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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.

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 migrationpolicy 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?

Making the Global Compact on Migration a Reality: Ideas for Enhancing Regular Migration Pathways at All Skill Levels

Posted in Migration and Development, Labor Migration, International Migration by migrationpolicy on September 12th, 2018

On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on September 26, the UN Special Representative for International Migration will launch the final phase of preparations for the historic adoption of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration in Marrakesh, Morocco in December 2018. As the global compact moves from the realm of ideas and into reality, the focus of states and UN bodies is shifting from design to implementation.

This podcast considers two central objectives of the compact: enhancing the availability and flexibility of pathways for regular migration, and investing in skills development. Experts from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and the Germany Development Cooperation Agency (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, or GIZ) discuss concrete ideas for implementing these objectives. Panelists examine how migration pathways can be expanded, including through bilateral and regional agreements, to meet the needs of labor markets in destination countries while safeguarding migrants against abuse. The podcast also draws on lessons from previous migration partnerships to assess the potential of “skills partnerships,” a concept proposed by the compact that aim to facilitate the training and development of skilled workers who can fill labor market gaps in both countries of origin and destination.

The discussion draws on research conducted for the project, Towards a Global Compact for Migration: Rethinking the Links between Migration and Development, by MPI and GIZ, and supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Immigration Data Matters: How to Find the Most Accurate Resources

With immigration increasingly visible in the news and the political space in the United States and internationally, getting access to accurate, high-quality data is essential for publics and policymakers to understand immigration’s demographic effects and impacts on the economy, education and labor systems, and the communities in which immigrants and their families live and work.

This event marks the release of an updated version of the popular Immigration Data Matters guide, which directs users to more than 220 international and U.S. data sources, and explains how to navigate sometimes complex datasets issued by government statistical agencies, international organizations, and reputable research organizations. This handy online guide includes data sources covering everything from the size of foreign-born population stocks and flows to citizenship applications, children in immigrant families, refugee admissions, migrant deaths, international student enrollment, global remittance flows, enforcement activities, and much more. 

At a time of proliferating data sources on immigration and immigrants, the presenters (Jeanne Batalova, MPI Senior Policy Analyst and Data Hub Manager, MPI; Mark Mather, Population Reference Bureau Associate Vice President for U.S. Programs; Elizabeth M. Grieco, Pew Research Center Senior Writer/Editor and former U.S. Census Bureau Foreign-Born Population Branch Chief; and Marc Rosenblum, Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director of the Office of Immigration Statistics at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) discuss where some of the most user-friendly data can be accessed, including MPI’s own Migration Data Hub. They share their insights on how to avoid common pitfalls in using existing immigration data and highlight relevant data sources available from international organizations and national governments, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  

State and Local Labor Standards Enforcement in Immigrant-Dense Industries

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Labor Migration by migrationpolicy on March 15th, 2018

Immigrants, who account for 17 percent of the U.S. labor force, are twice as likely as native-born workers to work in industries where core labor and safety standard violations are widespread. Many immigrants have been driven into low-wage, under-regulated work by a confluence of immigration policies and economic transformations in which companies now routinely contract out for their labor needs, such as occurs in the cleaning, warehousing, food preparation, construction, and transportation sectors. In these sectors, it is commonplace for employers to misclassify workers as independent contractors to avoid paying employer-related taxes and workers compensation, and to evade responsibility for compliance with labor standards. Pushing back against the deterioration of labor standards in these sectors requires robust and strategic enforcement, but both government and private-sector driven enforcement are stymied by limited resources and disincentives for workers to file complaints.

State and local governments, with their broad enforcement powers, access to tax and insurance data, and their role in regulating unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation, are uniquely positioned to respond. As a Migration Policy Institute report outlines, state innovations in enforcement can benefit both native-born and immigrant workers alike, increase state tax revenue, and level competition in the marketplace for law-abiding employers. However, since states also contend with limited resources, strategic enforcement of workplace statutes that change employer behavior is key. 

