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05 May 2022

COVID-19 and the State of Global Mobility in 2021

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been monitoring the operational status of points of entry and travel restrictions and measures since March 2020, publicly availing this data  on its COVID-19 Mobility Impacts platform since May 2020. IOM and the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) have been collaborating to analyse these data , on an annual basis, to  ascertain the impact of COVID-19 on cross-border mobility of all forms over time.
The sheer volume of rules in play—over 100,000 as of the end of 2021—continues to pose a distressing effect on cross-border mobility. It is striking that this picture has remained largely unchanged in the face of huge changes in the epidemiological situation across the course of 2021, with peaks and troughs in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases globally and within countries driven by variant-related outbreaks as well as rising vaccination rates.

  • Executive Summary
  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 The Story of Mobility 2021
    • A. Travel Measures and the Pandemic Response
    • B. Regional Trends
    • C. Responses to New Variants
  • 3 Impact on Migration and Mobility
    • A. Regular Movement
    • B. Irregular Movement
    • C. Increasing Inequalities in Mobility and the Pandemic Response
  • 4 Shifting Policy Goals and Risk Tolerance
    • A. Metrics to Assess Risk and Set Policy
    • B. Changing Risk Tolerance
  • 5 Regional and International Coordination
    • A. Regional Cooperation
    • B. Vaccines and Boosters
  • 6 Recommendations
  • Appendices
    • Appendix A. Data Sources and Methodological Considerations
    • Appendix B. Regional Trends in Travel Measures and Exceptions, Points of Entry Status and COVID-19 Cases
  • About the Authors
  • Acknowledgements