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Migration Policy Institute Podcasts

MPI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to the study of the movement of people worldwide.

With Millions of Unfilled U.S. Jobs, What Role Is There for Immigration?

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Labor Migration by Migration Policy Institute on April 21st, 2022

The U.S. government in March 2022 announced record job vacancies, with 11.3 million unfilled positions. With an aging population, declining fertility, shifting skills needs, and the Great Resignation underway in part as baby boomers retire, the United States is experiencing a major labor market transformation that will challenge the country’s economic growth and competitiveness.

How these mega forces play out is yet to be seen. As a policy option, immigration has always been one of the levers available to address labor shortages or skills gaps. But beyond recruiting workers from abroad, developing and leveraging the skills of immigrants already in the United States represents a smart policy option. What role could underutilized high-skilled immigrant workers occupy in the changing labor market, especially in high-demand sectors such as health and education? What national and state policy options exist to maximize immigrants’ economic contributions by more fully tapping their talents and potential?

During this webcast, experts -- including MPI's Jeanne Batalova and Muzaffar Chishti, former U.S. Labor Department Chief Economist Harry J. Holzer, Upwardly Global's Jina Krause-Vilmar, and Alexandra Manuel -- highlighted the latest demographic and labor market trends shaped by growing automation and the COVID-19 pandemic. They also discussed the merits of three policy approaches that leverage immigrants’ talents to address labor and skills shortages: tapping the existing skills of underemployed college-educated immigrants, increasing immigrant adults’ access to postsecondary credentials, and attracting new talent through the immigration system. The webinar featured the launch of an MPI issue brief on the underemployment of skilled health-care workers in Illinois and Chicago ( https://bit.ly/immskills22 ).

Moving Beyond Pandemic: The Corporate World’s Response to COVID-19 Pandemic, its Omicron Variant, Digital Nomad Visas & More

Posted in Labor Migration, International Migration, Moving Beyond Pandemic by Migration Policy Institute on December 9th, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic effect on the corporate sector, disrupting operations, ushering in changed thinking about the office environment, and chilling business travel. How has the business world responded? And in what way are COVID-19 protocols, new innovations, and trends in working practices affecting the decisions that companies make about the mobility of their workforce? In this episode, we speak with two former government officials who are now in the private sector—Ian Robinson of the immigration law firm Fragomen and Brendan Ryan, CEO of Nomadic, which provides digital solutions for corporate travel—about the trends and policy environment shaping business mobility decisions, whether the rise of the Omicron variant might scupper plans to restart travel, and whether the rise of digital nomad visas represent a fad or permanent shift.

MPI 20th Anniversary Conference: Migration & Humanitarian Protection in a Rapidly Evolving World - Armchair Discussion

In the 20 years since the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) was founded, international migration trends and policies have changed in dramatic ways. The number of migrants has increased, many more migrants are in mixed flows with humanitarian protection needs, and migration has become a much more salient political issue in countries around the world. What do these trends presage for the future in terms of international migration governance and humanitarian protection?

During an armchair discussion, the Director-General of the International Organization for Migration, António Vitorino, and MPI cofounder and President Emeritus Demetrios G. Papademetriou discussed the evolution of international migration governance and its possible future. The conversation was moderated by Meghan Benton, Director for International Research, MPI and MPI Europe.

World of Migration: Leveraging the Benefits That Immigration Can Bring

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Labor Migration, World of Migration by Migration Policy Institute on November 12th, 2021

Is immigration a net positive or negative for societies? It’s one of the key questions that underpins the debate over immigration levels, whether asked directly or tacitly underlying the conversation. And what policy levers exist to ensure that immigration is leveraged to bring the greatest benefits possible and blunt any downsides? In this conversation, Migration Policy Institute Senior Fellow and former President Michael Fix takes on the big questions with Senior Policy Analyst Julia Gelatt, examining the fiscal impacts of immigration, the importance of immigrant integration, how a greater focus on credential recognition could allow immigrants to more fully utilize the academic and professional skills they bring with them, and much more.

Making Migration Policy in an Ever More Complex World

Posted in Labor Migration, Mobility and Security, International Migration, World of Migration by Migration Policy Institute on October 14th, 2021

What was the field of migration policy like in 2000, and has it become more complicated to work in this space, given the growing politicization of immigration and the advent of trends including greater humanitarian pressures, mixed migration flows, and climate-induced migration? And has the role of generating evidence-based research changed in this new era of mis/disinformation? Migration Policy Institute co-founder Demetrios G. Papademetriou takes on these and other questions, including whether the role of think tanks has evolved over the last two decades, in this conversation with MPI’s Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan. They also look ahead to the future challenges that will dominate immigration policymaking in the years ahead.

Changing Climate, Changing Migration: Impacts of Extreme Heat: Global Warming and Migration

Posted in Migration and Development, Labor Migration, International Migration, Changing Climate, Changing Migration by Migration Policy Institute on October 11th, 2021

Global warming and extreme heat are behind many of the phenomena linked to climate change. Hotter weather also has an impact on migration and on migrants, particularly in destinations such as the Middle East and parts of the United States. In recent years, there has been more attention paid to cases of migrant workers dying from the heat. In this episode, we speak with Tord Kjellstrom, a physician and researcher who has closely studied the relationship between extreme heat and population health, about what extreme heat means for migrants.

Labor Migration Governance in West Africa in the Wake of the Pandemic

Posted in Labor Migration, International Migration by Migration Policy Institute on September 9th, 2021

COVID-19 has dramatically curtailed opportunities to migrate in West Africa, with far-reaching economic consequences. In 2019, about 10 million West Africans lived in other countries in the region or internationally, and migration has traditionally been a driver for development for the region through remittances, knowledge transfers, and other forms of diaspora engagement. Now, ongoing border closures and travel restrictions coupled with new public-health measures have added an extra layer of complexity to migration management in the region. Competing policy priorities arising from the pandemic have also threatened to sideline recent national efforts to strengthen migration governance and the lifting of barriers to mobility under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocol on Free Movement. In the cases of Ghana and Senegal, efforts to translate migration policy goals into practice were proving challenging even prior to the pandemic. Among the stumbling blocks: how to build mutually beneficial ties between origin countries and their diasporas, how to balance governments’ commitments to better regulate worker recruitment despite constraints on resources, and how to move the needle on issues such as promoting freedom of movement within ECOWAS while protecting local workers and business. In the wake of the pandemic and related economic downturn, migrants’ potential to support recovery efforts make addressing these questions even more critical. On this webinar speakers discuss a recent policy brief "Deepening Labor Migration Governance at a Time of Immobility: Lessons from Ghana and Senegal" https://bit.ly/2UOPEcZ . Experts and government officials from the region and Europe explore the importance of labor migration for West Africa, related policy efforts by the Ghanaian and Senegalese governments, and how development agencies can best support African countries in resuming mobility and enhancing the development benefits of labor migration.

A Year of Pandemic: The State of Global Human Mobility & What Is on the Horizon

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Labor Migration, Mobility and Security, International Migration, European Migration by Migration Policy Institute on April 11th, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed mobility and cross-border movement in 2020, decimating tourism and business travel, severely curtailing labor migration, and dampening all forms of migration, including refugee resettlement. Since the onset of the public-health crisis, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has tracked the hundreds of travel restrictions, border closures, and health-related travel requirements imposed by governments globally. An IOM-Migration Policy Institute (MPI) report draws from the IOM database to sketch the state of mobility across world regions in 2020, and the range of mobility-related strategies used to contain and mitigate the spread of the virus.
 

