African immigration to Europe
African immigrants in Europe are either born in Africa or are of African descent but live in Europe.
Since the 1960s, the main source countries of migration from Africa to Europe have been Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, resulting in large diasporas with origins in these countries by the end of the 20th century. In the period following the 1973 oil crisis, immigration controls in European states were tightened. The effect of this was not to reduce migration from North Africa but rather to encourage permanent settlement of previously temporary migrants and associated family migration. Much of this migration was from the Maghreb to France, The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. From the second half of the 1980s, the destination countries for migrants from the Maghreb broadened to include Spain and Italy, as a result of increased demand for low-skilled labour in those countries.
Spain and Italy imposed visa requirements on migrants from the Maghreb in the early 1990s, and the result was an increase in irregular migration across the Mediterranean. Since 2000, the source countries of this irregular migration have grown to include sub-Saharan African states.
During 2000-2005, an estimated 440,000 people per year emigrated from Africa, most of them to Europe. According to Hein de Haas, the director of the International Migration Institute at the University of Oxford, public discourse on African migration to Europe portrays the phenomenon as an "exodus," largely composed of irregular migrants, driven by conflict and poverty. He criticises this portrayal, arguing that the irregular migrants are often well educated and able to afford the considerable cost of the journey to Europe. Migration from Africa to Europe, he argues, "is fuelled by a structural demand for cheap migrant labour in informal sectors." Most migrate on their own initiative, rather than being the victims of traffickers. Furthermore, he argues that whereas the media and popular perceptions see irregular migrants as mostly arriving by sea, most actually arrive on tourist visas or with false documentation, or enter via the Spanish enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla. He states that "the majority of irregular African migrants enter Europe legally and subsequently overstay their visas." Similarly, migration expert Stephen Castles argues that "Despite the media hysteria on the growth of African migration to Europe, actual numbers seem quite small — although there is a surprising lack of precision in the data."
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), migration from African countries to more developed states is small in comparison to overall migration worldwide. The BBC reported in 2007 that the International Organization for Migration estimates that around 4.6 million African migrants live in Europe, but that the Migration Policy Institute estimates that between 7 and 8 million irregular migrants from Africa live in the EU.
Illegal immigration from Africa to Europe is significant. Many people from underdeveloped African countries embark on the dangerous journey for Europe, in hopes of a better life. In parts of Africa, particularly Mauritania and Morocco, trafficking of immigrants to Europe has become more lucrative than drug trafficking. Some migrants die during the journey. Most of those whose claim for asylum were unsuccessful are deported back to Africa. Libya is the major departure point for irregular migrants setting off for Europe.
Between October 2013 and October 2014, the Italian government ran Operation Mare Nostrum, a naval and air operation intended to reduce irregular immigration to Europe and the incidence of migratory ship wreckages off the coast of Lampedusa. The Italian government ceased the operation as it was judged to be unsustainable, involving a large proportion of the Italian navy. The operation was replaced by a more limited joint EU border protection operation, named Operation Triton managed by the EU border agency, Frontex. Some other European governments, including Britain's, argued that the operations such as Mare Nostrum and Triton serve to provide an "unintended pull factor" encouraging further migration.
In 2014, 170,100 irregular migrants were recorded arriving in Italy by sea (an increase from 42,925 arrivals recorded in 2013), 141,484 of them leaving from Libya. Most of them came from Syria, the Horn of Africa and West Africa.
The issue returned to international headlines with a series of migrant shipwrecks, part of the 2015 Mediterranean migration crisis. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates suggest that between the start of 2015 and the middle of April, 21,000 migrants had reached the Italian coast and 900 migrants had died in the Mediterranean. Critics of European policy towards irregular migration in the Mediterranean argue that the cancellation of Operation Mare Nostrum failed to deter migrants and that its replacement with Triton "created the conditions for the higher death toll."
European migration policies
The European Union does not have a common immigration policy regarding nationals of third countries. Some countries, such as Spain and Malta, have called for other EU member states to share the responsibility of dealing with migration flows from Africa. Spain has also created legal migration routes for African migrants, recruiting workers from countries including Senegal. Other states, such as France under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy, have adopted more restrictive policies, and tried to offer incentives for migrants to return to Africa. While adopting a more liberal approach than France, Spain has also, according to a Council on Foreign Relations report, "attempted to forge broad bilateral accords with African countries that would exchange repatriation for funding to help the returned migrants."
Spain has also run regularisation programmes in order to grant employment rights to previously irregular immigrants, most notably in 2005, but this has been the subject of criticism from other EU governments, which argue that it encourages further irregular migration and that regularised migrants are likely to move within the EU to richer states once they have status in Spain.
