september 13–17, 2017

Refugee Crises: The Humanitarian Toll

Jan Schroth

International Organization for Migration

Mr. Schroth has worked on numerous projects focused on labor migration, integration, return migration or migration and development since 2004. He has frontline experiences of the largest wave of human displacement since World War II, which has been unfolding in Europe for the past decade. The refugee and migrant crises are fueled by conflicts and violence, poverty, lack of employment opportunities, climate change, and demographic changes, that have resulted in a growing number of children living in extreme poverty. Today, 1.5 billion people are living in a state of near permanent conflict or in zones of economic and social breakdown – the tide of refugees pouring into Europe from the Middle East is one aspect of this crisis. Mr. Schroth discussed the root causes of large-scale movements of migrants, and reported on efforts to manage migration for the benefit of all.

The International Organization for Immigration (IOM)

Mr. Schroth introduced the Forum to the International Organization for Immigration (IOM, www.iom.int). Established in 1951, the IOM is now linked to the United Nations and has 166 member states, a further 8 states holding observer status and offices in over 100 countries. Formerly, the US was the main donor, today the EU is the biggest contributor. The IOM’s key objectives are to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees and internally displaced people.

Scale of the Refugee Crisis

The international community defines an asylum seeker as a person who has applied for international protection but whose claim has not yet been decided, while a refugee is a person who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the county of his nationality,” according to the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

According to Mr. Schroth, 65.6 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations in 2016 alone; half of them are children and, by gender, half are female. Of 2 million new asylum claims in 2016, Germany was the world’s largest recipient with 722,400 such claims, followed by the US (262,000), Italy (123,000), and Turkey (78,600). Three countries account for 55% of all refugees: Syria: 5.5 million, Afghanistan: 2.5 million, South Sudan: 1.4 million.

Map of the Military Situation in Syria, August 2017

Reasons to Flee

It is hard to imagine the desperation that motivates migrants to pack up their children and all the possessions they can carry, and leave home, family, work, and culture behind, in order to embark on a journey fraught with dangers, hoping to reach a destination that could be hostile. “There are many reasons to flee,” Mr. Schroth observed. In some cases, there are push factors, as people flee to escape violence, poverty, and devastating climate change. For others, the pull of the hope for a better life, more security, prosperity, and freedom, are the compelling factors. Once migrants are settled, many of them send remittances home that may exceed foreign aid and Foreign Direct Investment, Mr. Schroth noted.

The Host Countries

Turkey hosts about 3 million refugees, with large numbers of refugees also living in Pakistan (1.4 M), Lebanon (1.0 M), Iran (979,400), Uganda (940,800), Ethiopia (735,100), and Jordan (685,200). The largest number of refugees in proportion to the national population is in Lebanon, with 1 in 6 people being a refugee (1 in 11 in Jordan). Developing regions host 84% of the world’s refugees, about 14.5 million people.

The flood of migrants seems to be slowing. According to IOM statistics, 141,862 refugees arrived in Europe, most of them by sea, with 2,654 dead or missing in 2017, compared with 387,739 with 5,143 dead or missing in 2016. Italy and Greece continue to receive the most migrants, with people from Nigeria, Bangladesh, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Mali making their way to Italy, while Greece receives refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Republic of the Congo.

Anti-Migrant Sentiment

The global economic and financial crisis is a key contributor to anti-migrant sentiment sweeping Europe, Mr. Schroth reported. The lack of jobs made migrants a good target for job-seekers’ frustrations. Right-wing political parties played on this fear, gathering followers and power. A second driving force is fear of identity loss as a result of globalization, and right-wing parties claimed to protect national identity. Finally, the fear of terrorism, which Mr. Schroth referred to as the Post-9/11 Security Syndrome, also has motivated anti-migrant sentiment. These fears are reflected in increasingly vitriolic political campaigns and sensationalist media, along with tightened visa regimes, closed borders, and tough new legislation in many countries.

