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Continuity and Change in Youth Migration Patterns from the Mediterranean


Labour emigration has been a structural feature of the Arab Mediterranean Countries (AMC) economies since the 1960s. Considering high proportion of youth in AMC’s population, difficult labour market conditions without decent jobs, and the political transition after the Arab Spring, this paper looks at the continuity and change of youth migration patterns from the AMCs. Continuity and change are discussed through reviewing typical profiles of migrants (age, gender), their education levels, labour market status and reasons for migration. The traditional Arab migrant destinations of Europe and the Gulf are revisited in terms of economic and political developments and the evolution in their migration policy. A particular reference is made to the EU’s policy developments and the impact of the Arab Spring on emigration flows. The paper ends with the conclusions of: small change based on “path-dependency”, continuing pressure of emigration flows, and the unfitting skills set of potential migrants within the context of global job market. Recommendations focus on improving skills and education cooperation between the EU and the AMCs.

Paper produced within the framework of the New-Med Research Network and presented at the conference on "Changing Migration Patterns in the Mediterranean Region", organised in Tunis on 24 April 2015 by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), and the Centre of Tunis for Migration and Asylum (CeTuMA).

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