Despite what several commentators had claimed or predicted, 2020 did not mark the dawn of an “age of immobility”. While the pandemic may have disrupted some of the more traditional dynamics and norms of global migration, and reduced the overall levels of pre–COVID-19 cross-border mobility, it has not brought international migration to a halt.
Looking to 2021, with the pandemic far from receding, and with lingering unknowns about the efficiency and equity of the unfolding vaccination efforts, it appeared fitting for Migration Policy Practice (MPP) to reflect on some of the key COVID-19-related and non-COVID-19-related features of international migration in the past year and to anticipate key global mobility trends in 2021.
In particular, some of the key questions that have guided this exercise include:
(a) The most important migration policy challenges for 2021, in the field of both regular and irregular migration, based on key trends witnessed in 2020;
(b) The anticipated levels and structure of migration flows in the course of 2021 – for example, in terms of types of migration, source countries, and number and profiles of migrants, based on current and anticipated developments, particularly on the pandemic front;
(c) The most salient migration data collection and processing challenges currently experienced worldwide, and the way in which these are likely to evolve and improve in the course of 2021, including through regional and international cooperation.
This special edition of MPP, after reflecting on some of the key developments in global migration in 2020, examines the anticipated migration trends in Africa, Asia, Central America, China, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the United States of America. While there may be notable variations among regions based on a range of objective factors, COVID-19 inevitably appears set to remain a key driver of migration dynamics in the months to come.
Authors in this special edition of MPP include Frank Laczko, Aderanti Adepoju, Binod Khadria, Ratnam Mishra, Gabriella Sanchez, Huiyao Wang, Xiaoxiao Chen, Zhongao Li, Huiyi Chen, Andrew Geddes, William Mejia and Joanne van Selm.