E.g., 06/20/2024
E.g., 06/20/2024
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

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Cover HLD Newland
Policy Briefs
October 2013
By  Kathleen Newland
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Policy Briefs
September 2013
By  Kathleen Newland and Sonia Plaza
Cover HLD Agunias
Policy Briefs
September 2013
By  Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza
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Policy Briefs
September 2013
By  Graeme Hugo
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Policy Briefs
September 2013
By  Michael Clemens
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Policy Briefs
August 2012
By  Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza
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Policy Briefs
July 2012
By  Brian Kelly and Anita Jawadurovna Wadud

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Chinese tourists

China has been Africa’s largest trading partner since 2009, and as commerce and investment have increased, so have flows of people in both directions. With an estimated 1 million to 2 million Chinese migrants across Africa, some countries have relaxed their short-term visa requirements in hopes of facilitating cultural and business exchanges. High levels of Chinese investment do not, however, correlate with more liberal visa policies, as this article explores.

CongoleseMigrants

Long a country of emigration and a springboard for migrants aiming to reach Europe, Morocco has emerged as a destination for many sub-Saharan Africans. As more migrants remain in Morocco, the kingdom has implemented policies to aid with integration. But challenges remain, with most of the estimated 700,000 sub-Saharan Africans living in precarious conditions and irregular status despite some legalization programs.

Three men pose with guns

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.

Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Lebanon is home to more refugees per capita than any other country. The arrival of approximately 1 million refugees from neighboring Syria has created tensions not only with the native population, but also with long-established Palestinian refugee communities in Lebanon. A lack of integration and resources, plus a complex domestic context, suggest further hardship may lie ahead for recent and earlier-arrived refugees alike.

Somali migrants disembarking.

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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MI_BleakWinter
Video, Audio
January 14, 2013

A delegation of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) visited Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq in late November to discuss the humanitarian crisis with refugees, officials from host and donor governments, representatives of international humanitarian organizations and local nongovernmental agencies; and to get a firsthand look at the work of IRC partners and staff who are directly involved in providing assistance to the refugees and to Syrians trapped inside the country.

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Video, Audio
July 11, 2012

A discussion with Dr. Noppawan Tanpipat, Vice President, National Science and Technology Development Agency; Frank Laczko, Head, Migration Research Division, IOM; Dovelyn Rannveig Agunias, Regional Research Officer, IOM, and Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Institute (MPI); and Kathleen Newland, Director of Migrants, Migration, and Development, Migration Policy Institute (MPI).

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Video, Audio
June 26, 2012

This discussion highlights the best practices and experiences of different countries in engaging and maximizing the contributions that diasporas can and do make to the development of their country of origin, and more broadly the experience of policymakers in both sending and receiving countries and the related challenges and opportunities they face.

MI_Diasporas_NewPartners
Video
November 30, 2010
Over the past year, MPI has partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to examine how diasporas contribute to – or detract from - development efforts in their countries of origin. MPI and USAID have published an edited volume of the research. Please join us for the release of the book where speakers will discuss new thinking on the role of diaspora engagement in U.S. foreign and development policy.
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Video, Audio
June 9, 2010

UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees T. Alexander Aleinikoff offers remarks on durable solutions for the refugee protection system as part of MPI's Leadership Visions Series.

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Recent Activity

Video, Audio, Webinars
August 24, 2021

In light of the dangers facing millions of Afghans, this discussion focused on what European countries should prioritize to address the immediate needs of displaced populations; how to start planning for longer-term assistance to countries in the region who are hosting Afghan refugees; implications for partnerships with governments in the region; and what safe pathways other countries have opened in recent days to evacuate Afghans at risk.

Reports
July 2021

More than 18 months since the first COVID-19-related travel restrictions were introduced, the pandemic’s effects on global mobility are still unfolding. With vaccination campaigns picking up speed in some places while only beginning in others, and new variants of the virus emerging, the timeline for restarting international migration and travel remains uncertain. This report explores how different policy choices could result in very different mobility realities.

Articles

The United States is home to the largest population of Iranian migrants in the world. More than half of Iranian immigrants in the United States live in California. This article explores key details of this immigrant population, which is older, more highly educated, and has significantly higher median household incomes than the U.S.-born and overall immigrant populations.

Articles

Countries across the globe have considered novel ways for diasporas to directly invest in national development by purchasing diaspora bonds. Israel has raised billions through its Israel Bonds over the last 70 years, and India has had some success with its diaspora bond efforts. But other countries have faced challenges, as this article explores.

Video, Audio, Webinars
May 19, 2021

In April 2021, the European Commission took a step toward the creation of a common EU return system, releasing its first Strategy on Voluntary Return and Reintegration. This MPI Europe event, marking the release of EU Strategy on Voluntary Return and Reintegration: Crafting a Road Map to Better Cooperation with Migrants’ Countries of Origin, examines origin- and destination-country policy priorities surrounding return, opportunities for cooperation, and possible next steps in policy development. 

Policy Briefs
May 2021

In its Strategy on Voluntary Return and Reintegration, the European Commission sets out principles to increase the number of voluntary returns, make the return process more dignified, and provide better support to returnees. To make good on these goals, EU countries will need to improve their cooperation with migrants’ countries of origin. This policy brief explores opportunities to build this cooperation.

Articles

Large numbers of well-educated Iranians have left their country of birth since its 1979 revolution, in a “brain drain” that has held back Iran’s economy and cultural institutions. Iran’s isolation from the world has worsened in recent years, and a stuttering economy, currency freefall, and widespread impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to the underlying factors encouraging emigration, as this article examines.

Reports
April 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically curtailed cross-border mobility in 2020, affecting travelers and migrants around the world. This report presents a first-of-its-kind analysis of the many thousands of travel restrictions and border closures imposed by governments to curb the spread of the virus. It examines how these policies evolved, varied across countries and regions, and what these trends may mean for the future of international movement.

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