Comparison of Human Trafficking and Smuggling Migrants

Is there a distinction between human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants?

The smuggling of persons and human trafficking are now outlined as two distinct, criminal offences. Article 3(a) of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines trafficking in persons as ‘the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation’ (UN 2000a). The Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants, Article 3(a) defines the smuggling of persons as ‘procurement, in order to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit, of the illegal entry of a person into a State Party of which the person is not a national or a permanent resident’ (UN 2000b).

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From the above it is clear to see that the two are being viewed as separate problems. This work will aim to further analyse the two definitions, highlighting their differences and similarities which can blur the lines between the crimes. The distinction captures the vital features of the two phenomena, however it still been has under criticism. As Iselin and Adams state, ‘it is critical to differentiate between the concepts, in order to better distinguish between who is a victim of trafficking, and who is an asylum-seeker, and who is an illegal migrant’ (Iselin and Adams 2003), this essay will aim to examine how those distinctions are made.

Firstly, it is crucial to clarify who the victims of the two phenomena are. Regarding the trafficking of human beings, the undoubtable victim is the person who is subjected to exploitation far greater than what those whom have been simply smuggled. For instance, someone who might have been illegally smuggled into a country, could be receiving a lower wage than a resident worker, however, a victim of human trafficking in most cases will receive no financial reward for their labour at all. In other words, human trafficking is a crime against a person, making them the victim, whereas in the act of smuggling, the person crossing the border is a client of the smuggler who normally only facilitates the cross over, and in most cases, it is just the State who is the victim, as its immigration laws are being broken. However, in reality it happens that the two crimes cross over due to factors, such as consent. There are instances where trafficking starts with consent, however it is never valid consent, as the trafficked person might in fact consent to the physical movement believing it is an essential part of arriving to the place of employment that they have been assured. Yet, ‘it is after this movement that consent is nullified’ (Iselin and Adams 2003) because they get exploited, meaning that the arrival is the part when one can truly find out which crime has been committed.

Furthermore, both crimes share a one purpose, which is movement, however according to their definitions there are many factors which differentiate them. For the traffickers, it is their intent to exploit at the destination and to gain profit from doing so, whereas a smuggler normally has no intent to control the migrant, nor to exploit them. The destination also plays an important role when speaking of distinguishing, as human trafficking has no borders, it can be international or domestic, for example ‘rural to urban, north to south’ (Iselin and Adams 2003).  On the other hand, people smuggling can only take place internationally, as its function is the ‘illegal entry of an intending migrant into a State in which that person has no lawful right to abode’ (ibid.) The destination for a trafficked victim is essentially where the exploitation shall take place, whereas a for a smuggled person, it is simply their choice of residence. The process of recruitment and procurement also differs greatly. In terms of human trafficking, the victim gets approached by someone who is looking for specific profile that fits the demand, for example an attractive female for prostitution purposes. The trafficker will then intend to deceive and coerce them in order to exploit. The people smuggler plays a very different role, as they are often established operators, and work a lot more like a business and have no need to lure people in, as many times customers come to them. 

However, the definitions provided by the UN separate human trafficking and smuggling on paper, but it seems that in practice the two crimes can cross over and it can prove difficult to effectively provide help to victims as well as persecute the right person for the correct crime. ‘Rarely are there “pure” cases of one or the other’ (Jacqueline Bhabha 2005).A study on Nigerian female migrants to Europe conducted by May-Len Skilberi and Marianne Tveit highlights that the boundaries between the two can be very thin. It can be argued that ‘smugglers can also be understood as living off other people’s vulnerabilities’ as well as can also have the ‘purpose to exploit’ (Skilberi and Tveit 2008), which can be seen clearly in this study. A typical smuggled migrant would make their own decision to migrate, however, in this case for some of the women it was ‘a family decision’ as it was seen as ‘an investment for the whole family’ even though some families were aware of ‘the possibility that they would end up selling sex in Europe’ (Skilberi and Tveit 2008). The journey to Europe for these women is so diverse, complex and expensive, and it requires a variety of agents and organisers, who often appear to act like more than just facilitators of their move to Europe. The study finds that contrary to the definition of smuggling, the women’s relationship with the smugglers in this case can follow them for years, blurring the boundaries, as they are often exploited by them due to the high debts they’ve acquired for the move itself. Although it might not be the smugglers who recruit the women in the same sense as a human trafficker, it appears that ‘women might be more attractive for human smugglers to assist’ as ‘they have a better chance of repaying debt due to prostitution in Europe’ (ibid.) which questions the ‘recruitment method’ in the Smuggling Protocol. This therefore highlights the complexity of the recruitment stage, however the fluidity of the crimes’ boundaries can also be challenged at the point of arrival, as it is questionable if and how the women are exploited in Europe. Although the study states that the women are usually aware that they will be entering prostitution, it is unclear if ‘they are free to leave when they want to’, (ibid.) The issue of consent and freedom is rather multifaceted in this case, as selling sex against your own will which smugglers profit from would appear to be linked closer with human trafficking, but on the other hand there exist ‘few opportunities to stay out of prostitution’ and women whom have spoken to the researchers do ‘not identify’ as ‘victims’ and ‘refuse to talk about whether or not the agent or agents’ (ibid.) are exploiting them.

An alternative approach proposed by Salt and Stein (1997), sees the crimes of ‘smuggling’ and ‘trafficking’ as interchangeable. It claims that consent in the actual stage of migration itself is not much relevant, as they state that ‘there is increasing evidence that migrants are turning to the service of traffickers’ (Salt and Stein 1997). This suggests that whether a migrant is coerced or acts within their will is not important enough to be differentiated, as it is often difficult to establish whether deception or coercion were used, as even persons who wished to be smuggled abroad can have their human rights abused.  Added to this, in a later publishing Salt (2000) highlights that the established routes and methods, such as forged documents, can facilitate human traffickers in the illegal move of persons, therefore it could be stated that smuggling can help trafficking flourish. There are also perspectives such as that of Hughes (2000) which limits human trafficking to ‘any practice that involves moving people within and across local and national borders for the purpose of sexual exploitation’, however, adds that ‘family pressure, past and present and community violence, economic deprivation, or other conditions of inequality for women and children’ (Hughes 2000). This would make the Nigerian women in Skilberi and Tveit’s (2008) study victims of human trafficking, as those were their reasons for migrating illegally. Using the two terms interchangeably is however flawed, as much as the acts of coercion, consent and deception are up for interpretation and can occur in both instances, it has to be stated that there are differences especially in terms of payment, as a trafficked person is always a victim which sometimes does not receive payment for their work, and is used as a means to make profit for the trafficker through ‘debt bondage’ (Aronowitz 2001), whereas, a smuggled person usually pays a fee upfront before departure only.

Apart from the differences and similarities in the processes and aims of the two crimes, it is important to mention that they are also open to interpretation clouding their distinctiveness. In a situation where a woman ‘is willingly smuggled to another country to knowingly work in prostitution’ but then is forced to ‘buy back her passport for an exorbitant fee’ (Aronowitz 2001), it would appear that she too is a victim of trafficking due to the exploitation, regardless of whether she gave initial consent, she is being restricted and enslaved in her position. This shows how there are different levels of coercion and deception, as it exists on a complete level when ‘victims have been abducted’ as well as in instances where ‘individuals have been promised jobs in the legitimate economy only to find themselves forced into sexual slavery’ (ibid.). It reflects the variation that exists in terms of interpreting the definitions, as some victims are less and some more aware of what their future holds, but regardless all a victim of exploitation.