At this report release discussion, the authors, Muzaffar Chishti, Director, MPI's office at New York University (NYU) School of Law, and Andrew Elmore, NYU School of Law Acting Assistant Professor and former New York Office of Attorney General Labor Bureau Section Chief, discuss the dynamics in low-wage workplaces and immigration law that have contributed to systematic violations of labor standards. They also highlight the new and effective enforcement strategies that state and local governments across the United States are utilizing. And California Labor Commissioner Julie Su and Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Administrator Abbie Hudgens discuss how they have leveraged existing resources to more effectively enforce labor laws. 

 

Conference - Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion Workshop - Employer Engagement: Innovative Approaches to Training and Hiring Refugees

Following the arrival of large numbers of migrants and asylum seekers in Europe from 2015 onwards, many non-traditional actors—from tech start-ups to social enterprises—have pioneered innovative solutions to foster the social and economic inclusion of newcomers. In the context of this experimentation, business has played a fundamental role, with companies on both sides of the Atlantic leveraging their potential as employers, donors, and partners in innovative alliances. This two-day conference reflected on how innovative initiatives for refugee inclusion can grow beyond pockets of good practice and inspire large-scale, long-term change. The event brought together a diverse group of public officials, business leaders, service designers, social entrepreneurs, civil society organisations, and refugee initiatives from Europe, the United States, and Canada.

This workshop on Employer Engagement: Innovative Approaches to Training and Hiring Refugees featured:  

  • Chair: Laurent Aujean, Policy Officer, Unit Legal Migration and Integration, DG Home, European Commission
  • Sayre Nyce, Executive Director, Talent Beyond Boundaries, United States
  • Peter O’Sullivan, Resettlement Officer, UNHCR, Bureau for Europe
  • Mustafa Alroomi, Web Developer & Askim Kintziger, Innovation Consultant, Cronos Groep, Belgium

Life Beyond Brexit: How Are Negotiations Faring Over Rights for UK Citizens in the European Union?

Posted in Labor Migration, International Migration, European Migration by migrationpolicy on November 7th, 2017

Brexit negotiators have made the rights of EU nationals in the United Kingdom and UK nationals in the European Union a priority in the ongoing talks in 2017, but progress has been painfully slow. A number of sticking points still need to be resolved, including the looming question of whether the European Court of Justice will continue to adjudicate the rights of EU nationals in the United Kingdom. And there is still a risk that negotiations on other topics—such as the bill the United Kingdom will owe when it leaves the European Union—will derail the overall deal. 

 

As the European Council gears up to move onto the next phase of negotiations (which will look at the future relationship between the European Union and United Kingdom), this Migration Policy Institute Europe webinar marks the release of an MPI Europe report that offers a demographic profile of the approximately 1 million UK citizens living in the European Union and examines the ways in which many are likely to see their futures significantly reshaped after Brexit. The discussion -- with European Commission Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 Legal and Policy Officer Marie Simonsen, European Citizen Action Service Director Assya Kavrakova, Financial Times Brussels Bureau Chief Alex Barker, and MPI report author Meghan Benton -- takes stock of citizens' rights, reflects on what may happen next, and considers the prospects for Britons abroad both in a situation of ‘no deal’ and if there is an ultimate agreement. Which groups are likely to be vulnerable to losing legal status or access to benefits and services following Brexit? What are the other main challenges and concerns that the UK population is facing, such as access to health care or the labour market? What are the prospects for a deal, and what are the main points of disagreement?

Doctors as Taxi Drivers: The Costs of Brain Waste among Highly Skilled Immigrants in the United States

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Labor Migration by migrationpolicy on December 7th, 2016

The United States has long attracted some of the world’s best and brightest, drawn by the strong U.S. economy, renowned universities, and reputation for entrepreneurship and innovation. But because of language, credential-recognition, and other barriers many of these highly skilled, college-educated immigrants cannot fully contribute their academic and professional training and skills once in the United States. As a result they work in low-skilled jobs or cannot find a job—a phenomenon known as brain waste.

 

On this podcast, MPI experts give a presentation of the first-ever U.S. estimates on the economic costs of this skill underutilization for immigrants, their families, and the U.S. economy, along with estimates on forgone earnings and tax payments for: California, Florida, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Washington. The panel discusses the factors linked to immigrant skill underutilization; highlight the potential for current city, state, and U.S. labor policy (including implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) to reduce this brain waste; and offer an employer-based view of skill underutilization and how it can be addressed.

