IMPLEMENTING electronic passports, collecting migration data across borders, and facilitating automatic information-sharing between migration-related entities can significantly improve migration governance in Guyana. These actions were identified by the Government of Guyana in a recent report, entitled Guyana Needs Assessment on Migration Governance. The report was recently launched at a virtual event with several government, private sector, and civil society stakeholders.
The Guyana Needs Assessment on Migration Governance was implemented by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) under the Western Hemisphere Programme (WHP), generously funded by the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
The event offered an introduction to IOM’s Needs Assessments on Migration Governance and presented the key findings and needs identified in the report, which were facilitated by IOM Research Officer, Briana Mawby, and Lead Research Consultant, Tiarra Simon.
Chief of Mission in Guyana and Coordination Officer for the Caribbean, Robert Natiello, said that the Guyana Needs Assessment on Migration Governance is part of a series of other reports that covers the Caribbean and Central America. Natiello explained that the reports address the challenges and opportunities that exist through well managed migration management policies, a release said.
“The report for Guyana has been contextualised to the countries’ particular situation and provides key information to support the government in understanding current migration governance systems and the steps we can take to improve those systems,” shared the IOM Guyana official. He added that IOM is currently working with the Government of Guyana on the development of the Guyana Migration Profile. This profile will provide a summary of the state of migration in the Guyana and will contribute to the development of migration policy and law.
In his address, Foreign Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Robert Persaud, said that the Guyana Needs Assessment on Migration Governance comes at an opportune time in the country’s national development.
“We recognise that migration and its potential socioeconomic impact on the country must be carefully considered,” said the government official. “We are cognisant that a comprehensive whole-of-society response must be formulated and supported, as well as properly implemented.”
Foreign Secretary Persaud explained that the Government of Guyana has worked closely with the IOM on projects that provide data to better understand the impact of migration and is committed to work towards creating policies that would lead to successful migration governance. According to Persaud, better migration governance policy will guarantee that all the people of Guyana, both native and foreign born will be able to contribute to society. The official noted that the Guyana Needs Assessment also complements the work of the Migration Profile.
IOM, through the WHP, conducts research to provide governments with evidence on which to base the development and review of policies and practices related to migration and migration governance. This report provides an easy-to-use tool and reference for government officials and other stakeholders on which to base proposals and activities. The report is divided into six themes to guide policymakers’ consideration on the areas most relevant to their field as it relates to migration governance. These are Migration Policies and Adherence to International Standards, Migration and Border Management, Migrant Protection and Assistance, Migration Management in Situations of Emergencies and Disasters, Migration and Health, and Labour Migration and Human Development.
Among the report’s findings were that the specific needs of migrants are not considered in policy documents, particularly in relation to disaster risk reduction. Thus, it is possible that many migrants are not being reached by crisis plans and communications. To address these concerns, the study recommended that language translations for emergency situations and essential migration information be available in Spanish, Portuguese, Indigenous languages, and Haitian Creole. This would offset the negative impacts of environmental changes as drivers of forced migration.
A key recommendation was made to manage labour migration including the development of a multi-agency coordination mechanism and to develop and implement a labour policy and strategy with provisions on the integration of migrants into the formal labour force.
Furthermore, the study also recommended amendments to the Prevention Against Discrimination Act to include migrant status, and persons of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ+) community, as well as the decriminalisation of homosexuality under the Criminal Law (Offences) Act. In addressing the vulnerabilities of women and girls, the report noted government’s commitment to enhancing officials’ capacity on gender-based violence referrals.
These are among the several observations noted in the study that are desegregated in its thematic areas. The report was developed in an accessible format that provides data on the structures and policies in regulating migration governance and identify priorities for strengthening government capacity to manage migration effectively.