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Is the World Ignoring Climate Change Migrants?

There are millions of people on this planet today already directly affected by climate change. While large swathes of the global population are currently buffered from the immediate impacts of climate change on their daily lives, those in low lying countries are already grappling with the havoc it creates. This is, in turn, driving climate change migration to other places which are yet to be more severely affected. This begs the question, are migrants being welcomed as they abandon everything they have ever known, or are they being ignored? We will let you be the judge.

What are the projections for environmental migration?

Figures by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) reveal that in 2018 alone, there were 17.2 million new displacements of people following disasters, with 764,000 relocating mainly due to drought. The majority of disaster driven displacements are being seen in the Philippines, China, Ethiopia, and India. Projections by the UN International Organization for Migration by 2050, suggest that across the world, we can expect to see between 25 million to one billion climate migrants. This is further reinforced by the Italian thinktank, Centro euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici (Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change) (CMCC), who state that 200 million is the most widely cited estimate and that we will see people "moving either within their countries or across borders, on a permanent or temporary basis". At 200 million, the volume of climate change migrants will be ten times greater than today's numbers; a truly sobering thought.

What is driving climate change migration?

According to CMCC, while sudden natural disasters (e.g. hurricane Katrina) cause people to abandon their homes, towns and cities, they tend to return once the aftermath has dissipated. Slow-onset impacts of climate change, such as desertification, loss of drinking water, and impaired soil fertility typically lead to longer-term migration to new places. That said, a report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) makes the point that while the scientific understanding of climate change is increasingly well understood, the impact on human populations is much less so. This is due in part to the unpredictability of the factors at play. While flooding (for example) may cause problems for crop growing, sanitation, and pose an immediate risk to human survival, knowing at which point a population decides to migrate involves a complex interplay of many variables.

It is established that climate change effects are and will continue to change, for example, as the hydrological cycle becomes more intense. Rising hydrological intensity will increase the volume of rain and flooding, causing top-soil being washed away. In other places, rain levels will decrease. The IOM state that "by 2050, sub-Saharan Africa is predicted to have up to 10 per cent less annual rainfall in its interior". This will severely impact on agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa, leading to a lack of food and ultimately starvation. Crop yields are also expected to fall by 30% in central and Southern Asia around 2050, and fish stocks are expected to migrate towards the poles; again leading to the depletion of food stocks in densely populated parts of the world.

A duty to welcome climate change migrants?

Unfortunately, in recent decades, many countries have shown their indifference to embracing migrants from other parts of the world. As things stand, not only is there no legal protection available to climate change migrants, countries are not obligated (let alone willing to welcome) them. In the opinion of the European parliament, there is a definite 'protection gap' for 'climate refugees', who lack a formal international definition and are not covered by the 1951 Refugee Convention. The convention covers persecution on the grounds of race, religion, nationality or membership of a particular social group or political opinion, but not displacement due to environmental factors. While it is true that most affected by climate change resettle internally, those who do move beyond their national borders cannot formally seek resettlement in another country. This is especially of concern for those who simply cannot move internally, such as residents of pacific islands now severely impacted by rising sea levels. The EU Parliament states, "residents of the small islands of Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu, where one in ten persons has migrated within the past decade, cannot be classified as refugees, even though those who remain are 'trapped' in worsening environmental conditions".

There exists, therefore, contention between the notion of a someone who is internally displaced due to climate change, and a person classified as a refugee. The former should be able to rely on their national government for protection, but the latter cannot. For this reason, the EU takes the view that a new system is required which recognises at an international level that climate change displacement is a matter to be tackled, but for any specific solutions to be worked out by regional groupings.

Final words

The sooner we wake up to the urgent need to reach an agreement on helping those affected by climate change displacement, the better. There is little doubt that as a global society, much needs to be done to both recognise the growing phenomenon of climate change displacement, both internally and externally, and to find solutions. While human migration is nothing new to our immigration solicitors, this is a new scenario for our modern global society. The idea of regional groupings working together to meet the needs of a collection of neighbouring nations is one which may prove effective. No country, whether north or south, east or west will be able to escape climate change and its impacts. Caring for our neighbours may ultimately prove the only option for long-term human survival because ultimately, we never know when we may need assistance ourselves in the future.

As former United Nations Secretary-General, Ban-Ki Moon stated:

"Migration is an expression of the human aspiration for dignity, safety and a better future. It is part of the social fabric, part of our very make-up as a human family."

These are sage words we should all heed.

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O.L

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As a lawyer myself I can categorically say that he knows his stuff, gentle, responsive, cares about you and not just about the money, very professional.
I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

Kiran Sardar


I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

Thanks to Anna and Joe for all your support and guidance which helped me fulfill my dream.