 

The report and related state research can be found here: https://bit.ly/mpiuntappedtalent

Farm to Table: The Role of Immigrants in U.S. Farm Labor in 2016

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Immigrant Integration, Labor Migration by migrationpolicy on October 20th, 2016

The slowdown in migration from Mexico since the 2008-09 recession has had a little-noted effect on farm labor in the United States: Increased use of the H-2A guestworker program. The H-2A program, long criticized by employers for cumbersome regulations, has doubled in size since 2007 and now provides workers to fill more than 150,000 farm jobs. Since agriculture relies on newcomers from abroad to replace farm workers who exit for nonfarm jobs, farm labor markets are ideal for observing employer adjustments to the reduction in the arrival of immigrant labor. Often identified as the source for unauthorized migration from Mexico because of the Bracero program, agriculture may also provide the template for future immigration reforms that involve legalizing currently unauthorized workers and making it easier to hire guestworkers in the future. 

This discussion features data that could help inform future reform debates. It also focuses on some of the adjustments that farm employers are making, including increased mechanization, improved wages and benefits, and the increased use of the H-2A program.  

Shortage Amid Surplus: Emigration and Human Capital Development in the Philippines

Posted in Migration and Development, Labor Migration, International Migration by migrationpolicy on December 29th, 2015

The Philippines has the most sophisticated labor-exporting model in the world. Despite the robust supply of workers in the Philippines, there is a concern that emigration—coupled with limited capacity of local training institutions—has contributed to labor shortages in key industries.

The International Organization for Migration and the Migration Policy Institute hosted a breakfast briefing to discuss these critical issues and launch the Issue in Brief, Shortage amid Surplus: Emigration and Human Capital Development in the Philippines, the fifteenth in this joint-publication series offering succinct insights on migration issues affecting the Asia-Pacific region today.

Twenty Five Years Later: Reflecting on the Immigration Act of 1990

Posted in US Immigration Policy, Labor Migration by migrationpolicy on December 8th, 2015

On November 29, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Immigration Act of 1990. The law increased immigration levels by redesigning admissions categories and restructuring employment-based entry provisions for both permanent and temporary admissions, with the aim of increasing emphasis on the skills, education, and investment of these immigrants. The bill also revised the grounds of inadmissibility and deportation, expanded the definition of aggravated felony, and established administrative naturalization and Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

To mark the 25th anniversary of the 1990 Act, MPI hosted a discussion examining the history of the legislation, how it was accomplished politically, and the stakeholders and issues that were critical to its passage. Panelists will recount the goals of the legislation, assess whether they have been met, examine the unintended consequences, and discuss the relevance and lessons of the Act for current immigration debates.

Bali Forum on Skill and Mobility in ASEAN – Plenary Closing Session: Wrap Up and Discussion of the “Bali Commitment on Skill Mobility within ASEAN”

Posted in Migration and Development, Labor Migration by migrationpolicy on October 9th, 2015

The two-day Bali Forum’s concluding session discusses the “Bali Commitment on Skill Mobility in ASEAN,” a joint statement of organizations and institutions in the region identifying areas for reform and where coordinated regional action is needed and can be most effective in terms of increasing the movement of skilled professionals within the ASEAN region—a key goal of the ASEAN Economic Community. The Bali Forum was organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Migration Policy Institute (MPI) to launch a joint initiative on the mobility of skilled labor in the ASEAN region. Chairs included Imelda Nicolas, Chairperson of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas; Demetrios G. Papademetriou, President Emeritus of MPI and President of MPI Europe; and Rana Hasan, Director of the Development Economics and Indicators Division in the Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department at ADB.

Bali Forum on Skill and Mobility in ASEAN – Lunch Conversation II: Moving Recognition Forward in ASEAN: Views from Non-state Actors

Posted in Migration and Development, Labor Migration by migrationpolicy on October 9th, 2015

This discussion at the Bali Forum, kicking off a joint initiative between the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Migration Policy Institute (MPI), addresses questions pertaining to labor recruiting practices, foreign qualifications, and how policymakers can make the status quo more employer-friendly. Panelists include Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid, Chairman of CIMB ASEAN Research Institute; and Supang Chantavanich, Honored Professor of Sociology and Director of the Asian Research Center for Migration (ARCM) at Chulalongkorn University; with host Ronald Skeldon, Professorial Fellow in Geography at the Sussex Centre for Migration Research.