This two-panel discussion, featuring introductory remarks by IOM Director General António Vitorino, examines how the pandemic reshaped border management and human mobility in 2020 and what the lasting impacts may be throughout 2021 and beyond. The first panel examines the government actions and regional and international coordination undertaken in 2020, including “travel bubbles” and immunity passports, along with how policymakers balanced health and economic concerns and the needs of vulnerable populations and unprecedented logistical issues in their responses. The second panel explored what policymakers should consider as the world enters into a new, uneven phase marked on the one hand by rising vaccinations, but on the other by the spread of new COVID-19 variants and additional mobility restrictions as caseloads rise in some regions. Speakers discussed what it may take to reopen fully, a possible new border infrastructure focused on public health, what regional and international coordination efforts are showing promise, and a look ahead to major decisions that will need to be made in 2021.

Moving Beyond Pandemic: What’s Next for Global Migration? Gazing Into the COVID-19 Crystal Ball

Posted in Labor Migration, International Migration, Moving Beyond Pandemic by Migration Policy Institute on December 9th, 2020

With news that viable COVID-19 vaccines are on the horizon, what might 2021 hold in store for the global movement of people, whether for tourism, business travel, or more enduring forms of migration? Alan Gamlen, associate professor of human geography at Monash University in Australia, tackles some of the big questions in this episode, including whether cities will be reshaped by immobility and if countries will need less labor migration. He paints a picture of a world with lower levels of mobility for the next few years, punctuated by periodic spikes.

The Post-Pandemic Ascent: The Role of Migration in Emerging from the Economic and Labor Market Turmoil

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Labor Migration, International Migration, European Migration by Migration Policy Institute on November 10th, 2020

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, globally interconnected economies and societies are navigating uncharted waters. The pandemic and its aftermath present policymakers with two crucial challenges: how to manage the spread and hopefully eradication of the disease and how to deal with the economic devastation caused by stay-at-home orders, travel bans, and other measures taken to halt the spread of the virus. Currently migration and mobility have come to a relative standstill. Will migration levels return to pre-pandemic levels? And as most countries’ labor systems and economies are linked to immigration, might this public-health crisis result in a fundamental realignment of economic relationships? Will it stimulate a rethink of migration systems, where policymakers seriously re-examine the role and composition of the foreign-born workforce and approaches to immigrant integration? Or post-pandemic, will countries just revert to their previous approaches to migration, or possibly surge further towards protectionism and restrictionism?

This Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) discussion highlights the impact of the coronavirus on migration and mobility systems, and findings from OECD’s International Migration Outlook 2020 on recent developments in migration movements and policies in OECD countries and some non-member countries. As policymakers grapple with a way forward, speakers--including Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Jean-Christophe Dumont, and Jonathan Chaloff--share their perspectives on the opportunities for innovation, what labor demands may emerge, the role of migration in North America and Europe at this challenging point in history, and whether this moment can be the catalyst for rebuilding of economies and societies that provide the best outcomes for both the native born and immigrants alike.  MPI's Meghan Benton moderated the discussion. 

What Is Immigration Policy Expected to Look Like in a Biden Administration?

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Labor Migration, Mobility and Security, Immigration Enforcement by Migration Policy Institute on November 9th, 2020

What actions might the incoming Biden administration take on immigration, and what challenges and opportunities does it face? Migration Policy Institute experts analyze the campaign pledges and prospects ahead, for everything from unwinding the Remain in Mexico program, ending border wall construction, and reviving DACA, as well as the Biden camp’s affirmative vision for change, including legalization.

COVID-19, the Withdrawal Agreement and Citizens’ Rights: No Time to Waste

Posted in Labor Migration, International Migration, European Migration by Migration Policy Institute on October 27th, 2020

With the Brexit transition period quickly coming to an end, the United Kingdom and EU Member States are in a race against time to finalize and start implementing their withdrawal agreement plans on citizens’ rights. But during what should have been a critical planning period, the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically reoriented priorities and brought additional strains for both governments as well as EU nationals in the United Kingdom and UK nationals in the European Union.