De Haas argues that restrictive European immigration policies have generally failed to reduce migration flows from Africa because they do not address the underlying structural demand for labour in European states. Dirk Kohnert argues that EU countries' policies on migration from Africa are focused mainly on security and the closing of borders. He is also skeptical that the EU's programmes that are designed to promote economic development in West Africa will result in reduced migration. Stephen Castles argues that there is a "sedentary bias" in developed states' migration policies towards Africa. He argues that "it has become the conventional wisdom to argue that promoting economic development in the Global South has the potential to reduce migration to the North. This carries the clear implication that such migration is a bad thing, and poor people should stay put." Julien Brachet argues that while "irregular migration from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe is very limited in absolute and relative numbers", "none" of the European migration policies implemented in northern and western Africa "has ever led to a real and sustainable decrease in the number of migrants" travelling towards Europe, but they have "directly fostered the clandestine transport of migrants".
Some of the larger populations of immigrants from Africa living in Europe are:
|Country||African Population||Population centres||Description|
|France||3.5–8 million approx (2014)||Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Marseille, Nantes, Lille, Montpellier||Includes anyone who was born in Africa and who had at least one parent from the continent. Most have ties to former French colonies. According to the INSEE, there are 4.6 million people who were born in North Africa or had North African ancestry, mainly from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia. There are about as many Sub-Saharan African immigrants and descendants, mainly from Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of the Congo.|
|United Kingdom||1.387 million (2016)||London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol, Nottingham, Newcastle upon Tyne||2016 ONS estimates of population born in Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa; includes only foreign-born population. Most have ties to former British colonies in Africa.|
|Spain||1,045,120 (2016)||Barcelona, Madrid, Málaga, Murcia, Palma, Seville, Valencia||Mainly from Morocco, Senegal, Algeria, Nigeria, Cape Verde and the former Spanish colony Equatorial Guinea. Includes many contract labor workers. See also: Afro-Spaniard|
|Italy||1,036,653 - 1,096,089 (2017)||Rome, Milan, Turin, Palermo, Brescia, Bologna, Lecce, Florence, Ferrara, Codigoro||Mainly from North-African countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria, but also from West Africa (Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, and Ghana) and the former Italian colonies (Eritrea, Somalia). Includes irregular migrants from Mediterranean Crossings since the 1990s. See also: African immigrants to Italy|
|Belgium||550,000–600,000 (2015)||Brussels, Liege, Antwerp, Charleroi||Most have roots in the former Belgian Congo and other French-speaking African countries. Mostly from Morocco, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Angola, and Cameroon See also: Afro-Belgian|
|Germany||510,535 (2016)||Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Cologne||Mainly from Ghana, Nigeria, Eritrea, Somalia, Senegal, Cameroon, the Maghreb countries and Ethiopia. Includes students, workers, and other skilled and unskilled legal immigrants as well as some asylum seekers and irregular migrants. See also: Afro-Germans|
|Portugal||700,000 ||Lisbon Metropolitan Area, Algarve||Mostly from former Portuguese colonies in Africa, particularly Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, and São Tomé (see Afro-Brazilian). 47% of foreign legal residents in 2001 were originally from an African country.|
|Turkey||"At least 50,000 African migrants"||Istanbul, İzmir, Muğla, Ankara, Antalya||Mainly nationals from Cameroon, Libya, Algeria, Somalia, Niger, Nigeria, Kenya, Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia. See also: Afro Turks|
|Switzerland||93,800 (2015)||Geneva, Basel, Vevey, Berne, Fribourg, Lausanne||Mainly nationals of Algeria, Eritrea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon and Angola (excluding people of African ancestry from other parts of the world: Dominican Republic, Brazil, United States, Cuba etc.). See also: African immigrants to Switzerland|
Since 2010, most years have seen a rising tide of migrants from sub-Saharan African countries into European Union countries, Norway and Switzerland and the US.
- Assylum applicants to Europe
Note: Assylum applicants to Europe are first-time applicants after the removal of withdrawn applications. Sub Saharan African migrant may enter each destination by other than the means displayed in this chart. Consequently, these flow figures are incomplete and likely represent minimums. Increases in migrant stocks and inflows are not the same. Source: Pew Research Center.
|Sub Saharan African|
assylum applicants to Europe, in thousands.
- Origin countries of sub-Saharan migrants living in Europe
|European Union, Norway and Switzerland|
|South Africa||310 000|
|D. C. Congo||150 000|
|Ivory Coast||140 000|
- Emigration from Africa
- African Australian
- African New Zealander
- African immigration to the United States
- African immigration to Latin America
- White Africans of European ancestry
- List of sovereign states and dependent territories by fertility rate
- Migrants' African routes
- Ann Wuyts (22 October 2011). "Evidence of 'upper class' Africans living in Roman York". The Independent.
