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 Model Convention has a great starting point, which is reality. There are 244 million human beings on the move around the world for a whole variety of reasons, and that's what we human beings do, we move."


Anne C. Richard, Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration (2012-17)

The Model International Mobility Convention was developed by a Commission of eminent academic and policy experts in the fields on migration, human rights, national security, labor economics and refugee law. The Commission came together to debate and develop the Convention in workshops conducted regularly from spring 2015 until it was finalized in April 2017. A full list of Commission and other signatories to the Convention can be found further down on this page. The Columbia Journal of Transnational Law published the Model International Mobility Convention in a Special Issue in January of 2018, which includes 12 commentaries by academics and policymakers in the fields of migration, human rights, national security, labor economics, and refugee law.

The MIMC Summary of the Convention is available to download here.

The MIMC Booklet with the full Convention is available to download here.

The Columbia Journal of Transnational Law Special Issue (Vol. 56, No. 2) is available to download here.

Read "The Model International Mobility Convention: Finding a Path to a Better International Mobility Regime," Global Summitry (2018).

Center for Migration Experts Series | Interview with Michael Doyle

Feedback and Support

Please give your feedback or 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
  • Frans Bouwen, Founder and Director, The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration; Senior Advisor, Conflict Prevention and Migration, The Hague Institute for Global Justice; Senior Advisor to the President, FD Roosevelt Foundation
  • Sarah Cliffe, Director, NYU Center on International Cooperation
  • Kevin L. Cope, Research Assistant Professor of Law and Faculty Affiliate in Politics, University of Virginia
  • François Crépeau, 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
  • Yasmine Ergas,* Director, Gender & Public Policy Specialization; Professor, School of International and Public Affairs, 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
  • Bimal Ghosh, Senior Fellow, Graduate Institute for Interrnational and Development Studies, Geneva; Emeritus Professor, Graduate Institute of Public Administration, Bogota
  • 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
  • Khalid Koser, Director, Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund
  • Rey Koslowski, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy, University at Albany – State University of New York (SUNY)
  • 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, Managing Editor, CodeX Stanford Journal of Blockchain Law & Policy
  • 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
  • Sarah Rosengaertner, Expert on Migration and Development, Columbia Global Policy Initiative
  • Bianca Z. Santos,* Co-Chair, International Migrants Bill of Rights (IMBR) Initiative; Pangea Legal Services
  • Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University
  • 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

  • Joana Abrisketa,  International Law Professor, University of Deusto, Spain.
  • Sérgio Aguilar, Professor of International Security, Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho (UNESP) (São Paulo State University)
  • Richard Balme, Full Professor in Political Science at Sciences Po
  • Marie-Laure Basilien-Gainche,  Professor of Law, University Jean Moulin Lyon 3, Institut Universitaire de France
  • Galya Ben-Arieh Founder and Director, Center for Forced Migration Studies at the Buffett Institute for Global Studies, Northwestern University
  • Michael Byers, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law, University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Amb. Arturo Cabrera, H, MPA, PhDc, Ambassador Deputy Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva
  • John R. Campbell, Reader in the Anthropology of Africa and Law,  SOAS University of London
  • Arthur Augusto Catraio,  Brazilian School of Public Administration; Getulio Vargas Foundation
  • Deen ChatterjeeProfessorial Fellow, S. J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah
  • Katharina Coleman, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of British Columbia-Vancouver
  • Ariel Colonomos, CNRS Research Professor
  • André Corrêa d’AlmeidaAdjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs and Assistant Director of MPA in Development Practice, Columbia University
  • Anna Terrón Cusí Instrategies President. Former Secretary of State for Emigration and Inmigration (Spanish Government)
  • Mireille Delmas-MartyProfessor Emerita, Collège de France
  • Antje Ellermann, Director, Institute for European Studies and Associate Professor of Political Science, University of British Columbia
  • Michael B. Gerrard Faculty Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law; Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice, Columbia Law School
  • Sacha Goldman, Secretary General, Collegium International
  • Brian Gorlick, Senior Policy Advisor, UNHCR
  • Laura Hammond,  Reader in Development Studies, SOAS University of London
  • Talha Jalal, Regional Coordinator - Mixed Migration Center at Danish Refugee Council
  • Karen L. Kavanagh, Professor of Physics, Simon Fraser University
  • James P Ketterer, Dean of International Studies, Bard College
  • Binod Khadria, Professor, Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; Indian Council for Cultural Relations Chair (ICCR) Visiting Professor of India Studies, Rutgers State University, New Jersey
  • Minwoo Kim, Research Professor, Human Rights Center, Korea University
  • Daniel M. Kowalski,  Editor-in-Chief, Bender's Immigration Bulletin (LexisNexis)
  • Sunghyun (Sean) Lee, Executive Consultant/Manager, HRCap
  • Sílvia Morgades-Gil, Associate Professor in Public International Law and International Relations, Department of Law, Pompeu Fabra University
  • Susan Oh, Chair of AI Blockchain For Impact (BFI) UN GA
  • S. Ilgu Ozler, Associate Professor Political Science, SUNY New Paltz