Concluding, there is a general distinction between human trafficking and smuggling. Human trafficking in its essence commits a crime against the a human being though controlling their existence, often from gross deception, whereas in smuggling there typically is a choice, even if it is not a good one, and the crime is essentially against the state’s migration law. In the case of human trafficking, victims might start off thinking they are making a choice, but their freedoms are taken away, whereas a person who would like to migrate can have the opportunity to collect information and even choose their smuggling organisation. Acknowledging that there are distinctions however, does not mean that a transition from smuggling to trafficking cannot take place, or that smuggling can help facilitate trafficking as ‘a person can be in a smuggling situation one day and trafficked the next’ (Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women 2011). As mentioned before, there are rarely cases of pure smuggling, and the intention of potential traffickers can prove to be hard to detect at times. It seems that the only concrete difference is that trafficking can occur in any place, including domestically, but smuggling only appears internationally. However, the discussion and acknowledgment that the two crimes can blur can prove to be essential when persecuting and offering adequate help to victims, as treating trafficked persons as illegal migrants proves so. 


Aronowitz, A. (2001) ‘Smuggling And Trafficking In Human Beings: The Phenomenon, The Markets That Drive It And The Organisations That Promote It’. European Journal On Criminal Policy And Research 9, 163-195

Bhabha, J. (2005) Trafficking, Smuggling, And Human Rights [online] Migration Information Source – Trafficking, Smuggling, and Human Rights. available from [8 December 2018]

Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (2011) Smuggling And Trafficking: Rights And Intersections. GAATW Working Papers Series 2011. Bangkok: Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women

Hughes, D. (2000) ‘The Transnational Shadow Market Of Trafficking In Women’. Journal Of International Affairs 53 (2), 625-652

Iselin, B. and Adams, M. (2003) Distinguishing between Human Trafficking and People Smuggling. Bangkok: UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Regional Centre for East Asia and the Pacific

Salt, J. (2000) ‘Trafficking And Human Smuggling: A European Perspective’. International Migration 38 (3), 31-56

Salt, J. and Stein, J. (1997) ‘Migration As A Business: The Case Of Trafficking’. International Migration 35 (4), 467-494

Skilbrei, M. and Tveit, M. (2008) ‘Defining Trafficking Through Empirical Work: Blurred Boundaries And Their Consequences’. Gender, Technology And Development 12 (1), 9-30

United Nations (2000a) ‘The United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Woman and Children, Supplementing United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime’ [online] Available from:> [1/12/2018]

United Nations (2000b) ‘Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime’ [online] Available from: [1/12/2018]


Women as Migrants in The Season of Migration to the North

Inna nisah shayatin khuliqna lana

Na’ udhubillah min sharri shayatin

Women are devils created for us

We seek refuge in Allah from the ill luck of the devils (Al- Mawardi Adab al-Din 140).

Tayeb Salih’s chef-d’oeuvre Season of Migration to the North has many themes like colonialism, orientalism, corruption, issues of sex, modernism, education and sufferings of women. However, the subjugation of women during the post-colonial period in Sudan wedged my attention. The social issues of misogyny and female circumcision in the text by Salih calls for attention to study the plight of women in Sudan at that time. It becomes imperative for the postcolonial criticism to question the role of gender in the novel which involves patriarchy, colonialism, and racism weaved together in one text. Salih’s novel focuses on gender and colonial identities and show how men strongly hold a position which results in downfall of the colonizer and the colonized, men and women. Together, colonialism and patriarchy often create a disturbed gender formation and thus, “the category of race often destabilizes gendered colonial identities” (Hassan 309). After an enlightening discussion about the text, the condition of women in Arabic society made me curious to further research on their survival and treatment in the society in that era.

Through this essay, I attempt to portray the contrasting female characters of Bint Majzoub and Bint Mahmoud and their survival under gender prejudice and patriarchy. Furthermore, I will briefly shed light on female circumcision prevalent in Arabic society which is suggestively discussed in the text.

The presence of colonial rule created a male-based society which resulted in an aggravated situation for an African woman. They were neglected, mistreated, exploited which made them feel like an outsider. They were not allowed to participate in any discussion which engaged men, they were not allowed to pursue education, they were only expected to cook, give pleasure to men and rear children. In her article “Women in Achebe’s world”, Rose Ure Mezu argues that patriarchy existed largely during the postcolonial period where the man ruled, and women were looked upon as merely a “part of men’s acquisitions”. According to Mezu, the women at that time were “traditionally subordinated to sexist cultural mores”. The women in African society are usually referred as muted or voiceless. In Of Woman Born, Adrienne Rich rightly describes patriarchy as: “the power of the fathers: a familial, social, ideological, and political system in which, by direct pressure—or through tradition, law and language, customs, etiquette, education, and division of labor—men determine what parts women shall not play, and the female is everywhere subsumed by the male” (Rich 57-58). Parallel to these contexts, in Season of Migration to the North, Wad Rayyes personifies a man who visualize woman as an object and abusing a woman as his personal right. “Islam is his excuse for this behavior (though he objects to the circumcision of women on aesthetic grounds), as he confuses the maxim that “women and children” rather than “wealth and children” are the adornments of this earth” (Davidson 387). He finds pride in telling rape stories to his friends, “I put the girl in front of me on the donkey, squirming and twisting, then I forcibly stripped her of all her clothes till she was naked as the day her mother bore her” (Salih 59).

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Women in Sudan clearly had no identity of their own. Their existence was solely dependent on the society they lived in, and largely on the male community. To create their own identity, women in Sudan engaged in henna dying and cooking. Henna Dying kept their creative abilities alive and projected their beauty and physical appearance at its best. Many African female authors assert that, to maintain their identity, women in Sudan constantly kept themselves busy in cooking and maintaining household chores. It is believed by the Sudanese women that looking good and cooking good food will gain the attention and goodwill of their male partners. One of the noteworthy traditions in constructing the identity of a Sudanese women is circumcision. In their childhood, Sudanese women are circumcised. Circumcision gives a girl womanhood, social status and an opportunity to win the best man in the community. She attains a respectable and dignified status. On the other hand, a woman who is uncircumcised is outcasted and is declared as an unfit match for marriage. In the text, on his return from Europe, we see Bint Majzoub mockingly stating to the narrator, “We were afraid, you’d bring back with you an uncircumcised infidel for a wife” (Salih 3).

While our purpose is to explore and examine the paradoxical nature of two female characters (Bint Majzoub and Bint Mahmoud) in the text, I would begin by exploring two main groups of claims that feminism holds. According to McAfee, feminism includes two group of claims: normative and descriptive. “The normative claims concern how women ought (or ought not) to be viewed and treated and draw on a background conception of justice or broad moral position; the descriptive claims concern how women are, as a matter of fact, viewed and treated, alleging that they are not being treated in accordance with the standards of justice or morality invoked in the normative claims”. To put in simple words: Normative claim treats men and women equally in terms of rights and respect. Whereas, descriptive women are usually deprived of respect to rights and respect, compared with men. In my perspective, Bint Majzoub falls in the category of normative claim, as she strongly portrays a woman who mirrors how she should be viewed or treated in a patriarchal society. Her boldness and extrovert nature have gained her the status to sit with the men and discuss about matters. On the other hand, Bint Mahmoud belongs to the descriptive claim because of her acceptance of the fact that women are men’s property and that they are nothing without the Other. She believes that whatever rights she is enjoying now is because of her husband Mustafa Said. She truly conduces to the clang of dismissive women who has no self-identity and is dependent on the Other.

Hosna Bint Mahmoud was a noblewoman. As discussed above, she was a typical Sudanese woman who liked to be at service of her husband and took pride in her beauty. She was a loyal and a dedicated wife who loved her husband because he was the father of her children. According to her “he was a generous husband and a generous father” (Salih 71). Sudanese women gained a social and dignified status in the society through marriage. However, death of her husband marked a huge vacuum in Bint Mahmoud’s life which eventually made her realize that she still desires marriage and a partner. This desire runs contrary to that of Bint Majzoub. The most important contrast in their characteristics lie here where Bint Mahmoud desire for another marriage unlike Bint Majzoub who belongs to a group of Sudanese women who are referred to as those “who desire wedlock no more” (Qur’an 4 verse 33). Women like Bint Majzoub desire freedom and “they are waiting brides not of life but death” (Ayinde 104).

