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12 - Screening and referral

GCM Objectives
12 - Screening and referral

Strengthen certainty and predictability in migration procedures for appropriate screening, assessment and referral

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) is based on 23 objectives. This page provides resources for objective 12 (Strengthen certainty and predictability in migration procedures for appropriate screening, assessment and referral):

“28. We commit to increase legal certainty and predictability of migration procedures by developing and strengthening effective and human rights-based mechanisms for the adequate and timely screening and individual assessment of all migrants for the purpose of identifying and facilitating access to the appropriate referral procedures, in accordance with international law.


To realize this commitment, we will draw from the following actions:

(a) Increase transparency and accessibility of migration procedures by communicating the requirements for entry, admission, stay, work, study or other activities, and introducing technology to simplify application procedures, in order to avoid unnecessary delays and expenses for States and migrants

(b) Develop and conduct intra- and cross-regional specialized human rights and trauma-informed trainings for first responders and government officials, including law enforcement authorities, border officials, consular representatives and judicial bodies, to facilitate and standardize identification and referral of, as well as appropriate assistance and counselling in a culturally-sensitive way, to victims of trafficking in persons, migrants in situations of vulnerability, including children, in particular those unaccompanied or separated, and persons affected by any form of exploitation and abuse related to smuggling of migrants under aggravating circumstances

(c) Establish gender-responsive and child-sensitive referral mechanisms, including improved screening measures and individual assessments at borders and places of first arrival, by applying standardized operating procedures developed in coordination with local authorities, National Human Rights Institutions, international organizations and civil society

(d) Ensure that migrant children are promptly identified at places of first arrival in countries of transit and destination, and, if unaccompanied or separated, are swiftly referred to child protection authorities and other relevant services as well as appointed a competent and impartial legal guardian, that family unity is protected, and that anyone legitimately claiming to be a child is treated as such unless otherwise determined through a multi-disciplinary, independent and child-sensitive age assessment

(e) Ensure that, in the context of mixed movements, relevant information on rights and obligations under national laws and procedures, including on entry and stay requirements, available forms of protection, as well as options for return and reintegration, is appropriately, timely and effectively communicated, and accessible." (GCM, 2018: para. 28)

Objective 12 aims to bring in certainty and predictability in migration procedures, by conceiving human rights based mechanisms for the screening of migrants, upon arrival in countries of transit and destination, allowing for timely identification and access to appropriate referral mechanisms  enabling migrants to receive treatment consistent with international human rights standards. 

To achieve this, it is essential that migrants have access to accurate and timely  information and are aware of migration procedures and of their rights, which would reduce their vulnerabilities and empower them and provide agency during migration proceedings. Concurrently, accessible and transparent migration procedures, which are sensitive to the needs of vulnerable migrant groups, must be established by countries, to ensure identification of the  protection needs of vulnerable groups.

As many countries have entry systems and border management procedures that could be improved upon, governments need to work on introducing comprehensive regulations, sensitive to the vulnerabilities of migrant population, provide training and capacity building for border officials, and elaborate operational guidelines to define the roles and responsibilities of (first contact) officials. The latter would include guidance on how to respond to persons with protection and other specific needs, such as victims of trafficking in persons and persons affected by any form of exploitation and abuse related to smuggling of migrants under aggravating circumstances, including how to screen, identify, and refer them to appropriate processes and procedures. Such initiatives must incorporate sensitivity towards the vulnerability of migrant groups and specifically encourage the adoption of child- sensitive, gender-responsive and disabled people-friendly procedures.

The Global Compact for Migration (GCM) report is available in AR, ZH, EN, FR, RU, ES.


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