Gallup polls conducted in 139 countries assessed respondents’ acceptance of migrants. Low scores indicate good acceptance, while higher scores (up to 9.0) mark countries that are more hostile to migrants. Oceania (8) and Northern America (7) top the list, the EU scores 5.9, while the Middle East (3.7) and the former Soviet republics in the Commonwealth of Independent States (3.26) show the least acceptance of migrants. Mr. Schroth questioned if the North American figure would be lower if the respondents were asked about acceptance of Muslims, specifically, rather than migrants in general.

Solutions

The IOM’s goal is to manage migration for the benefit of all. This requires coordination among source and destination countries, among migrants and businesses, while navigating around the treacheries of smuggling gangs and mafias. The current basis for legal asylum was established in the 1950’s, Mr. Schroth said, “but the world has changed.” Globalization, communication, and improved transportation have made it easier to migrate.

Resettlement

Now the challenge is to provide support for resettlement of refugees when it is possible, and for integration when return home is not. The IOM’s key strategy is to facilitate safe return to the refugees’ original homes. Enabling migrants to re-establish themselves in the society of their country of origin and empowering them to participate in social, cultural, economic, and political life again should be the aim of reintegration assistance in order for refugee return to be successful. The IOM’s priority is to help migrants in vulnerable situation (refugees, victims of human trafficking, pregnant women, children and newborns, elderly people, sick and injured people) and to reinforce legal migration processes: resettlement, humanitarian visas, and humanitarian admissions. To this end, IOM provides resettlement grants, an approach Mr. Schroth said should be adopted by the EU. He reported that the IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration program helped a quarter of a million refugees return from Europe to their homes last year.

Integration

The IOM has developed policies and practices to better prepare migrants for safe, legal and successful migration prior to leaving their country of origin, Mr. Schroth reported.  The establishment of Migrant Resource Centers in migrant countries of origin can help inform, orient, and train migrants in preparation for employment and living abroad. Pre-departure assistance can also play a crucial role in supporting migrants in becoming productive and active members of receiving communities as soon as they arrive. Informed migrants are also less likely to fall victim to exploitation and are better equipped to stay safe during their migration experience.

Key information that can facilitate integration includes up to date information on admission, an understanding of rights and responsibilities, familiarity with support services and realistic expectations of living and working conditions in the destination country. Language tuition, vocational training, job-matching and recognition of migrant competences can also be critical.

Ultimately, safe and effective integration of migrants relies heavily on the cooperation of all stakeholders from the migrants themselves, to their communities, businesses, the media, and political leaders from local mayors to national figures, Mr. Schroth concluded.

Q&A

Q: Tom Finneran (Moderator): The success of migrant assimilation drives politics. In France today, there are “no-go zones” where native French people will not go because they fear for their safety. People in host countries fear that migrants will take their jobs, for example, American fears of Latin migrants. How does the IOM respond to situations like these?

A: Mr. Schroth: European countries did not plan for integration of the refugees. The EU countries have the resources to support integration, for example, creating Migrant Resource Centers. Canada and other countries have developed well-structured plans to help people integrate. It is a very manageable process of education and preparation. Migrants who do not wish to assimilate should leave.

The US has more illegal immigrants than Europe does. It is hard for Americans to differentiate who and why refugees are coming to the US. They fear that refugees will abuse the social welfare system. A goal for integration should be to reduce the fear of migrants by 50%, to incrementally increase acceptance.

Q: Steven Cook (Presenter): People fear the connections between migration and terrorism and migration and crime.

A: Mr. Schroth: Refugees should receive cultural training and be screened to exclude anyone with a history of violence. Among 1 million migrants, there may be a few terrorists. Unfortunately, migrants to Greece and Turkey during 2015-2016 were not registered, detained, or screened. There was no border control to determine who would be allowed in. Today, Border Controls are better managed. There is a need for a strict, well-managed migration process.

