Lowest number of irregular migrants arriving in Europe since 2013

A total of 127,657 migrants entered Europe irregularly in 2019, meaning that irregular migration to Europe is at its lowest since 2013. 

This figure, published by International Organization for Migration (IOM), includes 103,883 arrivals by sea and 23,774 by land. Compared to the previous year, the total of sea and land arrivals has decreased by around 12 per cent.

Greece received most of the incoming migrants, recording over 70,000 new arrivals. Spain was the second most popular entry point, with 32,531 arrivals, followed by Italy with 11,471.

About 1,283 people died in 2019 in an attempt to reach Europe via the Mediterranean sea. In 2018, the number was 2,299. Since 2014, every year more than 1,000 deaths in the Mediterranean sea are recorded, with over 19,000 deaths over the last six years.

The Central Mediterranean route (to Malta and Italy) continues to be the most deadly. Researchers from the Missing Migrants project estimate that one in 33 people died attempting to take this route in 2019, compared to one in 35 in 2018 and one in 51 in 2017.

Director of IOM’s Global Migrant Data Analysis Centre Frank Laczko said: “The remains of those lost at sea this year may never be found, like thousands of others lost in the Mediterranean. Each year that these deaths continue means more families live in limbo, not knowing whether a relative is dead or alive.”

He added: “If you come from a high-income country, efforts will be made to find and identify your body should you go missing. The same simply does not apply if you are an undocumented migrant.”

TMP – 14/01/20

Photo credit: Malcolm P Chapman / Shutterstock

Photo caption: LESVOS, GREECE SEPTEMBER 24, 2015: Inflatable boat used by immigrants to cross the sea from Turkey on a beach near Molyvos. Lesbos has become a hot spot for migrants to Europe.