What we do

The Middle East and North Africa region hosts one of the world’s largest migrant populations, with more than 34 million migrants in 2015.

People move to, through and from the region for a variety – and combination – of reasons. Labour migration to the Gulf States, partly from other Arab States as well as from further afield, continues to be a central component of their economic growth. North African countries have continued to host people from sub-Saharan African countries seeking employment or attempting to cross the Mediterranean to make their futures in Europe.

However, protracted crises and political and social instability have been among the top drivers of migration in, to and from the region, causing people to move on an unprecedented scale. Conflicts continue unabated in Iraq, Libya, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen, while their neighbouring countries struggle to deal with the effects on their societies and infrastructures.

To respond to this array of needs and challenges, IOM's regional office in Cairo is supports programmes being run by offices across the region.

The regional office also works with governments and intergovernmental organizations to develop migration policies that respect the rights of migrants and promote regular, orderly and humane migration. This is supported through research and data collection activities, also undertaken and monitored at the regional office.


Public Information and Communications

For press inqueries, please contact iommenanews@iom.int


IOM undertakes original propietary and collaborative research to fill knowledge gaps on migration trends and issues, believing that good data and research are critical underpinnings of inclusive, rights-based policy.

Migrant Assistance

IOM’s migrant assistance programming works on behalf of migrants in perilous situations, including stranded and vulnerable migrants, those who have been trafficked or smuggled, and young people migrating by themselves.

Migration Governance and Policy

IOM in the Middle East and North Africa advances knowledge, evidence and awareness of migration issues, supports improved migration laws and policies, and facilitates dialogue and learning among migration policymakers and practitioners.

Labour and Human Development

The Middle East and North Africa region continues to be an important source and destination for migrant workers. Growth in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, with its promise of job opportunities with higher wages, attracts a significant number of migrant workers.

Immigration and Border Management (IBM)

Migrants and refugees benefit from the IOM Immigration and Border Management (IBM) system programming when relevant national authorities are capacitated in adopting a rights based approach when dealing with cross-border movements and in managing foreign residents.


In MENA, IOM carries out a range of health related activities, including: health screenings for refugees; building primary health care centres for migrants and host communities; direct medical assistance; provision of prosthetic limbs to amputees, and pychosocial activities.

Emergency Response

Protracted conflicts spanning the region have necessitated ongoing emergency operations in Iraq, Libya, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen. Of these conflicts, three are categorized as the highest-level emergency classified within the UN system (Iraq, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen).