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International migration and national development - Hein De Haas

International migration and national development - Hein De Haas

Table 2. Estimates of

Table 2. Estimates of Nigerians living outside AfricaCountry Nigerians abroad Arrival of asylum seekers(2004)US 160,000 (2004; country of birth) NAUK 88,380 (2001; country of birth) 1,209Germany 16,183 (2002; nationality) NACanada 10,425 (2001; country of birth) 589Ireland 9,225 (2002; country or birth) NANetherlands 4,564 (2003; country of birth) NAItaly 3,575 (1989; nationality) NAAustria 2,913 (2001; country of birth) 1,828Greece 2,021 (2001; nationality) NAAustralia 1,783 (2001; country of birth) NABelgium 1,636 (2004; nationality) NAFrance 1,425 (1999; nationality) 1,572Total 302,130Source: OECD 2006 and http://www.migrationinformation.orgBlack et al. (2004:19) refer to sources suggesting that nearly 15,000 Nigerians enterEurope and North America annually. The UK census in 2001 reported 86,958Nigerians living in the UK, with about 80 percent living in greater London. However,this does not include undocumented migrants and UK citizens of Nigerian descent(Hernandez-Coss et al. 2006). There would live between 200,000 and 300,000 firstand second generation Nigerians in the US. This figure would perhaps include up to21,000 Nigerian doctors, although these figures are contested. According to 2000census, 90,000 of the 109,000 Nigerian-born immigrants in the US aged 25 or overwere tertiary educated (Adams 2003).3. Nigerian migration policies in a regional and global context3.1. Nigerian immigration and emigration policies: regulationsNigeria has largely pursued a laissez faire policy concerning emigration of itscitizens. It has only actively intervened in the case of anti-trafficking policies.However, since European countries started to put pressure on Nigeria to collaboratewith the re-admission of undocumented migrants, the Nigerian state seems to havebegun more active emigration policies through negotiating immigrant quota inexchange for collaboration with re-admission. Nigeria’s own immigration policies arerather restrictive, with the exception of ECOWAS citizens who nominally have theright to settle, work and do business (see further). Most non-ECOWAS foreignershave to obtain a visa to come to Nigeria.3.2. Migration relations with European states: focus on control and readmissionThe focus of migration policies of European states as well as their embassies andconsulates in Nigeria 10 is on immigration control, and restrictive visa polices are the10 There are 90 foreign missions in Nigeria with staff ranging from 3 to 40 people.9

main instrument of trying to limit immigration. A major problem in this process thewidespread forgery of documents supporting visa applications, such as false bankstatements and reference letters. This makes Nigerians particularly suspect in the eyesof immigration officials. Nigerians are also thought to be regularly involved invarious forms of crime, such as the global trade in cocaine, financial fraud, moneylaundering and internet scams. Nigerians stakeholders tend to complain that theirmigration is only put in a negative light through the persistent association withtrafficking, crime and fraud, whereas the vast majority of Nigerian migrants are lawabiding.In recent years, migration has clearly risen on the agenda in bilateral relationsbetween Nigeria and European states, who specifically seek Nigeria’s collaboration inthe readmission of undocumented migrants or rejected asylum seekers of Nigeriancitizenship. Nigeria is known as one of the most ‘cooperative’ African states on thisissue. Several European countries have signed re-admission agreements with Nigeria,such as Italy 11 , Spain, Ireland and Switzerland. Some countries are hesitant to concedeto demands of the Nigerian side for certain quota of legal migrants in exchange forcooperation on re-admission – such as Italy is doing.Visas are described as a major bargaining chip that European states use innegotiations, and that they do not want to give up, while Nigeria tends to ask forimmigration quota in exchange for collaboration with re-admission. There isresistance among European states to deal with these issues on the European level dueto a lack of agreement on a common migration policy.Although European embassies tend to describe Nigeria is rather willing to cooperatein increasing border control and readmissions, they tend to state that the main obstacleis the limited resources and organisational and infrastructural capacity on the Nigerianside. Also the sheer size of the country, which counts 147 overland border crossingpoints, makes it notoriously difficult to control migration.Although ‘re-admissions’ from several European countries to Nigeria do take place bysending back planes, the numbers returned are fairly small, and interviewees do nottend to see them as a very effective way of limiting undocumented migration. Severalstakeholders claim that these repatriations are largely ‘symbolical’, which wouldfunction to give the impression that policy makers are doing ‘something’.Although the readmission agreements with European Countries state thatundocumented migrants should be returned on a voluntary basis, some Nigerianinterviewees as having the character of deportations, whereby undocumented migrantswould be treated "as criminals". Undocumented migrants who are apprehended inEurope are imprisoned in detention centres before being deported, and aircrafts arefull of police and security people 12 .11 In an official communiqué, Italy describes its cooperation with Nigeria on migration affairs as ‘everimproving’, referring to the 2000 Italy-Nigeria immigration agreement and the 2003 Memorandum ofUnderstanding against trafficking. Nevertheless, the Italian embassy refused to be interviewed for thepurpose of this study.12 Because deportees are officially not allowed to be hand coughed, the number of (military) police inan aircraft may well exceed the number of returnees.10

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