This MPI Europe webinar explores how governments’ withdrawal agreement implementation plans have been affected by COVID-19, and the potential implications on citizens’ rights at the end of the transition period and beyond. Experts including, MPI's Meghan Benton and Aliyyah Ahad, Marina Fernandez from the University of Oxford, Nastasja Fuxa from the European Commission, UK Citizens Rights' Deputy Director
Andy Heath, Identity Malta Agency CEO Anton Sevasta, and Betty Sieperda and Yoram Vanmaekelbergh from the Netherlands Government, tackle the following questions in their conversation:

  • Which populations are most at risk of being left behind at the intersection between Brexit and the pandemic?
  • What contingency measures could mitigate these vulnerabilities and keep implementation timelines on track?
  • How can governments do smart outreach to groups that may have more immediate health and economic concerns, or are increasingly isolated either at home or overseas?
  • How can governments in the European Union capitalize on the lessons from past regularization programs to get a jump start on implementing the withdrawal agreement before January 2021?
  • And what actions and investments are needed for the post-registration period, e.g. the monitoring of UK and EU nationals’ ability to access rights as stipulated under the withdrawal agreement?

Expert Podcast: Meeting Seasonal Labor Needs in the Age of COVID-19

Governments are facing urgent pandemic-related questions. One of the more pressing ones: Who is going to harvest crops in countries that rely heavily on seasonal foreign workers? In this podcast, MPI experts Hanne Beirens, Kate Hooper, and Camille Le Coz, examine ways in which countries could address labor shortages in agriculture, including recruiting native-born workers and letting already present seasonal workers stay longer. Catch an interesting discussion as border closures have halted the movement of seasonal workers even as crops are approaching harvest in some places.

 

Seasonal Worker Programs in Europe: Lessons Learned and Ways Forward

Posted in Labor Migration, European Migration, Migration Policy Institute Europe by Migration Policy Institute on February 28th, 2020

Across Europe, employers with seasonal labor needs in sectors such as agriculture, hospitality, and tourism often rely on hiring workers from other countries. Some, such as Germany, source these workers from other EU Member States, especially in Eastern and Central Europe. Others rely on programs that recruit seasonal workers from non-EU countries such as Morocco. While low-skilled workers generally have limited opportunities to legally migrate to the European Union, seasonal migration forms an important exception.

Designing and implementing seasonal worker programs that are responsive to labor market needs but also prioritize the well-being of seasonal workers and deter overstays remain challenging. Likewise, while studies point to the potential development contributions of seasonal migration for origin countries, policymakers can struggle to translate this potential into practice. 

As the European Union prepares to review the implementation of its Seasonal Workers Directive, as well as countries such as the United Kingdom continue to explore new approaches to selecting seasonal workers, this webinar features findings from a policy briefSeasonal Worker Programs in Europe: Promising Practices and Ongoing ChallengesOn this webinar MPI Policy Analyst Kate Hooper was joined Concordia CEO Stephanie Maurel and Jan Schneider, Head of the Research Unit at the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR), for a discussion recent trends in European seasonal migration programmes and best practices.

This webinar is part of a project by MPI Europe and the Expert Council’s Research Unit on mobility options to Europe for those not in need of protection, supported by the Mercator Foundation.

Turning the Tide: Addressing the Long-Term Challenges of EU Mobility for Sending Countries

Posted in Immigrant Integration, Labor Migration, European Migration by Migration Policy Institute on December 5th, 2019

More than a decade after EU eastern enlargement, some eastern Member States are still grappling with the consequences of large-scale emigration for their communities, economies, and societies. Emigration may come with certain advantages: it can relieve pressure in situations of high unemployment, generate remittances, and allow mobile EU citizens to pursue better job opportunities and living conditions. In the long run, however, brain drain, demographic decline, and eroding tax bases can put a massive strain on countries of emigration, and may even trigger a downward spiral that ultimately stands in the way of EU convergence.

