Free Movement of Persons in Regional Integration Processes (2007)

June 18 - 19, 2007
International Conference Centre, Geneva, Switzerland

Background

This seminar forms part of IOM's International Dialogue on Migration (IDM) which in 2007 has an overall theme of "Migration Management in the Evolving Global Economy". The IDM was launched by IOM in 2001 to provide a forum to States as well as international and non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders for the exchange of views and experiences on migration matters, with the aim of contributing to a better understanding of migration and strengthening cooperative mechanisms to comprehensively and effectively address migration issues.

Overview

Regional integration agreements vary significantly, including with respect to their objectives, elements covered, depth of integration, institutional structure and legal basis. Likewise, liberalization of the movement of persons within the framework of these agreements also varies significantly. Liberalization of mobility may be either a primary or secondary element of the agreement. In addition, the overall objectives of the regional agreement impact the extent to which the movement of people is liberalized and how the movement of people is addressed and implemented. While recognizing that various regional agreements have different objectives – both generally and with respect to the movement of persons - exchange of experiences between different regions can provide useful insights and help to identify effective tools for managing the movement of people.

The main objectives of the workshop were:

  • to bring together representatives of the various authorities involved in the liberalization of the movement of persons within the framework of regional integration agreements, including policy makers and experts directly responsible for these issues;
  • to share experiences and perspectives relating to this type of liberalized movement; and
  • to identify effective tools for managing the movement of people in the context of regional integration.