Bali Forum on Skill and Mobility in ASEAN – Plenary Session VI: Charting a Post 2015 Vision: A Conversation on Country Action Plans Beyond 2015

Posted in Migration and Development, Labor Migration by migrationpolicy on October 9th, 2015

This session from the Bali Forum features an in-depth conversation with national delegates on the barriers ASEAN member governments face in implementing mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs) in job sectors identified for greater movement of skilled workers within ASEAN, and their plans for fully addressing them beyond 2015. The Bali Forum was organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), as part of a joint initiative which aims to reduce barriers to the free flow of skilled labor amongst countries in ASEAN.

Bali Forum on Skill and Mobility in ASEAN – Plenary Session V: Skill Mobility and Regional Development: A Conversation with Hiroshi Kato, Lurong Chen, and Ronald Skeldon

Posted in Migration and Development, Labor Migration by migrationpolicy on October 9th, 2015

The second day of the Bali Forum, organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), started with a conversation exploring skill mobility’s impact on regional development and competitiveness. The panel discusses what the ASEAN region stands to gain from adopting a more comprehensive approach to facilitating skill mobility. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Vice President Hiroshi Kato draws insights from JICA's experience in the Asia-Pacific region while Lurong Chen, Economist at the Economic Research Institute for Asia and East Asia, and Ron Skeldon, Professorial Fellow in Geography at the Sussex Centre for Migration Research, explore lessons for ASEAN from other subregions in Asia and beyond.

Bali Forum on Skill and Mobility in ASEAN – Plenary Session IV: Conversation on the AQRF and NQFs: Progress and Prospects for Supporting MRA Implementation

Posted in Migration and Development, Labor Migration by migrationpolicy on October 9th, 2015

This session of the Bali Forum, organized by the Asian Development Bank and the Migration Policy Institute, focuses on the progress on the implementation of the ASEAN Qualification Reference Framework (AQRF) and of the mutual referencing process with National Qualification Frameworks (NQFs). Focusing on the areas of tourism, architecture, engineering, medicine, nursing, and dentistry, panelists explore how developments in AQRF and NQFs can support the implementation of mutual recognition arrangements that will facilitate the flow of skilled labor in the ASEAN region. The panelists are Zita Mohd Fahmi, Special Quality Assurance (QA) Consultant, Malaysian Qualifications Agency, and Secretary, ASEAN Quality Assurance Network Executive Board; and Panya Chanthavong, Deputy Director, Educational Standards and Quality Assurance Centre, Ministry of Education and Sports. The conversation was led by Megawati Santoso, Vice-Chair, ASEAN Task Force on ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework.

Bali Forum on Skill and Mobility in ASEAN – Plenary Session III: Panel on Recognizing Foreign Qualifications and Experience within ASEAN: Progress and Challenges in Implementing the MRAs

Posted in Migration and Development, Labor Migration by migrationpolicy on October 9th, 2015

This session of the Bali Forum, organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), explores progress toward smoother skills transfers between countries in the ASEAN region—highlighting the challenges that remain toward the full recognition of qualifications and credentials in several of the ASEAN mutual recognition arrangement (MRA) target occupations. ASEAN-level coordinating committee chairs and sectoral leaders share the key areas of progress and challenges in implementing the MRAs and MRA Frameworks, and the ASEAN Secretariat Director for Market Integration, Ho Quang Trung, offers comments. Panelists included Yolanda D. Reyes, Chair of the ASEAN Architect Council (AAC), Leandro A. Conti, Chair of the ASEAN Chartered Professional Engineering Coordinating Committee (ACPECC), Nirwan Noh, Undersecretary of the Industry Development Division at the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Estelita C. Aguirre, Chair of the ASEAN Federation of Accountants, and Ho Quang Trung, Director for Market Integration Directorate in the ASEAN Secretariat. Maria Vincenza Desiderio, a Policy Analyst at MPI Europe provided an overview presentation, and Lesleyanne Hawthorne, Professor, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne acted as Chairperson.

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