Mongolia’s Ban on Travel to Overcrowded Capitals Harms Migrants: IOM Research
Ulaanbaatar – Research by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mongolia shows that a migration ban aimed at reducing overcrowding in Ulaanbaatar has only increased the vulnerabilities of urban migrants from the capital city.
IOM has found that rural-urban migration improves the lives of most internal migrants in Mongolia, providing them with more and better job opportunities and increasing their incomes.
Due to development gaps between rural areas and the capital, Mongolia has experienced a dramatic rural-urban migration flow, bringing the population of Ulaanbaatar to nearly 1.5 million, or half of the total. of the country, according to its 2020 census.
The municipality of Ulaanbaatar closed the door to new residents with annual bans between 2017 and 2020 in an effort to protect health, safety and the environment, but given the findings of the IOM, it will not reintroduce no ban.
“The city administration does not intend to impose another migration ban because the study clearly shows that the ban did not achieve its purpose,” Deputy Mayor R. Dagva said during of a high-level roundtable on internal migration in Mongolia.
“It is important to understand that the ban, based on the opportunities and underlying circumstances at the time, was an attempt to regulate migration.”
IOM’s research findings – from two studies – were released at the roundtable last month. The first study, Assessing the Effectiveness of Migration Restrictions in Ulaanbaatar City and Migrants’ Vulnerability, shows that while the ban prevented registration for official residence, it did not stop the influx of people into the city.
The lack of residence registration increased the vulnerability of migrant households, as they could not access public services and suffered from exposure to economic, social and health risks.
The second study, Mongolia: internal migration and Use, have shown that better employment opportunities, better living conditions and better education are the main factors that attract internal migrants to Ulaanbaatar. showed that better job opportunities, better living conditions and better education are the main factors that attract internal migrants to Ulaanbaatar.
“The issue of internal migration is complex and we should expect response policies to be equally sophisticated,” said IOM Mongolia Program Manager Victor Lutenco.
“By replacing restrictive policies with those promoting better integration of migrants, Ulaanbaatar and Mongolia will ensure that migration and migrants fill the ranks of net contributors to the development of the host community and the whole of the country.
IOM cooperated with the National University of Mongolia and the Independent Research Institute of Mongolia to conduct the research in Ulaanbaatar, with support from the Maastricht School of Governance and methodological approval from the National Bureau of Mongolia statistics. The activity is part of an ongoing project implemented by IOM with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.