On 11th April 2022, the Regional Consultation of the GCM Champion Series in Asia and the Pacific held its third consultation on “Border management and labour migration in the COVID-19 recovery phase” hosted by the Royal Government of Cambodia, in collaboration with the Regional UN Network on Migration for Asia and the Pacific. The half-day session was attended by over 75 multi-stakeholder representatives from Champion Governments, UN agencies, and stakeholders from various sectors related to migration.
The meeting opened with a warm welcome from H.E. Chou Bun Ang from the Royal Government of Cambodia. The expert panellists from the Network and private sector set the scene in session I, which comprised of representatives from International Labour Organization, World Health Organization and amfori co-moderated by the International Organization for Migration. They shared their insights on recovery and labour migration in the COVID-19 context, measures to rehabilitate and reopen points of entry under the International Health Regulations and integrated border management practices, and migrant protection in global supply chains. They made recommendations such as exempting migrants from additional migration costs (e.g., testing, quarantine), continuing to enhance risk management at PoE, and strengthening monitoring of recruitment agencies.
In session II, GCM Champion Countries in Asia and Pacific, namely Cambodia, Nepal, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, shared their respective good practices on migration governance in the context of COVID-19 pandemic, including but not limited to providing food, shelter and health services to migrants, offering free vaccination to migrants regardless of nationality and status, lowering visa fees and cutting short quarantine period for vaccinated migrants, allowing irregular migrants to stay in the receiving country during the pandemic. Champion countries also elaborated on challenges such as migrants stranded overseas, discrimination against returned migrants, and limited timely and disaggregated data on migration. Champion Countries called for stronger collaboration among countries in the region, more integrated approach to migration governance, and more practical and flexible migration policies. The meeting successfully concluded with closing remarks by Dr. Nenette Motus, Regional Director for International Organization for Migration and Regional Coordinator of UN Network on Migration for Asia and Pacific. The outcomes of the meeting are envisaged to feed into preparations of champion countries for the International Migration Review Forum to take place in May 2022, New York.