Edited by Amelie F. Constant and Klaus F. Zimmermann
Chapter 24: Refugee and asylum migration
Refugees are a distinct class of migrants – those whose principal motive for migration is to escape from war and oppression. Although these are often overlooked in the economic analysis of migration, the numbers are substantial. In 1992 there were nearly 18 million refugees in the world, amounting to 11 percent of the total migrant stock. By 2009 that number had decreased to 9 million or about 4 percent of the migrant stock. But because of the circumstances that they face, refugees have an importance beyond the mere numbers. In Western countries, asylum seekers have been a major focus of attention and there has been a vigorous debate over asylum policies. The literature reviewed in this chapter concentrates largely on those who have sought sanctuary in the developed world and it focuses on issues that have much in common with the migration literature. But it also gives prominence to the evolution of policy – both its underlying causes and its effects.
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