ICMPD's working philosophy is based upon the conviction that the complexities of migration challenges can only be met by working in partnership with governments, research institutes, international organisations, intergovernmental institutions and civil society. The work of ICMPD is based on a three-pillar approach:
Through these three pillars, ICMPD is able to support its Member States and partners in a variety of areas related to migration. Each research and capacity building activity generally focuses on one of the six thematic areas listed below, whereas each migration dialogue deals with several of them. Moreover, the capacity building activities form the basis of ICMPD's Competence Centres, each of which is named according to one of the thematic areas:
- irregular migration & return
- trafficking in human beings
- border management & visa
- migration & development
- legal migration & integration.
This holistic approach to addressing migration challenges makes it difficult to precisely categorise its activities according to topic, geographical area or the like, and makes overlap between the various themes unavoidable. But these migration issues can only be successfully tackled through this approach.