In Focus

The role of information (technology) in the context of irregular migration: The private sector perspective. Virtual briefing for ICMPD Member States

28 January 2022

On 26 January 2022, ICMPD held an online briefing for its Member States on the role of information (technology) in the context of irregular migration. The aim of this virtual exchange was to shed light on the growing importance of ICT as well as various technological solutions developed in cooperation with the private sector to support government efforts in the area of migration management.

Representatives from a social enterprise and a private company shared their perspectives on the role of ICT in the context of irregular migration and the growing importance of migration-related information campaigns. ICMPD also shared some insights stemming from its research projects on awareness raising among potential migrants, as well as its practical work in Migrant Resource Centres.

Highlights of the conversation include:

  • Increased access to information through the use of ICT and social media have improved migrants’ relative power vis-à-vis smugglers. This information can help migrants make better-informed decisions before and during their journeys that can reduce risks more broadly. But at the same time, social media platforms have also provided a space for smugglers to advertise their services as well as for the spreading of misinformation – with few repercussions. This is where information campaigns can come in.
  • Information campaigns can be made effective when tailored to narrowly defined group of migrants. For this, prior identification and analysis of particular subgroups is essential, as is monitoring and evaluation to ensure that messages resonate with potential migrants and determine whether this in fact leads to behaviour change. Nevertheless, while information campaigns have received increased attention from policymakers, their limitations should be kept in mind: They are one piece of the puzzle in efforts to better manage migration.
  • IT can support information campaigns in several ways. The use of traditional and social media can allow stakeholders to share messages with a broad audience. Meanwhile, mobile phone data can help stakeholders to deliver targeted messages based on individual characteristics. Beyond sharing messages, broad outreach can refer people to one-on-one counselling, which is particularly effective for influencing behaviour.


This meeting was organised by the ICMPD’s Member States Programme and falls under the framework of the Annual Policy Initiative, which addresses a key issue each year in the current migration debate to identify pragmatic ways forward at both the policy and operational levels, including solutions to reduce irregular migration.