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A Mundane Comedy is Dominic Kelleher's new book, which will be published in mid 2024. The introduction is available here and further extracts will appear on this site and on social media in the coming months.

The 52:52:52 project, launching on this site and on social media in mid 2024, will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

This site addresses what's changing, at the personal, organisational and societal levels. You'll learn about key changes across more than 150 elements of life, from ageing and time, through nature and animals, to kindness and love...and much more besides, which will help you better prepare for related change in your own life.

What's Changing? - Migration



Please see below selected recent migration-related change.


See also:


March 2024

  • Over 63,000 people died or went missing while migrating between 2015-2024, according to a report by the International Organisation for Migration. Most of the recorded deaths were caused by drowning, and the majority - over 28,000 - occurred in the Mediterranean. The report cautioned that its tally was “likely only a fraction of the actual number of lives lost worldwide”.


January 2024


December 2023

  • The vast majority of people who migrate do so voluntarily. Despite talk of record numbers and unprecedented crisis, the share of the world’s people who live outside their country of birth is just 3.6%, barely changing since 1960, when it was 3.1%. The numbers forcibly displaced fluctuate, depending on how many wars are underway, but show no clear long-term upward trend. 
  • From January to November 2023, Europe registered a 17% surge in irregular arrivals over the same period last year. These levels ha7d not been seen since the late stages of the Syria-driven migrant crisis in 2016.
  • However, GZERO noted that the political winds have begun to shift swiftly against migrants and asylum seekers seeking new lives in the world’s leading economies. In the EU, the number of migrants neared levels not seen since the Syrian refugee crisis in 2016, boosting anti-immigrant politicians and forcing the EU to tighten asylum rules in a long-debated migration policy reform. Meanwhile, in the US, record numbers of undocumented migrants crossed the southern border.


November 2023

  • In a record-breaking wave of migration, figures from Spanish authorities showed over 32,000 undocumented migrants - mostly from Senegal - had landed on the Canary Islands in 2023.


June 2023

  • The number of people displaced from their homes by war, persecution, or economic desperation around the globe reached a new high of 110 million, according to the UN, up by nearly 20 million since 2021, driven in particular by the war in Ukraine, which led to the fastest refugee movements since World War II, as well as fresh conflict in Sudan.
  • Suggesting that a new wave of mass migration had begun, in 2022, 1.2m people moved to the UK - almost certainly the most ever. Net migration (i.e, immigrants minus emigrants) to Australia was twice the rate before COVID. Spain’s equivalent figure hit an all-time high. Nearly 1.4m people on net were expected to move to the US in 2023r, one-third more than before the pandemic. In 2022 net migration to Canada was more than double the previous record and in Germany it was even higher than during the “migration crisis” of 2015.
  • Out of the top 1,000 in the entrance exam for the Indian Institutes of Technology, 36% had emigrated after eight years, mainly to the US. This rate jumped to 62% for the top 100, and all but one of the top 10.
  • Research suggests that refugees experience elevated rates of psychological disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression as a result of being exposed to traumatic events. These conditions can have profound and long-standing effects on someone’s ability to live a fulfilling life. In addition to PTSD and depression, refugees can also experience other traumatic reactions, such as anger (towards the people who may have harmed their family and friends), guilt (for believing they've abandoned their family) and shame (for believing they may have has failed as e.g. a father and husband). These ‘moral emotions’ are common among people with refugee backgrounds and can undermine a person’s sense of worth, hope for the future, and ability to connect with others.


February 2023

  • GZERO warned that, while the pandemic years saw a lull in migrants from North Africa crossing the Mediterranean, largely due to border closures, all that changed in 2022 when a significant number of migrants resumed attempts to make the journey across the Mediterranean to Europe. Though the new influx did not reach levels seen in 2015-2016, when 1.3m people sought refuge in Europe, roughly 100,000 people crossed the Mediterranean into Italy alone in 2022. Migration levels also rose steadily due to refugees from the eastern flank of Ukraine and the Western Balkan route, which accounted for 45% of all illegal entry attempts in the EU in 2022.
  • The EU received nearly 1 million asylum requests in 2022, the highest level since the 2015-2016 refugee crisis. Syria, Afghanistan, and Turkey were the top three countries of origin. This excluded over 4 million Ukrainian refugees who were granted temporary protection in the EU.
  • The number of migrants undertaking treacherous migrations from East Africa through Yemen and onward to the Gulf countries increased 64% between 2022-23. Women and children made up a large part of the rise along the so-called “Eastern Migration Route.”


December 2022


October 2022

  • The World Bank estimated that global remittances would reach US630 billion in 2022, a 4.2% annual jump. The benefits of this process are widely shared. Remittances add wealth, opportunity, and therefore political stability to countries and families that need them. That’s especially important for poorer people in countries like India, Mexico, China, the Philippines, and Egypt, the world’s five largest remittance recipients in 2021, noted GZERO.
  • However, the global average cost of sending $200 reached 6% by the end of 2021, according to the World Bank. That’s twice the level that the UN says will help poorer countries reach their development goals.
  • Almost three-quarters of the six million Venezuelans who have fled to other parts of South America to escape poverty did not have adequate food and shelter by late 2022, according to the UN, whose migration agency said that 4.37 million of the Venezuelans who moved to other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean often lived on the streets or in substandard housing. More than 7.1 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela had scattered across different countries.


