Enhancing cooperation among the Prague Process states

On 27-28 April 2023, Portugal and the Czech Republic in its capacity as Prague Process Chair hosted the Prague Process Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) in Lisbon. The SOM officially launched the fourth phase of the Prague Process cooperation, following the adoption of the Ministerial Declaration and the Prague Process Action Plan 2023-2027 in October 2022. The meeting gathered 60 officials from 27 countries, the European Commission, EUAA, IOM and ICMPD.

The first session centred on current migration policy goals and international cooperation objectives. These discussions built upon the outcomes of the Questionnaire on national priorities disseminated in December 2022. Key areas of interest included combating irregular migration and migrant smuggling, promoting readmission, voluntary return, sustainable reintegration, strengthening asylum and international protection capacities, and addressing legal migration and labour mobility. Nonetheless, several states also underlined the continued importance of the remaining two thematic areas – namely, on migration and development, as well as integration.

The Prague Process panel discussion: ‘Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its implications for migration in the Prague Process Region' is taking place on 25 May 2023 at 10:30-12:30 CET.

Since Russia’s full-fledged invasion of Ukraine, over 13 million people have been displaced internally and internationally, with over 5 million registered for temporary protection across the EU. The war, solidified by political repressions, also sparked considerable outward migration from Russia. Moreover, the war has affected the social, economic, security, political and demographic realities across the entire region and will define the way forward in the years to come.

On 7 March 2023, the Prague Process Secretariat paid a visit to the GDISC (General Directors´ of Immigration Services Conference) Secretariat, based in Nuremberg at the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). The two Secretariats discussed synergies and possible areas of future cooperation within the recently endorsed Joint Declaration and Action Plan 2023-2027 at the Fourth Prague Process Ministerial Conference in Prague. Both the Czech Republic as the Prague Process Chair and Poland as the current GDISC Chair welcomed this initiative and supported the Secretariats´ mutual exchange of best practices and lessons learnt, as well as cooperation on addressing migration issues.

One year after the Russian invasion, much uncertainty remains. Remote work can provide a degree of flexibility for some refugees from Ukraine, supporting integration in the short term and reconstruction in the long term. Supporting Ukrainian teleworkers is a smart move.

The Commentary, published on 21 February 2023 on the website www.icmpd.org, and prepared by Caitlin KatsiaficasJustyna Segeš Frelak and Camilla Castelanelli highlights existing challenges and opportunities for remote work in several EU countries hosting Ukrainians as well as benefits it could bring. 

More than 8 million people have fled Ukraine in the year since Russia’s invasion brought a new chapter of interstate war to Europe. In a span of just several months, displacement from Ukraine became one of the largest displacement crises in the world. Persons fleeing Ukraine are entitled to obtain temporary protection (which includes the right to work) in the European Union country of their choice, while other countries in Europe and farther afield have made new or existing pathways available to quickly admit them to their territory. Although exact figures are unavailable, a considerable number of displaced Ukrainians are working remotely thanks in part to an increasingly digital world of work, as well as digital literacy, equipment, and internet access. Some continue to work for Ukrainian companies, while others are working for local employers in their countries of temporary protection or even in a third country. Meanwhile, approximately 18% of internally displaced Ukrainians are working remotely. Evidently the ability to telework provides expanded opportunities in challenging circumstances.

The Regional Migration Outlook for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) presents an analysis of the key events and trends that shaped migration in the EECA region in 2022. Simultaneously, it offers a cautious outlook into areas and issues that may affect migration and mobility to, within and from the EECA in 2023. In a non-exhaustive way, the publication addresses developments in the twelve EECA countries (based on ICMPD’s regional division) – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The analysis is based on ICMPD’s regional expertise and desk research from official and public data sources.

Throughout 2022, the Prague Process Quarterly Review attempted to cover the key migration developments observed across the Prague Process region, however Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine stood out as a game changer. The unprecedented forced displacement from and within Ukraine, as well as other migration dynamics resulting from the war have been in the focus of our work. The ongoing fighting and continued Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure may further intensify displacement, aggravate the gripping humanitarian crisis and increase the pressure on hosting communities both inside and outside Ukraine. The war has also forced hundred thousands of Russians opposing the regime’s political agenda or subject to military mobilisation to leave their country.