Southeastern Europe is experiencing one of the sharpest depopulations in the world, with countries such as Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia on pace to see their populations shrink by at least 15 percent in coming decades. To counter this trend, governments in the region, NGOs, and the private sector are increasingly, if unevenly, tapping into large diaspora communities to spur economic growth and strengthen cultural ties.
Libya was once a prized destination for workers from around the world. But after Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow in 2011, the country became the transit point for hundreds of thousands of Europe-bound asylum seekers and other migrants. Following Libya's 2017 deal with Italy to detain and return migrants caught at sea—which was renewed in February 2020—migrants became trapped in an unstable country, facing harrowing realities, as this article explores.
Border closures and lockdowns amid the COVID-19 pandemic have put a chill on intra-EU labor mobility, most immediately with the difficulty for European farmers to gain access to much-needed seasonal workers and for health-care institutions to get care workers. This article explores how these workers, who often face difficult situations, may be more vulnerable now. It also takes on implications for intra-EU labor mobility post-pandemic.
While migration once was a lower-priority topic for African governments, the last decade has seen a deepening in governance. Policymakers have integrated migration into their national development strategies and mainstreamed it across policy domains such as health and education. The actions are promising on paper, yet questions remain about the extent to which they will translate to more effective migration management.
The high-stakes gambit taken by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to allow tens of thousands of asylum seekers and migrants free movement to the Greek border demonstrated the fragility of the EU-Turkey deal and the European Union's broader approach to outsource migration management to third countries. This article examines the causes for the tensions, the EU approach to external partnerships, and a hardening European attitude towards unwanted arrivals.
As governments seek to push their borders out by amassing ever more data on travelers and migrants, their creation of increasingly complex border surveillance systems and use of risk-assessment technologies could ease mobility for some while rendering other groups immobile based on hypothetical risk profiles and decisions that are not publicly known and cannot be challenged, as this article explores.
More than 1 million Tajiks migrate to Russia every year—a sizeable outflow for a country of about 9 million people. These high levels of emigration have had major effects for Tajikistan, especially in the generation of remittances that help lift everyday Tajiks out of poverty but have also made the country increasingly dependent on Russia. This article explores challenges faced by Tajik migrants in Russia and the effects of emigration on Tajikistan’s economy and society.
The recent rise in xenophobia in Hungary stands in marked contrast with the country's rich migration history. After 390,000 migrants and asylum seekers arrived in 2015, the government of Viktor Orbán issued policies to significantly limit migration and enacted a law criminalizing humanitarian assistance to migrants. This country profile examines Hungary’s migration past and present, tracing the country’s multicultural heritage to the current wave of anti-immigrant sentiment.
With nearly 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), Ukraine is home to one of the largest IDP populations in the world. Five years after Russia's annexation of Crimea, displaced Ukrainians continue to face challenges related to national identity, social cohesion, and political participation. While the Ukrainian government has had some success integrating IDPs, the conflict’s end remains uncertain, and many are unlikely to return to their communities of origin no matter the outcome.
As Greece's Aegean islands continue to grapple with migrants arriving on their shores, decisions regarding the needs of newcomers are negotiated in Brussels and Athens, far removed from the situation on the ground. Meanwhile, local communities have had successes in hosting migrants, as this article drawing on observations from the hospitality center and refugee camp on Lesvos explores.
Faced with a lack of employment opportunities and recurrent poverty, Albanian youth migrate to Italy alone in the hopes of improving their educational prospects or making money for their families. Yet upon arrival, they face many vulnerabilities. While some protections for unaccompanied minors exist in the Italy, the system is greatly fragmented and challenges, including how to return them to Albania, remain persistent.
Several years after a flurry of tech innovations arose to respond to the 2015-16 European migration crisis and assist asylum seekers, "digital litter"—now-dormant websites, broken links, and poor-quality information spread through apps and social media—is floating around. At best, digital litter is a nuisance. At worst, it can place refugees and migrants in harm's way and undermine their decision-making, as this article explores.
Since regaining its independence in 1989, the Czech Republic has transformed from a country of emigration to one of rising immigration, amid growing labor market needs. Even as Czechia received few asylum seekers during the 2015-16 European migration crisis, the country has taken a harder line on immigration, and public opinion and political stances have grown more negative towards immigrants and refugees.
Faced with high emigration rates and shrinking, aging populations, the Baltic states—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—are exploring different ways to lure back nationals who have emigrated and establish or solidify ties with members of the diaspora. Of the three countries, Estonia is proving the most successful, while Latvia appears to be ignoring the looming demographic crisis and lacks an immigration plan.
The Netherlands has witnessed a rise in far-right populism, challenging its reputation as a humanitarian haven. Yet, public fears equating immigration with a rise in religious extremism do not necessarily reflect the facts. This profile explores historical and contemporary migration in a country where population growth relies largely on immigration, and analyzes to what extent policymaking has been shaped by rising populism.
Citizenship and integration policies are often thought of as markers for whether a country is welcoming to immigrants. Yet research suggests that public opinion and political rhetoric play a bigger role in immigrants' sense of belonging. This article explores how boundaries between "us" and "them" are drawn through popular conceptions of nationhood and political rhetoric, and their impact on immigrants' belonging.
Even with the collapse of the Islamic State's "caliphate," thousands of Western foreign fighters are estimated to remain in the Middle East. Deciding how to handle the return of the radicalized—and their dependents—is no easy issue. Some countries seek to revoke their citizenship. Yet citizenship revocation has unclear impact and raises deep questions about the limits of a state’s responsibility to its citizens, as this article explores.
The European Union's focus on formal readmission agreements with migrant-origin countries to manage the return of irregular migrants and failed asylum seekers has given way since 2016 to informal arrangements. This article explores the potential effect that nonbinding readmission pacts could have on migrant returns to sub-Saharan Africa, where return rates from EU Member States have been low.
2018 proved a banner year for far-right populist movements in Europe and the Americas. They claimed the presidency of Brazil, sparked the collapse of the Belgian government, and—whether in or out of office—put a harder-edged stamp on migration and asylum policies in Austria, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, and beyond.
Hardline migration and asylum policies in the United States and Australia in 2018 hit turbulence when their effects on the most vulnerable—young children—provoked widespread public revulsion and prompted a retreat, at least temporarily. Still, public outcry over the treatment of child migrants and asylum seekers often runs up against the intractability of the problems facing governments and the lack of good solutions.