July 2022


June 2022


February 2022

  • Remittances sent home by Mexican migrants in 2021 were expected to exceed $50 billion for the first time, in part due to pandemic stimulus money from the US. Mexico receives about 6 percent of global remittance payments, behind only India and China. Indeed, remittances to Mexico and several Central American countries soared 25% in 2021, reaching historical levels as the US pandemic stimulus and broader economic recovery put more cash in workers’ hands. In Honduras and El Salvador, money sent back from overseas now accounts for a quarter of the economy.
  • The UN said that at least 73,974 people were forcibly displaced from their homes in Colombia in 2021, nearly a 60% annual increase. With the country’s landmark 2016 peace deal only partly implemented, turf clashes between drug traffickers, gangs, and other militants were the main cause of the displacements.


December 2021

  • Migrants usually create far more wealth abroad than if they’d stayed home. When the mass exodus from Syria and its neighbours sparked Europe’s “migrant crisis” in 2015, a study reported that migrants’ worldwide economic contribution was $6.7tn, about 40 per cent more than their likely domestic value. Although only 3.4 per cent of the global population, they accounted for 9.4 per cent of its gross domestic product.
  • Net international migration added 247,000 people to the US population in 2020-2021, the smallest increase in decades. (It reached a high of 1,049,000 in 2015-2016.) US land borders with Canada and Mexico, the main getaway for migrants, remained closed for much of that period because of the pandemic.
  • Migrateful runs cookery classes led by migrant chefs who are struggling to integrate and access employment, due to legal and linguistic barriers. its mission is to empower and celebrate chefs in over 30 countries on their journey to employment and independence.


November 2021

  • The deteriorating situation on Poland's border with Belarus intensified, with Warsaw deploying 12,000 troops amid fears that an influx of migrants might storm the border from Belarusian territory.


October 2021

  • Even with innovations in fintech and digital payments, roadblocks related to basic infrastructure like electricity and internet connectivity still prevent many migrant workers from being able to transfer money to their families back home with a truly digital end-to-end flow. While more workers can send money digitally today, the majority of people still receive funds in cash, according to experts at the Visa Economic Empowerment Institute.
  • 216 million people in developing countries are expected be displaced because of climate change by 2050.


August 2021


July 2021

  • The most widely shared recent estimate said climate change will force 200 million people to migrate into the Global North by 2050. The International Organidation for Migration says the figure may reach 1.5 billion.


June 2021

  • The number of people who have been forced to flee their homes around the world rose to a record 82 million despite the impact of the pandemic, the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) said. The total doubled in a decade and means more than 1% of the world's population was displaced by 2021. The pandemic led to a significant reduction in asylum applications and overall migration, the UNHCR said, but he 11.2 million people displaced in 2020 was still more than in 2019. Many were forced to flee because of persecution, conflict, violence and human rights violations. The vast majority were internally displaced, with travel restrictions leaving them less able to cross international borders.
  • Humans crossing borders invariably create global networks. By migrating, people connect the new contacts they form in their destination countries with the ones in their communities of origin. Seen from this vantage point, people do not merely leave one country and arrive at another; they bridge the two. This matters because networks are powerful conduits of capital, knowledge, ideas, and ideals, noted BCG.
  • Annual asylum applications in the EU and several affiliated countries fell 32 percent in 2020 to 485,000 claims, the lowest total since 2013. Officials said the decrease was due chiefly to pandemic-related travel restrictions rather than any softening of demand for safe haven in Europe.


May 2021

  • At 18 million, India has the world's largest diaspora, 17 percent of whom live in the United States. As India's COVID crisis spiralled, student groups and non-governmental organisations around the world quickly stepped in to raise funds. Indiaspora, a DC-based non-profit, announced that it had raised $1 million in just 48 hours. Meanwhile, GoFund said that 60,000 donors from 106 countries had contributed to India-related fundraisers by early May 2021.
  • Spain faced a child migrant crisis. Madrid wanted help relocating unaccompanied minors after deploying its army to turn away 8,000 migrants who crossed from Morocco to Ceuta.
  • Migrating swifts can travel more than 500 miles a day. They take advantage of wind currents and stop for snacks along the way.


March 2021

  • More than half the 22 million people living in Syria in 2011 have been forced from their homes. Six million are now in other countries. Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan host more than 90 percent of these refugees.
  • Research published in 2020 by Doctors Without Borders found that more than 75 percent of Central American migrants traveling with children toward the US border reported leaving their home countries due to threats of violence, including forced recruitment by gangs.


February 2021


December 2020


November 2020

  • Migrant arrivals to Spain's Canary Islands, off the West African coast, topped 16,700 by late 2020, more than ten times the amount reported the same time a year earlier. The surge of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa overwhelmed Spanish authorities, who were criticised for housing thousands of migrants in empty hotels and evicting hundreds from a makeshift camp near the port city of Arguineguín.
  • As many as 4,000 Ethiopians were crossing into Sudan each day by late 2020 as violence in the Tigray region intensified, causing a mass exodus that sparked a full-blown "humanitarian crisis," according to the UN. 


