Haiti - IOM will help Haiti to develop a national migration policy by mobilizing national and international experts and providing programmatic and financial support to government institutions.
With over 80 per cent of the population living below the poverty line and unemployment hovering around 40 per cent, the push factors causing people to migrate internally and within the region will continue without a comprehensive reform of the migration sector, according to Pier Rossi Longhi, IOM Immigration and Border Management Specialist for the Americas.
The lack of a clearly defined migration legal framework and coordinating mechanism in Haiti, coupled with the weakness of migration management and border control, are having an impact on the country’s economy and development. The current economic system does not capitalize adequately on remittances from Haitians living abroad, which in 2012 amounted to USD 2 billion, equivalent to 35 per cent of the country’s GDP.
It is estimated that some 2.5 million Haitians are living abroad: United States (907,790); Dominican Republic (668,145); Cuba (300,000-500,000); Canada (148,748); French Overseas Territories (150,000); France (62,698); The Bahamas (39,144); Africa (10,000); Brazil (17,000); Latin America (excluding Brazil – 15,000); and Turks and Caicos Islands (8,000).
The increase in irregular migration towards more economically developed countries has cost the lives of many migrants, and represents a major concern for receiving countries, often resulting in massive expulsions of migrants. And due to their irregular status, Haitian migrants are often faced with harsh working and living conditions in the host countries, sometimes struggling to support themselves and their families back home.
Addressing migration issues requires a coordinated and multi-level response aimed both at tackling the challenges posed by increased migration and capitalizing on the opportunities that migration offers.
“The creation of a migration policy for Haiti should incorporate three key areas: reorganizing competent state authorities in relation to immigration and border management; fostering economic and social development through migration; and ensuring the protection of labour migrants’ rights, as well as vulnerable categories. This process will certainly increase Haiti’s international credibility and recognition based on the proper combination of control and facilitation,” says Rossi Longhi.
Based on the recommendations of an inter-ministerial workshop on migration, which took place in May 2014, a roadmap for the creation of the migration policy has been established and includes the following steps:
- Mobilization of national and international experts and creation of a migration task force responsible for developing a national migration policy;
- Elaboration of a migration profile for Haiti that includes evidence-based policies based on the collection of migration data and the analysis of the legal framework;
- Organization of a series of thematic workshops where government actors, international experts, and civil society will define strategic objectives and actions; these will address key issues such as migration and development, security and border management, protection of migrant rights, migration and environment, and irregular migration;
- Development of a migration policy document in line with the country’s reality and needs defining clear recommendations and responsibilities;
- Establishment of a monitoring and evaluation methodology for the implementation of the recommendations.
Once validated, the Haitian migration policy will be the second document of its kind in the Central America and Caribbean region, with only Costa Rica having previously approved a national migration policy.
This initiative is led by Haiti’s Council of Economic and Social Development (CDES) and the Haitian Prime Minister’s office, in partnership with IOM, ILO and UNFPA. IOM’s contribution was made possible with funding from IOM’s International Development Fund (IDF).
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