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Ethiopia’s First Ever National Migration Policy Poised to Help Returning Nationals

There are a number of factors responsible for outward migration from Ethiopia. Although the economy is one of the fastest growing in the world, this growth has not been accompanied by considerable poverty reduction and job creation, particularly for young people. With migrant workers in Saudi Arabia earning five times what they could earn for similar work back home, the incentive to migrate is strong. In recent years, the large number of undocumented workers has become a source of diplomatic friction between Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia. It is estimated that about 750,000 Ethiopians currently reside and work in the kingdom. At the height of the Arab Spring which spread across North Africa and the Middle East in the early 2010s, Saudi Arabia began imposing strict immigration policies targeted at foreign workers. As a result, around 170,000 Ethiopians were deported in late 2013 and early 2014.