Migration Governance Index project and report:

Jointly implemented with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the project involves the development of a policy-benchmarking framework to assess the extent to which national migration policies facilitate orderly, safe and well managed migration, as laid out in SDG Target 10.7.

The framework is composed of over 70 indicators grouped under 5 different dimensions of migration governance, and draws upon the MiGOF categories. Research was conducted in 15 pilot countries, the results of which were released on 2 May, 2016 at IOM HQ in Geneva and 3 May, 2016 at GMDAC in Berlin.

The aim is to replicate this initial exercise in a larger number of countries during a second phase of the project.

Please scroll down for more information.

Information note on indicator for SDG Target 10.7 “Facilitating safe and orderly migration through well-managed migration policies”

Migration in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development


  • Recognizes the positive contribution of migrants for inclusive growth and sustainable development
  • Commits to eradicating forced labour and human trafficking, and to end child labour
  • Calls for the empowerment of vulnerable groups, including refugees, internally displaces persons, and migrants
  • Calls for access by all – including migrants – to life-long learning opportunities
  • Highlights the impact of humanitarian crises and forced displacement of people upon development progress

Goal and Target Framework

The insertion of migration into the Sustainable Development Goals (SGGs) is one of the key innovations of the 2030 international development agenda. Several SDG targets mention or are relevant for migration, as illustrated in the annexed document. The centre-piece for migration in the post-2015 development framework is target 10.7, as it is the only one exclusively dedicated to migration. Such target concerns the facilitation of orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies, recognizing the role of human mobility in reducing inequality within and across countries – a fundamental endeavour of the 2030 agenda.

Discussions within the Inter-Agency Expert Group about which indicators should be selected to monitor progress towards target 10.7 are ongoing. The indicators that have hitherto been suggested, such as the number of migrants who have died or have been injured while attempting to reach countries of destination, the number of refugees per 10.000 inhabitants, or the recruitment fees paid by labour migrants are all valuable ones but, taken separately, too narrow to capture the breadth of target 10.7.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has therefore opted for developing a composite index to track progress in relation to the key requisite of target 10.7, namely “the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies”. There have been a number of inter-governmental consultations dedicated to defining “well-managed migration policies” – namely the Berne Initiative and yearly meetings of the Global Forum for Migration Development, which reviews migration policies and practices of participating States. Lately, the IOM Council has discussed the establishment of a Migration Governance Framework (MiGOF) that builds on such multilateral processes. IOM Member States are set to formally adopt a resolution endorsing the MiGOF at the IOM Council in November 2015.

As part of IOM’s approach to assessing “well-governed migration” by use of a composite index, IOM is collaborating with the Economist Intelligence Unit to build a Migration Governance Index (MGI). As a matter of fact, the EIU, has a long track-record of developing methods and tools for assessing complex policy areas in a number of fields. IOM notes that composite indices are suggested in other areas for the 2030 Agenda, such as financing, biodiversity and ocean heat The MGI will consider countries’ institutional framework relating to migration in a number of key areas (see below), thereby focusing on “policy inputs” rather than “policy outcomes.” This will ensure a more objective, consistent and methodologically robust analysis of countries’ migration policies However, the index will also be reviewed yearly through tests assessing how the national overall “policy scores” correlate with migrants’ well-being in a particular country – a migration policy outcome measure. On this front, IOM is partnering with the Gallup World Poll to track migrant well-being around the world. The correlation between the index, based on policy input indicators, and migrant well-being, a policy outcome indicator, will be useful to validate MGI results for each country, and eventually achieve more explanatory power when analysing countries’ migration governance.

Importantly, the index will not establish a global ranking of states on migration policy. Comparisons of states’ performances would be highly controversial and therefore will not be published. A global comparison would also have limited meaning as countries face different challenges and opportunities in relation to migration, and have largely different resources to allocate to migration management. Rather, MGI results will be a tool to assist governments to look at how comprehensive their policies are and help them identify gaps and prioritise when building institutional capacity and devising programmes on migration.

More specifically, MGI will cover 5 areas of migration governance. The policy domains of the MGI are taken from the MiGOF, which bases itself on the most recent international consensus on the definition of “well-managed migration policies”.


  1. Institutional capacity: indicators in this area will assess countries‘ institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks for the effective design and implementation of migration policies. This area also looks at the existence of a national migration strategy in line with development objectives and overseas development efforts, as well as institutional transparency and coherence in relation to migration management.


  1. Migrant rights and integration: indicators in this domain aim at measuring the extent to which migrants have the same status as citizens in terms of access to basic social services such as health, education, and social security. It will also look at family reunification, right to work, access to residency and citizenship for migrants.


  1. Migration management: this area will assess countries‘ approach to migration management in terms of border control and enforcement policies, admission criteria for migrants, preparedness and resilience in case of significant and unexpected migration flows, as well as the fight against modern day slavery, as outlined in targets 5.2, 8.7 and 16.2.


  1. Labour, economics and investment: indicators in this area will assess countries‘ policies for managing labour migration, including recognition of migrants‘ qualifications, provisions regulating student migration and the existence of bilateral labour agreements between countries. Aspects of diaspora engagement in the country of origin and migrant remittances also come under this domain.


  1. Regional and international cooperation and partnerships: this category includes elements such as the signature and ratification of international conventions, countries‘ efforts in establishing inter-state cooperation on migration-related issues and collaboration with relevant non-governmental actors, including civil society organisations and the private sector.

To begin with, IOM and EIU have applied the Migration Governance Index to 15 pilot countries, selected on the basis of regional balance, broad migration trends, and economic performance. The index includes both qualitative and quantitative indicators. A rigorous weighting and scoring system aimed at ensuring validity of the index and consistency across countries has been tested on the following 15 pilot countries:

  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Canada
  • Costa Rica
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Italy
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Morocco
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Sweden
  • The Philippines
  • Turkey

The main findings for the 15 pilot project countries were presented in a report Spring 2016. As mentioned above, the aim is to replicate this initial exercise in a larger number of countries during a second phase of the project. IOM’s GMDAC and EIU intend on creating a yearly report on the state of well-managed migration policies and to consolidate and improve the MGI’s method with the sight set towards HLPF in 2019.