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A Gateway Re-opens: the growing popularity of the Atlantic route, as told by those who risk it

Date added

16 February 2021


In 2020, the Atlantic route saw a sharp increase in use by refugees and migrants for a range of reasons. Some relate to the characteristics of the route itself, such as the perception that it is a relatively short and direct way into Europe. Others pertain to the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance unfounded rumours that the high number of coronavirus deaths in Europe has boosted demand for labour. 

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Funded through a Collaborative Information Collection and Analysis (CICA) grant as part of the Migration Emergency Response Fund (MERF), this research by the Mixed Migration Centre aims to improve understanding of the motivations of refugees and migrants for taking this route, as well as of the risks and challenges they face en route, including in their experiences of interception and forced return. It is based on interviews with 46 refugees and migrants and 16 key informants in the Canary Islands, Mali, Mauritania, and Senegal between 11 November and 17 December 2020.

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