  • Felipe Pait, Associate Professor, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil

  • Nicoletta Policek,  Associate Professor in Policing and Criminology, University of Cumbria, UK

  • Henry Shue, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for International Studies [CIS] of the Department of Politics and International Relations, Professor Emeritus of Politics and International Relations, and Senior Research Fellow Emeritus at Merton College, Oxford University
  • Claire-Michelle Smyth, Senior Lecturer, Brighton Business School, University of Brighton 
  • Anna Terrón Cusí, President, Instrategies; former Secretary of State for Immigration and Emigration of the Government of Spain (2010-2011)
  • Marufi Kaleem Mohd Umar, Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR) Afghanistan
  • Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de LeónFormer President of Mexico, Director, Yale Center for the Study of Globalization

Public Signatories

  • Mana Aliabadi, Friends of Farmworkers
  • Tala Al-Rousan, Associate Professor at UCSD
  • Jacob Argue, Undergraduate student, University of Utah
  • Carol Attenborrow, Vancouver Institute
  • Tariq Azeez
  • David Taub Bancroft, Mountain Equipment Co-op
  • Barry Bergeron, Air Line Pilots Association
  • Julia Biango, Graduate student, Columbia University
  • Aaron Brown, University of Toronto
  • Michael Butcher, Mifran Inc.
  • Scott Carlin, Long Island University
  • Thelmo Cordones, CUNY
  • Eddy E Rosales Chavez, Graduate student, Stanford University
  • Randall Doyle, Professor, Mid-Michigan College
  • Ajay Dueby, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Maria Elena, The Barcelona Bar Association (ICAB)
  • Montse Ferrer, Harvard Kennedy School; Graduate Institute, Geneva
  • Deborah Franklin, Teacher, Bryant & Stratton College
  • Chase Foster, Harvard University
  • Alicia Amorós Fuster-Fabra, Student, Universitat Ramon Llull, Barcelona
  • Rashmi Gajare, Architect, Preservationist, Artist, Tertön Digital Humanities; Cornell University
  • Gabriela Garcia Angelico, PhD student, Universidade Estadual Paulista Julio de Mesquita Filho - UNESP
  • Lindsay Geisel
  • Doan Ho, Graduate student, Columbia University
  • Adam Hunter, Truman National Security Fellow
  • Marcus Hunter, Actor, Pigeon Cry Productions
  • Ryan Johnson, Graduate student, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
  • Tom Johnson, Tom Johnson Consulting, LLC
  • Sabine Klahr, Associate Chief Global Officer, Office for Global Engagement, University of Utah
  • Moses Kihiko, Consultant
  • John Kydd, Child Advocate
  • Pelagia Konstantellou
  • Crystal Lee, Undergraduate student, Columbia University
  • Virginia Lee
  • Gabriel Lozano, Undergraduate student, The Wharton School, UPenn
  • Jiwei Li, University of British Columbia
  • Beatriz Lopez-Fanjul, Research and Development Programme Officer, Gravitazz Continental
  • Lindsay Marsh, UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs 
  • Gustavo Macedo, Visiting Research, Columbia Global Policy Initiative; University of São Paulo
  • Conor McGuire, Asylum Officer, Graduate Student, Columbia University
  • Dianne Murray
  • Renata Nagamine,  UFBA - Federal University of Bahia
  • Mariana Olaizola, Yale Law School 
  • Lisa Pelling, Chief Analyst, Arena Ide
  • Daniel H. and Janet V. Phelps, Columbia College - British Columbia
  • Z. Qingjun, Fordham University
  • Brian Redway
  • Edwin Righa, Migration Governance
  • Igor Rubinov, Graduate Student, Princeton University 
  • Peter Sampson
  • Ajaya Kumar Sahoo​,  Assistant Professor at the Centre for Study of Indian Diaspora, University of Hyderabad, India
  • Theo Peixoto Scudellari, Graduate student, Universidade Estadual Paulista Julio de Mesquita Filho - UNESP
  • Amaya Valcarcel Silvela, International Advocacy Coordinator, Jesuit Refugee Service
  • Steffanie Strathdee, Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences and Harold Simon Professor in the Department of Medicine, UCSD School of Medicine
  • Komal Thakkar, Graduate student, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
  • Jean Warren
  • Annie Wolverton, PhD student, Fielding Graduate University
  • Vincent Wong,  Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
  • Nanaho Yamanaka, Graduate student, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
  • Maya Zaynetdinova
  • Rabia Zafar, Graduate student, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
  • Genevieve Zingg, Graduate student, Columbia University

