GMDAC Data Briefing - African migration to Europe: How can adequate data help improve evidence-based policymaking and reduce possible misconceptions?

Migration from Africa continues to be largely misconstrued and misrepresented, both in relation to its core dynamics and its implications for European economies and societies. This may also be due to the limited availability and public dissemination of adequate data. Despite what is commonly assumed, more than 80 per cent of African migration occurs within the continent. Africa also hosts more than a quarter of the world’s refugees.  While emigration from Africa has increased substantially over the past decade in absolute terms, the proportion of emigrants relative to Africa’s total population is one of the lowest in the world, based on available figures. Numbers of African nationals arriving irregularly by sea to Italy in 2016 represented a very small share of the total population in those countries. Aside from increased irregular migration flows to Italy in 2015, the levels of regular migration from Africa to Europe have far exceeded numbers of irregular arrivals and remained fairly stable over the past few years. The total regular migration inflows from Africa to Europe, proxied by numbers of first residence permits issued to African nationals, increased by about 15 per cent between 2014 and 2016. More data on migrants’ socioeconomic profiles and labour gaps in Europe are needed to enable the transition towards increased access to regular migration pathways. More data on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations in temporary accommodation facilities in some European States are also needed to ensure adequate protection of migrants.

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