E.g., 04/13/2024
E.g., 04/13/2024
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

South Sudanese refugee girl
EU Migration Partnerships: A Work in Progress
Reports
December 2017
By  Elizabeth Collett and Aliyyah Ahad
A Syrian refugee woman uses a special e-card to purchase food at a grocery store in Turkey.
Articles
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Commentaries
February 2017
By  Elizabeth Collett
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Articles
BurundianWoman FedericoScoppa UNHCR

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Reports
September 2006
By  Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza
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Reports
December 2003
By  Monette Zard
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Reports
October 2003
By  Joanne van Selm
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Policy Briefs
April 2003
By  Monette Zard and Erin Patrick
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Policy Briefs
February 2003
By  Peter W. Galbraith
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Reports
June 2002
By  Kathleen Newland, Joanne van Selm, Erin Patrick and Monette Zard

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With a history of encouraging workers to emigrate to relieve unemployment at home, Tunisia now has 11 percent of its population living abroad. The factors underlying the 2011 revolution that sparked the Arab Spring have also fueled emigration desires for many Tunisians. This country profile explores historical and current trends in Tunisia from colonial settlement to the aftermath of the Arab Spring, and the new focus on migrant rights at home and abroad.

Cover Top10 1Refugees UNHCR

The number of people around the world forcibly displaced by conflict or persecution reached its highest total since World War II, with more than 51.2 million fleeing their country or displaced within it, the UN refugee agency reported in 2014. An estimated 13.6 million people have been displaced by conflicts in Syria and Iraq alone, constituting what the UN High Commissioner for Refugees dubbed a mega-crisis.

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Mass cases of exploitation and abuse of migrant workers have drawn international scrutiny and criticism of the kafala system in Gulf Cooperation Council countries and private recruitment practices in Southeast Asia. With Qatar under scrutiny amid a frenzied construction boom in advance of the 2022 World Cup, international organizations and human-rights groups in 2014 stepped up their campaign for worker protection reforms.

The ruins of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul’s Old Town

Increasing numbers of Westerners heading to Syria and Iraq to join jihadist organizations like ISIS have governments concerned about possible attacks at home by returning fighters. Several thousand fighters from Europe and other Western countries are believed among the foreign nationals involved in conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Lawmakers scrambled in 2014 to respond with new policies, including seizing passports, stripping citizenship, and criminalizing travel to "no go" zones.

Ankara

Turkey’s migration identity has shifted from being principally a country of emigration and transit to becoming a destination for immigrants and people fleeing conflict. In response, Turkish policymakers recently enacted a comprehensive migration and asylum law that took effect in April 2014. This article examines the new law, which is intended as a significant step toward managing both legal and irregular migration to Turkey, including humanitarian migration.

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Recent Activity

Articles

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.

Reports
December 2017

In 2016, the European Union announced with fanfare a new Migration Partnership Framework to inform cooperation with countries of origin and transit. While the bloc has long recognized collaboration as key to achieving its migration-management aims, EU partnerships face persistent challenges, including looking beyond short-term enforcement goals and taking into account partner needs, capacity, and objectives.

Reports
November 2017

Since the 2015–16 refugee crisis, European policymakers have eagerly sought cooperation with origin and transit countries in the hopes of stemming unauthorized migration to Europe. This approach is neither new, nor without its limitations. By examining the evolution of two longstanding Mediterranean partnerships—between Spain and Morocco, and Italy and Tunisia—this report offers insights on what has and has not worked.

Articles

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.

Commentaries
February 2017

Eager to emulate the success of an EU-Turkey deal that has helped sharply reduce crossings into Greece, the European Union is exploring similar partnerships with transit countries along the North African coastline. But as this commentary explores, these prospective deals with Libya and other governments may be built upon unstable foundations and come with inherent complexities, possible risks for North African partners, and moral and other hazards for the European Union.

Articles

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.

Articles

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. 

Video, Audio
October 27, 2016

Marking the release of All at Sea: The Policy Challenges of Rescue, Interception, and Long-Term Response to Maritime Migration, this book discussion explores the different facets of maritime migration and the challenges governments, civil society, the private sector, and international organizations face in tackling this issue together. Presenters discuss the overwhelming Mediterranean crisis and movements across the Bay of Bengal/Andaman Sea, the Red Sea/Gulf of Aden, in the Caribbean, and the waters around Australia; and the particular challenges for policymakers in each of these cases.

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