At the end of January 2015, representatives of the State Migration Service of Ukraine, Administration of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, and about ten other Ukrainian institutions directly or partially engaged in the development and implementation of Ukrainian migration policy gathered for a two-day workshop, facilitated by IOM, to discuss prospects for a new strategic migration policy document.
The adoption of a national migration strategy and an action plan for its implementation, containing a timeframe, specific objectives, activities, results, performance indicators and sufficient human and financial resources is indicated in the EU-Ukraine Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP) as one of the core conditions for a visa-free regime for Ukrainian citizens in the EU.
Pursuant to the VLAP requirements, the State Migration Policy Concept of Ukraine was adopted by the President in May 2011, and the Action Plan on implementation of the Concept was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers in October 2011. However, according to the main findings of the study “Regional Gaps Analysis of Institutional Migration Management Capacities” commissioned by IOM under its MIGRECO project*, the Concept and the Action Plan require considerable updating to address today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. The governmental partners fully agreed with this approach and welcomed IOM’s comprehensive support to this process.
Thus, in close cooperation with the State Migration Service of Ukraine, IOM conducted a comparative analysis of recently adopted national migration strategies of seven EU and Eastern Partnership countries: Bulgaria, Georgia, Finland, Moldova, Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary, and identified three policy documents which are most relevant to the Ukrainian circumstances, namely those of Moldova, Georgia, and Poland.
Experts from the Bureau for Migration and Asylum of the Republic of Moldova, the Secretariat of the State Commission on Migration Issues of Georgia, and the Ministry of the Interior of Poland presented their national migration strategies – all enacted in recent years – and conveyed their countries’ experience in drafting, adopting and implementing the strategies. The foreign guest speakers openly shared with their Ukrainian counterparts both achievements and challenges encountered by their governments while working on the strategies.
The event was opened by IOM Ukraine’s Chief of Mission Manfred Profazi, who stressed that IOM would continue providing assistance to the Ukrainian Government in establishing a comprehensive migration management system and supporting its efforts to develop a national migration strategy in line with EU best practices and facilitate the EU-Ukraine visa dialogue.
First Deputy Head of the State Migration Service of Ukraine Yurii Serhiyenko welcomed the participants of the event and expressed gratitude to IOM and its international partners for their ongoing support.
“The adoption of a national migration strategy is an urgent step for Ukraine as the social and demographic situation in the country necessitates new approaches to migration management and a new legal framework for migration policy. We are looking forward to make the best use of this event to hear about our colleagues’ knowledge and experience; this will ensure the high quality and applicability of the newly drafted policy document and will help to avoid possible pitfalls,” said Mr. Serhiyenko.
As a follow-up of the workshop, a three-day visit to one of the represented countries is planned for the Ukrainian governmental migration policy experts. The visit will seek to familiarize the participants with the specifics of the host country’s development and implementation of migration policy, decisions made, and lessons learned.
*The EU-funded MIGRECO project (“Strengthening Migration Management and Cooperation on Readmission in Eastern Europe”) has been supporting Ukraine in implementation of the VLAP since February 2013.
Key project partners in Ukraine are the State Migration Service, the State Border Guard Service, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Social Policy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Secretariat of the Ombudsperson.