With the increasing number of migrants in the world, many of whom use mobile phones to access information, there is enormous potential for such an engagement to be harnessed. The ultimate objective of this initiative is to reduce the human and financial costs of migration through increased engagement with migrants, furthering IOM’s commitment to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.
Migrants worldwide make up 1 billion persons, this means one in seven persons is a migrant. Given the complexity of the migration process, many migrants encounter tremendous challenges throughout their journeys, from the limited access to simple and reliable information about the migration process to the unfamiliar social norms and sometimes dangerous conditions in the destinations they find themselves in. Many migrants struggle to find assistance but assistance is difficult to find if you do not know where to look. This drives migrants to seek help from unauthorized agencies who exploit migrants’ lack of knowledge to advance their own interests.
In this digital age, use of smartphones is no longer uncommon. Many of these migrants are in possession of mobile devices which they use as a link to their families and social media. These same smartphones have the potential to be turned into tools that provide access to reliable and practical information on the migration process and on available services in destination countries. This not only empowers migrants to take charge of their own journey but also reduces their dependency on unauthorized entities and processes.
IOM’s MigApp is an application that migrants can download for free on their mobile devices and which will aim and address the following needs:
1. To help migrants make informed decisions throughout their migration process. Irregular and unsafe migration often is a result of lack of awareness about the risks involved in the process, ill-informed knowledge of visa and travel regulations, limited or non-existent interaction with legitimate service providers, and the absence of a balanced and unified platform for reliable and updated migration information and services.
MigApp aims to offset the volume of misinformation on migration in circulation today.
2. To provide migrants with access to services related to their migration process. Each migrant has a need for services specific to his/her migration process. IOM has a wide range of services that addresses practically every aspect of migration.
MigApp aims to make some of IOM’s programmes and services directly available to a wider group of migrants.
3. To provide a platform for migrants to share their experiences, tell their story and upload a picture that will be shared among other MigApp users.