IOM Director General Calls for Action to Save Migrants' Lives On International Migrants Day

On International Migrants Day 2014, December 18th on IOM Director General William Lacy Swing calls for urgent action to save the lives of migrants and stop smugglers from exploiting their desperation to extort huge sums of money. IOM data shows that the number of migrants dying on dangerous journeys in the hope of finding better lives for themselves and their families, is rising. Some 5,000 migrants (4,868) lost their lives this year at sea or in remote deserts or mountains. This makes 2014 the deadliest year on record, with double the number of last year’s deaths.


Workshop and Expo in Rome

The workshop on "Migrant Integration before Departure: Perspectives, Approaches and Supporting Measures" took place in Rome on 24-25 September 2014. This key event of the Headstart project provided a unique opportunity to the more than 80 participants, coming from over 30 countries, to discuss policy frameworks within which pre-departure integration initiatives occur, issues related to skills development, recognition of qualification, integration into the labour market, and what the promising practices in these areas are. The 2-day event concluded with an Expo where over 20 organizations held individual booths and exhibited their projects and initiatives.
For further information, please click here.

Activity Updates


"Global Migration Trends" Published On International Migrants Day (18 December 2014)

 Approximately one in seven people today are migrants: 232 million people are international migrants, or 3.2% of the world population, and 740 million are internal migrants.


Since 1990, the number of international migrants increased by 65% (53 million) in the global North, and by 34% (24 million) in the global South (UN-DESA). While the number of international migrants has increased in absolute terms, the share of international migrants in the world population has remained fairly constant in the same period, oscillating around 3%.

The share of international migrants in the total population varies widely across countries: it is above 50% in some of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (GCC) such as the United Arab Emirates (84%), Qatar (74%), Kuwait (60%) and Bahrain (55%) and is relatively high in traditional destination countries like Australia (28%) and Canada (21%). In main destination countries in Europe, namely Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy, it usually stands between 10 and 12%, but in Sweden it is 16%.




Women account for 48% of the global migrant stock. Migrants in the North are on average older than migrants in the South (42 years as median age in the North, 33 in the South), and most international migrants are of working age (74% of the global migrant stock; UN-DESA).

Please click here to download "Global Migration Trends".


Missing Migrants Project

The Missing Migrants Project draws on a range of sources to track deaths of migrants along migratory routes across the globe. Data from this project are published in the report “Fatal Journeys: Tracking Lives Lost during Migration,” which provides the most comprehensive global tally of migrant fatalities for 2014, and estimates deaths over the past 15 years.

With a count surpassing 40,000 victims since 2000, IOM calls on all the world’s governments to address what it describes as “an epidemic of crime and victimization.”

“Our message is blunt: migrants are dying who need not,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing, “It is time to do more than count the number of victims. It is time to engage the world to stop this violence against desperate migrants.

For more information please click here.


Getting a ‘Head Start’: IOM Integration Conference in Rome to Focus on Supporting Migrants before They Leave Home

Supporting migrants at the pre-departure stage of the migration journey will be tackled in depth at a conference organized by IOM and partners in Rome as part of a project called “HEADSTART: Fostering Integration Before Departure”.   

The conference is underpinned by the increasing recognition in European Union (EU) policy of the role that countries of origin can play in fostering the successful integration of newly arrived migrants to the EU, which hinges on innovative measures that can be taken before migrants depart.

Sound pre-departure initiatives in countries of origin can lead to a more successful overall migration experience, reduce the risks that migrants fall prey to exploitation, and can help them use their newly gained skills back home, upon return.

Many initiatives undertaken in migrants’ countries of origin work to ensure that migrants have accurate and timely information on the immigration rules in a country of destination and that they are informed of their rights and responsibilities. Such services include language tuition or vocational training to help them find jobs and settle in more quickly upon arrival.

Migrants can also be better integrated into the receiving societies when support offered in countries of origin helps migrants to use legal means to enter the country and assists them in finding their place in the labour market.

The conference is the centrepiece of the HEADSTART project and will showcase promising practices in the field of pre-departure integration support and offer an opportunity for service providers in countries of origin to meet with their counterparts in countries of destination.

Representatives of European governments, public and private employment services, NGOs and social service providers, city officials and academia will discuss integration boosters such as cultural orientation, language assessments, job-matching measures, recognition of skills and qualifications and migrant skills development. 

IOM will present the initial findings of a global review it carried out to take stock of existing pre-departure practices.

The Workshop will also feature an EXPO where institutions will exhibit their projects and initiatives in the field.

The HEADSTART project is undertaken in partnership with the World Association of Public Employment Services (WAPES) and authorities in charge of integration issues in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Slovakia, and co-financed by the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals, Ministries of Interior of Italy and Austria and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers in the Netherlands (COA).

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Evaluation Report on the Reintegration Assistance of Assisted Voluntary Returnees from Hungary to Kosovo (UNSCR 1244) is now available

The report has been prepared as part of the Reintegration Assistance to Assisted Voluntary Returnees to Kosovo (UNSCR 1244) project, co-funded by the 2012 Hungarian national allocation of the European Return Fund and the Hungarian Ministry of Interior, and implemented by IOM Budapest in cooperation with IOM Prishtina. One of the components of the project was to collect the beneficiaries’ feedback concerning the evaluation of their assisted voluntary return and in particular their reintegration assistance. The major conclusions of the analysis are presented in ten recommendations. Please click here to download the report. The report is also available for download in the Recent Publications section of the website.




IOM's Newsletter for International Migrants Day (18 December 2014)


The HEADSTART project website features information and deliverables from the various project components, most prominently the Comparative Report and the practitioner's library with good practice case studies, Migrant Resource Center (MRC) Handbook as well as the ongoing virtual marketplace for service providers. Click on image to visit the website.


The network of Migrant Service Centres provides information, advice and referral services to migrants and potential migrants in Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSCR1244. Click on image to visit the website.


The multilingual Volret website, which is accessible in eight languages – Albanian, English, French, Persian, Serbian, Vietnamese, Urdu and Mongolian – provides information on voluntary return and reintegration options for migrants who wish to return to their home countries from Hungary. Click on image to visit the website.