In my perspective, the masculine traits shown by Bint Majzoub in her identity are probably to invalidate the identity of women as submissive and weak. She drinks alcohol, smokes cigarette and engages in erotic talks with men, but at the same time she shares the same platform with men in taking important decisions for the village. This combination makes her powerful and respectable in the male dominant society prevalent at that time. Being a widow of rich notables of Sudan, Bint Majzoub had the power to rise above the cultural chains of Sudan and enjoy the financial independence and luxuries unlike other women in the village. Likewise, Bint Majzoub could easily survive the economic crisis of the village independently without a man. It is praiseworthy to see that she chose to be a self-made woman who raised her voice and believed in it thus winning confidence of men in the village and sharing equal rights with them. In Quran such women who is a protector of herself and the others is called “Qawwamah” (Qur’an 4 verse 29). Eventually, Bint Majzoub becomes the representative of powerful women in the men’s world. While we see Bint Majzoub clearly making space for herself by raising her voice in the men’s world, perhaps it is the inability of Bint Mahmoud to create that space for her as she strongly believes in cultural hierarchies of Sudan within which the Sudanese women is expected to be voiceless, weak and yet survive.

Bint Mahmoud has a different perspective in terms of living a different life after her husband’s death. She wants to create a distinct identity and safeguard her feminism by staying within the boundaries of the gender hierarchy prevalent in her society. So, though she wants to remarry, she doesn’t want to be controlled by imposed decisions on her by others. “Salih portrayed a traditional society beset by colonial history, where stifling patriarchy subjects women not only to discursive but also to systematic physical violence” (Hassan 320). Upon Mustafa’s death, Bint Mahmoud was forced by her father to remarry Wad Rayyes against her will. To get a woman married forcibly is a “flagrant violation of Islamic law that explicitly forbids forced marriages” (Hassan 320). Bint Mahmoud dismisses her father’s orders by swearing “if they force me to marry, I’ll kill him and kill myself” (Salih 76). On one hand, Mahmoud is struggling by refusing to the orders of her father and on the other she wishes to change her life by finding a man she likes. In middle of the wrath of her father, Bint Mahmoud gathers courage to ask narrator to marry her and save her from Wad Rayyes who is a womanizer. This act of Bint Mahmoud is not appreciated by the villagers and the narrator’s mother. With no option, Bint Mahmoud is forced to marry Wad Rayyes. Rayyes turns violent on refusal by her to touch her which forces Hosna to kill him and kill herself. “The mutilated body of Hosna Bint Mahmoud and the castrated body of Wad Rayyes bear witness to the destructiveness of a phallocentric masculinity” (Hassan 321). This act of violence is an evidence of the society where a women’s existence is completely dependent on her father, brother or husband. Even if she desires to create a life for herself, she is not allowed which in turn forces her to kill herself.

Death of Wad Rayyes introduces us to another woman who did not exist until her husband died. Mabrouka is Wad Rayyes’s first wife. She was an obedient wife who built her own world with her husband and lived muted ignoring the habits of her husband. The persona of woman in society at that time implies that woman must raise her voice only to mourn during the death of her husband. Upon hearing about her husband’s murder, the body language of Mabrouka is poise and calm unlike the tradition and norms of the society. Instead of mourning, Mabrouka coldly tells all the women gathered outside her house, “Good riddance! Wad Rayyes dug his grave with his own hands, and Bint Mahmoud, God’s blessings upon her, paid him out in full” (Salih 101). The poise in the body language of Mabrouka offers an uncanny opinion of the unexpected resilience and calmness that the female is capable of amid the most trying situations. By maintaining silence and sturdiness, Mabrouka demonstrates her self-control and stands out more strongly than Bint Majzoub. “Hosna is dead, but no longer can a woman be looked on merely as property or raped without a second thought” (Davidson 396). Thus, we see Mabrouka, Bint Majzoub and Bint Mahmoud are trying to find meaning to their identities in a society which has deep-rooted cultural, social and patriarchal hierarchies. “Bint Majzoub, Bint Mahmoud and Mabrouka may appear to belong together without being the same” (Ayinde 107). We can call them the identities of the female, the feminist and the feminine.

The feminine nature of Bint Majzoub is not limited to sarcasm on women and her status in the society at that time. In a way, by viewing women from the male perspective Bint Majzoub is gaining respect of the men in the village and she eventually becomes a representative of her sex among the male dominant society. Bint Majzoub plays a major role in reflecting on the identities of the women by passing judgements and commenting on important issues discussed by men of the village. She constantly remarks on how women perceive about themselves and the way women relate to each other in a patriarchal society. In the novel, she has her own way of setting up examples for women and help them understand the importance of self-advocacy. At many instances in the text, we can see that Bint Majzoub is more intellect in taking decisions than her male counterparts. In response to a comment by Wad Rayyes on marriage, Bint Mahmoud said, “Wad Rayyes, you’re a man who talks rubbish. Your whole brain’s in the head of your penis and the head of your penis is as small as your brain” (Salih 67). This statement by Bint Mahmoud clearly indicates closure of a discussion. By saying such a strong statement against a pun, she wants all the men present there know that a woman knows the thin line between the genders. Also, this comment brings out the female inside Bint Majzoub who wants to show men that she is the one who gives birth to the man, she feeds them and later, she accepts his love by allowing him inside her body.

As discussed earlier, the aspects of normative claim are revealed throughout the text in the character of Bint Majzoub. In the patriarchal society that Salih has portrayed in his novel, Bint Majzoub plays a proactive role by becoming a leader rather than being led by the men. She is the first person to reach at Wad Rayyes house when he is murdered. She immediately takes the control of the situation by instructing the narrator and Bakri saying “stop the people from entering the house. Don’t let any woman enter the house” (Salih 99-100). By passing this instruction, Bint Majzoub is no longer considering her as a woman and clearly indicating that the woman in her is distinct from the gathered women outside that house. She leads everyone to follow her instructions because she believes in the power of her voice that she possesses which gives her the identity and thus she is recognized and responded by the villagers.

Even if they have separate characteristics and distinct qualities, Bint Majzoub, Bint Mahmoud and Mabrouka are challenged by culture, gender and nature. Together, they review the sufferings and status of women in a patriarchal setup and by withstanding to these limitations they prove their worth and existence. I think Salih beautifully landscapes the idea of liberation through two contrast characters. By acting like men and losing virginity, Bint Majzoub defines her way of freedom from the patriarchal slavery, whereas Bint Mahmoud kills the physical bodies of two people who are forced to live together under the institution of marriage and defines her way of liberating herself from a forceful life.

Salih’s attempt to portray the social issues of misogyny and female circumcision in this novel call for attention that forces the women at that time to live a slaved life and how they succumb to it in their own way. With their separate ideologies, we learn that a women’s identity is not meant for an end, instead it is meant to end the hierarchy and patriarchy prevalent in the society. Thus, these three Arab women truly represent Sudanese culture by creating their own identity in their own way and giving confidence to other women to live boldly in a male dominant world.

Works Cited

Ayinde, Oladosu Afis. The Female, the Feminist and the Feminine: Re-reading Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North. (Critical Essay).” Studies in the Humanities 35.1 (2008): 99.

Davidson, John E. In Search of a Middle Point: The Origins of Oppression in Tayeb Salih’s ‘Season of Migration to the North. Research in African Literatures, vol. 20, no. 3, 1989, pp. 385–400. JSTOR,

Hassan, Waïl S. Gender (and) Imperialism: Structures of Masculinity in Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North. Men and Masculinities 5.3 (2003): 309-24.

McAfee, Noëlle, “Feminist Philosophy”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)

Rich, Adrienne. Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution. 1st ed. New York: Norton, 1976.

Salih, Al-Tayyib. Season of Migration to the North. New ed. Oxford: Heinemann, 2008. Print. African Writers Ser. Classics.


Differences between Refugees and Migrants

How do refugees differ from migrants? Is the distinction important? Why?
In the current public frenzy and political debate, the terms refugee and migrant are perceived as synonymous and are used interchangeably by political leaders and journalists. People choose to travel across borders due to a variety of reasons and under different circumstances. While political instability due to ongoing civil wars in some countries forces people to leave their homes, others voluntarily choose to migrate to another country in search of better economic conditions. This distinction, although undermined, holds severe legal consequences that can have a dire impact on the people in question.