Amid ongoing debates about the costs and benefits of free movement, this Migration Policy Institute Europe webinar examines evidence from the EU-funded REMINDER (Role of European Mobility and Its Impacts in Narratives, Debates and EU Reform) project on different types of East-West mobility. Among the topics of discussion: mobility of care workers, short-term cross-border movement in frontier regions, and return migration to countries of origin—and their impact on sending countries’ communities and societies. Speakers--MPI's Meghan Benton and Liam Patuzzi, Bernhard Perchinig of International Centre for Migration Policy Development, and Marcin Wiatrów from the Polish Ministry of Family, Labour, and Social Policy--examine big-picture trends of East-West migration; consider possible policy responses at regional, national, and EU levels to alleviate some of the challenges; and reflect on realistic actions that could be taken under a new European Commission.

Legal Migration Pathways to Europe for Low- and Middle-Skilled Migrants

Against a backdrop of large-scale spontaneous migration flows towards Europe, facilitating legal migration is often called for as an alternative to irregular migration for individuals and groups not in need of international protection. Moreover, with populations aging and workforces slated to shrink over the next few decades in many European countries, policies that can efficiently recruit migrants to meet labor and skills shortages will be at a premium. While the conversation to date has focused on high-skilled migrants, short-to-medium term projections suggest that demand may also grow for low- and middle-skilled workers in sectors such as health and elder care, manufacturing, and construction. But the changing political environment around migration means that the space for reforms to legal migration policies has narrowed in many countries. At the national level, for example, policymakers must strike a fine balance between accommodating employer demand for more flexible and responsive selection policies and meeting their obligations to protect and promote the labor market participation of local populations. And while expanding legal migration pathways is a common theme of negotiations with third countries, both political and practical considerations (such as how to test demand and scale up initiatives) have stymied efforts to deliver on this pledge.

This event hosted by MPI Europe and the Research Unit of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration includes a discussion of research into legal migration pathways for work and training for low- and middle-skilled migrants not in need of protection.

Speakers consider several questions:
• What opportunities for work or training in Europe can low- and middle-skilled third-country nationals access? What policies and programs have been tried and tested at EU and Member State levels and how successful have they been?
• What practical reforms can governments consider to their selection policies to ensure they are primed to assess and respond to fast-changing labor market needs? What lessons can we learn from bilateral partnerships on legal migration in this regard?
• What role can the European Union play in supporting efforts by Member States to reform or expand their legal migration channels? Where is the European Union’s added value most keenly felt?

“Legal migration for work and training: Mobility options to Europe for those not in need of protection” is a project of the Research Unit of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration in cooperation with MPI Europe, and is funded by Stiftung Mercator.

Chronicling Migration in the 21st Century Through One Family’s Journey

The story of global migration as a force shaping economies, politics, and cultures around the world is typically told via analysis of data and policies, with a focus on trends rather than individuals. Yet at the end of the day, migration is the most human of phenomena, and one that has been around as long as humans have been on the planet. This discussion with award-winning New York Times reporter Jason DeParle traces the arc of migration and its impacts through the life of an extended family of Filipino migrants that he has followed from the slums of Manila to the Houston suburbs over three decades.

Marking the launch of DeParle's new book, A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century, this conversation with MPI's Andrew Selee and the World Bank's Dilip Ratha explores migration at both a global and very personal level.

As he chronicles the story of three generations of a Filipino family, DeParle documents the personal, cultural, and economic challenges and opportunities the family faces, whether as migrants or those remaining behind. His reporting and analysis on immigration trends, the costs and rewards of migration to both sending and receiving communities, and examination of the political and economic questions surrounding migration offer the opportunity for a rich discussion. 

Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy: Building a Responsive, Effective Immigration System

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Labor Migration, Mobility and Security by Migration Policy Institute on August 15th, 2019

The U.S. immigration system is widely acknowledged as being broken. Despite multiple attempts, solutions have proven elusive for administrations and Congress for more than two decades. The evidence of dysfunction is in every direction: Vastly oversubscribed categories for employment visas, deep disagreement between Washington and many state and local governments about immigration enforcement and policy priorities, political paralysis over what to do about a long-settled unauthorized population, years-long caseloads tied up in the immigration court system, sharp pullbacks in refugee admissions and other humanitarian programs, and, most recently, a protracted migration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

As the United States is mired in inaction, its legal immigration system resting on laws dating back to 1965 and 1990, other major immigrant-destination countries have created flexible, modernized immigration systems. What changes are needed to overcome the failings of the current system and meet U.S. economic and security interests in the decades ahead? What values and principles should guide future immigration policymaking?

To answer these and similar questions, the Migration Policy Institute is launching a major new initiative—Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy—that aims to generate a big-picture, evidence-driven vision of the role immigration can and should play in America’s future. This multi-year initiative will provide research, analysis, and policy ideas and proposals—both administrative and legislative—that reflect new realities and needs if immigration is to continue to be a comparative advantage for the United States as a society. Key topics will include employment based-immigration, humanitarian programs, and immigration enforcement.  

Historically, immigration policymaking and legislation have only succeeded through across-the-aisle cooperation and consensus-building. This initiative is animated by a commitment to re-energizing such bipartisanship in shaping and advancing feasible solutions.

At this event, marking the initiative's launch, MPI's Doris Meissner is joined in a conversation with former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and Cecilia Muñoz, former Director of White House Domestic Policy Council.

A Conversation with António Vitorino, the Director General of the International Organization for Migration

The world is home to approximately 258 million international migrants, who represent 3.4 percent of the global population. About 10 percent of them are refugees. As countries seek to come to terms with record forcible displacement and manage other human movement, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is working with partners in the international community to respond to humanitarian emergencies and meet the operational challenges of migration management, advance a better understanding of migration issues, and promote orderly migration policies that can benefit migrants and Member States alike.

In this first and only public address during his inaugural formal visit to Washington, DC. Director General António Vitorino discussed his vision for IOM; reforms and changes in the UN system designed to address migration matters better; the coordination of efforts between IOM, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and other international partners in addressing humanitarian protection; and the operational steps IOM is taking to respond to forced migration and displacement in hotspots around the world, including Venezuela, Bangladesh, and Libya. Following a conversation with Demetrios Papademetriou, Mr. Vitorino took audience questions.

Preparing Newcomers for the Jobs of Today and the Labor Markets of Tomorrow

Getting recently arrived immigrants and refugees into work has long been considered the lynchpin of successful integration, with the legitimacy of migration and asylum systems often linked to positive economic outcomes. Spurred in part by the European migration crisis, significant social innovations and public-sector investments have focused on assessing newcomers’ existing skills, matching them with available jobs, and providing training to those in need. But with labour markets increasingly characterized by technological disruption and the flexible but precarious "gig economy," this model risks being severely upended.

This Migration Policy Institute Europe webinar marks the release of two publications produced in the framework of its Integration Futures Working Group. Jobs in 2028: How Will Changing Labor Markets Affect Immigrant Integration in Europe? examines possible scenarios for how social, economic, and technological trends could affect jobs, labor market policy, education and social policies, and migrant integration. The second report, Tech Jobs for Refugees: Assessing the Potential of Coding Schools for Refugee Integration in Germany, explores the potential of coding schools for refugees to help alleviate skills shortages and provide a pathway to work—for more than only a high-skilled minority. Join the experts for a discussion of key questions: How can governments equip newcomers—and indeed citizens—with the skills to thrive in the job markets of the future? How can governments prepare public services and contribution-based benefit schemes for a changing world of work? And for those unable to find work, what are the alternative ways that newcomers can meaningfully and measurably contribute to society?

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