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The International Migration Institute (IMI) aims to promote new thinking about migration as an intrinsic part of global change and development. This is achieved through promoting research, generating new data, and publishing IMI’s Working Paper Series. IMI is strengthened by a global network of  fellows from around the world. IMI activities are driven by the desire to advance the boundaries of migration research and migration theory, promote evidence–based debates about migration, and encourage greater engagement beyond the academy: 

  • Developing a long-term perspective on migration and human mobility as an intrinsic part of global change.
  • Exploring new conceptual and methodological horizons for understanding and researching migration processes.
  • Sharing data and research through the IMI working paper series and other ‘open access’ platforms.
  • Disseminating evidence-based insights on migration to the broadest possible audiences using accessible language.
  • Creating new narratives on migration that challenge polarized debates between ‘pro-’ and ‘anti-’ migration voices.

Over the past years, IMI researchers and fellows have developed a wide-ranging research programme that challenged conventional ideas of migration and build an empirical basis for significant advances in theory and analysis. IMI forges collaborations among migration researchers from around the world to build global research capacity.

IMI functions as a global hub encouraging new research partnerships, visiting fellowships and exchange visits, conferences and seminars, and collaborative publications.

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The International Migration Institute (IMI) was originally established at the Department of International Development (ODID) of the University of Oxford in 2006 thanks to support by the Oxford Martin School. IMI was initiated as a collaboration between Steven Vertovec, then-director of Oxford’s Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), and Stephen Castles, then-director of the Refugee Studies Centre (RSC). Stephen Castles became IMI’s first Director. He was succeeded by Robin Cohen (2009-11), Hein de Haas and Oliver Bakewell (2011-16) and Mathias Czaika (2017). In 2017, IMI ceased to operate as an institute at the University of Oxford, and became an international network (IMI). Between 2019 and 2022, IMI was part of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) at the University of Amsterdam directed by Hein de Haas. In 2022, IMI became an independent  institute aimed at  gathering social scientists from around the world committed to advancing a long-term view of migration processes as part of global change. 

Thinking Migration: celebrating imi's legacy

Thinking MigrationThis report features highlights from IMI's first ten years (2006-2015) developing a long-term and forward-looking perspective on international migration as part of global change.

This 56-page report captures the story of the institute's founding in 2006, tracing its development into a leading global authority on international migration.

Contributions from former IMI staff, and from research collaborators from the Global North and South, celebrate the achievements IMI made over its decade of existing, and look towards ongoing and new areas of research.

Download the report