (including water, electricity, waste management, education, health, housing, and transportation), and increased poverty, all of which can cause broader societal tensions. Similarly, when large groups of migrants are evacuated or leave a host State in haste, their departure may create skill and labor shortages in host States. While migrants also contribute to States of transit, if they remain for unanticipated extended periods of time without effective integration, their presence may burden local infrastructure and services.

Effectively managing migration is important in the wake of a natural disaster or conflict. Host States may want to encourage migrants to return as soon as possible to aid in reconstruction or stimulate the local economy, and towards this end may create flexible visa options to promote migrant return to host States. States of origin may see value in facilitating diaspora engagement in post-crisis action and recovery.

Sample Practices

  • Analysis of short, medium-, and longer-term socio-economic impacts of return following crises, at the local and national levels in States of origin and host States.
  • Promotion of diaspora contributions through actions, such as matching grants and customs waivers to facilitate financial and in-kind support.
  • Inclusion of returned migrants’ needs in State of origin development plans.
  • Engagement of and support to host populations through consultations and inclusive responses.
  • Social cohesion programs addressing migrants, migrant networks, and host communities to prevent and mitigate tensions and foster reintegration. 
Country:
United States of America
Type of Practice:
Research and reports

During the 2007 Southern California wildfires, racial and ethnic minorities suffered disproportionately adverse outcomes. This report examines emergency preparedness efforts targeting culturally diverse communities in California.

Country:
Japan
Type of Practice:
Awareness raising and communication tools

Foreign Volunteers Japan was established as an open discussion forum for sharing and discussing information regarding volunteer activities, aid delivery, and humanitarian relief issues concerning the post-quake/tsunami recovery in the Tohoku region.

Country:
Ghana
Type of Practice:
Assistance programs

To meet the needs of the migrants returning to Ghana from war-torn Libya, the International Organization for Migration, with generous support from the Government of Japan, implemented a project to strengthen the capacities of 161 returnees and vulnerable community members through the provision...

Country:
Global
Type of Practice:
Mobile and internet-based technologies

Community Response Map (CRM) is an online data platform developed by IOM to facilitate direct feedback from beneficiaries, especially when security or terrain make regular contact difficult.

Country:
Mexico
Type of Practice:
Funds

The Program 3x1 (“Programa 3x1 para migrantes”) supports Mexicans living abroad to develop social infrastructure and productive projects in their hometown communities, with the participation of the federal, state and local government.

Country:
Global
Type of Practice:
Manuals

This Handbook, initiated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and further developed with the contributions of the Global Migration Group (GMG), is the result of a collaborative and fruitful cooperation between the 16 GMG agencies.

Country:
Philippines
Type of Practice:
Domestic laws and policies

The Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 serves as a guide in formulating policies and implementing development programs for the next six years.

Country:
Ghana
Type of Practice:
Research and reports

The massive return of migrants caught in foreign crises with no other alternatives but to return home brings untold hardship to hosting households and communities as was experienced in Ghana in the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and in 2011, when Ghanaians returned from Nigeria, Liberia, Ivory Coast and...

Country:
Global
Type of Practice:
Training and capacity building

The training on “Increasing the impact on development through integration and reintegration policies” is the Module 5 of the Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI).

Country:
Niger
Type of Practice:
Assistance programs

In 2012, the World Bank’s Board approved supplemental financing of US$15 million to the Second Growth Policy Reform Credit to help Niger to cover additional financing needs caused by spillovers from the Libyan crisis and increased food insecurity in the wake of a poor harvest.