Migration Policy Institute Podcasts

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

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Wednesday Mar 15, 2023

Investor visa programs have become popular for countries seeking to attract foreign investment and stimulate economic growth. Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, however, there has been greater scrutiny on these programs and who is using them. This new controversy has added to a longstanding debate about whether countries should sell residency rights in exchange for passive investment. But how exactly do these programs work, and what are the potential benefits and drawbacks? In this episode, MPI’s Kate Hooper speaks with Madeleine Sumption, the director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, about the range of investment visa programs, applicants’ motives, and more.

Tuesday Mar 14, 2023

La migración ha sido durante mucho tiempo parte de la realidad de las países del Caribe.A menudo asociadas con la emigración a América del Norte y Europa, los movimientos dentro del Caribe son una parte igualmente importante de su historia. En las últimas décadas el cambio climático, los desastres naturales y los cambios en los patrones de movilidad global han modificado el panorama migratorio en el Caribe.En este webinar, expertos del Banco Interamericano (BID) y el Migration Policy Institute (MPI) presentaron las principales conclusiones de su nueva publicación sobre la realidad migratoria de la región. Además, compartieron algunos de los desafíos y oportunidades para la integración de la población migrante, así como para capitalizar el potencial de sus diásporas como un impulso para el desarrollo.

Tuesday Mar 14, 2023

Migration has long been part of Caribbean nations’ reality. Often discussed in the context of emigration to North America and Europe, movements to and within the Caribbean are an equally important part of its history. In recent decades, climate change, natural disasters, and shifts in global mobility patterns have reshaped the migration landscape in the Caribbean.
In this webinar, offered in English and Spanish, experts from the Inter-American Bank and the Migration Policy Institute present a policy review, Migration, Integration, and Diaspora Engagement in the Caribbean, on migration in nine Caribbean countries, outlining challenges and opportunities for the integration of the migrant population and a successful engagement with diasporas to advance the development of the region. The conversation also focuses on recommendations for key Caribbean stakeholders and external partners interested in strengthening the region’s capacity to accommodate changing patterns of migration.

Monday Mar 06, 2023

Increasingly, human beings are city dwellers. More than half the global population lives in an urban area, and the rates are increasing. Some new urban residents may be fleeing rural areas vulnerable to the impact of climate change. But are they likely to fare much better in the city when it comes to climate impacts? And are fast-growing cities around the world prepared to confront environmental challenges that come with rising populations? This episode discusses these questions with noted climate expert Neil Adger, a professor of human geography at the University of Exeter.

Wednesday Feb 15, 2023

The war in Ukraine reaches its one-year milestone on February 24, 2023. Whilst the fallout of the Russian invasion, whether geopolitical, economic, energy- or food-related, has left few countries untouched, the European Union has had to gear up for the prolonged stay of nearly 5 million displaced Ukrainians and face the prospect of new arrivals amid unrelenting violence. This has presented policymakers with the multi-pronged challenge of integrating Ukrainian refugees into housing, education, and labor markets while also preparing for the eventual rebuilding of Ukraine and return of millions of its citizens. Nearly one year into the massive displacement and the relief effort, this MPI Europe webinar examines what has been done to foster the integration of those staying long(er) in host societies, to organize first reception services for any additional newcomers, and to prepare the return of those set on going home and rebuilding Ukraine. Speakers explore responses ranging from swift implementation of the Temporary Protection Directive to improvements in labor market integration, as well as efforts to facilitate social and economic reintegration for those intent on returning. The speakers also consider how the tension between reception, integration, and return (to rebuild) has materialized in the context of the Ukrainian response, and the challenges that lie ahead. The time is ripe to devise a range of approaches that can serve the interests of displaced Ukrainians, host societies, and Ukraine alike. This webinar examines whether the emerging practices are adequate.
Read the related commentary.

Thursday Feb 02, 2023

People displaced by climate change are not eligible for refugee status. But should countries extend any sort of legal protections to them? Our guest, Ama Francis, a climate displacement project strategist with the International Refugee Assistance Project and Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, thinks so. In this episode, we discuss some small ongoing initiatives and what new legal pathways might look like. 

Thursday Dec 15, 2022

Is the world facing a chaotic century of mass migration spurred by climate change? As the planet’s temperature warms, award-winning environmental journalist Gaia Vince thinks so. In her book, Nomad Century: How Climate Migration Will Reshape Our World, she contemplates a future in which hundreds of millions of people move from one part of the globe to another in a planned and deliberate migration. We discuss her bold solutions for managing what she terms a species emergency in this episode.