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According to the 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is someone who flees their home country, and is reluctant to return, due to a “well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion,” (Castles, 222). Refugees are protected under international law, which includes the right to not be instantly deported to their home country and into harm’s way. On the other hand, a migrant is someone who makes a conscious decision to move to another country for economic reasons or for family reunions. Anyone who is not specifically fleeing war or personal prosecution is considered a migrant. The reason behind people’s decision to immigrate is one of the main differences between migrants and refugees; “while migrants may seek to escape harsh conditions of their own, like dire poverty, refugees escape conditions where they could face imprisonment, deprivation of basic rights, physical injury or worse” (Martinez).
Creating a distinction between ‘migrants’ and ‘refugees’ is important since each has different implications for the host country. Under the regulations of the 1951 Refugee Convention, refugees cannot be refused asylum and sent back to their home countries where their lives would be in danger. Since refugees don’t have the option to return to their homelands, they are more likely to invest in the host country-specific trends and culture. This is done mainly through learning the native language, becoming naturalized citizens or by enrolling children into local schools. Since refugees flee from their countries due to political instability, they are unable to keep in contact with family members in their home countries, which makes it more likely for them to create social connections in the host country. “This line of reasoning suggests that refugee immigrants are more likely to assimilate into the earnings growth path of the native-born population,” as well as the culture (Cortes). Economic migrants usually aim to simply earn money to improve their living standards and support their families. Since these migrants did not flee from their homes, they are able to maintain ties with their families in their home countries. The ability to maintain hereditary social connections prevents them from wanting to integrate into the local society.
While the willingness of the refugees to assimilate into the society is very evident, their ability to do so might be questionable. More often than not, refugees stand as a starkly different section of the society and this hindrance in their ability could be subjected to their different social and cultural backgrounds. On the other hand, since the entry of migrants is more filtered, it could be easier for the government to ensure that these individuals are capable of integrating into the society. Many refugees who flee to the United Kingdom (UK) lack fluency in English, which is one of the main barriers to social integration. The UK government introduced English for speakers of other languages (Esol) classes, which provide refugees with eight hours of free English tuition in the initial year to help them overcome their language barriers. However, these classes have not weaved the results that were expected. This is primarily because refugees belonging to the same country are grouped together and as a result, someone who has never learned to read or write English ends up in the same class as someone with a University degree and intermediate knowledge of English. Conversely, migrants are required to have proficiency in English before applying for a UK visa, which essentially eradicates the language barriers for them, thus making it easier for them to be able to integrate into the British society.
Since 2015, the European Refugee Crisis has induced a large-scale movement of refugees to the European Union (EU). Female women are often overlooked while devising policies to ensure proper integration of refugees into the host countries. While female refugees find it difficult to socially integrate into the society of the host country, female migrants find it harder to economically integrate into the host country’s labor force. According to a report published by the United Kingdom’s Survey on New Refugees (SNR), female refugees usually faired worse than male refugees in terms of literacy, health, housing and fluency in English. These drawbacks delay their integration into the British society by up to 21 months and marginalize them further. On the other hand, female migrants face challenges in the UK in terms of wage and job inequality. In 2018, employment figures published by public sector organizations in the UK reveal that “nine in 10 paid men more than women, with an overall gender pay gap of 14%” (Barr).  This pay gap is despite the fact that both male and female migrants are required to go through the same screening test, which deems them qualified to work in the UK in terms of literacy and fluency in English. These issues faced by migrant women prevent their climb up the social ladder. Thus, women belonging to both groups face recognizably different difficulties when they migrate to the UK and require different policies to target their specific needs.
 Migrants that pour into a country often directly contribute to the labor force and easily assimilate into the society. Their skill sets often align with the needs of the economy and this not only lands them good jobs but also makes them independent. The picture might not be as rosy for refugees who are often ‘dependent’ on the government. In the UK, although, many of them are highly educated “(38% have a university education), unemployment is very high (82%) and of those who are unemployed, nearly all rely mainly on government support” (Betts). Those willing to work are limited to only serving at ‘low-end’ jobs due to lack of language skills and knowledge of the British labor market. Moreover, most of them “have been traumatized by war, and arrive in vulnerable conditions; these factors complicate their integration into local markets” (Rozo). Host countries are forced to invest their resources to fulfill the crucial task of relieving the suffering of the refugee community and ensuring their security by providing asylum and bearing the additional expenses of accommodation. In doing so, they divert manpower from the national developmental activities, thus pressurizing the local administration. However, migrants do not need special assistance from the host government to ensure their settlement and security. They contribute positively to “demographic trends, and – depending on their skills and willingness to work – improve the ratio of active workers to non-active persons (e.g. pensioners), whilst also contributing to innovation, entrepreneurship and GDP growth” (Karakas). The time gap between when the refugees are allowed to use welfare benefits and when their work actually begins to contribute to an economy’s productive potential is significant.
On the other hand, one can see an immediate effect on the host economy’s output when migrants begin to work. Moreover, economic migrants tend to work at high-skilled jobs, in fact, migrants fill “one in five skilled British jobs” (Paton). While migrants occupy the higher level jobs in the labor market, refugees are confined to the lower strata of the labor market. Migrants earn more and contribute more in terms of taxes and utilize fewer welfare resources, whereas refugees pay lower taxes and utilize more social benefits. “Altogether, international forced migration may have drastically different implications than the integration of economic migrants through an established migration system in developed countries” (Rozo). Thus, the net economic impact of migrants is usually positive, while that of refugees is negative.
These days, the definitions of the terms ‘refugee’ and ‘migrant’ are seen to converge to mean the same thing. This confusion may arise because the term ‘refugee’ has been defined by international law while there is no legal definition for the term “migrant” and so policymakers, media and the government do not pay attention to the difference in the denotations and connotations of the two varying groups of people in an economy. “Blurring the terms ‘refugees’ and ‘migrants’ takes attention away from the specific legal protections refugees require, such as protection from refoulement and from being penalized for crossing borders without authorization in order to seek safety” (UNHCR). Given the vagueness in definitions, the significance of seeking asylum within the two groups is also called into question. Particularly in today’s times with an increase in various refugee crises, public support for refugees and the institution of asylum is becoming all the more necessary. While governments must ensure that the human rights of migrants, as well as refugees, are respected, the legal and operational response for refugees must be given more importance because of their higher comparative vulnerabilities. Refugees lack protection from their country of origin while migrants have a fallback in terms of national embassies that are willing to protect their rights in cases of possible infringements.
While refugees are processed under the regulations of international law, migrants fall under the umbrella of domestic laws. Governments in the host countries can choose to deport the latter, while because refugees cannot be denied asylum, governments do not have the authority to send them back to their countries of origin. Having ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention, the UK is obliged to follow its protocols that define the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum to refugees. Due to this treaty, the recent decision of the UK to leave the EU will not have a major impact on the refugee movement. However, it will have a significant impact on migrants traveling to the UK. Brexit will allow the UK to modify its existing immigration laws and make them more stringent to make it exceedingly difficult for migrants to live in the UK. In this case, if the policymakers confuse a refugee as a migrant and deport them under the regulations of domestic law, they are in effect giving them a death sentence. Thus, the seemingly insignificant difference in the definitions of the two terms is, in fact, the difference between life and death for millions. “For this reason, United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees always refers to ‘refugees’ and ‘migrants’ separately, to maintain clarity about the causes and character of refugee movements and not to lose sight of the specific obligations owed to refugees under international law.”
Understanding the difference between ‘refugees’ and ‘migrants’ essentially saves millions of lives by allowing people belonging to the two groups to be processed under suitable laws. Refugees and migrants follow different patterns of social integration into host nations. Lack of proficiency in the local language is one the main obstacles to the social integration of refugees. If the government blurs these two terms and formulates policies that don’t specifically address the individual needs of each of these groups, social integration of refugees will be extremely difficult, despite their unrelenting willingness to do so. Moreover, gender-specific policies are required to address the additional problems that are faced by female refugees and migrants. Despite their distinct initial needs, refugee women eventually face similar problems as migrant women do with economic integration. Economically, the situation for migrants is much better as compared to that of refugees. Despite having high skill sets, refugees are unable to work at high paying jobs due to language barriers. As a result, they end up utilizing more benefits and contributing less to the economies of the host nations. Thus, refugees differ from migrants in terms of their impact on the host countries and this distinction is clearly important because it not only affects the lives of the two groups but also affects the host countries.WORKS
Caelainn, et al. “Gender Pay Gap Figures Reveal Eight in 10 UK Firms Pay Men
More.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 4 Apr. 2018,
Alexander, et al. “Talent Displaced: The Economic Lives of … – Deloitte
US.” Deloitte, University of Oxford,
Stephen, and Mark J. Miller. The Age of Migration: International Population
Movements in the Modern World. 4th ed., Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
Kalena E. “Are Refugees Different From Economic Migrants? .” The Review of
Economics and Statistics, May 2004.
Cemal. Economic Challenges and Prospects of the Refugee Influx. European
Parliamentary Research Service, Dec. 2015,
Michael. “Migrant vs. Refugee: What’s the Difference.” CNN, Cable News Network,
8 Sept. 2015,
Graeme. “Immigrants Fill One in Five Skilled British Jobs.” The Telegraph,
Telegraph Media Group, 3 Nov. 2013,
Sandra V., et al. “Blessing or Burden? The Impact of Refugees on Businesses in
Host Countries.” 16 Feb. 2018.
UNHCR. ‘Refugees’
and ‘Migrants’ Frequently Asked Questions. 15 Mar. 2016,

