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International Organization for Migration

  • The articles in this special dossier introduce the reader to some key issues of relevance to migration governance from a multilevel perspective and present a diverse picture of what migration governance means to a range of academics and practitioners. There are inevitably gaps, and voices are missing, however the articles in this dossier offer a first glimpse into the complex reality of migration governance.

    In this introductory article we introduce some key concepts that will be useful to the reader as they navigate the articles in the series. 

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  • There is a widespread consensus that the current governance of migration is unsatisfactory, but no consensus on the ways in which it should be improved. Policy debates polarise around simple binary oppositions that fail to address the complexity of the political dilemmas. There are at least five key ways in which to think about and govern migration, which evolve around different priorities: (1) state sovereignty, (2) security and interstate cooperation to control borders, (3) human rights and migrants’ vulnerability to abuses, (4) economistic management of migration for growth and development, and (5) free movement. Migration governance draws upon all five principles, but future migration governance will need to re-equilibrate the balance between them to achieve lasting and successful political strategies.

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