E.g., 11/29/2023
E.g., 11/29/2023
Middle East & North Africa

Middle East & North Africa

The Middle East and North Africa span both poles of migration: as countries of migrant destination, particularly in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and as countries of migrant origin. The region has a large supply of young, active workers, with millions working elsewhere in the region or in Europe. The research here focuses on labor and humanitarian migration to and from the region, including the policies and regulations that govern such migration, protection and integration issues for the region's refugees, diaspora engagement, migration cooperation and reintegration agreements with European governments, and more.

Recent Activity

Somali migrants disembarking.
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Migrants returning to Ethiopia
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Famine Memorial in Dublin
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A port in Mahdia, Tunisia.
Stranded migrant during crisis
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Construction site in Kuwait
Egyptians in Los Angeles
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ExternalProcessing EU
Commentaries
June 2018
By  Elizabeth Collett and Susan Fratzke

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Reports
September 2009
By  Michael Fix, Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Jeanne Batalova, Aaron Terrazas, Serena Yi-Ying Lin and Michelle Mittelstadt
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Reports
November 2008
By  Lesleyanne Hawthorne
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Policy Briefs
September 2008
By  Kathleen Newland, Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza and Aaron Terrazas
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Policy Briefs
July 2008
By  Aaron Terrazas, Jamie Durana and Will Somerville
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Reports
April 2008
By  Thomas Faist and Jürgen Gerdes

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Migrants on a boat

European leaders in 2017 pursued migration partnerships with North African countries, seeking to stem maritime arrivals across the Mediterranean. Italy struck a deal with Libya to provide support in cracking down on illegal migration and smugglers, while Germany signed cooperation agreements with Egypt and Tunisia. Meanwhile, widespread reports of migrant abuse in Libya are prompting questions about the limitations and human costs of these partnerships.

South Sudanese refugee girl

Millions of displaced people were unable to return home in 2017, and countless others found themselves newly displaced. Targeted violence in Myanmar caused more than 624,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh, and conflict in South Sudan drove at least 668,000 abroad. Some first-asylum countries, such as Uganda and Turkey, were largely accommodating, while others, such as Jordan and Lebanon, pressured refugees to leave.

A Syrian refugee woman uses a special e-card to purchase food at a grocery store in Turkey.

Turkey has been on the frontlines of the Syrian refugee crisis from the beginning. The vast majority of Turkey's nearly 3.2 million Syrian asylum seekers live in cities, putting pressure on the limited resources and legal authority of local governments to serve them. This article examines Istanbul's creative approaches to meeting the needs of this vulnerable population while balancing the concerns of local citizens.

SyriansDallas CNeukum IRC

More than 18,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the United States since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011. Nearly half of Syrian refugees are under age 14, and this population is more dispersed geographically across the country than the overall Syrian immigrant population. This article offers a demographic profile of Syrian refugees, including age, gender, language, and religion, as well as top state and city destinations.

BurundianWoman FedericoScoppa UNHCR

With global displacement at a post-World War II high, the international community made some advances on refugee protection in 2016, but there were also steps backward. The United Nations held the first-ever refugee summit and some countries, including the United States and Canada, increased their resettlement commitments. Meanwhile, conflict intensified in some hotspots and publics turned against refugees, as this Top 10 article explores. 

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Recent Activity

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War and impending famine in Yemen have captured significant attention. Yet often overlooked is the country’s role as the epicenter of one of the world’s busiest mixed migration routes, linking Africa, Asia, and Europe. This article examines the migration pathways to and through the country, push and pull factors, and the impact of civil war on human movement.

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Questions of how, when, and under what conditions migrants and asylum seekers can be returned to their origin countries have featured prominently in international discussions of migration in 2018. Crucially, so too has an increased interest on the part of both destination and origin countries in making reintegration assistance more effective to help ensure that return is sustainable.

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Despite long study of famine, there is a remarkable lack of research about the linkages between mass starvation and migration. Among the unanswered questions: Does migration mitigate starvation or worsen it? With famines returning, most notably in war-torn Yemen, after a period of decline, the need for knowledge is essential. This article examines the causes and migration patterns of great famines from the 19th century onward.

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In the face of an uptick in unauthorized arrivals in Italy from Tunisia in 2017, the European Union dusted off earlier policy proposals such as funding to increase Tunisia’s border-control capabilities and the creation of disembarkation platforms. This article explores why contemporary developments, including a fragile Tunisian political system, suggest the need for a different approach.

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Migrants displaced by crisis do not benefit from international protection the way that refugees do. This article examines the experiences of labor migrants amid manmade and natural disasters in the Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Lebanon, Libya, South Africa, and Thailand, as well as stakeholder responses. Research demonstrates the agency and resilience of migrants, who develop flexible solutions in the face of crisis.

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In Kuwait and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries, migrants make up a significant share of the private-sector workforce. While mainstream narratives commonly focus on the exploitation and abuse some of these migrant workers experience, their lives and relationships with the native born are much more complex and less unequal than is often perceived, as this article explores.

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From being a source of labor emigration to the Gulf region to a destination for refugees from Syria, sub-Saharan Africa, and elsewhere, Egypt has long experienced different forms of mobility. This article, which profiles the trends and policies that have shaped Egypt's migration history, focuses on its long-standing use of migration as a soft-power tool to achieve its foreign policy aims and as a safety valve for political discontent.

Commentaries
June 2018

European leaders have settled on a recurring proposition to address the ongoing political crisis on migration: the creation of asylum processing centers beyond EU borders. The plans championed by various EU leaders are diverse, the details fuzzy. What they have in common is a near-universal focus on shifting responsibility for dealing with refugees and migrants upstream, as this commentary examines.

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