Model International Mobility Convention

While people are as mobile as they ever were in our globalized world, the movement of people across borders lacks global regulation. This leaves many refugees in protracted displacement and many migrants unprotected in irregular and dire situations. Meanwhile, some states have become concerned that their borders have become irrelevant. International mobility—the movement of individuals across borders for any length of time as visitors, students, tourists, labor migrants, entrepreneurs, long-term residents, asylum seekers, or refugees—has no common definition or legal framework. To address this key gap in international law, and the growing gaps in protection and responsibility that are leaving people vulnerable, the "Model International Mobility Convention" proposes a framework for mobility with the goals of reaffirming the existing rights afforded to mobile people (and the corresponding rights and responsibilities of states) as well as expanding those basic rights where warranted.

In 213 articles divided over eight chapters, the Convention establishes both the minimum rights afforded to all people who cross state borders as visitors, and the special rights afforded to tourists, students, migrant workers, investors and residents, forced migrants, refugees, migrant victims of trafficking and migrants caught in countries in crisis. Some of these categories are covered by existing international legal regimes. However, in this Convention these groups are for the first time brought together under a single framework. An essential feature of the Convention is that it is cumulative. This means, for the most part, that the chapters build on and add rights to the set of rights afforded to categories of migrants covered by earlier chapters. The Convention contains not only provisions that afford rights to migrants and, to a lesser extent, States (such as the right to decide who can enter and remain in their territory). It also articulates the responsibilities of migrants vis-à-vis States and the rights and responsibilities of different institutions that do not directly respond to a right held by migrants. 

The summary of the convention is available to download here.
The full convention is available to download here.

CMS Migration Experts Series Interview with Michael W. Doyle

Please consider expressing your support by signing the Model International Mobility Convention using the form below.

Commission Member Signatories

  • Diego Acosta, Reader in European and Migration Law, University of Bristol Law School
  • T. Alexander Aleinikoff, University Professor; Director, Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility, The New School
  • Kiran Meisan Banerjee, Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Columbia Global Policy Initiative, Columbia University; Assistant Professor, Department of Political Studies, University of Saskatchewan
  • Elazar Barkan, Professor, School of International and Public Affairs; Director, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University
  • Pierre Bertrand, Former Director, New York Office, UNHCR
  • Jagdish Bhagwati, University Professor, Columbia University
  • Joseph Blocher, Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law
  • Emma Borgnäs, Columbia Global Policy Initiative, Columbia University
  • Sarah Cliffe, Director, NYU Center on International Cooperation
  • Francois Crepeau, Full Professor; Director, Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism; Hans & Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law, McGill University Faculty of Law; Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of Migrants, United Nations
  • Michael Doyle, Director, Columbia Global Policy Initiative; University Professor, Columbia University
  • David Scott FitzGerald, Theodore E. Gildred Chair in U.S.-Mexican Relations and Professor of Sociology; Co-Director, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California-San Diego
  • François Fouinat, Senior Adviser to SRSG for Migration and Development, United Nations
  • Justin Gest,* Steering Committee Co-Chair, International Migrants Bill of Rights (IMBR) Initiative
  • Guy S. Goodwin-Gill, Professor of Law; Acting Director, Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, University of New South Wales (UNSW); Emeritus Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford University; Barrister, Blackstone Chambers in London
  • Randall Hansen, Interim Director, Munk School of Global Affairs; Director, Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies; Professor, Political Science, University of Toronto
  • Mats Karlsson, Director, Swedish Institute of International Affairs (SIIA)
  • Donald Kerwin, Executive Director, Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Rey Koslowski, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy, University at Albany – State University of New York (SUNY)
  • Khalid Koser, Director, Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund
  • Ian Matthew Kysel,* Steering Committee Co-Chair, International Migrants Bill of Rights (IMBR) Initiative
  • Justin MacDermott, Former Adviser to SRSG for International Migration-Mr. Peter Sutherland, United Nations
  • Susan F. Martin, Donald G. Herzberg Professor Emerita of International Migration; Founder, Institute for the Study of International Migration, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
  • Sarah Deardorff Miller, Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University; Adjunct Professor, School of International Service, American University; Adjunct Professor, School of Advanced Study, University of London
  • Elora Mukherjee, Associate Clinical Professor of Law; Director, Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, Columbia Law School
  • Parvati Nair, Founding Director, Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility (UNU-GCM), United Nations University; Professor, Hispanic, Cultural and Migration Studies, Queen Mary, University of London
  • Steven S. Nam, Center for East Asian Studies, Stanford University; Tendermint & Cosmos
  • Daniel Naujoks, Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University; Adjunct Professor, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, The New School
  • José Antonio Ocampo, Professor of Professional Practice, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Maggie Powers, Associate Director, Columbia Global Policy Initiative, Columbia University
  • Benedita Menezes Queiroz, Assistant Lecturer, Instituto de Ciências Jurídico-Políticas (ICJP); Researcher, Lisbon's Centre for Research in Public Law (CIDP)
  • S. Irudaya Rajan, Chair Professor, International Migration, Centre for Development Studies, Kerala
  • Bianca Z. Santos,* Co-Chair, International Migrants Bill of Rights (IMBR) Initiative; Pangea Legal Services
  • Peter Spiro, Charles R. Weiner Professor of Law, Temple University Law School
  • Colleen Thouez, Senior Research and Training Advisor, UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
  • Joel P. Trachtman, Professor of International Law, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

Selected Public Signatories

  • Sérgio Aguilar, Professor of International Security, Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho (UNESP) (São Paulo State University)
  • Marufi Kaleem Mohd Umar, Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR) Afghanistan

*Denotes a Reservation, Understanding, or Declaration