Are migrants criminals? The data show that the same crime rate is equal among locals and migrants. The IOM’s projections suggest that 25% of current immigrants will be well integrated and economically profitable within 5 years, and 50% within 10 years. Most migrants are young and will repay their debt to the host country fully, if we support them to become fully integrated.

Speaker Biography

Jan Schroth

Jan Schroth is a consultant at International Organization for Migration in the Czech Republic. He is involved in several migration related projects, especially in labor migration and border management fields. He served as a consultant to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Republic of Yemen, as an election supervisor to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and as a project coordinator to the People In Need-Czech Foundation (PINF).

Today, 1.5 billion people are living in a state of near permanent conflict or in zones of economic and social breakdown .

65.6 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations in 2016 alone; half of them are children and, by gender, half are female.

Reasons to flee: to escape violence, poverty, and devastating climate change, or to seek a better life, with more security, prosperity, and freedom.

Developing regions host 84% of the world’s refugees, about 14.5 million people.

The global economic and financial crisis is a key contributor to anti-migrant sentiment sweeping Europe.

Fears of job loss, identity loss, and terrorism feed anti-migrant sentiment.

Enabling migrants to re-establish themselves in the society of their country of origin and empowering them to participate in social, cultural, economic, and political life again should be the aim of reintegration assistance in order for refugee return to be successful.

Most migrants are young and will repay their debt to the host country fully, if we support them to become fully integrated.

Tom Finneran

Jan Schroth

CONTACT

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Tel: 914-693-1818

Copyright © 2017 Senate Presidents' Forum. All rights reserved.

september 13–17, 2017

Refugee Crises: The Humanitarian Toll

Jan Schroth

International Organization for Migration

Mr. Schroth has worked on numerous projects focused on labor migration, integration, return migration or migration and development since 2004. He has frontline experiences of the largest wave of human displacement since World War II, which has been unfolding in Europe for the past decade. The refugee and migrant crises are fueled by conflicts and violence, poverty, lack of employment opportunities, climate change, and demographic changes, that have resulted in a growing number of children living in extreme poverty. Today, 1.5 billion people are living in a state of near permanent conflict or in zones of economic and social breakdown – the tide of refugees pouring into Europe from the Middle East is one aspect of this crisis. Mr. Schroth discussed the root causes of large-scale movements of migrants, and reported on efforts to manage migration for the benefit of all.

Today, 1.5 billion people are living in a state of near permanent conflict or in zones of economic and social breakdown .

The International Organization for Immigration (IOM)

Mr. Schroth introduced the Forum to the International Organization for Immigration (IOM, www.iom.int). Established in 1951, the IOM is now linked to the United Nations and has 166 member states, a further 8 states holding observer status and offices in over 100 countries. Formerly, the US was the main donor, today the EU is the biggest contributor. The IOM’s key objectives are to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees and internally displaced people.

Scale of the Refugee Crisis

The international community defines an asylum seeker as a person who has applied for international protection but whose claim has not yet been decided, while a refugee is a person who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the county of his nationality,” according to the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

According to Mr. Schroth, 65.6 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations in 2016 alone; half of them are children and, by gender, half are female. Of 2 million new asylum claims in 2016, Germany was the world’s largest recipient with 722,400 such claims, followed by the US (262,000), Italy (123,000), and Turkey (78,600). Three countries account for 55% of all refugees: Syria: 5.5 million, Afghanistan: 2.5 million, South Sudan: 1.4 million.

65.6 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations in 2016 alone; half of them are children and, by gender, half are female.

Map of the Military Situation in Syria, August 2017

Reasons to Flee

It is hard to imagine the desperation that motivates migrants to pack up their children and all the possessions they can carry, and leave home, family, work, and culture behind, in order to embark on a journey fraught with dangers, hoping to reach a destination that could be hostile. “There are many reasons to flee,” Mr. Schroth observed. In some cases, there are push factors, as people flee to escape violence, poverty, and devastating climate change. For others, the pull of the hope for a better life, more security, prosperity, and freedom, are the compelling factors. Once migrants are settled, many of them send remittances home that may exceed foreign aid and Foreign Direct Investment, Mr. Schroth noted.