New Migrants’ Satisfaction with Life in Employment, Safety and Relationship in New Zealand

New Migrants’ satisfaction with life in employment, safety and relationship in New Zealand

This report is requested by the NZ Migrants, the independent immigration consultancy firm, with the aims to examine the satisfaction of life in new migrants and to classify the divergence of satisfaction between different region of origin, age group and immigration approval category (IAC) as well as to analyse the unsatisfaction part of life. In this report, life is specifically defined into three aspects –  satisfaction in employment, safety and relationship. In addition, this report is responsible to generate feasible suggestion to fit the requirements that served as a reference to New Zealand’s Minister of Immigration.

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The population of New Zealand has become more diverse in recent decades and it is evolving year by year. Although owned the tight immigration policy, New Zealand ranked second in the HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey (2017). According to Migration Trends Report 2016-2017 (MBIE, 2018), during 2016 to 2017, 131,400 permanent and long-term (PLT) immigrants entered New Zealand, 59,000 PLT immigrants left New Zealand, and net income was 72,300 PLT immigrants. This has a 4.7 percent increase during 2015/16, which is the fifth consecutive year of increased immigration and the highest net increase ever. Based on the huge number of immigrants and, it is necessary to solve the common problems for immigrants, and to make New Zealand more attractive to immigrants. The government can accumulate evidence based on recent immigration and labor market outcomes to better understand satisfaction of immigration to improve services to attract more labour and skilled or business immigrations. Specifically, migrants can benefit the economy by increasing New Zealand’s global relationships, increasing population to achieve economies of scale and exploiting the spillover benefits created by migrants with complementary skills to New Zealand workers.

2.1 Overall satisfaction in different ethnic and region

Overall, the majority of immigrants are satisfied with their lives in New Zealand, although with the slight ethnic differences. As stated by the Settling in New Zealand 2017 Report (MBIE, 2018), 89 per cent of the respondents indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with life in New Zealand, and this number had declined since 2005 to 2009, the period that New Zealand accept three waves of migrants around world (NZ Stat, 2019). In the Asian group, this percentage is varied. Migrants who came from China were less likely satisfied with life (78%), but migrants from Philippines and India felt more satisfied than average to 97 per cent and 93 per cent respectively.

For immigrants from different regions, the tendency to immigrate is different. New Zealand’s pleasant climate and natural beauty (86%), friendly and leisure lifestyle (78%) and free from crime and violence (55%) were the main factors attracting skilled migrants to the country (Department of Labour, 2006). Immigrants from UK and Ireland preferred New Zealand’s climate and natural beauty compared to other groups, while those from Asia were more optimistic about the country’s small population and its education system and job opportunities.

Figure 1 What migrants liked the most about New Zealand (n=1742) (Department of Labour, 2006)

2.2 Satisfaction in employment in different region and IAC

2.2.1 Situation on not employed

In general, people with immigration tendencies have a stable and satisfactory job in New Zealand, but nearly one-fifth of immigrants still had no jobs and this data was constantly changing, showing fluctuations. Based on the 2005 Department of Labour survey (2006), unemployed immigrants occupied 16% of the overall survey respondents. During the three immigration waves from 2005 to 2009, approximately 25% of immigrants had not been employed and not been seeking for the job (NZ Stat, 2019). In 2017, 19% of immigrants still had no jobs or are looking for a job (MBIE, 2018).

IAC and previous country are still concerned by the local company. It seems that if migrants owned permanent visa with Skilled Principal stream are much easier to get wages and salaries (95%) comparing the visa holder with Skilled Secondary stream (63%), the Family Partner stream (70%) and the Family Parent stream (13%) during three waves periods (NZ Stat, 2019). And 2017 report illustrated that these migrants were more likely to face difficulties on finding jobs for who came from China (57%) and India (39%) than those from the UK and Ireland (16%).

There are many reasons for hard job-seeking, for instance, employers do not want to hire immigrants who lack work experience, nor they are not wished to employ people with difficulty in communication. The company works by hiring skilled migrants who have the ability and good communication to improve the company’s profits and enhance the company’s strength. For immigrants who do not have sufficient practical ability and learning ability, the company will not recruit just to meet the needs of immigrants or the government. Through the report (MBIE, 2018), for those who did struggle to find work, the most cited reason by far was a lack of work experience in New Zealand (44%). In addition, for non-technical jobs, it requires higher communication skills, for instance, the jobs serving in service industry mainly requires the fluent English language skills. And just family immigrants lack these communication skills, leading to a low rate of employment with Family Partner stream and Family Parent stream.

2.2.2 satisfaction on employed

In 2017, for all immigrants, 85% of employed immigrants indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their work (MBIE, 2018). This data did not change much in the IAC classification and original national classification of immigrants in the past three-wave periods.

Figure 2 Employed recent migrants’ very satisfied or satisfied with their main job, 2012-2017 (MBIE, 2018)

However, some immigrants are still dissatisfied with the status quo. Migrants from China with the evaluation satisfied or very satisfied has the lower percentage than immigrants from the UK and Ireland (MBIE, 2018).  One of the unsatisfaction comes from the lower salary. Among the Asian community, although 34% are considered to be professionals and full of technology, only 19% of those earning more than 50,000 dollars a year, compared with 65% of Skilled Principal and Skilled Secondary immigrants from the UK and Ireland. 52% of skilled immigrants in North America, South America, and South Africa are much lower. On the other hand, higher living expenses with lower wage levels make them even more dissatisfied. Among the factors that are unfavourable to the employment of immigrants, the distance from the country of removal, the tax system, and medical expenses are considered to affect the life and employment of respondents. The respondents accounted for 46%, 44%, and 43% of the total (MBIE, 2018).

2.3 Satisfaction in safety in different

Safety from crime and violence is a reason attracting migrants around world and this reason was gradually become a negative factor affecting the specific life of Asian immigrants. From 2005 to 2009, 10% of migrants coming from Asian countries definitely felt unsafe, with 24% felt neither safe nor unsafe when living in New Zealand (NZ Stat, 2019). In 2017, this data has a more specific presentation 49% migrants from China felt either safe or very safe compared with those from the other top source countries. The next lowest were recent Indian migrants (84%) followed by those from the UK and Ireland and the Philippines (both 93%) (MBIE, 2018).

