Business-City Partnership Project: Rotterdam Pilot 

Building on THP’s experiencesRotterdam small with conducting Expert Consultations with the private sector and cities, THP identified the need to form partnerships between the private sector and cities to address migration challenges specific to the city in question.

A first pilot project was launched to facilitate the formation of such a partnership in the city of Rotterdam. THP, the Port of Rotterdam, the City of Rotterdam and Erasmus University are focusing on creating partnerships, or pathways of cooperation, between city government and local businesses for the purpose of improving migration and labour market outcomes in Rotterdam.

This two year project is forward looking, has a long-term focus and is being co-funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the City of Rotterdam, and the Port of Rotterdam amongst others. As the project unfolds, THP will roll out a series of other partnerships in cities in and around Europe using the Rotterdam Pilot Project as an example.

For more information about the Business-City Partnership Project please contact Teressa Juzwiak (Research Coordinator).
Tel: +31 (0)10 7118988

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Towards an Inclusive Approach to Citizenship: Investing in Education for the Empowerment of All City Residents

Location: Porto Alegre, Brazil
Partners: City of The Hague, Compagnia di San Paolo, ICCO, Oxfam Novib.

date: february 2008


International Workshop organised by The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration within the World Conference on the Development of Cities: Democratic Innovation and Social Transformations for Inclusive Cities for the 21st Century which took place in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in February 2008.

To what extent is education the key to the inclusion and empowerment of all in the city? Is it a required focus for a holistic human rights based approach to personal and collective development in the city? What are the challenges in terms of effective and equal access for refugees and migrant populations? Beyond access, what proactive policies can enable newcomers to overcome barriers (language, school environnment, orientation…)? Which stakeholders should be engaged and which partnerships established ?

These are some of the framing questions which guided the work of The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration within the World Conference on the Development of Cities. Challenges were addressed by participants from Cairo, Johannesburg, SŠļ•o Paulo, Lyon, Turin and The Hague on the basis of their respective experiences in the field of education, human rights and migration. The initiative unveiled pathways to advance the realization of fundamental rights to education and inclusion of all city residents. The initiative received support by UNESCO, by way of its Assistant Director General for Education Mr. N.Burnett.

The key findings from the workshop can be found in the Final Report.

Download the Report

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Preliminary Expert Consultation on Business / Cities and Urbanisation / Migration

location: the hague, the netherlands 
date: november 2010


The consultation was designed to collect input from representatives of business and cities presenting their perspective on refugee and migration issues in relation to their professional objectives. The facilitators of both groups shared the main findings in plenary sessions to spark off a multidisciplinary debate and to work towards consensus.

Download the Report

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First Expert Consultation for Business and Cities on Migration and Urbanisation, Johannesburg

Location: Johannesburg, south africa  
date: june 2011


On 28-29 June 2011 the first Expert Consultation for business and cities on migration and urbanisation took place in Johannesburg, South Africa. Organised by Foundation The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration (THP), the event was the first in a series of some five similar consultations to be held around the world. Toronto and Istanbul are next in line; Asia and Latin America will follow.

The objective of the consultations is to bring two key stakeholders in the refugee and migration domain, big cities and business, together with a view to develop practical answers to migration developments. The outcomes of each consultation will inform the next in the series and will ultimately feed into the The Hague Global Hearing on Refugees and Migration in 2012.


Regional document

Photo reportage


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2nd Expert Consultation for Business and Cities on Migration and Urbanisation, Toronto

location: Toronto, canada 
date: SEPTEMBER 2011


The topic of migration seen from the perspective of business and cities is not new to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), where attention has been paid to this nexus over the last ten years. However, THP’s initiative to organise an Expert Consultation in cooperation with CivicAction offered an opportunity for a broad selection of representatives from the region to get an international perspective on migration trends, and to consider these trends in the context of regional issues around migration with THP’s international representatives. The consultation allowed participants to explore the challenges presented by immigration trends and the opportunities for better collaboration between the private sector and the various levels of government.


Regional Document

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3rd Expert Consultation for Business and Cities on Migration and Urbanisation, Manila

location, manila, the philippines
date: march 2012


The topic of migration is key in understanding social and economic realities in the Philippines. Many dimensions of the phenomenon are the subject of various national, regional and local initiatives. To address the issue of migration from primarily a business and cities perspective, however, added a new level of engagement. THP’s initiative to organise an Expert Consultation in cooperation with IDEALS and hosted by THP Board Member Doris Magsaysay offered a unique occasion for a broad selection of representatives from local government, the private sector and civil society to exchange best practices, discuss dilemmas and forge new partnerships for practical cooperation. The consultation allowed participants to showcase existing initiatives and to progressively debate the ambiguities of the migration realities ranging from social costs to economic opportunities. An important insight was that migration is not a temporary phase society has to go through, but a persistent feature that will not go away and has to be dealt with in all its aspects.


regional document

photo reportage

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4th Expert Consultation for Business and Cities on Migration and Urbanisation, Istanbul

location: istanbul, turkey 
date: october 2012


The topic of migration and refugees in the context of the Istanbul Metropolitan Area has a long history, is complex but also in need of more focused attention. THP’s initiative to organise an Expert Consultation in cooperation with Bilgi University’s Center for Migration Research provided a platform for a select group of representatives working in the field in the presence of international experts and representatives from the national and local government. The event was an illustration of the state of migration and refugee policies in the Turkish context. Reflective of the situation in Turkey was the emphasis on refugee issues and the absence of domestic migrant organizations.

Officials from the Ministry of the Interior (Department of Asylum Affairs) explained how timely the consultation was as preparations for a new legislation on asylum were ongoing. The draft law would open the way to Turkey meeting most of the requirements set by the EU short of the lifting of the geographical limitation to the 1951 Geneva Convention.

To get an international perspective on migration trends, and to consider these trends in the context of regional issues around migration, THP introduced international representatives who highlighted the connection between urban challenges on migration and refugees and the role of the business sector. Discussions explored a number of topics ranging from security considerations to perceptions, irregular migration and the labour market. Against the backdrop of an economy that for a significant part is informal, emphasis was put on the context of urban poverty and the need for protection.


Regional document

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Migrant and Refugee Integration in Global Cities: The Role of Cities and Businesses

Authors: Teressa Juzwiak, Elaine mc gregor, melissa siegel
partner: maastricht graduate school of governance, unu-merit

Publication date: 2014


Migration is a local reality. Cities are places where both migrants and non-migrants interact, be it through working, studying, living, playing or raising their families. This report blazes a trail by linking migrant and refugee integration policies, public-private partnerships and the local level in a comparative discussion. It will serve to fill an important gap in the literature.

The study, initiated by The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration (THP) in partnership with UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance, looks at how businesses and governments in global cities contribute to the economic and social integration of migrant and refugee populations, either through outreach, specialised programs, the provision of services or targeted funding of NGOs; and to what extent these contributions can be deepened or expanded. The study focuses on efforts by the private sector and city governments ‚Äď both separately and in partnership ‚Äď to give these groups greater protection and opportunities in employment markets and communities.

More specifically, this report identifies good practices among the selected cities as well as gaps in intervention by determining whether and how business and cities are currently working together to create opportunities for migrants and refugees to deepen their integration into society. Where there is presently no collaboration between the private and public sectors, the research identifies barriers and opportunities for potential partnerships. To this end, the research draws from eight case studies: Auckland (New Zealand), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Chicago (USA), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Lisbon (Portugal), Nairobi (Kenya), Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and S√£o Paulo (Brazil).

Final Report

The report is accompanied by eight individual case study reports, one per city, which provide further background information and discussion for the interested reader. Click on the respective city below to download the individual case study report:

Buenos Aires
Kuala Lumpur
S√£o Paulo

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State of Play Review: Migrants, Cities and the Business Sector

A global review of research-based evidence for policymaking by cities and businesses on migration


author:dr. Alfons Fermin
Partner: Western Union

Publication date: February 2011


The overall objective of this review is to compile and analyse existing significant research on policies and strategies regarding migration and its challenges for cities and the business sector, with the ultimate aim of facilitating evidence-based decision-making. As a modest first step, this report offers a state of play, or in other words, a snapshot of the current state of research based evidence on migration, cities and the business sector. The review aims to: develop a profile and inventory of the available policy-relevant, research-based evidence; distil and prioritise significant policy recommendations; and identify major gaps and overlap in research.

THP has chosen to focus on the business sector and cities, as these two key stakeholders are often excluded from the international refugee and migration policy debates. This is remarkable as the overwhelming majority of migrants settle in cities and thus local governments are most directly confronted with the challenges related to migration. Whilst issues of international migration and mobility are becoming a core strategic interest of businesses, due to processes of globalisation and a growing interdependence of economies and actors. Furthermore, policies and strategies of these two stakeholders are often more practice-oriented and therefore appear to be more open for rational information and arguments. This review is intended to be of assistance for all relevant stakeholders in cities and the business sector across the world involved in policy-making in the field of migration; but also to researchers seeking insight in the work done to date.

Download the Report

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Labor Migrant Integration through Cities and Business

In cities across the world, businesses are often not finding the skilled labor they need.  This does not mean that skilled individuals are not present in these cities.  In metropolises on every continent highly skilled migrant laborers are unable to connect with the companies in need of their services and vice-versa.

Cities of Migration’s New Report provides a good start to relevant policies and municipal leaders.

Policy to Practice

Click on the image for a .pdf version of the report

For our first blog discussion on our new and improved website we would like to pose the following questions:  What are the fundamental strategies that cities and businesses need to employ in order to connect with the skilled labor migrant workforce to the benefit of each party?  What are the best practices for migrant labor integration you have witnessed in cities around the world?  Is there currently a forum in major cities that successfully integrates the municipal and business leadership with the goal of successfully incorporating migrant labor?