*Denotes a Reservation, Understanding, or Declaration

Convention Launch Events

  1. UNU Conversation Series-Beyond Migrants and Refugees, 31 May 2018, United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan
  2. The International Mobility Convention: New Global, Regional, and Technological Approaches to Migration, 28 May 2018, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea (South Korea)
  3. UN’s Intergovernmental Conference on Migration in December– What is at Stake, 24 May 2018, Swedish Institute for International Affairs, Stockholm, Sweden
  4. A Model International Mobility Convention: Rights and Governance for Migrants and Refugees, 6 May 2018, Columbia Global Centers | Amman, Jordan
  5. The Model International Mobility Convention: Prospects for Global Migration and a More Interconnected World, 19 April 2018, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA
  6. Beyond Migrants and Refugees: A Model International Mobility Convention, 5 April 2018, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
  7. Model International Mobility Convention Launch in Nairobi, 22 March 2018, Columbia Global Centers | Nairobi, Kenya
  8. A Model International Mobility Convention: Rights and Governance for Migrants and Refugees, 16 March 2018, Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai, India
  9. Refugee Hub: The Model International Mobility Convention, 6 March 2018, University of Ottawa Refugee Hub, Ottawa, ON, Canada
  10. New Rules for Migrants and Refugees, 21 February 2018, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA
  11. David and Lyn Silfen University Forum - People and Policy Adrift: A 21st Century Framework for Asylum Seekers, Refugees, and Immigration Policy, 15 February 2018, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA
  12. Regional Perspectives on Migration and Refugees, 18-19 January 2018, Harriman Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
  13. International Migrant's Day, 18 December 2017, United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility (UNU-GCM), Barcelona, Spain
  14. Perry World House Seminar Series: Model International Mobility Convention, 6 December 2017, University of Pennsylvania, Perry World House, Philadelphia, PA, USA
  15. Mark Zacher Distinguished Visitor Lecture:​ Crossing Borders in a Globalized World: A New Treaty for Migrants and Refugees, 2 December 2017, The Vancouver Institute, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  16. IES/Political Science Department co-hosted talk: Model International Mobility Treaty, 30 November 2017, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  17. Charles Francis Adams Lecture: Model International Mobility Convention, 9 November 2017, Tufts University, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Medford, MA, USA
  18. A Model International Mobility Convention: Principles and Regulations for Migrants and Refugees​, 3 November 2017, University of Toronto, Munk School of Global Affairs, Toronto, ON, Canada
  19. International Mobility Treaty: Annual Tanner-McMurrin Lecture, 26 October 2017, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
  20. Foreign Policy Association's Centennial Lecture, 12 October 2017, SUNY Global Center, New York, NY, USA
  21. SIPA Migration Working Group Annual Fall Symposium: Innovations and Ideas in a Changing Landscape, 3 October 2017, Columbia University, SIPA, New York, NY, USA
  22. CMS Symposium - Whither Immigration? New Directions in Research and Policy in an Era of Nationalism, 3 October 2017, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, New York, NY, USA
  23. Collegium International (closed-door session), 30 September 2017, Défenseur des droits, Paris, France
  24. XV UNESP International Relations Week, 28 August - 1 September 2017, Universidade Estadual Paulista Julio de Mesquita Filho - UNESP, Marilia, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  25. International Policy Summer Institute, 5 June 2017, School of International Service at American University, Washington, DC, USA
  26. Model International Mobility Convention Symposium, 26 April 2017, Columbia Law School, New York, NY, USA