Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - MERGE - Migration and the Middle East

MERGE Brief, October 2020

Here are the major migration-related developments of last month in and around the Middle East region.


  • UNHCR Data shows the EU policies to minimize migrant arrivals into the Union yield success for its member countries. The total arrivals through the Mediterranean land and sea routes in 2020 have been 73,182 (as of Nov 2). To make a comparison, it was 123,663 in 2019 and 1,032,408 in 2015. The most common nationality of migrants for 2020 has been Tunisians, with 10,170 arrivals followed by 8,787 Algerians.


  • The Guardian reports the Greek Government’s 26 km-long wall and fence extension on the Turkish border to deter migrant arrivals into the country (and the EU). The wall, says the authorities, will be completed in April 2021. Meanwhile, according to Deutsche Welle (based on ‘die Welt’), migrant arrivals from Turkey into the EU have been at its lowest point since 2015. The news channel reports that there have been 14,579 migrants crossing from Turkey into the Union throughout the year. It was 48,554 in 2019.


  • Middle East Monitor says the Lebanese court decides to reject the new pro-migrant worker contract. In favor of the employers, the decision suspends the new contract intended to replace the Kafala system. The highly contentious Kafala heavily restricts the rights of foreign workers toward their employers. Human rights activists have protested the court decision. Reuter says nearly 10,000 migrant workers in Lebanon desperately try to be repatriated since their wages have dramatically collapsed due to the pandemic and Lebanon’s economic crisis.



  • The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that Corona-related border controls have prevented the mobility of nearly 3 million migrants who want to go back to their countries. However, the report acknowledges the Qatari Government’s announcement, which allows the migrant workers in quarantine to receive their full salaries.