Reasons to flee: to escape violence, poverty, and devastating climate change, or to seek a better life, with more security, prosperity, and freedom.

The Host Countries

Turkey hosts about 3 million refugees, with large numbers of refugees also living in Pakistan (1.4 M), Lebanon (1.0 M), Iran (979,400), Uganda (940,800), Ethiopia (735,100), and Jordan (685,200). The largest number of refugees in proportion to the national population is in Lebanon, with 1 in 6 people being a refugee (1 in 11 in Jordan). Developing regions host 84% of the world’s refugees, about 14.5 million people.

Developing regions host 84% of the world’s refugees, about 14.5 million people.

The flood of migrants seems to be slowing. According to IOM statistics, 141,862 refugees arrived in Europe, most of them by sea, with 2,654 dead or missing in 2017, compared with 387,739 with 5,143 dead or missing in 2016. Italy and Greece continue to receive the most migrants, with people from Nigeria, Bangladesh, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Mali making their way to Italy, while Greece receives refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Republic of the Congo.

Anti-Migrant Sentiment

The global economic and financial crisis is a key contributor to anti-migrant sentiment sweeping Europe, Mr. Schroth reported. The lack of jobs made migrants a good target for job-seekers’ frustrations. Right-wing political parties played on this fear, gathering followers and power. A second driving force is fear of identity loss as a result of globalization, and right-wing parties claimed to protect national identity. Finally, the fear of terrorism, which Mr. Schroth referred to as the Post-9/11 Security Syndrome, also has motivated anti-migrant sentiment. These fears are reflected in increasingly vitriolic political campaigns and sensationalist media, along with tightened visa regimes, closed borders, and tough new legislation in many countries.

The global economic and financial crisis is a key contributor to anti-migrant sentiment sweeping Europe.

Fears of job loss, identity loss, and terrorism feed anti-migrant sentiment.

Gallup polls conducted in 139 countries assessed respondents’ acceptance of migrants. Low scores indicate good acceptance, while higher scores (up to 9.0) mark countries that are more hostile to migrants. Oceania (8) and Northern America (7) top the list, the EU scores 5.9, while the Middle East (3.7) and the former Soviet republics in the Commonwealth of Independent States (3.26) show the least acceptance of migrants. Mr. Schroth questioned if the North American figure would be lower if the respondents were asked about acceptance of Muslims, specifically, rather than migrants in general.

Solutions

The IOM’s goal is to manage migration for the benefit of all. This requires coordination among source and destination countries, among migrants and businesses, while navigating around the treacheries of smuggling gangs and mafias. The current basis for legal asylum was established in the 1950’s, Mr. Schroth said, “but the world has changed.” Globalization, communication, and improved transportation have made it easier to migrate.

Resettlement

Now the challenge is to provide support for resettlement of refugees when it is possible, and for integration when return home is not. The IOM’s key strategy is to facilitate safe return to the refugees’ original homes. Enabling migrants to re-establish themselves in the society of their country of origin and empowering them to participate in social, cultural, economic, and political life again should be the aim of reintegration assistance in order for refugee return to be successful. The IOM’s priority is to help migrants in vulnerable situation (refugees, victims of human trafficking, pregnant women, children and newborns, elderly people, sick and injured people) and to reinforce legal migration processes: resettlement, humanitarian visas, and humanitarian admissions. To this end, IOM provides resettlement grants, an approach Mr. Schroth said should be adopted by the EU. He reported that the IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration program helped a quarter of a million refugees return from Europe to their homes last year.

Enabling migrants to re-establish themselves in the society of their country of origin and empowering them to participate in social, cultural, economic, and political life again should be the aim of reintegration assistance in order for refugee return to be successful.