October 2020

  • The pandemic caused (legal) migration to 37 of the world's most developed countries to plummet by 46 percent in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 - the sharpest six-month decline ever. The OECD warned that weaker labour demand, travel restrictions, and widespread remote work may prevent such migration flows from returning to pre-pandemic levels "for some time."
  • A Gallup survey found the world growing less accepting of migrants, and a number of EU countries topping the list of the least-accepting countries in the world. Overall, the world is slightly less accepting of migrants in 2020 than in 2017, according to Gallup's latest update of its Migrant Acceptance Index. Between 2016 and 2019, the global score on the index, which gauges people's acceptance of migrants based on increasing degrees of personal proximity to migrants, declined from 5.34 to 5.21.
  • In 2019, migrant workers sent $554 billion in remittances to their home countries. Many economists feared that Covid-19 would restrict the flow of money, but the opposite happened. Quartz reviewed possible reasons for the resiliency of remittances, explaining that migrants often work in essential industries and will send more money home if they sense their families are suffering


September 2020

  • Quartz warned that climate change could trigger the largest human migration to have ever occurred and pointed to data that shows that it’s already begun:
    • 200 million: Climate migrants that could be displaced by 2050, according to a 1990 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimate. This is the most widely shared estimate of numbers likely to migrate to the Global Northm but the International Organization for Migration now says the figure may reach 1.5 billion.
    • 25 million–1 billion: IPCC’s most recent estimate of climate migrants by 2050
    • 143 million: Climate migrants that could be displaced by 2050 in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and South Asia alone, according to a 2018 World Bank study
    • 150 million: People currently living in areas that will be underwater by 2050, according to a 2019 study
    • 17.2 million: People displaced due to natural disasters in 2018 alone.
  • A report from Brown University in the United States said that 37 million people had been displaced by America's far-reaching War on Terror since September 2001. Most civilians displaced were from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya, and Syria, the study noted.
  • The EU published new rules on migration. The German-driven Mandatory Solidarity Mechanism requires member states to accept a number of refugees in return for funding for each person accepted. The pact was brought forward following deadly fires at the Moria migrant camp in Lesbos, Greece.


August 2020

  • One in 10 people living in OECD countries were foreign nationals in 2018. By 2020, many were no longer there, as Covid-19 pushed immigrant workers out of their adopted homes and pulled them back to their homelands.
  • Indeed, in the world’s richest and most developed countries the foreign populations fell during the pandemic. It’s not just the result of travel restrictions. A reporter for Quartz went country by country through the data to show that unfriendly policies, mass layoffs, and cancelled school years were pushing immigrants out of such countries as the US, UK, Germany, Japan, Canada, and China.
  • The Economist looked at the plight of migrants in the time of Covid-19. Every country in the world closed or partly closed its borders since the pandemic began. Yet when the coronavirus is vanquished, migration will still lift up the poor, rejuvenate rich countries and spread new ideas around the world and a pandemic is no reason to abandon it, argued the paper.
  • More than 72,500 people who fled Venezuela's economic and political crisis returned to their home country via its land borders since the pandemic started, according to UN figures. Many Venezuelan migrants rely on informal jobs which were heavily hit by strict lockdowns imposed in many countries in the region. Those returning faced a mandatory quarantine in camps where conditions have been described as overcrowded and squalid.
  • A report from World Politics Review noted that there were 413,000 internally displaced people in the G5 Sahel countries at the end of 2019, and more than 5 million people now need humanitarian help.
  • About one million people are now displaced due to increasing violence in Burkina Faso, where jihadist groups and an army are wreaking havoc on the local population. On top of climate change, which is making droughts more intense and frequent, now now the coronavirus pandemic has aggravated an already dire humanitarian emergency in the country, one of the poorest in Africa.


July 2020

  • Rising migration restrictions are driving African refugees into the hands of smugglers in Latin America. Following Europe’s crackdown on migration, more African migrants are traveling through Latin America to try and reach the US and Canada. Quartz wrote on a global investigation into the Trump administration’s asylum restrictions which have left many migrants at the mercy of human smugglers and cartels.


June 2020

  • Nearly 80 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes due to conflict, violence, persecution and human rights violations in 2019, the UN announced. More than 11 million of those people were added to the list in 2019 alone. UNHCR attributed the surge to new displacements in hotspots like the DRC, Syria, and Yemen - and because they are counting Venezuela for the first time, reported GZEROMedia.
  • Taking in refugees often puts enormous economic and societal pressures on host countries. That's especially true in places where many of their own citizens already have limited access to food, shelter and support networks of family and friends. Several of the world's top 10 countries hosting refugees show exactly this: a large share of their populations are in the "high vulnerability" category of Gallup's Basic Needs Index. That puts refugees in these countries in the tough spot of potentially competing for resources from governments already struggling to meet the needs of their own people, reported GZEROMedia. 


May 2020

  • Coronavirus travel restrictions left about 10,000 refugees around the world unable to reach countries that agreed to resettle them before the pandemic, according to the International Organisation for Migration. The IOM, a UN body responsible for finding refugees new homes, suspended all resettlement on March 17, leaving many ethnic and sexual minorities vulnerable to harassment and persecution as they wait in limbo.


