NORTH-WEST PASSAGE - THE RESURGENCE OF MARITIME IRREGULAR MIGRATION TO THE
14 December 2022
4 THE GROWTH IN USE OF THE NORTH-WEST AFRICAN ROUTE The sharp increase in arrivals by the north-west African route since 2020 is the second time this has happened since the route’s emergence in the mid-1990s. [...] While migration from these areas to the Canary Islands was climbing before the COVID-19 pandemic began in March/April 2020, responses by regional governments to the disease – mainly the closure of the Mali–Algeria border – in all likelihood heightened the appeal of the Canary Islands route even more. [...] According to official figures published by the Ministry of Interior, the first quarter of 2022 saw a 70.9% increase compared with the same period in 2021.41 Across the first half 8 of 2022, arrivals in the Canary Islands remained 27% higher than during the same period in 2021, with Moroccan nationals behind the majority of the overall increase.42 However, this rise was driven by arrivals in the fi. [...] The two most prominent points of departure according to interviews with migrants and local contacts in Senegal as well as in the Canary Islands are Mbour, located approximately 70 kilometres south of the capital, Dakar, and Saint-Louis, located in northern Senegal on the border with Mauritania.90 Senegalese migrants interviewed in the Canary Islands, as well as journalists and local contacts in Se. [...] Migrants interviewed in the Canary Islands in 2021 emphasized the poor conditions of housing, the lack of employment opportunities on the Canary Islands and the difficulties in moving on to the Spanish mainland as unexpected obstacles in their journey.