I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR application was successful 6 weeks after the submission amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I also think the portfolio put together by the team at Reiss Edwards has played a big part in the quick turnaround of my application".

Jesse Lee

"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee. I would heartily recommend them to anyone looking to secure a Visa and /or Visa renewal. I will use them again when mine needs to renew. Great value".

Majlinda Berisha

"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A massive thank you to Anna Foley.

I have had a really tough time with getting my husband’s visa. My last immigration lawyer made many mistakes that caused stress, disappointments and sadness.

I was weary about getting another lawyer as I thought I was going to go through the same experience but no, it turned out better than what I had hoped or even imagined.

What I received was: constant emails and calls updating me and asking if anything else is needed. If I called and they missed my phone call I would get a call back within 10 minutes. All of my documents were carefully checked and I would get a reply the next day if anything was missing or not correct. There were times that I was impatient and asked to just send the visa off, but was reminded that everything had to be perfect and correct before submitting the application. I was told about every option I had and discussed what the best would be. I was always spoke in a nice, calm, polite manner.

The overall intelligence of this team, especially Anna Foley for me, is outstanding. I am speechless. Anna done such an amazing job on my husband’s application that although we couldn’t apply for the fast service and was told to wait for 12 weeks, we got a reply within 5 weeks.

That alone shows what an amazing and talented team Reiss Edwards are. Thank you".

Christine .C

"I wholeheartedly recommend Reiss Edwards to anyone who is in search of immigration advice. I had the pleasure of speaking with Amar who has been very thorough in finding a solution to my enquiry, and followed up with additional information even after the consultation. I normally don't leave reviews, and this firm already has enough good reviews for me to need to my own anyways! However, in this instance, I do hope that my review can let anyone who reads it be aware that RE is a great choice, these people care enough to help you the best they can".

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"Thank you, Ms. Anna Foley! I am writing this with tears of joy.

As a family, we are all grateful to Anna Foley and her firm Reiss Edwards, for doing all the hard work and giving us the best support. Finally We found the best law firm".

Saira Lawson-Brown

"Highly professional organisation and really supportive solicitors. Ina Iteva the solicitor that was provided to us was a blessing in disguise, as our first solicitor was let go off due to pandemic. She was so supportive and understanding throughout the process, and my husband spouse visa was granted due to their effort and attention to detail. We constantly try to keep in touch with her and consider her as more of a friend now than a solicitor. Sure, to bother her and the firm more in the future".

Nora Nkechi

"My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team".

Deepak Chartbhurjh

"This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again. I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle".

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Top Notch Immigration Service

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Mo Hussein

"I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration application. Both for my initial application and extension. They are really affordable. The team of solicitors at this firm are probably one of the most efficient and economical in terms of cost. They offered free advice over the phone and spent good time with us before inviting us for consultation".

Gallagher Jones

"I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly".

Richard Stone

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Fong Li

"Investing over 2 million pounds is definitely not a routine decision. We had to make sure that the Tier 1 investor immigration lawyers that we'd be picking has to be one of the best within the Tier 1 investor category. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they were able to get us not only the Tier 1 investor visa but also suggested profitable investment portfolios in addition to what we already had in mind".

Nancy Jacquard

"It's a shame that you don't have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service. I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice. They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards".

Florence Giwa

"I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure. To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me.A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative. Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country. The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards".

Salisu Ibrahim

"Fantastic Solicitors!!! My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.We followed everything they asked us to do and in the end we won our appeal and got our spouse visa. We can't recommend them enough and we have promised ourselves never to make any more UK visa applications without them".

Amir Sandeep

"The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help".

Reiss Edwards Reviews

O.L

"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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Kiran Sardar

"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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Jesse Lee

"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee...

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Majlinda Berisha

"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A mas...

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Christine .C

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Zohaib Butt

"I had the chance to use Reiss Edwards services for my Tier 2 extension. Marija ...

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Quintus Liu

"Knowledgeable, experienced, and relatable. Translated a complex process into st...

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Khasan Vosijonov

"Thank you, Ms. Anna Foley! I am writing this with tears of joy. As a family, we...

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Saira Lawson-Brown

"Highly professional organisation and really supportive solicitors. Ina Iteva th...

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Nora Nkechi

"My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recomme...

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Deepak Chartbhurjh

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Hakeem Salam

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"Reiss Edwards is a top notch immigration service company. The way they handled ...

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Mo Hussein

"I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration...

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Gallagher Jones

"I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They ac...

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Richard Stone

"I have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the a...

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Fong Li

"Investing over 2 million pounds is defintely not a routine decision. We had to ...

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Nancy Jacquard

"It's a shame that you don't have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my expe...

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Florence Giwa

"I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a ...

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"Fantastic Solicitors!!! My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused...

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Amir Sandeep

"The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people....

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