April 2020

  • By the end of the first quarter of 2020, the movement of people around the world virtually stopped. The dynamics of international migration were turned on their head, with the vast majority of airlines grounded and travel restrictions confining people to their homes and neighbourhoods. 
  • Around the world, hundreds of millions of households and families depend on remittances sent home by migrants working abroad. For many nations, those flows form a sizable chunk of the national economy. But the World Bank has now warned that coronavirus-related lockdowns could slash remittances by as much as 20% this year, wreaking havoc on the economies that depend on that cash the most. 
  • Over the past several years, more than a million Venezuelans fled the humanitarian and political crisis in their country and settled in neighbouring Colombia. However, in 2020, with much of the Colombian economy shuttered due to coronavirus lockdowns, some of them returned home, with 100s of Venezuelans crossing back into Venezuela, many to reunite with family left behind there. It was a fraught choice: Venezuela's health system is a shambles, and there are still major shortages of water, food, electricity, and testing - complicating the government's ability to respond to the pandemic. But there's little work in Colombia these days, and only 40% of the Venezuelan refugees there are registered to receive government benefits.


March 2020

  • A dramatic surge of migrants arrived on Greek shores in early 2020, after Turkey abandoned a 2016 deal with the EU under which it housed some 3.7 million Syrian refugees in exchange for billions of euros in aid. Ankara took this step after a dangerous flare up in Syria, where Turkish troops tried to halt a Syrian assault on Idlib province that was driving more refugees across the Turkish border.


February 2020

  • Nigeria, Africa's largest economy, is opening its doors to its neighbours. President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled a new immigration policy that grants visas on arrival to citizens of any of the 55 African Union member states. The measures, which aim to attract more innovation and talent into Nigeria, come amid broader economic integration efforts on the continent. 


January 2020

  • More than 1,800 migrants successfully made the journey in small boats across the English Channel to Britain in 2019, representing a six-fold increase over the previous year. The surge likely reflects the closing of several French migrant camps, as well as Europe's crackdown on the people smuggling trade, prompting migrants to embark on the precarious channel crossing.


December 2019

  • Today, more than 270 million people live outside the country of their birth, 51 million more than in 2010. That number includes economic migrants, refugees, displaced people, and expats. GZEROMedia analysed the countries where migrants, both leaving and arriving, make up the largest share of the population.
  • The number of migrants and refugees going to Europe from Turkey  nearly doubled in 2019, with some 70,000 arrivals. The surge raised questions about whether Turkey was honouring the terms of its migrant deal with the EU, in which Ankara was supposed to let through only the most "vulnerable" migrants.


November 2019

  • There are now more than 71 million displaced people around the world. It's a hot political topic in every region of the world, and the forces that have pushed so many from their homes—war, organised crime, the impact of changing weather patterns on agriculture, inequality among nations, and broader public awareness of better conditions elsewhere—continue to intensify.
  • report from the EU warned of a potential "lost generation" of migrants, people who enter Europe to build better lives but then find little chance of integrating into society. Between 2015 and 2018, nearly two million people were granted protection within the European Union. Some were refugees. Others were migrants looking for better economic prospects for themselves and their families. About 80% of these people were under the age of 34.
  • For the first time since it began keeping monthly records, the United States in October 2019 resettled precisely zero refugees from abroad. This came as the administration cut the overall number of refugees permitted in the United States and tightened requirements for entry.


October 2019

  • Aid agencies struggled to meet the needs of up to 200,000 displaced civilians who fled the Turkish bombardment in Syria's northeast, after fighting damaged a central water station in the city of Hasaka. A UNICEF representative said depletion of water supplies in the area was a "critical concern."


September 2019


August 2019

  • Out of a global population of 7.7 billion, a quarter billion people live outside the country of their birth. While most are migrants in search of better economic opportunities, one-tenth are refugees from crisis areas such as Syria, Venezuela and Myanmar.


July 2019

  • According to the UN, just over 30,000 refugees have reached Europe by boat across the Mediterranean by the end of July 2019. That compares with 114,000 for all of 2018, 171,000 in 2017, 363,000 in 2016, and more than 1 million at the height of the crisis in 2015.


June 2019

  • GZEROMedia found that, across the globe, the number of refugees has climbed to the highest level seen in nearly 70 years. War, persecution and climate change have prompted some 70.8 million to flee their homes, more than twice as many as two decades ago. Ongoing conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Myanmar, South Sudan and Somalia account for roughly two thirds of all refugees, while Syria accounts for the most with a staggering 6.7 million. The UN refugee agency estimates 37,000 people are displaced every day. 


May 2019

  • Hoover's How Will Demographic Transformations Affect Democracy in the Coming Decades? report warned that populations are set to explode in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Central America in coming years. The working-age population of sub-Saharan Africa alone is expected to increase by nearly a billion people between 2020 and 2060. Over time, we're likely to see "regional demographic explosions of young people." In coming decades, overcrowding in these places will exacerbate desertification, water shortages, and urbanisation. Mounting ecological stresses will provoke violent political conflict, forcing more people to hit the road in search of a better life.
  • Businesses building climate forecasts into their planning think largely of their own material assets - asking introspective questions such as whether their factories can cope with the physical changes happening around them. However, in terms of the people that work there, in many parts of the world, the impacts of climate change are undermining communities’ life support systems. In some instances this is leading to violent conflict, economic instability and societal unrest, prompting people to flee in huge numbers. The UN’s International Organisation for Migration states that by 2050 there could be as many as one billion climate refugees globally.
  • In less than one year, more than 160,000 people from Guatemala fled to the United States seeking asylum. That's fully 1% of the country's population.