Thursday Dec 15, 2022

As of November, more than 12.7 million crossings had been recorded into the European Union from Ukraine, with 4.5 million registered under the Temporary Protection Directive (TPD) or similar national protection. The exodus of those fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine beginning in February exceeded that of any recent humanitarian crisis in speed and scale and represents the largest displacement in Europe since World War II. European policymakers, the general public, and volunteers mobilized rapidly to respond.
Across the European Union there has been a generally strong welcome for those displaced from Ukraine, including the first-ever activation of the TPD, which opened quick residence and work rights. Recently, the European Commission extended TPD until March 2024.
But as winter approaches and the brutal conflict in Ukraine drags on, Europe is facing another set of challenges related to longer-term protection and integration for the newcomers. During this armchair discussion, Monique Pariat, the European Commission’s Director General for Migration and Home Affairs, reflects on Europe’s rapid and unprecedented response to the crisis; the tangible outcomes of TPD activation for Ukrainians and host societies alike; Ukrainians’ access to labor markets, education systems, and housing; and reform of the European asylum system.

Thursday Dec 08, 2022

Anxiety around immigration is far from recent, yet there are concerns that it is reaching a new peak with far-right parties attaining positions of power in places such as Sweden and Italy, and nationalistic rhetoric entering the daily mainstream. Populist and radical-right politicians from the United States to France, Denmark, and beyond have exploited anxiety around large-scale demographic change, stoking fears of immigrants “replacing” natives and erasing their culture and way of life. Our Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan discusses with researcher Justin Gest (author of “Majority Minority”) the ways in which the confluence of polarization, nationalism, and immigration seen today can be interpreted. How can increasingly diverse societies come up with a new definition of “we” that is both meaningful and inclusive?  

Thursday Nov 17, 2022

Guyana is a small country in South America that undoubtedly will be greatly transformed by the recent discovery of massive offshore oil reserves. Extremely vulnerable to climate change, with predictions that its capital will be underwater by 2030, Guyana has been known as a green champion, trapping more carbon dioxide than emits. How will the world’s fastest growing economy manage environmental change, particularly with economic growth and proximity to troubled Venezuela likely to drive significant immigration? We discuss these dynamics with Camila Idrovo and Jermaine Grant from the Pan American Development Foundation.

Monday Oct 17, 2022

One in three young children in the United States is a Dual Language Learner (DLL), and nearly half of these children have at least one parent who is Limited English Proficient (LEP). Language access policies and services are critical to promoting the equitable participation of these families in early childhood education and care (ECEC) programs, yet persisting gaps in participation for DLL children in many public ECEC programs demonstrate the need for improved language services to support this population. Amid this reality, the needs for even basic translation and interpretation for children and parents and relevant language skills among early childhood staff are often overlooked. Indeed, many early childhood services lack the necessary data and accountability measures to demonstrate equal access for DLL families, despite civil-rights requirements that they do so.
In this webinar, MPI experts provide an overview of a policy brief outlining federal and state efforts to implement language access policies in the early childhood field. The conversation examines the right to language access in federally funded services and the application of this right to early childhood programs. It also focuses on the language and other barriers that immigrant and DLL families face in accessing early childhood programs despite existing language access requirements, as well as opportunities to improve language services. It also marked the release of factsheets by state.

Thursday Oct 13, 2022

With millions fleeing war-torn Ukraine, questions about how to effectively promote migrant integration are again front and center. Integration policy is often forged in the heat of crises and led by political priorities, with limited resources devoted to making improvements along the way. As a result, lessons from promising innovations that tend to emerge particularly during crises often get lost. Understanding what works, under which conditions, and how to use this knowledge is crucial to design effective policies. Failure to embrace an evidence culture in migrant integration may come at a high human, financial, and societal cost for not only migrants, but also for governments and host societies. 
This webinar, organized as part of the HORIZON SPRING project on Sustainable Practices on Integration, brings together experts and policymakers to examine the state of the field and promising innovations that facilitate an evidence culture in migrant integration, particularly in contexts marked by uncertainty and limited resources, such as the current effort to integrate displaced Ukrainians. The discussion spotlights projects that demonstrate how an evidence culture can be leveraged to benefit migrant integration policymaking, including from the frontline reception of Ukrainian refugees. 
The webinar marked the publication of a policy brief that maps out the state of play of an evidence culture in migrant integration and identifies obstacles and promising steps policymakers at EU and national levels could take. It also previews the launch of a toolkit that will help policymakers and practitioners in their efforts to embed an evidence culture in migrant integration.

