What is migration?

Humanity has always been on the move. People have always packed up their lives – to find work, friends and family, food, shelter, safety.

It’s nothing new. So why are some people now so scared of the ‘stranger’?

Migration has brought huge benefits to many people – new languages, number systems, crops, music, inventions, ways of thinking.

What problems do migrants face?

Migration now is also bringing suffering – restrictive laws, separated families, inflamed political rhetoric, walls between us, as brothers and sisters. Does it really need to be this way?

Migrants are sometimes demonised for stealing jobs from locals, for taking excessive welfare benefits, for being foreign – the ‘other’. Research and statistics often show that widely-held negative perceptions around migration are off the mark.

The positive impact of migrants

Caritas embraces the heritage of vibrant diversity and welcome. If we meet, greet, get to know one another, we will conquer the fear. Instead we will find understanding.

Together, we can change hearts and minds.

“We must strive and ask for the grace to create a culture of encounter… that restores to each person his or her own dignity” – Pope Francis.


Humanitarian Visas

Temporary visas, which allow access to a country for the purpose of seeking asylum. They allow their holders to travel safely, when countries are willing to welcome them.


To Caritas, a migrant is a person on the move, who needs accompaniment, support and protection. We use this broad term for migrants in our campaign. They may be refugees, or asylum seekers. They may be internally displaced within their own country by a conflict or a natural disaster, or may have moved to seek work. They may be adults or children, on their own or with their families. They may have been trafficked.

Forced Migration

Migration where an element of coercion exists, such as threats to lives and livelihoods, either natural or human made.

Internally Displaced Person

Someone who has been made to leave where they live but has not crossed an internationally recognised border.


According to the 1951 UN Convention, a refugee is an individual who “owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion” fled the country of their nationality.

Human Trafficking

The UN defines this as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, Global Migration Campaign (2017-2019) harbouring or receipt of people by force or deception, with the aim of enslaving and exploiting them for profit. It is a fast-growing global crime. Trafficked people are often abused.


This means getting money or other material benefits from the process of illegally entering a person into a country where they do not have the legal right to be. Beneficiaries of subsidiary protection – People who do not qualify as refugees under the 1951 criteria but are nevertheless in need of protection.

Unaccompanied Children

Children under 18 who are not being cared for by a parent or someone legally responsible for them along their migration journey.

Safe and Legal Channels

These provide people in need of international protection with a safe and legal way to enter countries, such as humanitarian corridors and family reunification schemes.

Non Refoulement

A principle enshrined in the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. It states that “No Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where their life or freedom would be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”.


The safe and legal travel of people in need of protection from a country where they have sought asylum to a third country, which has agreed to grant them refugee status. Resettlement is one of the durable solutions envisaged by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) when neither returning home nor settling in the initial arrival country are viable. Less than 1% of the global refugee population is resettled every year and only around 30 countries currently accept refugee resettlement.

Family Reunification

Allows family members to safely and legally travel to join their relative, who has obtained protected status in a specific country.

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