April 2019

  • Currently, there are more refugees and displaced people globally than at any time since the Second World War. In response, the international community agreed the 2016 Global Compact on Refugees and the 2018 Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in order to help the millions who have been displaced by poverty, conflict and the effects of climate change. Their objectives include the provision of labour rights, access to social services, recognition of skills and professional qualifications, facilitation of remittances and options for safe and dignified repatriation.
  • According to research on African migration by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which advocates better government on the continent, the picture is complex. For a start, only 20% of migrants are fleeing insecurity. The remaining 80% are seeking better jobs and prospects. A large proportion are young, well-educated and female. In fact, not that many African migrants come to Europe at all. Only 14% of global migrants are African (24% are European) and 70% of those stay within Africa.
  • A 2019 survey of citizens in 34 African countries found that 37% say they have "considered emigration". Of those, 36% say they'd move to another country in Africa. Some 27% would prefer Europe, and 22% would choose North America. Not surprisingly, it's the youngest and best educated who are most interested in crossing borders.
  • China granted permanent residency to just 1,800 foreigners in 2017, the latest year for which data is available, compared to about 1 million "green cards" given by the US to immigrants each year. Relative to its size, China is home to fewer foreigners than almost any other country in the world.  


March 2019

  • Currently, there are more refugees and displaced people globally than at any time since the Second World War. In response, the international community agreed the 2016 Global Compact on Refugees and the 2018 Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in order to help the millions who have been displaced by poverty, conflict and the effects of climate change. Their objectives include the provision of labour rights, access to social services, recognition of skills and professional qualifications, facilitation of remittances and options for safe and dignified repatriation, noted Chatham House.
  • Australia put a cap on permanent migrants. Prime minister Scott Morrison released details on a new immigration policy, which sets limits of 160,000 migrants for the next four years and introduces a new skilled-worker visa. The announcement is awkwardly timed for the government, which has been criticised for its xenophobia and hostility towards Muslims in the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attacks, claimed Quartz.
  •  Venezuelan emigrants are expected to send $4 billion in remittances back to their crisis-wracked country this year, up from just under $2 billion in 2018. That's almost as much as the $4.7 billion the country is expected to reap from oil sales, according to GZEROMedia.


February 2019


January 2019


December 2018

  • As the number of international migrants reaches new highs, people around the world show little appetite for more migration – both into and out of their countries, according to a Pew Research Centre survey of 27 nations conducted in 2018. Across the countries surveyed, a median of 45% say fewer or no immigrants should be allowed to move to their country, while 36% say they want about the same number of immigrants. Just 14% say their countries should allow more immigrants.
  • The United Nations (UN) Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration provides a nonlegally binding political instrument for deepening and strengthening international cooperation and coordination on migration policies. A few EU member states and their interior ministries have recently announced decisions not to sign this document. Regardless of their position on Global Compact, all EU member states are already under a clear obligation to protect and uphold international and European Union law and human rights standards for all migrants and refugees. Human rights are a condition for legitimate sovereignty. Effective migration management can and should go hand-to-hand with rule of law and human rights. The adoption of the Global Compact on Migration, along with the accompanying Global Compact on Refugees, would serve European governments well in their interest to implement fairer and greater solidarity-based sharing of responsibilities on migration and asylum policies.
  • The UNHCR estimated that Spain had taken in more than 56,200 migrants arriving by sea in 2018, more than any other country in the EU. Overall, migrant arrivals in the EU have fallen dramatically since peaking in 2014-2015, but the numbers in Spain have risen more than 500 percent since then. That’s partly because the populist government of Italy, once a favoured destination for migrants, has closed its own ports to them. Andalusia, as Spain’s southernmost region, has borne the brunt of that wave, making it fertile ground for right wing parties like Vox.
  • In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel quietly dropped her long-standing insistence that all EU countries must accept refugees according to an agreed-upon quota.
  • GZEROMedia reported that more than 20,000 migrants and asylum seekers from the Middle East and South Asia have officially entered Bosnia this year, hoping to make a clandestine crossing into Croatia, an EU member state. Last year the number was below 1,000, but since other routes into Europe – in particular via Serbia into Hungary – have been closed off, migrants have focused on Bosnia. Absorbing refugees can be an economic and political challenge even for the wealthiest countries, but Bosnia is already one of the poorest and most politically precarious countries in Europe. Aid from the EU and Turkey is helping, but as winter approaches, the UN has warned that a full blown humanitarian crisis could soon emerge.
  • Further reading:


November 2018

  • More than 3 million refugees and migrants had fled Venezuela by the end of 2018, according to data from the International Organisation for Migration. Colombia has borne the brunt of its neighbour’s economic collapse, taking in over one million Venezuelan migrants, followed by Peru (around 500,000), and Ecuador (220,000).
    Further reading:


October 2018

  • GZEROMedia reported that nearly half of all migrants who sought to enter the United States with their relatives over the past year came from Guatemala, a sharp increase from just two years ago. Among the reasons: About 76% of the population in Guatemala’s western highlands is impoverished, and 67% of children younger than five suffer from chronic malnutrition, according to the United States Agency for International Development.
  • The cost of obtaining a Venezuelan passport has risen to around $2000, more than 68 times the average monthly wage and double the price only a year ago. Around 5,000 people continue to flee the country’s collapsing economy and democracy every day, reported GZEROMedia.
  • The Future Today Institute (FTI) reported a study by researchers at Columbia, published in the journal Science, showing that climate change could lead to 1 million climate refugees migrating into the European Union every year by 2100.
  • Furthermore, a recent study by the Environmental Justice Foundation said that tens of thousands of Bangladeshi families could soon face becoming climate refugees within their own countries. It’s a problem that could soon get worse - a one-metre sea level rise could result in a 20% loss of Bangladesh’s current landmass. And it’s not just Bangladesh at risk.
  • A US-bound caravan with thousands of migrants gained steam.More Honduran migrants are making the journey to Mexico and then the US, but authorities are trying to stop them after Trump threatened to cut off aid to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. 
  • Japan is one of the most ethnically homogenous countries on earth. Foreign-born residents make up just 2 percent of the population, and although that number has risen in recent years, it’s still far lower than in Europe or the US where 10-15 percent of the population hails from abroad. What’s more, a majority of Japanese like it that way: close to 60 percent of Japanese think that diversity makes a country worse off, according to a 2017 poll. However,  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to let in more immigrants. His party is preparing to unveil a proposal that would grant work visas to as many as 500,000 more foreign workers over the next half decade, allowing high-skilled workers to bring their families with them as well. These immigrants would come to do jobs in specific sectors such as agriculture, construction, healthcare and hospitality, and they would not be granted residency, reported GZEROMedia.
  • It’s one thing to know that many young Africans try to reach Europe for a better life and get exploited by smugglers along the way. It’s another to become immersed in the painful story of one such migrant. Quartz detailed the tortuous path taken by one young man from Nigeria to Italy through Libya and across the Mediterranean.
  • Today, Uganda is home to 1.25 million refugees, about 3 percent of its total population, making it one of the world’s most welcoming countries. Rural Ugandans, whose experience of displacement after a brutal civil war in the 80s, have, according to GZEROMedia, so far been remarkably accepting of those fleeing violence in neighbouring South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi. 
  • Further reading:


September 2018

  • The United Nations estimates that on average around 44,000 people around the world were forced to flee their homes every day due to conflict and persecution last year.
  • The number of migrants attempting the journey from Libya to Europe has gone down since last year, but the proportion of those who die on the way has risen. One person died or went missing for every 18 people who crossed via the central Mediterranean route between January and July 2018, compared to one in 42 people in the same period in 2017, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.
  • The UN Refugee agency provides assistance to more than 60 million people in 128 countries.
  • A new UNHCR report told the stories of some of the world’s 7.4 million refugee children of school age under UNHCR’s mandate. In addition, it looks at the educational aspirations of refugee youth eager to continue learning after secondary education, and highlights the need for strong partnerships in order to break down the barriers to education for millions of refugee children.
  • Microsoft is working with the Norwegian Refugee Council, NetHope and University College Dublin to develop a chatbot using AI technologies, such as language understanding, machine translation and speech recognition to intelligently assist displaced youth to connect them with free, high-quality educational resources. Using chatbots like this could also provide a model for aid workers in the field. It could help these workers communicate with displaced people who speak different languages and who need services like access to food, healthcare and shelter.
  • The Economist warned that the rich world remains gripped by a debate about what to do with newcomers from poor countries. In theory there are two completely separate categories: refugees from war or persecution, who have a right to safe haven, and economic migrants, who do not. In practice, however, many countries fail to honour their obligations to refugees, and plenty of economic migrants pose as refugees because they see no other legal way to enter a rich country.
  • Support for anti-immigrant parties across 13 European countries has doubled from 12.5% in January 2013 to 25% today. But much of the support is driven by sentiment in just three countries: Germany, Italy and Poland. It is possible, therefore, noted The Economist, that populist parties are simply benefiting from charismatic leaders or ill-advised immigration policies. Indeed, in many countries conservative populists have lost ground since 2016.
  • Much is written about the experiences of refugees, noted Chatham House, but rarely do we hear from them directly. Shatila Stories, a new novel from Peirene Press, is the result of a groundbreaking project to teach creative writing in the Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon.   
  • During the height of the European migrant crisis in 2015 and 2016, more than a million asylum seekers, refugees, and economic migrants from North Africa, Syria, and South Asia sought shelter in Europe. Their arrival has changed politics in Europe, giving rise to anti-migrant backlashes in a number of countries. For GZEROMedia, Sweden’s recent experience (i.e. the rise of a right wing populist party) points to an uncomfortable question that voices on the right are posing in some of Europe’s most prosperous democracies: can a generous welfare state continue to coexist with liberal immigration policies?
  • Indeed, in Europe, immigration outstrips all other issues as citizens’ top concern for the bloc as whole, believes GZEROMedia. They want Brussels to better secure Europe’s borders. In Hungary and Italy, national governments are actively testing the bounds of what the EU is willing to tolerate in terms of the treatment of immigrants.
  • Representatives of 10 cities around the world gathered at the Concordia Summit, which is linked to the UN General Assembly annual meetings, to discuss their role in protecting migrant and refugee residents - regardless of national policies on immigration.
  • The United States is on track to take in 22,000 refugees in 2018, a quarter the number admitted in 2016, the last year of Barack Obama’s presidency. That’s the lowest total in four decades. The US also set a cap of accepting 30,000 refugees next year. The new number, down from the current ceiling of 45,000, is a historic low since the US Refugee Act was introduced nearly 40 years ago.
  • More than 30,000 Syrians have fled their homes in the northwestern province of Idlib since a government military offensive began there in early September, according to the UN. A UN official said fighting in Idlib could provoke the worst humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st century.
  • Turkey’s foreign minister said the country has already spent $32 billion feeding, sheltering and educating refugees, including more than 3.5 million Syrians displaced by the country’s long civil war. A looming Syrian assault on a rebel stronghold near the Turkish border threatens to swell those refugee numbers further. 
  • The European Union is working with Libyan coastguards to reduce the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea. But many of those intercepted end up in detention centres in Libya, where some migrants say they are used as slaves, reported the BBC earlier in 2018.
  • Chamseddine Marzoug walks the beaches of Zarzis, Tunisia looking for the bodies of those who drowned while trying to reach Europe by boat, reported GZEROMedia. When he finds a corpse, he lays it in a body bag and takes it to a nearby hospital for examination. Once a report is filed, he washes the body and takes it to a graveyard dedicated to the unknown dead. He then buries the bodies in graves he has dug himself. In the process, he treats these unfortunate men, women, and children with a care and dignity they may never have known in life.
  • The economic catastrophe wrought by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has driven millions from his country, but there is a growing exodus from Nicaragua now too, as thousands flee the political and economic turmoil that began earlier this year amid protests and a brutal crackdown by President Daniel Ortega. Most of those fleeing are headed south into Nicaragua’s prosperous and stable neighbour Costa Rica. Going north would mean entering Honduras, one of the world’s most violent countries, noted GZEROMedia. 
  • Further reading:


