The International Organization for Migration is an intergovernmental organization with headquarters in Geneva. It was initially established in 1951 as the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM) to help resettle people displaced by World War II.
IOM is the principal intergovernmental organization in the field of migration. It is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. IOM does so by providing services and advice to governments and migrants.
IOM works to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, be they refugees, displaced persons or other uprooted people.
IOM works in the four broad areas of migration management: migration and development, facilitating migration, regulating migration, and addressing forced migration. Cross-cutting activities include the promotion of international migration law, policy debate and guidance, protection of migrants' rights, migration health and the gender dimension of migration.
IOM works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners. The broader scope of activities has been matched by rapid expansion from a relatively small agency into one with an annual operating budget of close to $1 billion and some 5,400 staff working in over 100 countries worldwide.
IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. As the leading international organization for migration, IOM acts with its partners in the international community to:
- Assist in meeting the growing operational challenges of migration management.
- Advance understanding of migration issues.
- Encourage social and economic development through migration.
- Uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants.
IOM’s Strategic Focus
1. To provide secure, reliable, flexible and cost-effective services for persons who require international migration assistance.
2. To enhance the humane and orderly management of migration and the effective respect for the human rights of migrants in accordance with international law.
3. To offer expert advice, research, technical cooperation and operational assistance to States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders, in order to build national capacities and facilitate international, regional and bilateral cooperation on migration matters.
4. To contribute to the economic and social development of States through research, dialogue, design and implementation of migration-related programmes aimed at maximizing migration’s benefits.
5. To support States, migrants and communities in addressing the challenges of irregular migration, including through research and analysis into root causes, sharing information and spreading best practices, as well as facilitating development-focused solutions.
6. To be a primary reference point for migration information, research, best practices, data collection, compatibility and sharing.
7. To promote, facilitate and support regional and global debate and dialogue on migration, including through the International Dialogue on Migration, so as to advance understanding of the opportunities and challenges it presents, the identification and development of effective policies for addressing those challenges and to identify comprehensive approaches and measures for advancing international cooperation.
8. To assist States to facilitate the integration of migrants in their new environment and to engage diasporas, including as development partners.
9. To participate in coordinated humanitarian responses in the context of inter-agency arrangements in this field and to provide migration services in other emergency or post- crisis situations as appropriate and as relates to the needs of individuals, thereby contributing to their protection. Although IOM has no legal protection mandate, the fact remains that its activities contribute to protecting human rights, having the effect, or consequence, of protecting persons involved in migration.
10. To undertake programmes which facilitate the voluntary return and reintegration of refugees, displaced persons, migrants and other individuals in need of international migration services, in cooperation with other relevant international organizations as appropriate, and taking into account the needs and concerns of local communities.
11. To assist States in the development and delivery of programmes, studies and technical expertise on combating migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons, in particular women and children, in a manner consistent with international law.
12. To support the efforts of States in the area of labour migration, in particular short term movements, and other types of circular migration.