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CARICOM Developing Regional Approach To Migration


by Timothy Austin

Developing a regional approach to migration was the focus of a two-day workshop (24-25 August 2023) facilitated by the CARICOM Secretariat and CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Regional stakeholders at the second workshop in the series of engagements discussed critical issues related to migration trends in the Caribbean.

The stakeholders included representatives from the CARICOM Standing Committee of Chiefs of Immigration (CICC), Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Regional Security System (RSS), Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and United Nations organisations with cross-cutting responsibility for migration.

Additional stakeholders participating in the workshop included representatives of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Government of Barbados, and the Government of the United States.

Stakeholders conducted a technical review of the results from the “Issue Identification Survey” and identified areas for further research, data collection and analysis to advance the Region’s migration priorities and the main challenges and opportunities.

Participants utilised the forum to define specialised advisory groups that will provide technical guidance on areas for research and policy development.

Stakeholders also reviewed and amended a draft declaration for consideration by CARICOM Member States at a high-level meeting scheduled for 2024.

In addition, the meeting agreed on a roadmap for the next 12 months and beyond for developing a comprehensive migration policy.

Commenting on the process, Ms. Alison Drayton, Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Development, CARICOM Secretariat, stated, “This policy will allow citizens to take advantage of the benefits of the developmental aspects of migration in several sectors including education, trade and decent work and at the same time ensuring that they move safely to wherever their next opportunity for personal advancement may be.”

In 2019, CARICOM Heads of Government mandated the development of a Regional Migration Policy at the 19th Special Summit on Crime and Security in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

The need to accelerate the policy’s development is crucial, particularly as the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, CARICOM Chair and Prime Minster of Dominica, announced the decision to allow free movement of all categories of citizens in the Region by March 2024 at the conclusion of the 45th CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting in July 2023.

The overarching goal of the regional approach to migration is to ensure unity among CARICOM Member States in utilising the benefits of migration for critical sectors that contribute to regional development.


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