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Covid vaccine access will draw migrants to the EU, official says

A health worker prepares the first dose of the CoronaVac vaccine against coronavirus (Covid-19) on January 15, 2021 [Halil Sağırkaya/Anadolu Agency]
A health worker prepares the first dose of the CoronaVac vaccine against coronavirus (Covid-19) on January 15, 2021 [Halil Sağırkaya/Anadolu Agency]

The number of refugees heading to Europe will increase this year due to the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, the Director-General of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), Michael Spindelegger, said on Monday.

Handelsblatt newspaper quoted Spindelegger as saying that the availability of vaccines and health care in Europe and the global economic crisis caused by the pandemic is expected to increase immigration levels.

READ: 'Pandemic raised economic burden on migrants, refugees'

"People receive the vaccine for free in the European Union, and this is something that significantly attracts refugees from Africa, Latin America, and Asia, therefore we expect an increase in illegal immigration," he said.

The centre's experts indicated that they noticed new migration routes to Europe, for example through Lebanon to Cyprus or from Mauritania to the Canary Islands.

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AfricaCoronavirusCyprusEUInternational OrganisationsLebanonMauritaniaMiddle EastNews
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