The present policy brief discusses cross-country cooperation opportunities in the area of human mobility and returns migration for South Mediterranean countries (Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Israel, and Lebanon). The COVID-19 crisis, accompanied by travel restrictions and increased border controls, disrupted patterns of global mobility and remittances, which in turn have led to increased vulnerabilities to poverty, ill-treatment, and exploitation of migrants and their families. In order to limit the negative and most probably long-lasting implications of the pandemic on livelihoods, policy attention to remittances and return migration appears crucial.
This brief starts by shedding light on the impact of the pandemic on migration and remittances trends in the South Mediterranean context. It then relies on good practices from South Eastern and South Mediterranean countries, to elaborate on and propose an institutionalized three-pillar strategy based on the systematic monitoring of emigration and return migration movements (pillar 1), skills anticipations, and labor market needs assessments (pillar 2), and skills recognition and certification schemes (pillar 3).
The brief, anchored in the United Nations 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG1, 8, and 10, and objectives of the Global Compact on Migration (GCM), concludes with the formulation of a series of policy recommendations including the operationalization of data collection on (return) migration movements, and emigration strategy involving and engaging the diaspora, an approach to skills recognition and certification, proactive support to return migrant workers, a strategy to decrease remittance transaction costs, including a debate on the potential of cryptocurrency remittances and service provider licensing.