- Maev Kennedy. "African origin of Roman York's rich lady with the ivory bangle". the Guardian.
- Roxanne Khamsi. "Genes reveal West African heritage of white Brits". New Scientist.
- "Rare African DNA Discovered in White British Males".
- Roger Highfield, Science Editor (24 January 2007). "Yorkshire name reveals roots in Africa". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-12-11.
- "BBC NEWS - Science/Nature - Yorkshire clan linked to Africa". News.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-12-11.
- "Africans in Yorkshire? - the deepest-rooting clade of the Y phylogeny within an English genealogy". Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. 2015-09-28. PMC 2590664. Missing or empty
- de Haas, Hein (2008). "The Myth of Invasion: the inconvenient realities of African migration to Europe". Third World Quarterly. 29 (7): 1305–1322. doi:10.1080/01436590802386435.
- World migration 2008: Managing labour mobility in the evolving global economy Volume 4 of IOM world migration report series, International Organization for Migration, Hammersmith Press, 2008 ISBN 978-92-9068-405-3, pp. 38, 407.
- Castles, Stephen (2009). "Development and Migration — Migration and Development: What Comes First? Global Perspective and African Experiences". Theoria. 56 (121): 1–31. doi:10.3167/th.2009.5512102.
- "Key facts: Africa to Europe migration". BBC News. 2 July 2007. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- Mbugua, Nganga. "Tough life of illegal immigrants in Germany". Afro Articles. Archived from the original on 12 November 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- Williams, Martin (15 September 2014). "200 migrants feared drowned after boat sinks off Libya coast". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- Attir, Mustafa O. (18 September 2012). "Illegal Migration in Libya after the Arab Spring". Middle East Institute. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- Travis, Alan (27 October 2014). "UK axes support for Mediterranean migrant rescue operation". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- Davies, Lizzy; Neslen, Arthur (31 October 2014). "Italy: end of ongoing sea rescue mission 'puts thousands at risk'". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- "Eventi migratori illegali registrati in ambito nazionale". Fondazione ISMU. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
- "Migrant Arrivals by Sea in Italy Top 170,000 in 2014". International Organization for Migration. 16 January 2015.
- "Analisi: Paolo Gentiloni". Pagella Politica. 22 February 2015.
- Peter, Laurence (20 April 2015). "Why is EU struggling with migrants and asylum?". BBC News. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- Kingsley, Patrick; Gayle, Damien (15 April 2015). "Migrant boat disaster: rescue hopes led to sinking in Mediterranean". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- Choe, Julia (10 July 2007). "African Migration to Europe". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- Miguélez, Fausto; Recio, Albert (2008). "Spain: large-scale regularisation and its impacts on labour market and social policy". Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research. 14 (4): 589–606. doi:10.1177/102425890801400406.
- Adler, Katya (25 May 2005). "Spain stands by immigrant amnesty". BBC News. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- "Let them stay". The Economist. 12 May 2005. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- Kohnert, Dirk (May 2007). "African Migration to Europe: Obscured Responsibilities and Common Misconceptions" (PDF). German Institute of Global and Area Studies. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- Brachet, Julien (2018). "Manufacturing Smugglers: From Irregular to Clandestine Mobility in the Sahara'". The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 676 (1): 16–35. doi:10.1177/0002716217744529.
- Être né en France d’un parent immigré Archived 3 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine., Insee Première, n°1287, mars 2010, Catherine Borrel et Bertrand Lhommeau, Insee
- Répartition des immigrés par pays de naissance 2008, Insee, October 2011
- "Table 1.1: Population in the United Kingdom, excluding some residents in communal establishments, by country of birth, January 2016 to December 2016". Office for National Statistics. 24 August 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- "2015 Year Migration Statistics" (PDF). Spanish National Statistics Institute (Press release).
- Dati ISTAT 2016. "Cittadini stranieri in Italia - 2016". tuttitalia.it.
- Estatísticas da Imigração (in Portuguese), Alto Comissariado para a Imigração e Minorias Étnicas, 2005, archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-12-23, retrieved 2007-12-14
- Malheiros, Jorge. "Portugal Seeks Balance of Emigration, Immigration". Migration Information Source. Universidade de Lisboa. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
- "As Erdogan Meets With Obama, Africans In Turkey Face Racism, Discrimination". International Business Times. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
- Philip Connor (March 18, 2018), "At Least a Million Sub-Saharan Africans Moved to Europe Since 2010. Sub-Saharan migration to the United States also growing", Pew Research Center
- Mendoza, Cristobal (September 2003). "African Employment in Iberian Labour Markets: The Supply Side". Labour Immigration in Southern Europe: African Employment in Iberian Labour Markets. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 211. ISBN 0-7546-1898-6. OCLC 224818002. Retrieved 2008-07-21.