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.