Tunisia: Fewer Tunisians Among Irregular Migrants as Overall Numbers Surge

by | Sep 8, 2023 | Diplomacy, Security, Social, Tunisia


This week, irregular migration data indicated that as of 31 August 2023, Tunisian irregular migration arrivals by sea have dropped by 20% as compared to same period in 2022.

The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social rights issued a report citing the decrease, noting that 9,283 Tunisians arrived by sea through the first eight months of 2023, while 11,172 arrived by seas during the same period in 2022. However, the 2023 arrivals by Tunisian remain higher than in 2021.

The number of irregular arrivals of women rose from 614 to 678 and the number of arrivals by minors fell slightly from 2,282 to 2,467.

While the number of Tunisians arriving in Italy has decreased incrementally, the number of overall arrivals has more than doubled. Overall arrivals by irregular migrants to Italian shores rose by 115% from 41, 435 between January and July 2022 to 89,158 from January to July 2023, according to the Italian Interior Ministry.

Meanwhile, criticism has grown amongst European leaders due to the rise in migration following the agreement reached with President Kais Saied to provide security assistance to stem the flow of migrants. European officials have argued that assistance funds have to yet to arrive, thus making the effectiveness of the program impossible to gauge.

In Germany, some leaders continue to argue for the classification of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia as “safe countries” in order to justify and simplify the process of returning migrants who arrive in Europe.


The issue of irregular migration has drawn attention and criticism from European leaders, even as local challenges and conflicts between Tunisians and sub-Saharan African migrants have subsided somewhat.

Migration often tapers in the winter months as the voyage by sea becomes increasingly perilous due to weather conditions, which could explain the surge of migration through the latter months of summer.

Tunisia’s western partners, including Europe and the US, will be closely monitoring progress on the issue of migration as skepticism has grown about the country’s overall respect for human rights and the degradation of what had been a maturing democracy.


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