Integration

The IOM has developed policies and practices to better prepare migrants for safe, legal and successful migration prior to leaving their country of origin, Mr. Schroth reported.  The establishment of Migrant Resource Centers in migrant countries of origin can help inform, orient, and train migrants in preparation for employment and living abroad. Pre-departure assistance can also play a crucial role in supporting migrants in becoming productive and active members of receiving communities as soon as they arrive. Informed migrants are also less likely to fall victim to exploitation and are better equipped to stay safe during their migration experience.

Key information that can facilitate integration includes up to date information on admission, an understanding of rights and responsibilities, familiarity with support services and realistic expectations of living and working conditions in the destination country. Language tuition, vocational training, job-matching and recognition of migrant competences can also be critical.

Ultimately, safe and effective integration of migrants relies heavily on the cooperation of all stakeholders from the migrants themselves, to their communities, businesses, the media, and political leaders from local mayors to national figures, Mr. Schroth concluded.

Q&A

Q: Tom Finneran (Moderator): The success of migrant assimilation drives politics. In France today, there are “no-go zones” where native French people will not go because they fear for their safety. People in host countries fear that migrants will take their jobs, for example, American fears of Latin migrants. How does the IOM respond to situations like these?

A: Mr. Schroth: European countries did not plan for integration of the refugees. The EU countries have the resources to support integration, for example, creating Migrant Resource Centers. Canada and other countries have developed well-structured plans to help people integrate. It is a very manageable process of education and preparation. Migrants who do not wish to assimilate should leave.

The US has more illegal immigrants than Europe does. It is hard for Americans to differentiate who and why refugees are coming to the US. They fear that refugees will abuse the social welfare system. A goal for integration should be to reduce the fear of migrants by 50%, to incrementally increase acceptance.

Q: Steven Cook (Presenter): People fear the connections between migration and terrorism and migration and crime.

A: Mr. Schroth: Refugees should receive cultural training and be screened to exclude anyone with a history of violence. Among 1 million migrants, there may be a few terrorists. Unfortunately, migrants to Greece and Turkey during 2015-2016 were not registered, detained, or screened. There was no border control to determine who would be allowed in. Today, Border Controls are better managed. There is a need for a strict, well-managed migration process.

Are migrants criminals? The data show that the same crime rate is equal among locals and migrants. The IOM’s projections suggest that 25% of current immigrants will be well integrated and economically profitable within 5 years, and 50% within 10 years. Most migrants are young and will repay their debt to the host country fully, if we support them to become fully integrated.

Most migrants are young and will repay their debt to the host country fully, if we support them to become fully integrated.

Speaker Biography

Jan Schroth

Jan Schroth is a consultant at International Organization for Migration in the Czech Republic. He is involved in several migration related projects, especially in labor migration and border management fields. He served as a consultant to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Republic of Yemen, as an election supervisor to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and as a project coordinator to the People In Need-Czech Foundation (PINF).

september 13–17, 2017

Refugee Crises: The Humanitarian Toll

Jan Schroth

International Organization for Migration

Mr. Schroth has worked on numerous projects focused on labor migration, integration, return migration or migration and development since 2004. He has frontline experiences of the largest wave of human displacement since World War II, which has been unfolding in Europe for the past decade. The refugee and migrant crises are fueled by conflicts and violence, poverty, lack of employment opportunities, climate change, and demographic changes, that have resulted in a growing number of children living in extreme poverty. Today, 1.5 billion people are living in a state of near permanent conflict or in zones of economic and social breakdown – the tide of refugees pouring into Europe from the Middle East is one aspect of this crisis. Mr. Schroth discussed the root causes of large-scale movements of migrants, and reported on efforts to manage migration for the benefit of all.

Today, 1.5 billion people are living in a state of near permanent conflict or in zones of economic and social breakdown .

The International Organization for Immigration (IOM)

Mr. Schroth introduced the Forum to the International Organization for Immigration (IOM, www.iom.int). Established in 1951, the IOM is now linked to the United Nations and has 166 member states, a further 8 states holding observer status and offices in over 100 countries. Formerly, the US was the main donor, today the EU is the biggest contributor. The IOM’s key objectives are to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees and internally displaced people.