Thursday Aug 11, 2022

August 2022 marks the one-year withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul to the Taliban. While the world watched the chaotic evacuation of Afghans via airlift, the suspension of aid and diplomatic relations and rise of new leadership further drove Afghanistan into a massive social and economic crisis where women and minorities became especially vulnerable. Humanitarian and development organizations have had to revisit their operations and approach while the needs of vulnerable Afghans grew even more pressing. A year on, what is the status of Afghans who made it to the United States and Europe, what pathways are there for those who remain behind and are in peril given their past work with U.S. and allied forces, have the United States and other governments delivered on their promise to assist these individuals, and what opportunities exist to improve the humanitarian situation for Afghans abroad and in Afghanistan?
This two-panel webinar reflects on the humanitarian and development challenges in Afghanistan and for neighboring countries, the difficult choices facing aid donors and their partners, and what needs to be done to ensure still at-risk Afghans are able to reach safety. The first panel addresses the humanitarian and development situation in Afghanistan and the region, and the second panel discusses ongoing efforts to secure safe pathways and prospects for innovations and further international coordination.

Tuesday Aug 02, 2022

Digital health credentialing is one of the main tools to safely return to pre-pandemic levels of mobility and plan for the next public health crisis. Digital innovations—including automatic verification of health and vaccination results—are reopening economies and global mobility while setting the standard for new ways of managing mobility and health that will outlast the pandemic, especially in regions that had lower levels of digital use and more limited health and border management systems. Notably, India’s DIVOC system and the African Union Trusted Traveler system are examples of how the pandemic fueled large-scale innovation in this regard. In this episode, we discuss these developments with Dr. Pramod Varma, chief architect of India's digital identity program, Aadhar, and of its COVID pass system, DIVOC; Dr. Edem Adzogenu, co-chair and founder of the Afro Champions Initiative, which supports regional integration and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement; and Lawrence Huang, a Migration Policy institute (MPI) associate policy analyst working on its Task Force on Borders and Mobility During and After COVID-19.

Tuesday Jul 19, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout have triggered the perfect storm in migrant integration, with migrants and refugees experiencing disproportionate health and economic effects. They also upended the ability of policymakers and practitioners to respond in typical ways, given the halt to the delivery of in-person services and the forced shift online.
Marking the release of a Migration Policy Institute Europe report, this webinar examines how government strategies, practices, and instruments of integration policymaking have adapted during the pandemic both in Europe and North America. How did policymakers ensure effective and agile responses in a context of COVID-induced disruption, and what can be learned to promote cost-effective integration policies moving forward?

Tuesday Jul 19, 2022

There is no "one-size-fits-all" reintegration model that can ensure success for returning migrants and the communities into which they are re-entering. Returnees have complex, interconnected economic, social, and psychosocial needs that typically cannot be covered by one single service provider. Returning migrants need to be able to access core public services (documentation, work opportunities, and health care) as well as context-specific local initiatives that will endure even after reintegration programs end. Yet while there is a growing acknowledgment that better partnerships between reintegration providers and local actors are needed to expand the variety of support measures available to returnees, there is no consensus as to how these connections (or "referrals") should be organized, what types of services referral partners should deliver (and what support they need to do so), and how outcomes can best be monitored over time.
This MPI Europe webinar, releasing a brief, examines how to design referral mechanisms so that returnees receive the core services they need, while also ensuring support is embedded within local contexts (for instance delivered by trusted providers, or calibrated to specific ethnic, cultural, or linguistic needs). Speakers explore questions around how major donors and providers can effectively partner with local actors, striking the right balance between formal reintegration programs (that are often more established but can be removed from local needs) and local initiatives (which may lack capacity but be better placed to cultivate trust with beneficiaries). How can programs be embedded within the fabric of local communities and "professionalized" to ensure that migrants do not fall through the cracks and outcomes are monitored over time?

