Diaspora & Development

Diaspora communities facilitate increased trade, investment and cultural linkages between the different countries to which they are connected. The resources of these communities flow across borders and are immensely varied, ranging from skills, knowledge, and ideas to cultural capital, finance, and trade links. We have three primary areas of focus, in our work in linking diaspora communities with development processes: research, remittances and skills transfers.


Diaspora mapping involves the identification of diaspora communities, their ideas, capacities and relationship with their countries of heritage. It is a useful tool for heritage countries to understand the potential for increased participation from diaspora communities. IOM UK has been a key partner in this process, and seeks to expand its diaspora mapping and research activities. By focusing on how diaspora members engage with countries of heritage and the barriers to maintaining linkages, diaspora mapping can inform policies, mechanisms and partnerships to facilitate diaspora engagement in development initiatives.


The UK’s large and varied diaspora population is a major source of remittances to countries around the world, generating outflows valued at US$2,495 million in 2015. Yet, transfer costs remain high and vary significantly between methods.

We aim to ensure a greater proportion of remittances reach migrants and their families through improved transparency in remittance services, raised awareness of high transfer costs, improved financial literacy amongst remittance senders, and by promoting financial inclusion.

Skills Transfers

The UK’s diaspora communities are made up of skilled professionals with expertise in a broad range of sectors. IOM has worked with a growing number of countries to establish institutions and policies facilitating ties with diaspora communities. IOM UK’s goal is to conceptualize a programme enabling the UK’s diaspora communities to share their skills and expertise with institutions in their country of heritage through temporary or virtual placements.

We also support platforms for governments in source countries and diaspora communities in the UK to engage one another through dialogue and policy consultations.

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