Model International Mobility Convention

Formulating new rules for migration and asylum

People are as mobile as ever, but their movement 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 (MIMC) 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.

Read the Convention

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. A visualization of the rights outlined in the MIMC can be found here.

The 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, and published by The Columbia Journal of Transnational Law in a Special Issue in January 2018.

Read Convention 1.0 | Read Convention 2.0 | Responsibility Sharing

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Featured MIMC Podcasts, Events, & Articles

Insights from our Senior Fellows & Advisory Board

APR 27, 2021 Podcast

Global Ethics Review: The Model International Mobility Convention 2.0, with Michael Doyle

How can we make migration more ethical? Columbia University's Professor Michael Doyle, also a senior fellow at Carnegie Council, discusses the Model International Mobility Convention (MIMC), which is focused on creating "a better set of rules for the movement of people across borders." Doyle and host Alex Woodson also touch ...

SEP 4, 2019 Podcast

The Model International Mobility Convention, with Michael Doyle

In this timely talk, SIPA's Professor Michael Doyle details the Model International Mobility Convention, a "hypothetical ideal convention" developed to define a "comprehensive and coherent" set of regulations for the movement of people across borders. Why was it so important to account for tourists alongside refugees and migrant workers? How ...

MIMC Leadership & Advisory Board

Michael W. Doyle

Carnegie Council Senior Fellow, Model International Mobility Convention (MIMC); Former Carnegie Council Trustee; Columbia University

Dorothea Koehn

Research Fellow, Model International Mobility Convention (MIMC); Columbia SIPA