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24 November 2016
Migrants and refugees rescued off the coast of Libya. Photo: Andreas Solaro /AFP via Getty Images

Europe’s Migration Campaign Pivots to Africa

Tunisia – Politico: Having reduced the number of crossings from Turkey to Greece, European leaders are now looking to Northern Africa, writes Zia Weise.

In November, when autumn winds whip up storms across the Mediterranean, the migration season ends. The arrival rates won’t drop to zero — if last year’s numbers are anything to go by, several thousand will set off from Libya despite the rougher seas. But until the weather calms in April, monthly arrivals are unlikely to hit above 10,000 as they do in summer.

For Europe, winter is no time for complacency. Several member states, including France and Germany, face elections next year. With a populist Right emboldened by the victories of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage, migration is certain to emerge as a key issue.

Before next spring, Brussels is keen to reduce the migrant flow across the Mediterranean. Having successfully reduced the number of crossings from Turkey to Greece earlier this year, European leaders are now turning their attention to northern Africa.

Last month, the EU began negotiating a Turkey-style readmission deal with Tunisia, as part of a broader diplomatic effort to convince North African nations to quickly readmit failed asylum seekers after a record number of migrants arrived in Italy this year.

Read on

NAFTA reform could include more regular, safe and managed seasonal labor migration. Photo: Keith Dannemiller / IOM.

Mexico Says Labor Reforms Could Improve NAFTA, Tackle Migration Fears

Canada – Reuters: Labor market reforms could both improve the North American Free Trade Agreement and help address U.S. concerns about illegal immigration from Mexico, according to a senior Mexican official, writes David Ljunggren.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to tear up or renegotiate NAFTA - a trade pact under which Mexico and Canada send a large majority of their exports to the United States - and also says he will expel illegal immigrants.

Canada and Mexico have said they are prepared to negotiate improvements to the deal.

"NAFTA could get even better ... There are so many things we can add to NAFTA and certainly labor (is an issue) we would like to put on the table," said Paulo Carreno, Mexico's deputy foreign minister responsible for North America.

Mexican politicians argue that if the United States allowed more people in on regulated seasonal permits, there would be less illegal immigration to the U.S.

Carreno said NAFTA could benefit from a measure like Canada's Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, which allow farms to hire temporary foreign laborers during planting and harvesting seasons.

Read on

Migration in the News
  • Reuters reported that Iraqi security forces escorted groups of civilians out of the Gogjali district, on the outskirts of Mosul on Tuesday, as fighting with ISIL militants continued.
  • Reliefweb reported a UN statement that UNHCR, IOM, UNICEF and WFP have resumed delivery of humanitarian aid to an estimated 85,000 Syrians stranded on the Jordanian-Syrian border.
  • Refugees Deeply reported on the difficulties faced by young failed asylum seekers sent back to Afghanistan from Europe.
  • Mexico’s Notimex reported that over 1,400 migrants were rescued and eight bodies were recovered in the Mediterranean between Libya and Sicily on Tuesday.
  • Malaysia’s Sun Daily reported on an event hosted by Mercy Malaysia that welcomed moves by the government to allow refugees limited employment opportunities.
  • Peru’s Gestion reported on the signing of an agreement between the government and IOM to strengthen migration management and combat human trafficking.
  • Transitions Online reported that a Ukrainian teacher is under arrest for allegedly trying to sell a 13-year-old boarding school student to an organ trafficker for USD10,000, according to the BBC.
  • The Irrawaddy reported on the housing challenges facing the first refugees to return to Myanmar from camps in Thailand last month.
  • Interfax reported on a European Union donation of vehicles and equipment to Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service to build border management capacity on the Ukraine-Belarus border.

Trending on the Internet

  • International Business Times published photos showing dramatic rescues of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean by the Italian coastguard and the rescue NGO MOAS.

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The materials in the Migration Newsdesk are for information only and do not necessarily reflect IOM’s viewpoint unless specifically stated.