Figure 3  Proportion of recent migrants who felt either safe or very safe from crime since coming to New Zealand, 2012, 2014-2017 (MBIE, 2018)

One of the reasons that causing unsafe feeling among the Asian groups seems that xxx. In New Zealand, gangs are legal with a great number of members, living in every cities of New Zealand whereas in Asian countries, for instance, China, gangs are officially prohibited. No matter whatever they done, if migrants were living nearby their event location, this may be a very bad experience. Another According to Settling in New Zealand (MBIE, 2018), recent migrants who have been living in New Zealand longer are less likely to feel safe from crime. 90% of immigrants who have migrated for one year felt safe, and this number declined with the longer period of residence to 81% for two to five years, and 78% for five years longer.

2.4 Satisfaction in relationship in different region, IAC and age group

Fair is a huge and crucial issue on new migrants. This kind of discrimination happens mainly on immigrants from Asian countries and young migrants. As stated by MBIE report, more than half of the new migrants (54%) had been treated unfairly with one or more times while settled in New Zealand. Among the origin region of immigrants, China and Philippines are easier to be treated unfairly than UK and Ireland with the differs 17% and 15% respectively. Younger migrants are more likely to feel they have been treated unfairly at least once since arriving in New Zealand. For instance, 25 to 29 years old population, this figure was 58%, compared with 44% among those aged 40 to 49 and 36% among the more than 50 age group (MBIE, 2018).  This divergence still happened on different Immigrants who were holding a Family Parent visa (31%) had lower possibility to be treated unfairly that than immigrants from other visa types such as Skilled Principal or Secondary visa (51%).

This is not surprising that recent immigrants were less likely to feel unfairly treated, since people who spent less time in New Zealand have less chance of being treated unfairly. However, longer period of settling resulted more unfair treatment. 51% of those who have worked here for one to two years and 48% of those who have worked here for a year say they feel they have been treated unfairly at least once since arriving in New Zealand. 66% of recent immigrants have lived here for 5 years or more.

3.1 The majority of new immigrants are satisfied with lives in New Zealand. Different migrants from different countries had different preferences on most satisfied among their life.

3.2 Four-fifths of new immigrants are employed, and one-fifth of them are still looking for work. The main problem happened in the type of visa and country of origin, for migrants who were belonging to Asian countries, or who were holding a family visa. The lack of New Zealand work experience and English communication skills were the main obstacle to finding a job.

3.3 Nearly all new migrants were satisfied with the working life, but migrants from China with Skilled visa were not satisfied because of lower salary. And high living expenses plagued Migrants who were under low salaries.

3.4 Most of new migrants were satisfied with the safety of living, whereas migrants came from North Asia concern the safety from crime in New Zealand…………..

3.5 Half of new migrants were not satisfied with unfair treatment especially happening on Asian  groups, young generations and Family visa holders. Longer period of settling migrants treated more unfairly than short-term migrants.

4.1 Providing more job opportunity on a single task, for example, working as a house cleaner and cook; providing more multi-language tags in public area

4.2 Popularize knowledge about police (Alarm call number etc.) and increase monitoring probe to prevent crime

4.3 Enactment bill, or Organizing public welfare, to eliminate migration discrimination


Should Migrants & Refugees be Entitled to Healthcare?


Migrants and refugees are some of the few who go through one of the largest epidemics of lack of healthcare access and coverage. Healthcare allows for coverage of medical services and in most cases coverage for prescription drugs. However, with refugees and migrants living in a different country besides their native country, they are most likely not provided healthcare. This lack of access causes increased susceptibility to disease and infections that migrants and refugees have never been exposed to, that disable treatment of severe illnesses.

 Migrants and refugees worldwide should be entitled to have access to one of the most basic human necessities — healthcare. Universal health care or the creation of an individualized health system for migrants and refugees may be a solution to help divert this lack of healthcare access.


In today’s world, approximately one percent of the world’s population  (7.7 billion) is made up of refugees and migrants. According to Figure 1, there is an approximate total of 68.5 million people who were displaced worldwide, 40 million being forcibly displaced, 25.4 million being refugees, “half of which are children under the age of 18” (Gale Group), and 3.1 million being seekers of asylum. According to Paul Caulford’s and Yasmin Vali’s article, “Providing Health Care to Medically Uninsured Immigrants and Refugees,” many refugees are “not granted public health insurance in countries that receive them and cannot afford to pay for health care expenses out of pocket”. Many refugees are “…unemployed, live in deprived neighborhoods, and have an increased risk of ethnic and social vulnerability that influences their health negatively” (Sundquist). They are also at a greater risk for an array of health issues due to unsafe travel through unsanitary and poorly resourced settings, which causes exposure to “physical and psychological dangers” (Matsumoto et al.), as well as infectious disease. Besides the increased risk for disease and infections, there is a “rising concern that migrants’ health needs are not always adequately met” (World Health Organization), which should be a concern. Migrants and refugees face many challenges in accessing healthcare due to their “legal status, language barriers, and discrimination” (World Health Organization). The World Health Organization, however, appeals to all countries to “… implement policies that provide health care services to all migrants and refugees, irrespective of their legal status”.

Although most hosting countries extend a principle of some kind of medical screening upon arrival, “… many refugees do not benefit from these services and the quality of the screening programs is questionable…” (Langlois), there are also many legal restrictions that impede on refugees’ access to health care. Access to healthcare is also impeded due to migrants and refugees being “… unfortunately excluded from most national health systems designed to address the needs of citizens” (Abubakar and Alimmudin). This demonstrates that the “poor access to health-care services interacts with discrimination and limited social rights thereby reinforcing exclusions as a root cause of ill health among refugees” (Langlois), as well as restrictions with “great variation in entitlements” (Langlois).  There are also many practical barriers that hinder access for health services such as “inadequate information and awareness about the availability of services, insufficient financial means, restricted access to transport, culturally insensitive care, and inadequate provisions of interpreters” (Langlois).

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 Universal health coverage (UHC) was first recognized in 2010 by the United Nations and is a commitment of all-inclusive coverage, requiring that “all people have access to health services — including prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care — without risk of financial hardship” (Abbas et al.), however does not apply to migrants and refugees. The impact of UHC on migrants’ health could be more positive, if UHC was “embedded into a broader perspective of universal social rights coverage” (Abbas).

 In the World Health Organization’s article, “Overcoming Migrants’ Barriers to Health”, Dr. Daniel López-Acuña statedthat it is “essential to train policy-makers and health stakeholders on migrant health issues, and to improve service delivery to reinforce migrant-friendly public-health services and establish minimum health-care standards for all vulnerable migrant group”. Ideal health systems would provide for

 “… quality and affordable health coverage as well as social protection for all refugees and migrants regardless their of legal status; making health systems culturally and linguistically sensitive to address the communication barrier; ensuring health care

workers are well-equipped and experienced to diagnose and manage common infections

and diseases…” (World Health Organization),

 and improved collection of data on refugee and migrant help.

Possible Solutions

There are many plausible solutions that would allow migrants and refugees to have access to healthcare. One solution involves for a healthcare system to be developed, to temporarily allow migrants and refugees access to healthcare for an allotted period of time. During the start of the change, as migrants and refugees are entering the country, they will be evaluated by doctors who would then prescribe the necessary treatments and treatment time needed for each patient. This will then help delegate the time span of health care they will have before they are charged at an affordable rate. The migrants and refugees will be evaluated each year by doctors, as well as have their financial statements reviewed to help determine if aid is still needed. According to the aritcle “Refugees: towards Better Access to Health-Care Services,” by Etienne V. Langlois, “greater efforts are needed to strengthen the resilience of  [the] health system to foster equality and efficiency in refugee health.” There will be an ubiquitous legislation stating the country that is hosting the migrants will pay for and provide them with healthcare until they are financially stable enough to pay for the affordable care.  In order to prevent abuse of access to healthcare, each migrant and refugee will be provided a designated health care card that tracks each visit as well as provide detailed documentation about the visit. The card will provide a limit (determined by a doctor) of up to five visits or less a month depending on the severity of the case. Another possible solution would be a tax bill that requires the financially stable countries to pay a tax based on their population which will then be used towards healthcare to help make it more affordable or create a universal healthcare system that benefits all.

