Mapping of Migration Routes from Africa to Europe and Drivers of Migration in Post-revolution Libya

“Altai Consulting was commissioned by UNHCR to update maps of mixed migration flows across Africa and migration dynamics to and through Libya. Fieldwork was conducted in Libya, Somaliland, Ethiopia, Niger, Sudan, Italy and Malta in one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted on the topic. The interviews looked at migration patterns and routes of travel, access to information, networks, smuggling dynamics, as well as legal frameworks, support structures and protection needs. It also explored the factors that cause some to stay and settle in Libya and the factors that cause some to make onward journey to Europe by boat and attempted to quantify the inflows, outflows and number of migrants in Libya by bringing together all available date on the topic. The research had a particular focus on vulnerable groups, including youth, women and unaccompanied minors. Parts of the research were carried out in detention centres, in refugee camps and with smugglers.”

The report identifies the different types of migration in the region and push and pull factors driving migration to Libya.

“Mixed migration flows to Libya are problematic for a number of reasons and present a number of concerns, thereby requiring effective management. More specifically:

  • There are a number of countries of origin and a spectrum of pre-departure situations which leads to a variety of migrant profiles;
  • There are a number of obstacles and consequent vulnerabilities that migrants face in transit countries ranging from legal constraints, lack of job opportunities, racism, crime and smuggling, and challenges represented by the terrain (desert and sea) to their irregular status and their general lack of rights;
  • The governments of these transit countries have their own policies for dealing with migrants, which means the situation changes from country to country and often migration organisations need to adapt their own strategies and preferences to respect the decisions of the local government;
  • There is a lack of formal coordination across countries and few concrete attempts to create regional border management strategies, which contributes to the contextual inconsistencies that migrants face as they pass through various countries;
  • In parallel, there are also different reception arrangements at the European ports of arrival as well as a growing concern about boat arrivals in Europe as the countries of destination struggle with the large flows they receive. Given such a landscape, there is a need for a comprehensive approach to the management of mixed migration based on the spectrum of vulnerabilities and risks, actors, and opportunities that exist.”