Migration to Europe from Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) has grown rapidly over the last decade. Most of the flows are directed towards southern European countries, although other European countries have also seen significant increases. Widespread poverty and economic hardship caused by the recession in LAC, together with the tightening of visa regimes in the United States following 11 September 2001, have been a major contributing cause of increased flows. The most recent data in major destination countries, such as Spain, show that the largest increases occurred over the past two to three years. The existence of what is now a significant LAC diaspora in Europe may itself be a driving force for further migration, and flows are likely to continue increasing in the future. The demographic profile of LAC migrants in Europe shows a young population with highrates of labour force participation, relatively high levels of education and strong remitting behaviour.
LAC migration is highly feminized, with women constituting over half of all LAC migrants. Irregular LAC migration is significant and human trafficking also causes serious concerns. As Europe seeks to recruit increasing numbers of highly skilled migrants, including from the LAC region, concern over brain drain from those regions is also rising. Within the context of strengthened LAC-EU cooperation, rising migrant flows represent both opportunities and challenges for policymakers. In particular, given the EU Commission’s proposal in November 2000 to abandon zero immigration policies and to enhance cooperation and partnerships with third countries, a strengthened dialogue on migration issues between EU and LAC is warranted. In this connection, the effective integration of migration considerations into the ongoing development cooperation activities will be critical to ensure successful outcomes.