n African Review of Economics and Finance - Temporary migration in Africa : views from the Global South

Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2042-1478
  • E-ISSN: 2410-4906


Politicians in the Global North frequently warn their populations of threats of possible migration flows from Africa. The general argument goes like this: if border security measures were relaxed, migrants from Global Southern countries would flood Northern countries, would stay there permanently, and would cause social and economic problems for the rest of the society. This view has been pervasive since the 1950s and 60s and led the Northern countries to sign bilateral 'guest worker' agreements with various countries in the Global South. To prevent these temporary migrants from becoming permanent residents, the receiving countries have typically instituted top-down measures enforced strictly, if not ruthlessly. Even then, these measures have not always worked and some 'temporary' migrants ultimately became 'permanent residents' (see Castles, 2004 for an analysis of why migration policies fail).

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