The possible benefits of these solutions are that all migrants and refugees who may have never had access to healthcare before will have access as well as aid for their medical needs.

Other benefits are that the rate of disease or infections within the population will decrease due to inadequate living conditions including poor sanitation and contamination. Along with the decrease of disease or infections within the displaced population, there will be a decrease in disease or infection within the native population of the host country. Migrants and refugees may have left countries where endemic diseases such as tuberculosis can be found, exposing natives. This, however, can be treated provided access to healthcare.  Health is of  “utmost importance not only for their personal well-being and safety but for the health of host communities” (Caulford and Vali). Another advantage is that migrants and refugees will be able to improve their quality of life by being healthier. The drawbacks of these solutions, however, are how expensive it would be to do as well as persuading countries nationwide on why it is a good idea as well as why they should participate in it. The access to crucial health services for refugees and migrants ought to be “recognized as a fundamental human right” (Langlois), as well entitle refugees “to the full range of NHS services free of charge” (Jones and Paramjit).


 However, many may say that these solutions are too costly and that migrants and refugees are not beneficial to their host countries in any way. In the article “The Fiscal Cost of Resettling Refugees in the United States”, Matthew O’Brien and Spencer Raley describe the overall welfare costs of refugees in the U.S, to be “…$867,004,000…” with healthcare assistance such as Medicaid costing “…$320,551,000…” out of the overall welfare total.  In the article by IOM, “Evidence Shows Primary Healthcare for Migrants is Cost-saving”, the director of the IOM Migration Health Division Director notes that “high costs are often cited by governments as the main reason to not include migrants in health systems,” implying that healthcare cost is not included in the total cost for welfare. Many may also say that migrants and refugees are not beneficial due to increased competition for jobs, which causes negative pressures on wages, therefore should not be rewarded with healthcare. However, the plausible solutions above prove for solutions that would allow all migrants and refugees to have healthcare access. Based on an article written by Paul Bedard, “Refugee costs: $8.8 billion, $80,000 per immigrant, free welfare, Medicaid”, the average cost of a refugee is $80,000 a year or $5,480,000,000,000 for all refugees and migrants. If the average cost of migrants and refugees were increased to $85,000 a year per refugee or $5,822,500,000,000 for all, all migrants and refugees will be provided adequate and affordable healthcare access who payback by contributing to society.

Migrants and refugees all contribute to the economic society, by the means of working which in turn is paying taxes. The article “Evidence Shows Primary Healthcare for Migrants is Cost-saving”, by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), discusses that

“…migrants contribute more in taxes than they receive in benefits, send remittances to home communities and fill labor market gaps in host societies. Equitable access for migrants to low-cost primary health care can reduce health expenditures, improve social cohesion and enable migrants to contribute substantially towards the development” (IOM).

Migrants and refugees are also beneficial to host countries in terms “… of keeping private costs for business firms low and ensuring the welfare of migrant workers justifies economically a fair health care policy for migrants…” (IOM),  providing a benefit of slightly lower taxes for private costs. IOM also discusses how restriction of access to healthcare is not cost-saving. A European vignette study discussed in the article by IOM provides evidence that migrants and refugees are actually cost-saving demonstrating the “…potential cost savings of timely treatment in primary care of 49 percent to 100 percent of the costs that occur for treatment of more severe medical conditions in hospital” (IOM). In the article “The Real Economic Cost of Accepting Refugees,” Michael Clemens, discusses that with “… the small number of native workers [that] are displaced by new migrants entering the workforce, those native workers end up in higher-paying, higher-skill jobs,” implying a benefit of accepting migrants and refugees. Clemens also discusses that many refugees “… open their own businesses and become employers, expanding their positive impact on the economy by creating jobs.” Migrants and refugees should be entitled to healthcare in return for helping boost economic growth which in turn increases wealth for all countries specifically host countries.


Healthcare is one of the most basic human necessity that sadly millions are excluded from. It is a human right to have access to healthcare, however with the way the healthcare system functions it makes it harder for migrants and refugees and many others to gain access to healthcare without the excessive out-of-pocket expenses for health services. There are many probable solutions that can help allow refugees and migrants to gain access to healthcare as well as help make it more affordable. The solution of a new healthcare system formation and/or the tax bill is very plausible and may prove to be slightly costly, but in the long run, will be a very successful and effective solution to help solve the issue of healthcare access for migrants and refugees.

Works Cited

Abbas, Mohamed, et al. “Migrant and Refugee Populations: a Public Health and Policy Perspective on a Continuing Global Crisis.” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, NCBI, 20 Sept. 2018,

Abubakar, Ibrahim, and Alimuddin  Zumla. “Universal Health Coverage for Refugees and Migrants in the Twenty-First Century.” BMC Medicine, BioMed Central, 26 Nov. 2018,

Caulford, Paul, and Yasmin Vali. “Providing Health Care to Medically Uninsured Immigrants and Refugees.” CMAJ, CMAJ, 25 Apr. 2006,

Clemens, Michael. “The Real Economic Cost of Accepting Refugees.” Center For Global Development, Center For Global Development, 14 Sept. 2017,

“Evidence Shows Primary Healthcare for Migrants Is Cost-Saving.” International Organization for Migration, International Organization for Migration, 26 Oct. 2018,

Jones, David, and Paramjit S. Gill. “Refugees and Primary Care: Tackling the Inequalities.” BMJ: British Medical Journal, vol. 317, no. 7170, 1998, pp. 1444–1446. JSTOR,

Langlois, Etienne V, et al. “Refugees: towards Better Access to Health-Care Services.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, NCBI, 23 Jan. 2016,

Matsumoto, Monica, et al. “WHO EMRO | Health Needs of Refugees: Port of Arrival versus Permanent Camp Settings.” World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, 22 Nov. 2016.

“Migrant and Refugee Health Issues.” Global Issues in Context Online Collection, Gale, 2018. Global Issues in Context, Accessed 10 Apr. 2019.

“Overcoming Migrants’ Barriers to Health.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 4 Mar. 2011,

Sundquist, Jan. “Migration, Equality, and Access to Health Care Services.” Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, BMJ Publishing Group Ltd, 1 Oct. 2001,

United Nations. “Figures at a Glance.” UNHCR, UNHCR, 19 June 2018,


An Essay on the Art of Contemporary African Migrants

This essay will begin exploring ideas of dislocation in contemporary African artists’ work. African artists who address significant issues of dislocation and artists who visually embed these stories within their artwork. Looking into contemporary African art, there is a clear pattern that demonstrates the experience of the migrant as one of dislocation.
Art is portrayed as an aspect of culture; using theorist and researcher to support this study, it is necessary to look at cultural influences to analyse the exploration of dislocation in the experience of African artist.
In relation to this theme, this essay will analyse the ways in which artist express their experience of disconnection living in Britain. For example, as a consequence of ancestor tortured under unlawful enslavement in 1853. The approach in which black people and their experiences, were situated and exposed in the dominant regimes has led to contemporary art filled with cultural power and black influencers.
Lastly, this study is to form an understanding of the ways and reasons why artist work explores a genuine representation of African identity and culture. Using particular artists to advocate their experience of dislocation will be discussed as we go on.
Ideas of dislocation
Dislocation is the process of dislocating or being dislocated. When an individual feels a loss of a stable sense of self, divided from situations. An experience of double displacements separating individuals both from their place in the social and cultural world, and from themselves – “crisis of identity” for the individual (Hall, 1996).
When dislocation happens amongst artist, we find an expression of displacement displayed narrating people lives, living on someone else’s terms rather than their own (The Guardian, 2014).
In a political arena the artist position as creator of African diaspora culture plays an active part in presenting pieces of identity, representation and embracing culture.
Apparently indifferent to the facts of developing the issues of dislocation in the works of African artist, we find discovery under the dislocated identity, which has major meaning in effect of slavery imposed on black people. As artist, their works become narrowed down to the problems carried on from their identity and culture violated therefore explains a lot of African artist expressing out of a sensitive emotional experience.

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Not Without Standing, this doesn’t mean all African diasporic artist work is based on them knowing what happened in slavery but due to this significant experience, the feeling of dislocation reoccurring in a different way still exists today. African artists, whether they realise it or not, embed feelings of dislocation rooted in the enslavement of previous generations (The Guardian, 2014).
Stuart Hall influence on John Akomfrah
Stuart Hall, (2014) is a Jamaican-born British Marxist sociologist, cultural theorist and political activist and significant leader who continued to explore issues surrounding multiculturalism.
Stuart Hall humility and firmness cultured generations of creative political thinkers like John Akomfrah, artist who learned to create intellectual and activist cultural productions. In theory Stuart Hall and others is concerned about, “the very process of identification, through which we project ourselves into our cultural identities, has become more open-ended, variable, and problematic,” (Hall, Held, Hubert and Thompson 1996).
Halls study inspired artist like John Akomfrah to produce films and projects surrounding his work. Akomfrah created a film called The Stuart Hall Project (2013) about revolution, politics, culture and the new left experience (Korossi, 2019). This film project created by Akomfrah fulfils a recollection of Hall’s achievements (Akomfrah, 2013). The significance of John Akomfrah documentary is important in enabling the understanding of the reason behind this impact of dislocation within today’s society.
The challenge is to rethink the history of colonialism and segregation amongst the diasporic people of Africa with the assistance of a few legends and influencers, “the black experience, is this identity which a black diaspora must discover, excavate, bring to light and express through cinematic representation,” (Hall, 1994) which Akomfrah did. This is the challenge that birth the sense of discovery for contemporary African artists to explore and express their issues of dislocation in their work.
Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen who produced the film, 12 years a slave (2013), a true story, drama film referencing variation of the 1853 slave experience. Under subjection of the white master the film shows an experience of Solomon Northup, a free man kidnapped and sold into slavery, under unlawful subjugation because he was a black man (McQueen, 2013). The exploitation of black people in 1853 shows in the film, Solomon was not in the right place, as he was a free man. In this situation freedom was taken away disturbed from his home in Washington, labouring on a plantation in the state of Louisiana for 12 years before being released (McQueen, 2013).
The importance of this film brings to the viewer’s attention, reasons behind black artist consistency to visually embed stories of disruption in their works to also show history matters and the valued reasons for effect on diasporic identity. The effects of slavery can be reasoned to the situation of dislocation, “Millions of Africans were forcibly removed from their homes, and towns and villages were depopulated,” (International Slavery Museum, 2019).
McQueen’s film is important because it brings to our attention issues of slavery that might otherwise be forgotten. Hall suggests that we must understand the history of post-colonial struggles and embed these stories within our artworks (Hall, 2014). McQueen is clearly doing this by retelling stories of slavery in his film and highlighting the historical situation of dislocation carried on through black people’s lives, which therefore influences artist to express truth. To drive to a better future avoiding the past struggle and possible stigma of enslavement.
In the guardian article, Carole Boyce Davies (2014) point out that the stories of black enslavement disregards ‘black resistance’, the power to fight back, in favour of the narratives. Davies (2014) quotes “there was also always resistance”, which it goes on to say McQueen’s did not show this side of the story (Davies, 2014).
In the film the effect of being in a place of unsettlement demonstrates a several forms of dislocation in the time of slavery, resistance was out of thought or too big of a risk. In this case of life or death, Solomon did not want to take the risk, that others did and died. He held onto the hope that one day he will be a free man again back to his home location in Washington (McQueen, 2013).
African artist work together to celebrate the black and brown cultures and the resistance of conformity and oppression patriarchy, in sympathy and acknowledgment of Solomon Northup experience. Photographer Omar Victor Diop, amongst others, reflective look at the story and heritage of black resistance throughout the diaspora in his works (Zama Mdoda, 2018). African artist representations show the importance to discover the effects and impact of dislocation and power as authentic as possible.
Maxine Walker
The artist, Maxine walker, expresses themes of dislocation throughout her work to rise predominant issues of identity and how black skin is represented. She focused on representations of black womanhood in her photography portraits. Walker demonstrates a layer of facial skin stripped away. The complexity of this narrative is that Maxine Walker is simple showing racial identity and the black image is the heart behind the painting, challenging the established cultural stereotypes idea of her facial skin not to be confused, “intimating that her blackness cannot – and must not – be stripped away” (Autography, 2019). This message delivers a seamless example of a true expression of resisting the themes of dislocation, demonstrating her facial skin is aa sign to be accepted in the way a person decides to be represented, rather that effected by disruption.

We find a number of black artists conception streams from political matters such as disruption and disconnection, continuing to fail those who originate from Africa, even in this current time. Walker works explores issues of dislocation with the strong declaration of her black skin being misunderstood. Therefore, her works send a message to remind viewers of African artist to celebrate or declare their true self and one’s vision of authenticity as a black person, expressing their cultural history. As a result, from African descendant’s experience of slavery, Walker comes away from identity misunderstood, and rightfully portrays this message.
Chris Ofili
Chris Ofili (1998) was an artist who created pieces of art based on situations that has happened to help people feel better essentially. Outwardly presenting No Woman, No Cry (1998) to demonstrate raging of a restlessly unhappy soul of Doreen Lawrence, experiencing pain from her son’s death to illustrate his paintings (Ofili, 1998). The issue of dislocation faced amongst diasporic African’s presented the reality of unprovoked racially motivated violence. Stephen Lawrence was unfortunately a victim of racial abuse. Stephen Lawrence’s death in April 1993 was a hard pill to swallow for the nation as in a time such as 1993, it was shocking that racially targeted attacks were still occurring not just with Stephen but within different communities also. Stephen was fatally stabbed whilst waiting for a bus in Eltham, south east London where he was believed to be racially targeted.
© Chris Ofili, courtesy Victoria Miro, London
Ofili ‘s intension was to portray the cry of Mrs Lawrence set among various abstract patterns and lump of elephant dung containing map pins to reflect on his mother’s emotions and portray a sense of sympathy signifying justice to be displayed in a form of art to create a feel of admission and powerlessness that in turn could allow others to feel power.
The impact of his work encourages visual artist to mark the emergence of particular forms of Black political consciousness most significantly in Britain. Ways in which visual art have referred to slavery in Britain and occurrences from this, question the kind image of Black British identity to present its truth and subsequently offered realistic representations as Stuart Hall states.
Considering Ofili’s artwork, this successfully demonstrates the understanding of racial attacks in 1993, directed against black people. This shows an expression of disturbance in reasons to believe the unsettlement Doreen felt, cause Ofili to create such tragic and emotional piece. The painting represents a theme of dislocation in the view of the artist advocating for an issue that effect black culture and trends a pattern from slavery, of punishment towards black people. Which is important to consider the significance in Ofili’s work as he demonstrates the experience of Doreen and black culture through his works.
To conclude this essay with the understanding that relationship between art and politics through such interrogation, can be said that cultural art is a form of radical expression. Faced with the situation among black people in the diaspora, we can begin to see that there are many collaborations and collective art work which impact famous afro-diasporic work to challenge issues of dislocation which continues to have an influence in contemporary art world.
As we can see Stuart hall suggests genuine representation of African identity and culture to advocate their experience of dislocation as artist utilizes many forms of expression in the art world.
McQueen in his film addresses this significant history experience to not only remind people of the ancestry struggles but to also visually reinvent the truth, the film ends showing Solomon Northup break through 12 years of living as a slave by fighting for freedom and holding onto the hope of survival. In addition, we find Walker display to represent her black skin as one not to be misread, a powerful way of declaring truth in the experience of black image. As Ofili supports the culture in advocating for the people’s cry, where publicly others can see the issue and understand the effect of dislocation, as in fact, Stephan Lawrence was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
To conclude it is brought forth that the outcome of unsettled existents of black people tend to be the cause to expressions of dislocation in artist works of today.

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