August 2018

  • The total number of Venezuelans displaced by the country’s ongoing political and economic crisis may have already reached 4 million, according to The Economist. At the current rate, the exodus could surpass the 6 million who fled Syria during the entirety of its civil war.

  • As Venezuelans continue to flee their country’s government-driven humanitarian crisis, the exodus is beginning to generate pushback in neighbouring countries, noted GZEROMedia. Earlier this month, Brazil sent the army to quell a local riot against Venezuelan migrants at the border. Now Peru has tightened restrictions, requiring Venezuelans to hold a passport, rather than an easily-forged national ID card, to enter the country. Passports are expensive and rarely held by Venezuela’s most vulnerable people, meaning that the measure in effect shuts out thousands of impoverished migrants. 

  • Most of the 68.5 million migrants in the world are not ending up in Europe, as many Europeans think they are. 85% are living in developing countries. These are the countries shouldering the greatest burden and the dynamics in these regions are changing – growing anti-refugee sentiments are emerging in developing countries including in Pakistan, Iran, Jordan and Lebanon, according to Chatham House – and a lot of this tension comes down to citizens believing that refugees and migrants are a drain on the natural resources of the host country – whether this is water or energy or land.

  • However, in Europe, the search for an EU-wide burden-sharing solution to the migration crisis continues. It’s both a moral dilemma and a serious political problem, warned GZEROMedia. Migrant arrivals in Spain during the first eight days of August were at least five times those in either Italy or Greece. On August 13 alone, Spain rescued 475 people on 12 different boats.

  • In one of Latin America’s largest ever mass migrations, more than half a million Venezuelans fleeing the economic and political crisis in their homeland have crossed into Ecuador this year, according to the United Nations. That’s nearly 10 times the number of migrants and refugees who attempted to cross the Mediterranean into Europe during the same period.

  • Nevertheless, at Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, there is reportedly deadly violence, overcrowding, appalling sanitary conditions and now a charity says children as young as 10 are attempting suicide

  • Asking who actually benefits from open borders, Quartz News explored how Singapore, one of the most pro-migration countries in the world, has created a legally inferior class of migrant workers.


July 2018

  • The RSA explored the plight of the thousands of children living in destitution in the UK who do not appear in school poverty statistics because their families, owing to their immigration status, cannot access public funds such as housing benefit and child support. Local authorities, schools and third sector organisations are picking up the pieces left behind by national immigration policies.

  • The European Commission offered to pay 6,000 euros to member states for each migrant they take in after making the arduous journey across the Mediterranean - part of a broader EU proposal to house refugees in dedicated centers while their asylum claims are processed. As of May, the number of migrants arriving in Europe by sea was running at about half the level seen during the first five months of 2017.

  • So far this year, 18,016 migrants have arrived to Spain across the Mediterranean, outpacing the numbers for Italy and Greece, according to GZEROMedia. 

  • A nonprofit offered US$20 million to reunite migrant families in the US, reported Quartz. The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services said it will present the US government with enough “bond” money to get 2,500 immigrant mothers - the estimated number of children still separated from their parents - out of detention centres.

  • The unfolding global migration crisis that will have lasting effects on millions. “The unexpected forcible separation from your parents is worse than the ravages of being in a war zone, or being a victim of oppression, or living in deep poverty,” the director of the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard, told Quartz.

