Prof. Dr. Melissa Siegel

Head of Migration Studies, Professor of Migration Studies

Research group(s):
6. Migration and Development (coordinator)
2. Social Protection, Inclusive Innovation and Development

Melissa Siegel is a Professor of Migration Studies and Head of Migration Studies at UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance where she manages several migration research projects, coordinates the Migration Studies Specialisation as part of the Master’s Programme in Public Policy and Human Development and heads the Migration Management Diploma Programme. She also heads the Migration and Development research theme of the Maastricht Center for Citizenship, Migration and Development (MACIMIDE). She currently holds the Chair of the UNU Migration Network and positions as a Research Associate at the Center on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) and an Associated Researcher at the International Migration Institute (IMI) at the University of Oxford. She is also on the board of the Hague Process on Refugees and Migration. She has done visiting research fellowships at Harvard University, the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and the University of Oxford. She has advised, worked on or headed projects for the Dutch Government, Swiss Development Cooperation, German Development Cooperation, the IOM, UNHCR, ILO, UNDP, ICMPD, World Bank, OECD and others. She is also regularly involved in migration-related trainings for governments and international organisations (i.e. UNICEF, UNRWA, EIPA, Dutch Government, Iranian Government, Turkish Government) and teaching at the Bachelors, Masters, and PhD level as well as teaching in the United States, Malaysia, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Suriname. She has also given advice to the United Nations and European Commission on migration issues. Her main research interest lies in the causes and consequences of migration with a strong emphasis on the linkages between migration and development. She has proven experience in writing successful research funding proposals and has several publications in the area of migration studies. She has previous field research experience in several countries as well as knowledge of designing, administering and evaluating surveys. She is also familiar with other techniques of data collection such as interviews and focus groups and analysis using STATA.

Research Note

Prof. Siegel's current work lies in the causes and consequences of migration including but not limited to:

  1. The effects of migration on children and elderly left behind
  2. The linkages between different forms of migration and multi-dimensional poverty
  3. The linkages between migration (including return) and development
  4. Remittance, effects, usage and channels
  5.  Migration policy and practice
  6. Migration and corruption
  7. Migration and health

(Selected) Current projects:

  • H2020 Role of European Mobility and its Impacts in Narratives, Debates and EU Reforms (REMINDER) (2016-2019)
  • Understanding Intra-Regional Labour Migration in the East Africa Community for East Africa Research Fund for DFID and Sida (2016-2018)
  • Knowledge transfer impact of the CD4D project of IOM from the Netherlands (2016-2019)
  • Capacity Building for the Government of Kosovo with ICMPD, sponsored by Swiss Development Cooperation (2016-2017)
  • Project on private sector interest in diaspora recruitment for country or regional offices for DT&V (Dutch return directorate of the Ministry of Justice) (2016)
  • Mail order Brides project for European Parliament (2016)
  • ICMPD/UNDP UNDP-ICMPD Joint Positioning Paper on Migration and Development (2016)
  • UNHCR study on the Economic impact of Congolese refugees in Rwanda (2015/16)
  • Mid-term evaluation of Swiss Development Cooperation’s Global Program on Migration and Development(2015/16)
  • European Asylum Support Office (EASO) Literature review of significant pull/push factors for determining asylum-related migration  (2015/16)
  • Regional overview of  Highly-Skilled Human capital Movement in the LAC  Region for the Inter-American Development bank (2015)
  • KNOMAD (World Bank)  project to pilot indicators for measuring policy and institutional coherence for migration and development (2015-2016) 

(Selected) Previous projects:

  • Evaluation of Swiss Development Cooperation Global Programs: Migration and Development Specialist (2015)
  • GIZ project Mapping the Nigerian Diaspora in Germany (2014-15)
  • GIZ project Mapping the Kenyan Diaspora in Germany (2014-15)
  • KNOMAD (World Bank) project to develop indicators for measuring policy and institutional coherence for migration and development (2014)
  • Evaluation of the Swiss Migration Partnership (2014)
  • IZA/DFID project under the Growth and Labor Markets in Low Income Countries program, Project title: The Labour Market Impacts of Forced Migration (LAMFOR) (2013-15)
  • Improving the evidence-base on migration processes and pathways of irregular migrantsseeking asylum Project 1: The root causes of movement: Understanding the Determinants and Processes of Irregular Migration from Afghanistan; Project 2: Decision making factors and experiences of irregular Afghan migrants in the Netherlands, Australia National University and Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2013-2014)
  • Mapping the Tunisian diaspora in Germany, GiZ project (2013)
  • Expert evaluator for EC project ICT and Immigrant’s Integration (2013)
  • The Hague Process Project (THP) Migrant and Refugee Integration in Global Cities: The role of Cities and Businesses (2013-2014)
  • Evaluation of ILO’s work in the area of  migration (2013)
  • Evaluation of the UNHCR shelter program in Afghanistan (2012-2013)
  • Assessment of the IOM ‘MIDWEB’ migration project in the Western Balkans (2012)
  • Dutch Ministry of Interior knowledge exchange project on civic integration (2012)
  • Evaluation of the Dutch Government Migration and Development Program (2012)
  • Volkswagen Foundation Project Europe’s Global Linkages and the Impact of the Financial Crisis: Policies for Sustainable Trade, Capital Flows, and Migration (2011-2013)
  • Evaluation of the “Blue Birds” circular migration pilot of the Dutch Government (2011-2012)
  • Study on educational support for newly arrived migrant children (NAMS) Project Netherlands Country Expert (2011)
  • IOM Afghanistan Migration Profile and New Data Collection (2011-2012)
  • Migration: A World in Motion: Migration and Development IS Academy Project Manager (2009-2014). Project on the developmental impact of migration specifically in Morocco, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Burundi.
  • EuropeAid (EC) Project on the Effects of Migration on Children and Elderly Left Behind in Moldova and Georgia (2010-2012)?


More information on these and other projects

Selected publications by Melissa Siegel