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Subject: NEW IOM/ICMPD Report
From: Jyothi Kanics (
Date: Thu Mar 18 1999 - 09:32:29 EST

Migration in Central and Eastern Europe:
1999 review

18 March 1999
No. 816

This comprehensive report by IOM and the International Centre for Migration
Policy Development (ICMPD) provides a detailed account of recent migration
trends and policy developments in fifteen countries of Central and Eastern
Europe. It also analyses key migration issues affecting Central, Eastern and
Western Europe.

When analysing recent migration trends, the report finds that the number of
permanent migrants and asylum seekers from Central and Eastern Europe to the
West has fallen substantially over the last decade. But emigration flows
from certain countries remain considerable, especially from Bulgaria, Poland
and Romania. While permanent emigration from the region is declining,
short-term and transit migration are on the increase.

The report examines in detail the consequences of the crisis in Kosovo,
which continues to represent a migration challenge for Europe.

About half of the 400 000 persons displaced by the conflict left the
province. Most affected countries were the other Yugoslav successor states
(Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
Slovenia), Albania, Germany and Switzerland, as well as Hungary in Central

The report finds that the conflict in Kosovo is also responsible for a
significant increase in irregular migration and trafficking in human beings.
In Germany for instance:

" The number of Kosovo Albanians apprehended trying to cross the
German-Czech border illegally was more than three times higher in the first
half of 1998 than during the corresponding period of 1997. Germany seized
30% more illegal immigrants in 1998 than in 1997 and more migrant smugglers
in the first nine months of 1998 than in all 1997."

And in Switzerland:
"Almost half of all attempts to enter Switzerland illegally at the
Italo-Swiss border during the first half of 1998 were made either by Kosovo
Albanians or Albanians".
The report emphasises that those turning to traffickers for assistance face
considerable risks as many are exploited en route or face hazardous

When examining the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the report says that
about 40 per cent of the refugees who fled to Western Europe have returned
since the signing of the Dayton Peace agreement in December 1995. However,
the report points out that the vast majority returned to areas where their
ethnic group is predominant.

The report also analyses key migration issues in the region, most notably
the trafficking in women.

" A growing number of women from Central and Eastern Europe find themselves
dependent, knowingly or unwittingly, on trafficking networks for entry and
survival in the West. Despite the lack of statistics, the problem is
perceived to be growing in magnitude and importance"

Because of their illegal status and the nature of the informal-sector work,
women are often forced into extremely vulnerable situations, including into

In Germany alone, it is estimated that 80 per cent of trafficked women come
from Central and Eastern Europe and from the Commonwealth of Independent
States. The report says trafficking appears to be increasingly controlled
by criminal groups which operate in a highly organised fashion in both
countries of origin and destination.

The report calls for more international cooperation to assist victims and
prosecute offenders. Strategies to prevent and combat trafficking need to
link information, legislation, technical cooperation and development aid.

Finally, the report says the enlargement of the European Union eastwards
poses several migration challenges for the Central and Eastern European
Associated Countries and their neighbours. Candidate countries are expected
to maintain adequate immigration and border controls on their Eastern and
Southern frontiers, so that there can be freedom of movement of persons
within the European Union. Associated Countries will also have to align
their immigration and visa policies with those of the EU Member States as a
prerequisite for EU membership.
For further information, please contact

Franck Laczko, Head of Research Technical Cooperation Centre for Europe and
Central Asia, IOM Vienna

Tel: (43) 1/ 585 33 22
Fax: (43) 1/585 33 22 30

Mag. Irene Stacher, Head of Research, ICMPD Vienna

Tel: (43) 1/ 504 46 77
Fax: (43)1 / 504 46 77 75

Jean-Philippe Chauzy, Department for External Relations and Information, IOM

Tel: 41 22 717 93 61
Fax: 41 22 798 61 50

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