  • In 2017, the US resettled just 33,000 refugees, making it the first year since the adoption of the 1980 Refugee Act that the country resettled fewer refugees than the rest of the world. “Resettled refugees” are those who apply for refugee status before entering their destination country, explained GZEROMedia. 

  • Flows of migrants into Europe across the Mediterranean have fallen 96 percent since 2015, according to EU data. That reflects closer cooperation between Europe and countries like Turkey, Libya, and Morocco in stemming the migrant tide. But, warned GZEROMedia, the political blowback is still intensifying because of anti-immigration parties that surged after the peak of arrivals in 2015-2016.


June 2018

  • Between 2005 and 2015, the number of child refugees more than doubled, to 9 million. In the years ahead, war and conflict will drive even more people to flee their home countries; many people in Europe and North America, suffering from the twin shocks of globalisation and automation, may want to reject them.

  • GZEROMedia noted that multiple studies have shown that immigrants commit crimes at much lower rates than native-born citizens, and some have found that crime rates tend to drop in places where large groups of immigrants are admitted. (Three such studies can be found herehere, and here.)

  • At the end of 2017, there were 433,236 refugees and asylum seekers living in a single German state – North Rhine-Westphalia. That is seventy-eight thousand more than in all of Italy, which is now under the control of an anti-immigrant government.
  • As the EU prepares for a contentious summit meeting in which the fate of the Union’s policy on refugees and asylum-seekers will be the critical issue, Signal Media created a map showing which countries have taken the most refugees since the crisis began almost four years ago


  • Some 68.5 million people were recorded as forcibly displaced by persecution, conflict, or other forms of violence at the end of 2017, the largest number ever, according to the new report from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Despite all the political noise about migration in the developed world, 85 percent of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries.
  • According to a just-published survey, Europeans say immigration is the most important issue facing the EU, with 38 percent of mentions. (That’s up from just 14 percent in autumn 2017).


May 2018

  • The EU’s effort to outsource control of its borders has come at a high cost, and is likely to become unsustainable. To manage migration, the EU needs to revamp its southern neighbourhood policy, according to the Centre for European Reform.
  • Integrating refugees into European society and structures stands at the centre of political debates across the European Union. Significantly, while established national and regional institutions appear to be struggling with these challenges, Europe’s younger generation is doing things differently, believes Friends of Europe.
  • According to a recent Pew Research study, the average immigrant from sub-Saharan Africa has more years of education than the average citizen of the US or European community in which he or she settles. (Italy is the exception.) Nearly 70 percent of African immigrants over 25 who live in the US had some college experience. 
  • Beyond Africans, a 2017 Pew Research study reported that a higher percentage (31%) of all immigrants to the US have either a university or graduate degree than do native-born Americans (30%). The emphasis on education extends across generations. A 2015 report found that a higher percentage of the children of college-educated immigrants earn graduate degrees and get top-tier jobs than the children of native-born Americans. 
  • Warmer weather means more refugee flows across the Mediterranean to Europe. While those flows have fallen since Italy and Libya reached an accord on controlling migrant smuggling in early 2017, fresh political uncertainty in Libya could make things more difficult this summer, and even a modest uptick in arrivals will ensure that refugee policy remains a hot-button issue across Europe, according to GZEROMedia. 
  • More than one million Venezuelans have entered Colombia since Nicolas Maduro’s government descended into crisis last year, according to a senior Red Cross official. That number is far larger than previous estimates.


April 2018

  • Venezuela’s acute political and humanitarian crisis is now driving out some 5,000 refugees a day, according to the UN. At that rate, some 1.8 million people – or more than 5 per cent of Venezuela’s population – will depart this year. According to GZEROMedia, they are straining the ability of neighbouring countries like Brazil and Colombia to cope, in ways that could become politically significant soon.
  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees issues an annual report concerning the approximately 21 million people worldwide falling under its mandate: refugees forced to leave their countries due to war, political, racial or religious persecution, as internally displaced persons, or as repatriates on their way back home.  An interactive visualisation gives an insight into the flows and connections of global flight and expulsion.
  • Germany’s foreign-born population reached a record 10.6 million in 2017, an increase of 5.8 percent from 2016. Refugee arrivals have levelled off, but immigration from eastern EU countries is climbing at an above-average rate.
  • The United States is on track to resettle only 20,800 refugees in fiscal year 2018, according to calculations by The Economist. That’s a 61% annual reduction, and the lowest number since 1980, when the modern system of refugee admissions was established.



  • As Western populations live ever longer, they will need more nurses, care assistants, housekeepers and cleaners. The demand for highly skilled workers will therefore grow too, and countries will start to compete more fiercely for mobile talent. Migration will “define our future”, claimed the authors of a recent book.
  • DNA tests on almost 1,000 people have shown all non-Africans are related to a single population that migrated from Africa between 80,000 and 50,000 years ago. The research, published in the journal Nature, details how geneticists took DNA samples from people of different cultures in different parts of the world. They then traced back their genetic links through the millennia. All arrived at the same conclusion. This animated video, produced by the University of Hawaii, shows the spread of the human race across the globe over a 125,000 year period.


Pre 2017

  • World Refugee Day is dedicated to recognising the millions of refugees that have been displaced around the world. Genocide prevention and refugee resettlement groups commemorate this day in many ways.  Like most non-profits, these groups are on a tight budget, so many employ free online tools and social media to take action.