Enhancing governance of labour and return migration

Good governance of migration is essential for securing the rights of the individual men and women who migrate for work, and for stimulating the development potential of migration for both countries of origin and destination. A desirable international order for labour migration would be one where people migrate by choice and not by necessity; and where those who migrate for work will enjoy full labour and human rights. A main challenge for governments and key actors in countries of origin, transit and destination is the concrete planning and implementation of effective, mutually reinforcing policies and practices to enhance the development potential of migration and at the same time protect and empower migrants throughout the migration cycle: before they leave their home country; after they leave and while they work in countries of destination; and after they return to their home countries.

Governance of migration entails putting in place good national structures and systems but also necessitates international partnerships and collaboration via bilateral and multilateral means. Such collaboration could be based on, among others, the following measures: recognition of mutual benefits to both origin and destination countries; transparent migration policies in line with labour market needs; protection of migrant workers’ rights in line with international instruments; promotion of bilateral, regional and international cooperation and formulation of policies based on reliable information and data. 

Development of a national policy framework on migration is an essential first step towards creating effective migration governance structures. Such a policy should set out the institutional, the legislative and the regulatory framework as well as the framework for social dialogue and other consultative processes. For developing countries, it would be particularly relevant to link migration and employment policies and to recognize and harness the contribution of labour migration to development through, inter alia, the transfer of remittances , investments, technology, and critical skills, which can be  promoted through return migration and by transnational communities.

The following sections provide a comprehensive list of resources and tools describing the interlinkages between migration and development, policy making, migration and employment, gender and migration, and return migration. Also included are tools for relevant partners, such as trade unions and civil society organizations.


Thank you for your interest in the Global Migration Group.

Please be advised that following extensive system-wide consultations and the proposal by the UN Deputy Secretary-General and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for International Migration, the UN Secretary-General decided, at a meeting of the Executive Committee on 23 May 2018, to establish a UN Network on Migration, as a successor to the Global Migration Group, to ensure effective, coordinated system-wide support to the implementation of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.


The UN Network on Migration can be contacted via its Secretariat at [email protected]