Home / press /

Oxford University launches the Migration Observatory

25 Mar 2011

Oxford University today (Wednesday March 30th) launches the Migration Observatory – a major new initiative aimed at helping to inform the public debate on migration and immigration.

The Observatory – a project of the University’s Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) – provides clear, authoritative and independent analysis of data on migrants and migration issues in the UK, set in an international context.

Immigration Minister Damian Green, MP and Baroness Oona King of Bow will officially launch the Migration Observatory at an event on Tuesday night (March 29th).

Director of the Observatory, Dr Martin Ruhs, an economist specialising in labour migration and member of the Migration Advisory Committee, said: “The debate on migration in the UK is highly polarised and often based on scant evidence or flawed interpretations of what evidence does exist. The Migration Observatory aims to help overcome these problems by clearly showing what we do and don’t know, and by discussing the challenges immigration raises for a wide range of public policies”.

The Observatory has no political agenda, and draws on expertise from across a number of disciplines at Oxford University, with contributions from specialists in economics, law, criminology, demography, sociology, political science and many other subjects.

Professor Michael Keith, COMPAS Director, said: “The Migration Observatory is neither for nor against migration. Our hope is that it can be of value to everyone – from ministers and civil servants, through to civil society groups, the media and the wider public. It is a tool to build and develop informed views about migration and a clear understanding of the difficult trade-offs that are often part of the social and economic consequences of different approaches.”

The Observatory’s website offers four key sections:

  • Briefings, accessible but comprehensive analysis of key subjects
  • Policy primers, in-depth analysis of the complexities of migration policy issues
  • News and commentary, rapid responses to current events and major policy decisions related to migration issues
  • Data and resources, including charts, tables, maps and data on migration

Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice Chancellor of Oxford University said: “This is an excellent example of where academic research can have a vitally important role and real impact in a debate of immense national and international significance.”

Press Contact

If you would like to make a press enquiry, please contact:

Rob McNeil

+ 44 (0)7500 970081

 Contact Us 


This Migration Observatory is kindly supported by the following organisations.

  • University of Oxford logo
  • COMPAS logo
  • Esmee Fairbairn logo
  • Barrow Cadbury Trust logo
  • Paul Hamlyn Foundation logo