Time Frame: July 2023 – September 2026
Supported By: IDRC & FCDO

Climate change adaptation interventions are commonly designed for current resident populations, thereby not accounting for the mobility and immobility of exposed and marginalised people. Migration is a common and often effective risk spreading adaptation yet is frequently portrayed as a failure to adapt. Hence, there is unmet demand for evidence and metrics to support improved migration outcomes for effective and inclusive adaptation.

This project therefore seeks to generate new knowledge on the evaluation of adaptations that critically involve migration, mobility and immobility. The design involves gathering data on the effectiveness of migration-as-adaptation interventions across South Asian countries with new data collected using social science methods in multiple localities. It will co-create, jointly with action partners, a set of evaluative guidelines for successful interventions that meets key criteria for success including, justice and rights, intersectional vulnerability, and long-term climate resilient development pathways.

The project generates knowledge on appropriate metrics and appropriate pathways for sites under planned relocation, immobile and left behind populations, and for urban migration destinations, in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal, across mountain, coastal, dry land and urban social-ecological contexts, selected to represent all major dimensions of the mobility spectrum.

Positive development outcomes will spring from evidence-based best practice to facilitate safe mobility for significant populations who aspire to move and integrate in destinations, and through learning across planning and civil society stakeholders in the four study countries. The consortium seeks to engage and disseminate such findings across the Global South through capacity building, engaging with scholars and practitioners worldwide.

Specific research objectives are
1. To provide evidence-based, socially-differentiated best practices on migration as adaptation that facilitates safe voluntary mobility and successful integration in destinations, for both migrant and host communities.
2. To develop responses that assist adaptation and boost in situ resilience in at-risk social-ecological systems, for populations who are immobile or left behind.
3. To identify and mainstream the gendered and social equity dimensions of urban and rural development policies and interventions towards migration as adaptation.
4. To promote learning and co-created scenarios for migration-as-adaptation across planning, policy and civil society stakeholders in migrant origin and destination localities.
5. To strengthen the capacity of a broad range of civil society actors to discuss and promote inclusive and equitable migration as adaptation that preserves rights and dignity of people on the move.

Project Name: Complex Migration Flows and Multiple Drivers in Comparative Perspective (MEMO)
Time Frame: January 2023 – March 2025
Supported By: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

MEMO is a large-scale comparative study that brings together researchers and community partners to deepen understanding of regional migration systems and to help improve international migration governance. The project is led by the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration program at the Toronto Metropolitan University and made possible with the support of a Partnership Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Previous approaches to migration governance research have been more segmented, focusing on specific migration drivers (e.g. economic, political, environmental) or types of migration (e.g. humanitarian versus labour; international versus internal). This compartmentalization prevents us from seeing the complete picture and connecting migration to wider socio-economic and political transformations taking place today.


The MEMO Partnership focuses on mixed migration flows and seeks to develop a socio-ecological systems approach. Uniquely, MEMO integrates macro, meso and micro data to develop a single framework for understanding the behaviour of migration systems, meaning it considers:
1. drivers that impact an entire population group, such as conflict, climate change, or a country’s policies affecting economic opportunity;
2. drivers, or specific factors or actors, that have an impact on individuals, such as institutions, cultural practices, or policies, which may have an uneven effect on members of communities;
3. features unique to individuals that affect their decision-making and agency, such as their desires, hopes and means to seek opportunity away from their home.
MEMO also takes a geographic approach, providing a systematic comparison of internal, intra-regional and intercontinental migration flows across the three regional systems (Americas, West Africa, East Africa).

Time Frame: 2021 to 2023
Funded By: The Asia Foundation

Migrants dominate the Maldivian workforce, accounting for nearly one-third of the total population. The Maldives has around 169,000 documented and 65,000 undocumented foreign employees. In the Maldives, Bangladeshi migrants suffered overcrowding, confiscated documentation, arbitrary dismissals, working long shifts with no time off, forced labour conditions, and nonpayment of salaries. Economic decline, alienation from the host country, inadequate social support, restricted mobility, and the accompanying diminished feeling of self-worth render them vulnerable to egregious human rights violations that lead to conflicts and economic losses. Migrants are unaware of their rights, and the Immigration Department (ID), Labour Relations Authority (LRA), and Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) are underfunded and understaffed to conduct effective public awareness campaigns.

Under such circumstances, RMMRU is now implementing a project titled "Bangladeshi Labor Migrants in Maldives: Mitigating the Risks and Vulnerabilities to Trafficking and Irregular Migration" funded by the Asia Foundation under South Asia Governance Program (SAGP). The project activities, which are mainly based on three pieces of research, a series of advocacy activities, and legal supports to the returnee, are designed under three objectives. They are-

I. To understand the risks and vulnerabilities to Irregular Migrants from Bangladesh to the Maldives

II.  To identify the solutions and develop policy responses to the risks and vulnerabilities in outflow of irregular labor migrations and the returnees

III. To facilitate access to justice to ensure safe migration to the Maldives and return to Bangladesh in collaboration with the government and CSO stakeholders.

Time Frame: 2021 to 2023
A Regional Learning and Action Platform – a Knowledge Hub on Labour Migration in South Asia (Under the Project: Governance of Labour Migration in South and South-East Asia (GOALS)
Funded By: International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM) recognized the need for a comprehensive approach to human mobility and enhanced cooperation at the global level. At the adoption of the GCM, UN Member States also agreed to establish a Capacity Building Mechanism that will include a global knowledge platform that will help inform and support governments in the implementation of the GCM. Labour migration is one of the key pillars of the GCM and since the implementation of the GCM is at the national and regional levels first, it is important to conceptualize the development of a Knowledge Hub in South Asia.

In the context of this background, RMMU is now implementing the project as a partner of five migration-prone South Asian countries (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka ) to establish a regional learning and action platform – a South Asia Knowledge Hub to provide access to knowledge and information to be used by South Asian policymakers and stakeholders through regional policy dialogue like the Colombo Process.

Time Frame: 2021 to 2023
Funded By: FairSquare Projects

The economies of the six hydrocarbon-rich Gulf states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (“the GCC states”) are highly dependent on low-paid migrant workers from Asian states such as India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the Philippines. These workers sustain a wide range of sectors, from domestic service to hospitality to construction. Whereas rights groups, trade unions, academics, and the media have extensively documented migrant worker abuses and identified the laws and policies, and practices responsible, there is a critical gap in this body of research: nobody knows how many of these workers are dying, or the causes of their death. The dearth of reliable information makes it highly challenging to advocate with governments on addressing this issue.

Under this circumstance, a multi-year project on worker deaths will fill this gap and empower a network of organisations from Asia who can effectively engage governments in five origin states to promote better protection for migrant workers in the six Gulf states and seek the publication of more detailed data to better inform policymakers in both origin and destination states.

The objectives of this project include: Low-paid migrant workers in the Gulf states enjoy significantly better protection from risks to their physical and mental health; Key stakeholders in origin states, notably policymakers, are actively and collectively engaged in promoting migrant worker protection in the Gulf states.

Time Frame: 18 months Dec 2020- April 2022
Funded By: Skills21-Empowering Citizens for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth Project International Labour Organization (ILO)

A Bangladeshi migrant worker leaves the country primarily in search of a better socio-economic condition. A migrant is not only a person who is planning to migrate or is currently working abroad but is also a person who has returned. There are situations where upon return a migrant may face psychological, social or economic challenges that make it difficult for them to find work.

The main goal of this project is to analyse our existing best practices and create a guideline for implementation in the context of Bangladesh. We will be documenting all the best practices and lessons learnt which in turn will help develop knowledge products in the form of various training modules for future use. This will also include knowledge products for sensitization and outreach activities aiding a successful reintegration of a migrant back into the economy.

The aim of this project is to build a strategy to assist the returnee migrants to cope with challenges affecting their abilities to reintegrate with the communities, and to fi¬nd sustainable livelihoods opportunities so they can integrate into the labour market to contribute to the country’s economic development. RMMRU is the knowledge partner in the whole project and aiding the 3 organisation consortium of implementing partners in charting out the right implementing strategy and to develop a sustainable framework thereby for impact, better lessons and future reference.

