Scaling Fences: Voices of Irregular African Migrants to Europe (UNDP)
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) report, Scaling Fences: Voices of Irregular African Migrants to Europe published on 18 October 2019, sets out to find out why those who put themselves in the hands of people smugglers, and put themselves in other vulnerable positions to cross borders, make the decision to leave home avoiding formal immigration procedures, in the first place.
The report presents the results of an extensive study exploring the perspectives and experiences of 1970 individuals who migrated through irregular routes from 39 African countries to 13 Europe nations, (including 275 migrants in Belgium).
- 58% of respondents were either earning (49%) or in school (9%) at the time of their departure. For a majority of those earning, income appears to have been competitive in the national context.
- For 66% of respondents earning, or the prospect of earning, was not a factor that constrained the decision to migrate.
- 62% of respondents felt they had been treated unfairly by their governments, with many pointing to ethnicity and political views as reasons for perception of unfair treatment.
- 77% felt that their voice was unheard or that their country’s political system provided no opportunity through which to exert influence on government.
- 41% of respondents said ‘nothing’ would have changed their decision to migrate to Europe Average earnings in Europe far outstrip average earnings in Africa, even in real terms.
- 67% of those who did not want to stay permanently in Europe said their communities would be happy if they returned, compared to 41% of those who did want to live permanently in Europe.
The aim of the report is to contribute to a better understanding of why people move through irregular channels and what they experience when they do and to contribute to a critical debate on the relationship between human mobility and development.