Better data for a better migration policy

23 May 2014

It is obvious that for developing a proper migration policy, a country needs accurate and up-to-date information about foreigners living in the country, and its own countrymen and women broad. However, collecting and properly analyzing this data is more challenging than one would expect.

IOM assists Ukraine in improving its migration management for the mutual benefit of the state and migrants. The latest step in this longstanding cooperation was the presentation of the migration data assessment recently conducted in Kyiv*. The analysis on how Ukrainian state bodies collect and systematize migration-related data was conducted by two of the leading Ukrainian experts in this field, Ms. Olena Malynovska from the National Institute for Strategic Studies, and Mr. Oleksii Pozniak from the Institute of Demography and Social Studies with the National Academy of Sciences.

“Comprehensive and systematized migration-related data is a precondition for developing an effective migration policy. Our aim is to support Ukraine on its way to a sound, evidence-based, migration management system, which would ensure protection of migrants rights, be it foreigners in Ukraine or Ukrainian labour migrants working abroad,” explains Manfred Profazi, Chief of the IOM Mission in Ukraine.

The existing practices and implementation of relevant Ukrainian legislation were examined through interviews with representatives of the state institutions owning and/or dealing with migration-related statistics. At the presentation the representative of the State Statistic Service of Ukraine, Lyubov Zadoyenko, highlighted that gathering all relevant government agency is an excellent practice, allowing to work on sustainable results, and thanked the EU and IOM for initiating  not only the assessment, but also giving the government partners a chance to collectively review and comment.

Over 20 state authorities appeared to be engaged, to different extents, in the process of collection, storage, and sharing of migration data. The results of the assessment demonstrate a need to further enhance inter-agency cooperation in collecting information on migration processes, as well as to make this work more migrant-focused.

For example, in the case of irregular migrants, not just their citizenship, but also their age and gender should be recorded. This is also relevant for information on the naturalization of foreigners, and the issuance of residence permits. All these adjustments are needed to better understand who the migrants are, to ensure that the needs of women and men are met equally and that their rights are being protected in accordance with the best European and international standards.

The experts also pointed out the need to better address the issue of Ukrainians living and working abroad. Thus, they recommend to conduct periodical labour migration surveys every four or five years, and to provide for profiles of different categories of labour migrants, including long-term labour migrants who are actually emigrants, notwithstanding that they did not deregister; citizens who returned after emigration; and circular migrants. Among the main challenges the scientists and other professionals in the migration field have to deal with is the fact that the data on Ukrainian migrants available from Ukrainian state bodies does not coincide with the data from the countries of destination; there is no clear categorization of the small cross-border movement participants within the general statistics; and the share of labour migrants’ remittances in the general amount of private remittances to Ukraine should be more precisely determined. Getting and properly analyzing all these data will be of major importance for migration policy making. 


*The assessment was conducted in the framework of the EU-funded MIGRECO project (Strengthening Migration Management and Cooperation on Readmission in Eastern Europe). MIGRECO assists Ukraine to develop a comprehensive migration management system in line with EU best practices, which will support Ukraine’s efforts in progressing in the visa-free dialogue with the EU.