MISTY migration, transformation, sustainability

While there is widespread discussion of both sustainability and migration, with the latter focused particularly on the potentially destabilizing impacts of unmanaged movement, there is little understanding on the connections between the two. MISTY migration, transformation, sustainability seeks to explore the ways that migration interacts with sustainability concerns in destination cities, with an emphasis on the unrecognised benefits that it can bring.

Drawing on research in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia, the global focus of this project will support the emergence of a more empathetic and evidence-based approach to migration management in cities. While migration is frequently presented in terms of threat or crisis, this research will draw out the substantial opportunities it presents to strengthen urban sustainability.

Transformation theories assume static populations and fail to recognize both positive and negative impacts of the movement of people. This gap limits explanations and intervention strategies for sustainability. The objective of this project is therefore to use theory and rigorous empirical research to expand knowledge of transformations to sustainability by incorporating migration dynamics. These specifically include: the impact of aggregate flows of people on sustainability; the individual lifecourse dimensions of sustainability; and the governance of migration and sustainability.


Funded by: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) 

Objectives of panel survey-Wave III
a. Specific Objectives of the third round of the Survey:
• In order to make the evidences robust, any panel data requires studying the households for 4-5 times. The third round survey will be designed to make the panel data robust.
• In the second round of the survey around 1500 new households were added. While comparing household situation between the 2 surveys these households remained outside. The third round of survey will allow analysis based on all 6000 households.

b. Importance of Panel Data

On labour migration from Bangladesh, SDC and RMMRU household survey is the only panel data. This data set will serve different purposes ranging from helping national planning to higher studies.

Dynamic analysis against static: The first and second round of SDC and RMMRU survey has already established baseline data on migration. It provides information on the situation of respective families at the beginning of the process of migration. How were their socio-economic conditions prior to migration – income, expenditure, savings, resource endowment, living conditions, and educational achievement? What changes have migrant families experienced over the duration of migration? How such changes compare with households not having had any migration experience? What is the level of poverty of migrant households compared to non-migrant ones? In what avenues do the migrants invest? How do they contribute in community development? The robustness of the differences that was detected among migrant and non-migrant households in respect to poverty and consumption, between the first and second round of survey can be explained through adding new sets of questions.

Panel data and regression analysis: Panel data has a number of fundamental advantages over cross sectional with respect to regression analysis. First, findings are not confounded by the presence of time invariant omitted variables, such as ability, as fixed effects models can be implemented on panel data effectively correcting the bias caused by omitted variables. Second, possible concerns over reverse causation – for example is a positive association between wealth and migration because migration facilitates the accumulation of wealth or because only the relatively well-off can afford to migrate – can be addressed using such panel data specific tools as difference in difference estimation and granger causality tests. Finally, panel data allows for much more precise identification of parameters than an otherwise similar cross section, as the effective numbers of observations are increased with each wave of the panel.

Monitoring impact of migration: Besides underscoring various changes experienced over time, panel households will further enable monitoring possible impacts of migration and inflow of remittances. Migration is prone to fluctuations in level, destination, composition and terms and conditions of employment particularly with respect to different variants of international migration. Political instability, war, ethnic problems could cause a sudden return flow of migrants; changing labour market situation could significantly underscore the composition of migrants; or decline in overseas market demand could have a dampening effect on terms and conditions of employment. Now presence of panel households could help immensely to monitor possible impact of any external shock to migration.

Policy appraisal and programme evaluation: No less important, a panel household can prove instrumental in designing and evaluating policies and programme aimed at maximizing latent opportunities of migration and minimizing any adverse consequences thereof. Data generated from regular monitoring of these households and following sudden changes in external situation will prove useful in understanding the need for and effectiveness of alternative policies. For instance, how effective were different policies taken by the government from time to time toward helping migrant families adjust to the absence of adult family members, what underscores effective channeling of remittances into productive purposes, what contribution has migration played in easing the poverty situation in migrant localities? All such questions can be answered through proper monitoring and evaluating the experiences of panel households.