100,000 Arab illegals enter Europe annually

Published: Tuesday, 19 February, 2008, 01:34 AM Doha Time

CAIRO: Over 100,000 illegal immigrants, taking risky voyages arranged by organised criminal gangs, arrive in Europe from Arab countries every year, an Egyptian government study said yesterday.
The study stated that the figure includes 55,000 people from countries south and east of the Mediterranean, who risk perilous in small boats to illegally enter Europe.
European countries’ strict migration rules are to blame for the so-called boat immigrants phenomenon, said the study, which was presented at an Arab League-sponsored conference in Cairo.
“Policies based on tight border control to stop the influx of illegal immigrants are too costly and ineffective,â€* the Egyptian government argued in the study.
Integration of migrants by legal means in the recipient countries and bilateral and multilateral agreements for their voluntary return to their home countries are among Egyptian government’s proposals.
Bilateral agreements setting an annual quota of jobs in European countries for legal migrants are also suggested.
Libya has between 1mn and 2mn migrants staying there and seeking to enter Europe illegally, which makes it the main hub for this form of migration.
The north-African country is also the centre of human trafficking groups, which make about $500mn in annual profits from arranging illegal journeys to Europe, the study stated.
“Illegal immigration of Egyptians to Europe has become a very difficult problem and is impossible to stop, which means more youths are likely to drown or go missing,â€* the study warned.
Scores of Egyptians have recently drowned during risky journeys in the Mediterranean while attempting to enter Italy.
Boosting economic development in Egypt is a way of stemming the influx of Egyptians aspiring to emigrate, the study said.–DPA