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Through empowerment, policy change, and legal action, we target reforms that meaningfully improve the working and living conditions of migrants.
The International Migration Initiative seeks to address systemic exploitation, discrimination, and violence against migrants at every stage of their journey.

International Migration Initiative

The International Migration Initiative seeks to address exploitation, discrimination and violence against migrants at every stage of their migration journey. Specifically, the initiative aims to increase protections for migrants in the Asia/Middle East and the Central America/Mexico corridors while improving policymaking and the governance of international migration.

Two unique aspects of the initiative’s approach amplify its impact: First, our focus on migration corridors means the initiative is active in both countries of origin and destination, and thus targets every stage of the migration journey. Second, we bridge advocacy and policy by drawing on the experience of grassroots organizations, while engaging with policymaker and political leaders. Through empowerment, policy change, and legal action, we target reforms that can meaningfully improve the working and living conditions of migrants.

The International Migration Initiative’s main areas of work are built around increasing protections for migrants and improving migration policymaking and the governance of international migration. Within these strategic priority areas, the initiative targets three overarching goals:

  • Deterring rights violations and increasing access to justice: The International Migration Initiative aims to demonstrably improve the working and living conditions of migrants by bringing about a measurable decline in acts of violence against them and reducing the incidence of forced labor. This requires the development of a broader, stronger network of organizations and practitioners engaged in advocacy. We are pursuing initiatives to increase access to justice by building capacity among legal practitioners so they can overcome legal and jurisdictional hurdles impeding migrants’ access to redress.
  • Empowering migrants: The initiative seeks to strengthen the ability of migrants to assert and defend their rights, primarily by increasing access to information. This involves improving the quality, coverage, and effectiveness of training and orientation seminars prior to departure and upon arrival in countries of employment. We also aim to create an enabling environment in which migrants can mobilize and make their voices heard through grassroots organizing, the development of associations and informal support networks, and the creation of migrant-run, community-based media.
  • Enhancing regional policymaking and dialogue: The initiative advances policy reform and the promulgation of best practices by enabling dialogue among key stakeholders, including among actors who might not otherwise come together. We also aim to build the evidence base necessary to inform these conversations and to deepen networks among policymakers, as well as between the state and civil society. In the long term, we aim to promote more inclusive, tolerant communities and a better-informed public in order to combat xenophobia and discrimination.

Note: The International Migration Initiative focuses primarily on work outside the United States. For information on the U.S. immigration work of the Open Society Foundations, please see U.S. Programs.