KNOMAD  > Thematic working groups >  Migration, Security and Development

Migration, Security and Development



Understanding the linkages between migration, security, and development is important for at least three reasons. Policies in one arena can promote positive outcomes in another. For example, secure borders are integral to well-managed migration that can help fill labour market gaps and ultimately contribute to development in origin and destination countries. Equally, unintended consequences can ensue; for example migrant smuggling may increase as a result of tight border control, exposing migrants to vulnerability. A lack of clear understanding about these linkages also risks unsubstantiated assumptions, for example about migrants posing a threat to national security, or that a choice needs to be made between sovereignty and rights in promoting development.

But understanding these linkages is not easy. Migration, security, and development are each complex and dynamic concept. While there is robust body of research on migration and development, there is little research on the migration-security nexus or its implications for development. In addition the debate about migration and security is politically sensitive. As a result there is little firm empirical data or analysis for policy-making, coordination, or monitoring and evaluating their impact.

Aims and Objectives

The overall aim of this project is to articulate the linkages between migration, security and development to support more effective policy. This aim will be achieved via three objectives:

  1. Stock-take existing evidence on the linkages
  2. Undertake new empirical research to help fill a significant research gap
  3. Generate innovative evidence-based policy recommendations


  1. Produce a series of vignettes using existing research and data to illustrate the variety of inter-linkages between migration, security and development worldwide
  2. Identify a series of key research questions for in-depth investigation through case studies including by generating new data through a survey of relevant stakeholders
  3. Develop an analytical framework for understanding the linkages between migration, security and development and informing policy development
  4. The project will benefit from input from an advisory committee and KNOMAD network
  5. The TWG will hold a series of policy roundtables and workshops to identify research gaps, as well as to generate a portfolio of policy recommendations


  1. A series of vignettes
  2. Timely interim reports to coincide with significant multilateral meetings (e.g. GFMD)
  3. A final report summarizing the vignettes and case studies, presenting the analytical framework, and making specific policy recommendations


TWG 6 is preparing a series of vignettes to illustrate the multiple dimensions of migration, security, and development, and their inter-linkages, using existing research and data. These short reviews will help identify research to focus our analytical work during March-September 2014. The work will enhance understanding on the linkages between migration, security and development and inform policy development.





Case studies

The impact of visa regulations on economic competitiveness

  • Labour migrants
  • Students
  • Border control
  • Labour market
  • Development in destination countries
  • USA

The unintended consequences of border control

  • Irregular migrants
  • Victims of migrant smuggling
  • Border control
  • Maritime control
  • Human security
  • Human development
  • Australia

The humanitarian impact of border control

  • Refugees/IDPs
  • Asylum seekers
  • Human security
  • Impacts in destination countries
  • Human development
  • Syria


Controlling emigration

  • ‘Brain Drain’
  • Passports and visas
  • Social security benefits
  • Development in origin countries
  • Ethiopia

Border control as capacity-building

  • Irregular migrants
  • Border management
  • Development aid
  • EU / Frontex

The impact on migrants rights of privatization of border control

  • Migration industry
  • Infrastructure development
  • Human security
  • Labour force
  • Benefits to destination countries
  • KSA or Israel

The impact of return on development

  • Rejected asylum seekers
  • Managed migration
  • Reintegration and sustainability
  • Afghanistan

Impacts of immigrant investor programmes

  • Skilled migrants
  • Screening process
  • Contribution to local economy
  • Canada