Guide to In-Migration
WHY PROJECT INDUCED IN-MIGRATION MATTERS:
In-migration (sometimes referred to as Influx) is the movement of people into an area in anticipation of, or in response to, opportunities associated with the development and/or operation of a new project. It is an inevitable consequence of project development and although a case can be made that in-migration may benefit trade, employment, infrastructure, and services in the project area, the experience from the resources sector is that in-migration is more likely to have negative effects on host communities insofar as environmental, social, and health issues are concerned. These will lead to increased project costs and increased operational and reputation risk if not well managed.
Irrespective of whether project development is viewed as a trigger for in-migration or as a catalyst for broader economic development of the region which in turn leads to in-migration, you have the ability to reduce the level of in-migration and to prevent and/or mitigate its impacts.
In-migration peaks during the construction and early operations phase of projects and potential impacts need to be identified and plans put in place before the first migrants arrive, which means that management of in-migration is best done early while you have the greatest opportunity to influence the result rather than reactively where resources have to be directed towards mitigating the impacts for the life of the operation.
WHAT TO DO:
HOW TO DO IT:
|Understand the project specific drivers of in-migration
- Incorporate an in-migration assessment into the screening phase of your Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, with a specific requirement to include a prediction of in-migration pathways and hotspots and a prediction of the rate and magnitude of in-migration.
|Consider in-migration consequences when planning for construction and operations
In addition to the in-migration related actions in the ‘What else’ sections in the other social aspects there a number of other actions that need to be taken:
- Evaluate how planned transport routes might facilitate access and concentrate in-migrant populations both along the route and within the broader project area of influence;
- Decisions whether to operate one or multiple offices, and whether to locate and operate a logistical base on the project site, in the nearest town with adequate infrastructure, or in the nearest centre that can function as a service centre for the project, need to consider their influence (pull-factor) on in-migration;
- Analyse the interventions that may be needed and identify where involvement of local and regional government in design, construction, and/or management of the interventions is needed to make these sustainable;
- Make someone accountable for ensuring in-migration issues are fully integrated into the project.
|Limit the number of jobseekers coming to the project area as much as possible
An approach that has proven to be effective in encouraging non-skilled jobseekers to stay home is a combination of:
- Defining who are “local” and who are “outsiders”;
- Publicly committing to hiring 100% “local” people for non-skilled labor positions;
- Radio announcements in main population centers. Along the lines of “if you are not local and you do not have specific skills, stay home”;
- Enforcement of local hiring rules with contractors and subcontractors through use of specific local content clauses with incentives / penalties;
- Strict enforcement of a no-hiring-at-the-gate rule.
WHAT ELSE YOU CAN DO:
Adding to the ESIA: Effective monitoring of the project’s physical, social, and health footprint requires reliable information on in-migration, including a baseline and periodic updates. It is very important to implement a population census of the project area to establish a verifiable “pre-project” baseline. The baseline information can be further supplemented through the use of remote sensing. Aerial imagery can be particularly useful during pre-feasibility and feasibility stages, when it is not possible or practical to do in-depth ground-based studies. Regularly updated imagery can easily establish the geographical extent of any influx and land use changes that may be occurring in and around the project area.
Design, Construction, and Management Requirements: Companies often expect governments to take responsibility for dealing with influx and do not get influx management onto the radar until it is too late and the company is compelled to take action. Government may lack the capacity (or will) to pro-actively plan for in-migration unless they are encouraged to do so. This is why collaborative planning with the government needs to be done early, before significant influx happens. Where government capacity and resources are limited, you may want to consider partnering with NGOs to provide technical assistance and capacity building to local and regional governments in areas such as governance and revenue management, infrastructure planning and delivery, and improved delivery of health and education services. You could also consider including influx related provisions (such as an increased presence of government services) as part of negotiations around the investment agreement.
Spatial Planning: To avoid spontaneous and unplanned urban growth you could work with local government to develop and implement master urban/spatial plans for existing and new settlements within the project area of influence. Something else to think about is that any offsite project infrastructure and the increased availability of services and utilities may lead to social pressure being placed on the project to either share resources or meet the cost of providing resources to the public.