Since the United Kingdom’s adoption of the Global Compact for Migration in December 2018, significant developments in the UK context remind us why the principles that govern the GCM remain important:

  • COVID-19 highlighted the critical role played by migrants in the health and social care sectors, as well as in other essential services. The pandemic also underscored the importance of migrant and refugees’ access to basic services, including testing and vaccinations.
  • The UK Withdrawal from the EU posed questions on the status and rights for both British nationals in the European Union and EU nationals in the UK.
  • The UK Immigration Act 2020 effectively ended freedom of movement for EU citizens, subjecting them to the same immigration rules as citizens from the rest of the world through an overhauled points-based system prioritising skilled workers. These changes are expected to affect the labour market and will require monitoring of anticipated shortages in particular sectors.
  • The Nationality & Borders Bill 2021 is the cornerstone of the UK government’s New Plan for Immigration and is widely regarded as a comprehensive reform to the UK's Asylum System. The Bill is currently in committee stage in Parliament.

As the UK manages these and other migration changes, the Global Compact on Migration provides a comprehensive toolkit of policy solutions on how to respond and manage international migration. The GCM offers an ideal that States can aspire to and a global benchmark against which both existing and new UK policy and practice can be assessed.

Where does the UK government stand on the GCM?

The UK Government endorsed the Compact in December 2018. The UK contributed actively during the negotiations phase of the Compact and has since been a major contributor to the Migration Multi-Party Trust Fund (MPTF), the UN financing mechanism established to assist Member States in their national implementation of the Compact.

The UK Government’s key statements and communications on the GCM include: