Boat of migrants fleeing Yemen arriving in Puntland

Assessing the impact of migration management systems on livelihoods and migration: Evidence from Puntland

This brief report outlines the findings of the first case study for a REF research project exploring the actual and potential impact of migration management initiatives on sustainable development. The research was conducted in Puntland where international action on migration has been focused on responses to the growth in irregular movements between the Horn of Africa and Yemen. The site of the research, Bossaso, has been identified as one of the major hubs for movements across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen, involving four different sets of migrants. First, the port attracts significant numbers of Ethiopians, many of whom are seeking eventually to reach Saudi Arabia where they hope to find employment. Second, there are Somali youth, who cross to Yemen as the first stage of an extremely dangerous route to reach Europe. Third, the war in Yemen has resulted in a fluctuating flow of Yemeni refugees arriving in Bossaso. Finally, there are also returning Somali refugees, who were living in Yemen but have been forced back to Somalia by the war. In addition, to these migrants who move been the Horn of Africa and Yemen, Bossaso has received large numbers of IDPs from the south of Somalia, escaping from the chronic insecurity.

The focus of this research was on how this mix of movements is perceived by different government, business and civil society stakeholders in the area and how far these actors are engaged with the array of responses to the challenges of migration. Alongside interviews with those involved in migration programmes, the project also explored the perspectives of key actors, including respondents in government departments, private sector and community representatives, who are not directly involved in migration issues. This has made it possible to get a much more nuanced sense of the broader institutional support for different responses to migration in general and to migration management in particular. With this in mind, the research explored the following core questions:

  • How do ideas and practices about migration management take shape, align across different actors and take long-term hold within them?
  • What are the actual and perceived impacts of migration management activities on the lives of individual migrants and others, in particular with respect to people’s rights and their willingness to engage in high-risk irregular migration?
  • What are the actual and perceived impacts of migration management on key development dynamics and enablers?

Interviews were conducted in Bossaso and Garowe with 50 respondents, 25 working in areas not directly related to migration (non-migration key informants), 10 community key informants and 15 whose work directly related to migration (migration key informants).

The interviews were conducted between August and September 2017 and they were then transcribed for analysis. This brief report presents some preliminary findings that are emerging from the data.

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Image source: © IOM 2015

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