Second Regional Migration Governance Conference Gathers Senior Governments Officials and Global Experts to Discuss Issues of Return and Labour Migration during COVID-19

On 15 -16, November, IOM Armenia in collaboration with IOM Georgia and in partnership with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure of the Republic of Armenia, organized a two-day high-level conference gathering senior government officials from Armenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Moldova, Nepal, and  Romania, as well as experts, diaspora and civil society representatives from Bulgaria, Croatia, Switzerland,  and the United States. Over two days, participants discussed about the dramatic impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic on migration patterns, particularly pertaining to labour migration.

The conference titled “Second Regional Thematic Conference on Reintegration, Return and Labour Migration in the Context of Covid-19 pandemic” is the second in a series of three regional conferences to be held on topics of regional interest within the migration field. This high-level event-triggered exchanges on the experiences and lessons learned of governments within the region in responding to the socio-economic impacts and opportunities of return migration during the COVID-19 pandemic. Three main thematic areas were investigated: (i) Social and Economic Reintegration into Slowing Economies and Labour Markets; (ii) Leveraging the Return of Skilled Migrants for Economic Development and; (iii) Re-Opening Safe, Regular Labour Migration Channels.

The event took place online and was organized within the framework of the project “Enhancing Migrants’ Rights and Good Governance in Armenia and Georgia (EMERGE)” funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.

The conference opened with an address by Ilona Ter-Minasyan, Head of Office, IOM Armenia, who outlined the potential of returning migrants to support the better recovery for countries participating in this conference post-COVID-19 pandemic. “This is part of our efforts to initiate and maintain and energize the migration management-related dialogue amongst the countries in the region…This year we are moving to another set of issues and challenges which are shared across the region and which are particularly relevant in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are soon to enter year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has completely changed our environment in which we operate and has put additional challenges both to migrants and migration and to entities and the governments who are participating in migration management and facilitating migration management” said IOM Georgia Chief of Mission, Sanja Celebic Lukovac.

The highlight of the event was the keynote speech delivered by Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury, the Lumry Family Associate Professor at the Harvard Business School. Mr. Choudhury spoke about the steps of the Government to Promote Remote Working Models. The Professor summarized his presentation by stating: “Work from anywhere and remote work can help regions that have lost talent to brain drain to attract talent. It can happen nationally through digital nomad visa or programmes such as Start-Up Chile, it can happen regionally using incentives such as Tulsa Remote programme.” The conference report is being finalized and the highlights will be presented at an online event scheduled to take place in January 2022.

Download the conference report.

SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities