The Return on Investment on Migration: What is in it for Business?


DATE: February 2016

ROI Study Highlights s

Migration is no longer an issue solely for the attention of governments; it is a topic that also directly concerns businesses. Businesses are in a position to influence positive change and improve the legal frameworks protecting migrant workers and migrant engagement can directly benefit company performance.

This study blazes a trail by answering to the call from businesses to demonstrate the costs and benefits, as well as the potential ROI for migration. The results of this innovative study provide a tool for businesses to apply in their consideration of direct involvement with the topic of migration, including those that do not have a history in addressing it.

The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration (THP), together with the Turkish Chair of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) 2014-2015, designed the current study called: “The Return on Investment on Migration: What is in it for Business?’. This study contributes to bridging the gap between businesses and migration and builds on THP’s previous experience in addressing private sector involvement in the migration issue.

The main aim of this study is to determine a return on investment (ROI) for businesses on migration, including specific effects on different areas of business activity. This calculation is done by capturing the perceived benefits and costs for businesses related to migration (recruitment and retention, government engagement, product and service innovation, market expansion, corporate social responsibility and job creation). ROI is an economic metric that compares the benefits and the costs of an investment.

THP worked in collaboration with a multidisciplinary expert Steering Group to apply the methodological framework. Companies interviewed were based in eight countries: Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States. The sample included large companies as well as SMEs.

Study Highlights

Full Report




United for change at UN High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development


Below you will find the press release stemming from the UN High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development.  THP actively participated in the event in New York and were pleased with the developments until now.  We will be monitoring further developements in the run up to the High-Level Dialogue on the 3rd-4th of October, 2013.  

For only the second time in history, the UN General Assembly brought civil society leaders and networks from around the world to New York on 15 July to present their experience and recommendations to governments in Interactive Hearings regarding international migration and development. More than 300 representatives of grassroots, regional and international civil society organizations met with 100 governments, UN agencies and other international organizations in the Hearings ahead of the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (HLD) that UN Member States will be holding at the UN on 3-4 October, seven years after the first HLD in September 2006.

‚ÄúWe come together to be engaged in transformative dialogue‚ÄĚ,¬†said William Gois of Migrant Forum Asia representing a broad global coalition of more than 100 civil society organizations in the opening session. ‚ÄúWe come with an eight-point agenda that we want to work on with you, governments, over five-years to bring about real change, substantive change, to demonstrate our commitment to bring an end to the ‚Äėglobalization of indifference.‚Äô‚ÄĚ

Unprecedented convergence

Asked about the key questions that the HLD, governments, civil society and the private sectors together, should address, John K. Bingham, Head of Policy for the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) and coordinator of the international Civil Society Steering Committee which has been organizing civil society participation in the High-level Dialogue, referred directly to the 5-year action agenda:¬†‚ÄúQuestions like how to regulate private agencies that recruit, place and often abuse foreign workers; how to better respond to boat people and other migrants seriously hurt or traumatized in migration journeys -many at the hands of merciless human traffickers, smugglers and other criminals; how to set and achieve global goals for development that provide countries and people with decent work at home and opportunities to migrate safely, legally and affordably; how to build and strengthen rights-based systems for legal labour migration and decent working and living conditions; integration and options for citizenship in countries of destination; and how to further promote the positive engagement of migrants and diaspora communities in countries to and from which they have migrated.‚Ä̬†

Civil society organized extensively in preparation for the Hearings and High-level Dialogue. In addition to two full days of meetings in New York immediately preceding the Hearings, leaders of non-governmental organizations, trade unions, migrant and diaspora associations, youth groups, academia and the private sector around the world organized over 20 national, regional and thematic meetings in Brazil, Germany, Greece, Jordan, Kenya, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Switzerland, Thailand and the US, among others, specifically to prepare for these Hearings and the HLD (click herefor an overview of many of these events). With support from funders including the Open Society Foundations, the MacArthur Foundation, Fundación Bancomer, and the governments of Germany, Mexico the Netherlands and Switzerland, these meetings centered on the issues of civil society’s 5-year agenda for collaboration with governments.

The driving force‚ÄĒand achievement‚ÄĒof these meetings?¬†‚ÄúUnprecedented convergence around these issues in global civil society‚ÄĚ,¬†as Mr. Bingham noted during the preparatory meetings on 13 July.¬†¬†‚ÄúConvergence not meaning perfect consensus, but clear common ground and imperatives amongst the diversity of voices in civil society around the world.‚ÄĚ

Threshold of a new era

In his opening address at the Hearings, Sir Peter Sutherland, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon‚Äôs Special Representative for International Migration, commended civil society for the seriousness of its engagement and in particular for¬†civil society‚Äôs proposal of the 5-year, 8 point collaboration with governments.¬†¬†‚ÄúToday, civil society is becoming a true partner. Civil society has upped its game, offering a focused, smart and practical agenda [‚Ķ] drawing on real experience, profound field experience, [‚Ķ] focusing on action rather than rhetoric. [‚Ķ]¬†We are on the threshold of a new era of international cooperation on migration and the HLD is our chance to crossover,‚ÄĚSutherland concluded, ‚Äúthe HLD cannot become just another sterile debate, without any practical consequences.‚ÄĚ

The one-day Hearings focused explicitly on the key issues put forward in civil society’s 5-year agenda: [1] migrant labour and mobility, [2] migrant rights and protection, [3] human development and diaspora action and [4] migration governance and partnerships. In addition to 49 speakers from diaspora and migrant organizations, human rights and development groups, labour organizations, and the private sector, representatives of the governments of Australia, Bangladesh, Israel, Mexico, the Philippines, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States as well as the European Union and the International Organization for Migration took the floor. The full programme is available here.

The world gets smarter when people move

Throughout the day, speakers echoed the issues put forward in the 5-year agenda and made practical suggestions on issues such as how to include migration and migrants in the new global development agenda, after the Millennium Development Goals expire, how to better regulate the recruitment industry, and how put an end to the criminalization of migrants. One speaker reminded the audience that¬†‚Äú24 years ago the whole world celebrated the falling of walls. Today, unfortunately, walls are coming back up. We see the criminalization of migrants and militarization at borders‚ÄĚ.¬†¬†Many speakers called for stronger more robust collaboration and new partnerships, between civil society, businesses and governments, at local, national and regional levels.‚ÄúImplementation of migrant rights will happen at the workplace, by companies on the shop floor, the store front, the production line‚ÄĚ, Isabel de Sola, speaking on behalf of the World Economic Forum (WEF) said. ‚Äú[We]¬†could collaborate much more closely to build capacity and awareness on strengthening the implementation of migrant‚Äôs rights at these levels.‚ÄĚ

Above all, UN Member States were urged to recognize ‚ÄĒ and better respond to ‚ÄĒ migration as a benefit, not a threat, especially when it is squarely centered on universal rights, and is a choice, not a necessity.¬† ¬†‚ÄúWhen you stop people from moving you stop ideas from moving,‚Ä̬†noted Ms. Ola Orekunrin, a migrant entrepreneur who founded Flying Doctors-Nigeria, and one of the many youth voices during the Hearings, ‚Äúthe world gets smarter when people move!‚ÄĚ

Click here to watch the full broadcast of the Interactive Hearings, July 15th, produced by UN web tv.
Click here to see approximately 180 pictures from the events on 13, 14 and 15 July (feel free to download and use the pictures. If used publicly, thank you for crediting

Copyright ¬© 2013 ICMC’s GFMD and HLD Civil Society Coordinating Office, All rights reserved.


Immigration is a ‘boon’ for the UK economy, not a ‘burden’

In this article promoting the positive impact of migration, Simon Tilford, Deputy Director of the British based Centre for European Reform Think Tank, finds that ‘Immigrants pay tax and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development calculates that in the UK, they pay more into the pot than they take out’. Such findings further THP’s ambitions to ensure that migration benefits all when properly managed and facilitated.


read the article in full by clicking on the picture above

Oxford Journals: Migration Studies

THP has increasingly focused on observing the utilization of the social capital of migrants.¬† In a similar light, Oxford Journals has commenced the publication of ‚ÄėMigration Studies‚Äô in March of 2013.¬† We will be following ‚ÄėMigration Studies‚Äô closely as our work progresses and we enjoy the content thoroughly.

THP would like to highlight this new article from Alejandro Portes and Jessica Yiu provides new and interesting insights into the entrepreneurship of migrants.  Portes and Yiu review the debate on economic and social consequences of immigrant entrepreneurship as well as theories advanced to explain different levels of self- employment among immigrant and ethnic minorities. `They examine the impact of pro- fessional and entrepreneurial migration on sending countries from the viewpoint of traditional theories of the brain drain as well as from that of the more recent transnational perspective. Lastly they present the latest data on the effects of self- employment on income levels for various immigrant and ethnic groups. Results confirm the conclusion of a consistently positive net effect, both for annual incomes and hourly earnings. Implications of these results for theories of immigrant adaptation and policies implemented by sending and receiving countries are discussed.

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To read the article from Oxford Journals click on the the cover of ‘Migration Studies’

Migration 2.0: A Time for action at the UN Summit of Migration and Development – Peter D. Sutherland, THP’s Club of the Hague.

Peter SutherlandThis coming October the UN General Assembly will meet in a historic second meeting concentrating on international migration. In this article, Peter Sutherland, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Migration, and member of THP’s Club of the Hague, details the summit’s need to generate action on how to reduce the economic and human cost of migration for the meeting to be considered a success.

Sutherland identifies significant positive trends converging that should raise the odds that this dialogue will produce meaningful results.

First, the number states with stakes in international migration has exploded. More and more states have an interest in thinking and acting holistically about migration, rather than seeing it only from a viewpoint of an origin or destination country. Their points of view are coming together, creating greater chance of cooperation.

A solid evidence base of how migration impacts development, and which polices are effective, is emerging, thus, deflating the mythology that distorts debate.

Sutherland states, a shared stance of The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration’s , that solutions will be identified and solved in conversations taking place amongst stake holders at a regional level, and that the search for partners in this process extends to non-state actors who have become crucial in the efforts to create a safer, and fairer, international migration system.

With positive trends come countervailing forces at work, too. With the rise in international movement comes criminal private sector action ‚Äď traffickers, smugglers, and exploitive recruiters ‚Äď seeing significant growth. This makes it even more urgent to make the most out of the high level dialogue next fall.

While Mr. Sutherland is hopefully that the dialogue will find success in producing scalable courses of action, he reminds us that the pursuit of grander goals must not be allowed to undermine more incremental efforts, and that satisfaction of short-term political gains of states must not be allowed to jeopardize what can be accomplished with the hard work of cooperation.

To read Mr. Sutherland’s complete article, please select the link below.

Peter Sutherland on the HLD June 2013

Martti Ahtisaari – Former President of Finland, Nobel Laureate, and refugee. On occasion of ‘World Refugee Day.’

Joined by notable non-office holding world leaders; such as, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Koffi Annan and Jimmy Carter, Martti Ahtisaari works for peace and human rights via ‘The Elders‘.Martti Ahtisaari

Like The Hague Process, The Elders have great concern for the plight of refugee and migration relating to their dedication of making peace and settling conflict. They are committed to promoting the shared interests of humanity, and the universal human rights we all share. They believe that in any conflict, it is important to listen to everyone Рno matter how unpalatable or unpopular this may be.

On the occasion of ‘ World Refugee Day’, Mr.¬†Ahtisaari, former president of Finland, Nobel Laureate, and friend of THP, reflected on the particular experience of a young refugee in 1939 – that is, his own.

Click below to visit ‘The Elders’, and read Martti Ahtisaari’s recollection.

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What are the levels and trends of migration in countries at the external border of the European Union (EU) and how much of this migration is destined for, and how much
originates in the EU? How do States in the EU neighbourhood legislate on immigration and emigration and how does outward and inward migration impact their policy making?
These are the main questions that this report addresses.

Click image to open report.

eu mig pic

Migration Policy Centre

This eBook has been published by the European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, Migration Policy Centre.


Determining the roles of cities and business – Club of The Hague meeting June 4th.

Representatives of government, business, and academia, gathered at the Peace Palace in The Hague, The Netherlands, for the 11th meeting of The Club of The Hague, June 4th, 2013. The Club of The Hague, the international Advisory Council to the Board of The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration (THP), meet annually.

The meeting provided a framework for future partnerships between municipal governments and businesses in cities around the world.
Deconstruction of the greater challenges of migration and development into smaller – and addressable – issues and concerns was the task of the day.

Businesses and cities are the drivers for practical implementation of positive change in migration. Identifying the best practices of business and cities already happening is key to forming a pragmatic approach, and further dialogue, leading to ways to successfully address migration and refugee issues.