Lives in Limbo

This report is the third publication of the Legatum Institute’s work on the issue of necessity-driven migration. It highlights four nations at the heart of the challenge posed by necessity-driven migration: Nigeria, Turkey, Venezuela, and Bangladesh.

A report for the Global People Movements programme by Alastair Masser

Published 12 Dec 2019

This report was published by the Legatum Institute Foundation with the support of Oxford Analytica.

In June 2019, the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, announced that the number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict around the world had exceeded 70 million for the first time in history. This figure includes over 26 million refugees, around half of whom are children.

As astonishing as these figures are, people defined as ‘forcibly displaced’ comprise only part of today’s migration dynamic, as people seek to escape intolerable living conditions all over the world. Some are driven by conflict, others by persecution. Some are fleeing environmental degradation or economic hardship. All are seeking what too many of us take for granted: the opportunity to fulfil their own unique potential.

Executive Summary

The Lives in Limbo Global People Movements report focuses on four nations at the heart of the challenge posed by necessity-driven migration: Nigeria, Turkey, Venezuela, and Bangladesh. Each has become an increasingly high-profile nation in the so-called migration crisis, as the challenges it faces become more prominent, often dividing both political and public opinion.

Current definitions do not reflect the complexity of contemporary migrant flows; in reality, much of today’s migration is driven by necessity, rather than by opportunity, as people seek to escape conflict, oppression and poverty. These forms of insecurity overlap to create unique – and evolving – dynamics of displacement in nations and regions around the world. In response, we have conceived a new definition which seeks to reflect this complexity: necessity-driven migration.

This report represents the final publication of the first phase of the Legatum Institute’s work on the issue of necessity-driven migration. The first two reports, published in June 2018 and April 2019, examined the issue of necessity-driven migration at the global and regional level. Our research to date has highlighted the complexity of this challenge, as well as the need for innovative new solutions to address it. Our previous research has illustrated that all necessity driven migration is motivated by one factor – insecurity and has shown how common push factors overlap to create unique dynamics of displacement.

This third report is designed to examine these dynamics in more detail, by focusing on an individual nation within four regions: Nigeria, Turkey, Venezuela, and Bangladesh.

Each country provides a key insight into some of the emerging trends at the heart of today’s migration challenge – and taken together, the four nations also represent the myriad components of today’s migration phenomenon, shining a spotlight on the experiences of both countries of origin and destination, and of migrants fleeing economic, human, or environmental insecurity.

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Lives in Limbo:

This report was published by the Legatum Institute Foundation with the support of Oxford Analytica.

By Alastair Masser

Dec 2019

Download the reportPDF