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Irregular Migration Surges Across Multiple Routes into EU

Updated: Apr 18

A total of 13,535 undocumented migrants have crossed into the European Union via the Western African route between January and March, marking a staggering 510 percent increase in irregular migration from this route in March alone, where 1,575 migrants made the journey. According to Frontex, the EU Guard Agency at External Borders, the primary nationalities of migrants using this route were from Mali, Senegal, and Mauritania.

Irregular Migration Surges Across Multiple Routes into EU

"In recent months, criminal groups involved in people smuggling in Mauritania were quick to seize opportunities presented by the increased demand from sub-Saharan migrants transiting their country seeking to enter the EU via the Canary Islands. People smugglers have been cramming an increasing number of migrants onto Cayuco boats, putting the lives of the people on board in even larger danger," noted Frontex.

Despite the surge in Western African route crossings, the Central Mediterranean route to Italy and Malta from Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya saw 6,728 migrants enter the EU in March. However, this route experienced a 59 percent decrease in irregular border crossings compared to the same period in 2023. The main countries of origin for migrants on this route were Bangladesh, Syria, and Tunisia.


Meanwhile, the Western Balkan route, which saw a spike in immigration in 2023, decreased by 64 percent in the first quarter of 2024, with 1,604 undocumented migrants recorded during this period, predominantly from Syria, Turkey, and Afghanistan.

In the UK, irregular migration increased by 56 percent in the first three months of 2024, with 5,489 people entering through this route. The majority of migrants' nationalities were unknown or from Afghanistan, Vietnam, and Iran. Despite challenging weather conditions endangering the lives of those seeking to reach the UK, detections on the Channel route rose to 11,635 in the first quarter of the year, as noted by Frontex.

Additionally, the Eastern Mediterranean route witnessed a surge in migrants, with 3,889 arrivals in March alone, marking a 109 percent increase compared to the first quarter of 2023. Syrians, Afghanis, and Egyptians were among the most common nationalities recorded on this route.



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