Organizational Structure

The Organization was established in December 1951 and began its operations in early 1952 as the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration. Its Constitution was adopted on 19 October 1953 and came into force on 30 November 1954. Amendments were made to the Constitution, effective 14 November 1989, and the Organization was renamed the International Organization for Migration. The Organization possesses full juridical personality and has its Headquarters in Geneva. It currently has 155 Member States.

The Organization's organs are the Council and the Administration.

The Council

The Council, on which each Member State has one representative and one vote, is the highest authority and determines IOM policies.

The Executive Committee

The Executive Committee, which at its last composition had 33 Member States elected for two-year periods, was abolished effective 21 November 2013 when the 1998 Amendments to the Constitution entered into force.

The Standing Committee on Programmes and Finance (SCPF)

The Standing Committee on Programmes and Finance (SCPF), which is open to the entire membership, replaced the Subcommittee on Budget and Finance and will normally meet twice a year to examine and review policies, programmes and activities and to discuss administrative, financial and budgetary matters.

The Administration

The Administration, which comprises a Director General, a Deputy Director General and such staff as the Council may determine, is responsible for administering and managing the Organization in accordance with the Constitution and the policies and decisions of the Council and the Executive Committee. The Director General, who is the Organization's highest executive official, and the Deputy Director General are independently elected by the Council for a period of five (5) years.

Organizational Structure

Overall growth in the Organization – Key indicators

  • Membership increased from 67 States in 1998 to 155 States in 2014 and continues to grow
  • Total expenditure increased from USD 242.2 million in 1998 to an estimated USD 1.3 billion in 2013
  • IOM offices in more than 150 countries
  • Field locations (1) increased from 119 in 1998 to more than 480
  • Active projects increased from 686 in 1998 to more than 2,600
  • Operational staff increased from approximately 1,100 in 1998 to more than 8,400, almost entirely in the field.

IOM’s structure is highly decentralized and this has enabled the Organization to acquire the capacity to deliver an ever-increasing number and diversity of projects at the request of its Member States. IOM’s Field structure is composed of:

  • 9 Regional Offices, which formulate regional strategies and plans of action and to provide programmatic and administrative support to the countries within their regions. These Regional Offices are in Dakar, Senegal; Nairobi, Kenya;Cairo, Egypt; Pretoria, South Africa; San José, Costa Rica; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Bangkok, Thailand; Brussels, Belgium; Vienna, Austria;
  • 2 Special Liaison Offices which strengthen relations with specific multilateral bodies, diplomatic missions, and non-governmental organizations. These offices are located in New York, United States of America, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  • 2 Administrative Centres (Panama and Manila), which provide core support in the areas of information technology and administrative services to IOM’s network of offices.
  • 5 Country Offices with Coordinating Functions that have the additional responsibility of ensuring that migratory realities within a defined cluster of countries are taken into account in programmatic activities of the region. The Country Offices with Coordinating Functions are in Canberra, Australia (covering the Pacific); Rome, Italy (covering the Mediterranean); Astana, Kazakhstan (covering Central Asia); and Georgetown, Guyana (covering the Caribbean). A coordinating function for the cluster of countries in South Asia also exists in the Regional Office in Bangkok.
  • In addition, 4 Country Offices with Resources Mobilization Functions have the additional responsibility of resource mobilization by assisting in fundraising activities as well as providing advice on fundraising policies, priorities and procedures. These offices are located in Tokyo, Japan; Berlin, Germany; Helsinki, Finland; and Washington, D.C., United States of America.

Projectization is used by IOM (similar to activity-based costing), whereby staff and office costs associated with implementing a project are charged to projects through a time allocation concept referred to as projectization. Every activity in IOM is assigned a distinct project code. Every project is managed by a project manager to ensure that projects are monitored in a responsible, transparent and efficient manner.

Manila and Panama Administrative Centres: In order to achieve efficiencies and manage growth, IOM has embarked on an exercise to transfer certain functions from Headquarters and other high-cost locations to lower-cost locations. The Manila and Panama Administrative Centres provide support in the areas of finance, information technology, staff security, project tracking, health and insurance, and so on. Each Administrative Centre covers different geographical regions for most of its functional areas: The Panama Administrative Centre provides support to the Americas and the Manila Administrative Centre provides support to the rest of the world.

Total Funding: In 2013, more than 97 per cent of IOM’s funding was in the form of voluntary contributions for projects. The remainder represents the administrative budget, funded from Member State contributions.

Lowest Rate of Administrative Support: To cover its indirect costs, IOM charges a standard 7 per cent on total costs of projects for administrative support. IOM prioritizes cost efficiency in the implementation of projects.


1 Field Location does not necessarily refer to offices as physical premises, but to presence of IOM staff.