Scale of the Refugee Crisis

The international community defines an asylum seeker as a person who has applied for international protection but whose claim has not yet been decided, while a refugee is a person who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the county of his nationality,” according to the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

According to Mr. Schroth, 65.6 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations in 2016 alone; half of them are children and, by gender, half are female. Of 2 million new asylum claims in 2016, Germany was the world’s largest recipient with 722,400 such claims, followed by the US (262,000), Italy (123,000), and Turkey (78,600). Three countries account for 55% of all refugees: Syria: 5.5 million, Afghanistan: 2.5 million, South Sudan: 1.4 million.

65.6 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations in 2016 alone; half of them are children and, by gender, half are female.

Map of the Military Situation in Syria, August 2017

Reasons to Flee

It is hard to imagine the desperation that motivates migrants to pack up their children and all the possessions they can carry, and leave home, family, work, and culture behind, in order to embark on a journey fraught with dangers, hoping to reach a destination that could be hostile. “There are many reasons to flee,” Mr. Schroth observed. In some cases, there are push factors, as people flee to escape violence, poverty, and devastating climate change. For others, the pull of the hope for a better life, more security, prosperity, and freedom, are the compelling factors. Once migrants are settled, many of them send remittances home that may exceed foreign aid and Foreign Direct Investment, Mr. Schroth noted.

Reasons to flee: to escape violence, poverty, and devastating climate change, or to seek a better life, with more security, prosperity, and freedom.

The Host Countries

Turkey hosts about 3 million refugees, with large numbers of refugees also living in Pakistan (1.4 M), Lebanon (1.0 M), Iran (979,400), Uganda (940,800), Ethiopia (735,100), and Jordan (685,200). The largest number of refugees in proportion to the national population is in Lebanon, with 1 in 6 people being a refugee (1 in 11 in Jordan). Developing regions host 84% of the world’s refugees, about 14.5 million people.

Developing regions host 84% of the world’s refugees, about 14.5 million people.

The flood of migrants seems to be slowing. According to IOM statistics, 141,862 refugees arrived in Europe, most of them by sea, with 2,654 dead or missing in 2017, compared with 387,739 with 5,143 dead or missing in 2016. Italy and Greece continue to receive the most migrants, with people from Nigeria, Bangladesh, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Mali making their way to Italy, while Greece receives refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Republic of the Congo.

Anti-Migrant Sentiment

The global economic and financial crisis is a key contributor to anti-migrant sentiment sweeping Europe, Mr. Schroth reported. The lack of jobs made migrants a good target for job-seekers’ frustrations. Right-wing political parties played on this fear, gathering followers and power. A second driving force is fear of identity loss as a result of globalization, and right-wing parties claimed to protect national identity. Finally, the fear of terrorism, which Mr. Schroth referred to as the Post-9/11 Security Syndrome, also has motivated anti-migrant sentiment. These fears are reflected in increasingly vitriolic political campaigns and sensationalist media, along with tightened visa regimes, closed borders, and tough new legislation in many countries.

The global economic and financial crisis is a key contributor to anti-migrant sentiment sweeping Europe.

Fears of job loss, identity loss, and terrorism feed anti-migrant sentiment.

Gallup polls conducted in 139 countries assessed respondents’ acceptance of migrants. Low scores indicate good acceptance, while higher scores (up to 9.0) mark countries that are more hostile to migrants. Oceania (8) and Northern America (7) top the list, the EU scores 5.9, while the Middle East (3.7) and the former Soviet republics in the Commonwealth of Independent States (3.26) show the least acceptance of migrants. Mr. Schroth questioned if the North American figure would be lower if the respondents were asked about acceptance of Muslims, specifically, rather than migrants in general.

Solutions

The IOM’s goal is to manage migration for the benefit of all. This requires coordination among source and destination countries, among migrants and businesses, while navigating around the treacheries of smuggling gangs and mafias. The current basis for legal asylum was established in the 1950’s, Mr. Schroth said, “but the world has changed.” Globalization, communication, and improved transportation have made it easier to migrate.

Resettlement

Now the challenge is to provide support for resettlement of refugees when it is possible, and for integration when return home is not. The IOM’s key strategy is to facilitate safe return to the refugees’ original homes. Enabling migrants to re-establish themselves in the society of their country of origin and empowering them to participate in social, cultural, economic, and political life again should be the aim of reintegration assistance in order for refugee return to be successful. The IOM’s priority is to help migrants in vulnerable situation (refugees, victims of human trafficking, pregnant women, children and newborns, elderly people, sick and injured people) and to reinforce legal migration processes: resettlement, humanitarian visas, and humanitarian admissions. To this end, IOM provides resettlement grants, an approach Mr. Schroth said should be adopted by the EU. He reported that the IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration program helped a quarter of a million refugees return from Europe to their homes last year.

Enabling migrants to re-establish themselves in the society of their country of origin and empowering them to participate in social, cultural, economic, and political life again should be the aim of reintegration assistance in order for refugee return to be successful.

Integration

The IOM has developed policies and practices to better prepare migrants for safe, legal and successful migration prior to leaving their country of origin, Mr. Schroth reported.  The establishment of Migrant Resource Centers in migrant countries of origin can help inform, orient, and train migrants in preparation for employment and living abroad. Pre-departure assistance can also play a crucial role in supporting migrants in becoming productive and active members of receiving communities as soon as they arrive. Informed migrants are also less likely to fall victim to exploitation and are better equipped to stay safe during their migration experience.

Key information that can facilitate integration includes up to date information on admission, an understanding of rights and responsibilities, familiarity with support services and realistic expectations of living and working conditions in the destination country. Language tuition, vocational training, job-matching and recognition of migrant competences can also be critical.

Ultimately, safe and effective integration of migrants relies heavily on the cooperation of all stakeholders from the migrants themselves, to their communities, businesses, the media, and political leaders from local mayors to national figures, Mr. Schroth concluded.

Q&A

Q: Tom Finneran (Moderator): The success of migrant assimilation drives politics. In France today, there are “no-go zones” where native French people will not go because they fear for their safety. People in host countries fear that migrants will take their jobs, for example, American fears of Latin migrants. How does the IOM respond to situations like these?

A: Mr. Schroth: European countries did not plan for integration of the refugees. The EU countries have the resources to support integration, for example, creating Migrant Resource Centers. Canada and other countries have developed well-structured plans to help people integrate. It is a very manageable process of education and preparation. Migrants who do not wish to assimilate should leave.

The US has more illegal immigrants than Europe does. It is hard for Americans to differentiate who and why refugees are coming to the US. They fear that refugees will abuse the social welfare system. A goal for integration should be to reduce the fear of migrants by 50%, to incrementally increase acceptance.

Q: Steven Cook (Presenter): People fear the connections between migration and terrorism and migration and crime.

A: Mr. Schroth: Refugees should receive cultural training and be screened to exclude anyone with a history of violence. Among 1 million migrants, there may be a few terrorists. Unfortunately, migrants to Greece and Turkey during 2015-2016 were not registered, detained, or screened. There was no border control to determine who would be allowed in. Today, Border Controls are better managed. There is a need for a strict, well-managed migration process.

Are migrants criminals? The data show that the same crime rate is equal among locals and migrants. The IOM’s projections suggest that 25% of current immigrants will be well integrated and economically profitable within 5 years, and 50% within 10 years. Most migrants are young and will repay their debt to the host country fully, if we support them to become fully integrated.

Most migrants are young and will repay their debt to the host country fully, if we support them to become fully integrated.

Speaker Biography

Jan Schroth

Jan Schroth is a consultant at International Organization for Migration in the Czech Republic. He is involved in several migration related projects, especially in labor migration and border management fields. He served as a consultant to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Republic of Yemen, as an election supervisor to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and as a project coordinator to the People In Need-Czech Foundation (PINF).