The following overview explains how the chapters of the Model International Mobility Convention (MIMC) build on and complement each other. This overview may be consulted in conjunction with the visualization on pages 240–241 of the rights outlined in the MIMC which offers a breakdown of the different categories of persons covered by the MIMC alongside the rights and protections to which they are entitled. Download [1.64... read more
The question of human mobility, intrinsically a motor for all development and a basic, indeed vital, aspect of human existence, has long been relegated to blind spots, most especially where cross-border migration is concerned. Until very recently, it was also largely demarcated to the realms of national and, at best, regional, matters, rather than as an issue of shared international responsibility—an ill-thought but abiding bid perhaps, to contain, constrain, and control a global human phenomenon that might otherwise prove chaotic to the fundamental notions of sovereignty, borders, and citizenship that structure and to a great extent determine, the priorities of international relations. Download [53.32... read more
There could hardly be a more challenging moment to try to fix the global governance of international migration, or a time when such reform was more pressing. With good reason, international migration has been at the center of global attention, especially where involuntary or forced migrants are concerned—persons whose movement across borders is coerced by conflict, persecution, climate change-related events, and even extreme socio-economic conditions. In a single year, over a million displaced South Sudanese sought refuge in Uganda. Also in a single year over a million Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan, Somali, Eritrean, Nigerian and others did the same in Europe by sea, as almost four thousand involuntary migrants drowned along the way. For at least three years a quarter of Lebanon’s population has been Syrian refugees. The desperation of involuntary migrants in contexts such as these is increasingly matched in intensity by opposition to their admission, especially in countries in the global North experiencing resurgent populist nationalism and more general anti-migrant anxiety. On the one hand, the intensity, chaos and inhumanity of recent international displacement has precipitated some notable momentum towards reform of the global governance of international migration. But on the other, it remains unclear whether any of this momentum will ultimately produce meaningful change. Download [42.66... read more
The Model International Mobility Convention (MIMC) squarely addresses the reality that there is relatively little international cooperation to regulate the movement of people across international borders. While there is a well-established international refugee regime, there is no comparable international labor migration regime. States have increasingly engaged in discussions of international cooperation on migration at the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) and other international fora. However, existing international agreements do not involve significant commitments on the part of a majority of the world’s States to accept labor migration. They do not add up to a regime facilitating the international movement of labor similar to the international trade regime based on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Download [71.70... read more
This paper argues in favor of a rethinking of how the status of migrants in an irregular situation is tackled. The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants mentions numerous times the need to facilitate and ensure safe, orderly and regular migration. It is laws, however, which create irregularity. In particular, when such laws are applied at the border, migration often becomes unsafe and disorderly as proven by the hundreds of individuals dying when trying to cross borders each year. Download [42.91... read more
If we believe global statistics, economically motivated migrants make up the majority of migrants in the world. Yet, international legal instruments to govern economic migration remain under- developed and undersubscribed. Against this backdrop, Chapter IV of the Model International Mobility Convention (MIMC) formulates a set of rights specifically applicable to economic migrants, encompassing different categories of visa holders, such as migrant workers, residents, and investors, and a number of sub-categories, including temporary and domestic workers. The chapter draws heavily on the 1990 Migrant Workers Convention, the ILO’s Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration, as well as a number of other international and regional legal instruments and political commitments. Download [56.66... read more
The Model International Mobility Convention (MIMC) is the product of an ambitious, two year-long project that consulted an extensive array of stakeholders. Its aim, eloquently articulated by Michael Doyle in his introduction, is implied by John Rawls’ idea of a realistic utopia: a document that reflects some of our deepest normative commitments on human rights and the dignity of the individual while still remaining a Convention that serving politicians are willing to sign. In the former, Rawls’ realistic utopianism refers to the task of extending “what are ordinarily thought of as the limits of practical political possibility” by using “what we know about institutions, attitudes, and preferences while joining ‘reasonableness and justice with conditions enabling citizens to realize their fundamental interests . . . .’ Practically, this means reflecting the world as it is and building a movement toward justice that existing, but better motivated, governments could endorse.” Download [49.44... read more
The Model International Mobility Convention (MIMC) develops a comprehensive and rights-based framework for individuals on the move, whether as tourists, workers, students, or simply as visitors to other States. As such, the concept of mobility is implicit throughout the Convention and core to many of its principles and provisions. For refugees and other forced migrants, however, the MIMC’s proposals for promoting and regulating voluntary movement may be viewed as orthogonal to their predicament in two respects. First, most forced migrants would prefer a world in which they could stay home; safety at home, not movement, may be their primary goal. Second, contemporary approaches toward forced migrants focus on securing protection and providing assistance, not on facilitating movement. What I want to suggest in this brief comment is that mobility can and should play a larger role in the international refugee regime than is usually recognized. That is, the MIMC’s normative commitment to mobility can be made central in the context of forced migration as well as in the context of voluntary migration. Download [48.42... read more
Migration, and forced migration in particular, is no longer a side issue that is left to human rights activists and humanitarians; it is at the center of a range of negotiations that are now viewed as crucial to peace and stability. This commentary focuses on how the MIMC engages with socioeconomic issues in protracted refugee situations (PRS). It considers the main concerns that are raised by protracted situations, and then outlines how the Convention approaches them. It concludes by offering a discussion of places for improvement, as well as current challenges to preventing situations from becoming protracted, and ending those that are ongoing.
In this comment, I will largely focus on providing an analysis and overview of Chapter V and the responsibility sharing provisions of Chapter VIII. I begin by sketching the larger context of contemporary forced migration that informs the approach of the MIMC. From here I discuss how the MIMC addresses the relationship between migration and vulnerability to develop responses to many of the gaps that currently exist in international protection.