Tuesday Jul 19, 2022

Cada año la violencia, la inseguridad y las presiones económicas obligan a decenas de miles de migrantes de El Salvador, Guatemala y Honduras a buscar mejores medios de vida y oportunidades fuera de sus países de origen. Aunque algunos migrantes pueden ser elegibles para recibir protección humanitaria bajo los limitados sistemas de asilo y refugio en la región, la mayoría no puede acceder los caneles existentes de migración regular. Por esta razón, la ampliación de los programas de trabajo temporal puede ser un mecanismo importante para convertir algunos flujos migratorios irregulares en regulares.
Aunque la ampliación de los programas de empleo temporal de Estados Unidos, como las visas temporales H-2, es fundamental para establecer alternativas regionales a la migración irregular y cubrir la escasez de mano de obra nacional, es insuficiente sin la ampliación simultánea de programas similares en Canadá, México y Costa Rica.
Como parte de un proyecto del Migration Policy Institute, Building a Regional Migration System, este webcast presenta los resultados de un informe sobre las rutas de empleo temporal para los migrantes centroamericanos en Canadá, México y Costa Rica. Los ponentes ofrece un análisis del Programa de Trabajo Temporal para Extranjeros en Canadá, la Visa de Trabajador Fronterizo en México y el Acuerdo Binacional de Costa Rica con Nicaragua, ofreciendo recomendaciones para mejorar estas rutas y promover una migración segura, ordenada y regular.

Monday Jul 18, 2022

Violence, insecurity, and economic pressures compel tens of thousands of migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras every year to seek better livelihoods and opportunities outside their countries of origin. Some may be eligible for humanitarian protection under the limited asylum systems in the region, but most cannot access existing legal migration pathways. Expanding temporary worker programs therefore can offer an important means to convert some irregular flows into legal ones.
While expanding U.S. temporary employment programs, such as H-2 seasonal visas, is central to establishing regional alternatives to irregular migration and filling domestic labor shortages, it is insufficient without the simultaneous expansion of similar programs in Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica.
As part of a Migration Policy Institute project, Building a Regional Migration System, this webcast presents research findings from a report on temporary employment pathways for Central American migrants in Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Speakers offer an analysis of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in Canada, the Border Worker Visa in Mexico, and Costa Rica’s Binational Agreement with Nicaragua, providing recommendations to improve these pathways and promote safe, orderly, and regular migration.

Friday Jul 15, 2022

En los últimos años, cientos de miles de Centroamericanos han huido de la violencia de pandillas o la violencia de género, violaciones a derechos humanos y problemas socioeconómicos exacerbados por desastres naturales en Guatemala, Honduras y El Salvador. La gran mayoría han llegado a las fronteras de México y Estados Unidos para solicitar asilo y refugio, poniendo una gran presión sobre los sistemas de asilo y las capacidades de procesamiento de estos gobiernos. Como resultado, miles de personas han quedado en el limbo mientras esperan la resolución de sus casos.
Si bien los programas de reasentamiento de refugiados son una opción para evitar que las personas emprendan viajes peligrosos, hasta la fecha se han implementado de manera muy limitada en la región. Con el fin de buscar una solución a este creciente desafío, los formuladores de políticas en Canadá y Estados Unidos han comenzado a reconsiderar si el reasentamiento debería desempeñar un papel más importante en atender las necesidades regionales de protección, así como la manera en la que se podrían ampliar las vías humanitarias y de reasentamiento.A la publicación de un informe del Instituto de Política Migratoria sobre posibles vías de protección para las personas centroamericanas, este webcast ofrece un análisis sobre las vías humanitarias y de reasentamiento que ya se utilizan en la región—incluido el Acuerdo de Traslado por Motivos de Protección, y otras modalidades de procesamiento dentro de país como el Programa de Menores Centroamericanos (CAM), así como el reasentamiento de refugiados en terceros países—y se discuten las oportunidades y los obstáculos para expandir estos programas. Los ponentes también brindan recomendaciones sobre acciones específicas que Estados Unidos y Canadá podrían tomar con base en sus sólidos sistemas de protección humanitaria.
El evento es en inglés con interpretación en español.

Thursday Jul 14, 2022

Fleeing gang-related and gender-based violence, human-rights violations, and socioeconomic problems exacerbated by natural disasters in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, hundreds of thousands of Central American asylum seekers have arrived at the Mexican and U.S. borders, straining these governments’ asylum systems and processing capacities. As a result, thousands of asylum seekers have been left in limbo while they await the resolution of their cases. While refugee resettlement programs are an option to avoid undertaking dangerous journeys, they have been deployed on a very limited basis in the region to date.
Seeking a solution to this growing challenge, policymakers in Canada and the United States have begun to reconsider whether resettlement should play a larger role in addressing regional protection needs, and how resettlement and humanitarian pathways could be scaled up.
Marking the release of a Migration Policy Institute report on possible protection pathways for Central Americans, this webcast offers analysis on resettlement and humanitarian channels already utilized the region—including in-country processing, the Protection Transfer Arrangement, and third-country refugee resettlement—and the opportunities and obstacles to expanding these programs. Speakers will also provide recommendations for specific actions that the United States and Canada could take, given their well-established humanitarian protection systems.

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