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2020 Migrant movements between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula

Arabie saoudite
Afrique de l’Est et Corne de l’Afrique
IOM Regional Office for the East and Horn of Africa

The Eastern Route, which runs from the Horn of Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, in particular to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), has long been the most relevant migratory corridor in terms of volume and characteristics in the East and Horn of Africa (EHoA) region. Mobility along this route is mixed in nature, with different categories of people on the move such as refugees and economic migrants and is not without significant hardships and challenges. Irregular migration to the Arabian Peninsula is predominantly male and skewed towards younger age groups, while regular migration channels are largely used by women. While predominantly economic, migration along the Eastern Route is fuelled more specifically by unemployment, intermittent or insufficient wages, land-related factors such as climatic shocks and land depletion resulting in economic vulnerability in agrarian communities. In contrast to the oftentimes dire conditions the migrants report at home, they have high salary expectations in the KSA and the success stories migrants witness amongst returnees in their communities spark migration aspirations.

The following overview highlights the complexity of the movement trends across one of the most trafficked and dangerous maritime corridors in the globe.