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Bahamas - Measuring the dimension and impact of Haitian migrants

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As part of an ongoing technical assistance programme, IOM is engaged in an effort to gauge the dimension and impact of Haitian migration in the Bahamas.

Haitian migrants by far constitute the largest migrant community in the Bahamas, with a distinct linguistic, cultural, and social tradition.

IOM is working with the government of the Bahamas with the cooperation and support of the Haitian embassy and the local Haitian community in collecting data, analyzing existing information and conducting surveys of Haitian migrant households.

The findings will contribute updated data and research to the scarce and fragmented information currently available; offer additional perspectives on this significant migration phenomenon and supply fresh information to policy makers for future planning, to the public at large and the Haitian migrant community.

IOM is working with a multidisciplinary team assembled by the College of the Bahamas to complete the project, which includes analysis of accumulated data, a report on results of the household survey designed to gather a broad range of demographic and other data, and a review of local media coverage within the last 3-5 years on the subject of Haitian migrants either in or arriving in the Bahamas.

Data collection and assessment are expected to be completed within the next 60-90 days, at which time it is expected that further information and details will be available.

Multiple crises in Haiti, one of the largest and poorest countries in the Caribbean, have resulted in continuing and significant emigration to countries in the region. The comparative wealth and accessibility of the Bahamas act as a pull factor for the destitute migrants from Haiti.

As an archipelago with a total landmass of 5,400 square miles spread out over an area of 100,000 square miles of ocean, the Bahamas faces difficult challenges in monitoring and regulating migration flows. Given the limited territorial size of the Bahamas, even relatively small numbers of Haitian migrants can have a disproportionate impact.

One consequence of this migration pattern that has existed for many decades, is the significant gaps in available data concerning the size and impact of the Haitian migrant population in the Bahamas.

This project, primarily funded by the US State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, plays a part in fulfilling the Bahamian government's desire to address a long-standing migration phenomenon while manifesting IOM's commitment to improving the lives of migrants and helping countries to better manage migration.

For more information contact:

Gerard Pascua
IOM Bahamas
Tel: 242-322-6081/85 ext. 275
Email: gpascua@iom.int

International Organization for Migration
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