Forced Migration Case Study Gcse

In 1948, 492 immigrants sailed from Jamaica to London on the Empire Windrush, looking to start a new life in the United Kingdom. This is an example of voluntary migration.

In 1972 President Idi Amin expelled Uganda's Asian population from the country. Many emigrated to Britain - this was forced migration.

Voluntary migrations

As more countries have joined the European Union many workers from poorer nations have exercised their right to travel to and work in other nations such as Britain.

Case Study: Migration from Eastern Europe to the UK

When countries such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic joined the EU in 2004, their citizens gained the right to move to the UK to live and work. This resulted in large numbers of immigrants coming to the UK in search of work as the UK economy was booming.

Between 2004 and 2006 the UK became the host country for 600,000 Eastern European migrants. Many found jobs, particularly in the construction and retailing trades, earning up to five times as much as they did in their home countries. Many send money home to their families.

As Eastern Europe developed and the UK economy struggled from 2008 onwards, many Eastern Europeans returned to their home countries. This means that their migration was temporary. Many Eastern European immigrants in the UK intend to return to their home country eventually.

Causes of voluntary migration

Voluntary factors can be described as social or economic. Some examples of social factors are:

  • better living conditions
  • access to health care
  • access to good education

Economic factors include:

  • better employment prospects
  • higher wages

Effects of voluntary migration

While migration can benefit countries, for example, by providing new trades, skills and a cheaper workforce, there are potential drawbacks to large scale migration.

  • healthcare and education services can become strained
  • a large influx of migrants can lead to housing shortages
  • cultural differences can lead to racial tensions
  • the welfare system can become strained if migrants claim benefits



Ethiopia is a predominantly rural society. The country experiences a very variable pattern of rainfall. Crop failures and livestock losses can occur when seasonal rains fail, or when excessive rain causes flooding.

Pastoral nomads have increasing difficulty in finding water or suitable grazing for their animals. In extreme cases, as in 1984-1985, this results in famine and massive migration movements occur.


The famine of 1984-1985 resulted in the death or displacement of hundreds of thousands of people within Ethiopia. Around 300,000 people fled to Sudan and approximately 100,000 people fled to Somalia.

Forced migrants do not always cross international boundaries. In the drought conditions of 1999-2000, Christian Aid reported migration within Ethiopia - into towns, to search for work or beg for food and into areas of the country where the rainfall was more reliable.

These movements can cause conflict between fellow Ethiopians competing for scarce resources or work opportunities.

Aerial view of a refugee camp in Syria

Ethiopia is also host to refugees fleeing the current crisis in South Sudan. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that over 500,000 million people have recently fled from their homes.



The Syrian crisis is an on-going armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba'ath government and those opposing them.

In 2016, reports estimated that fatalities caused by the civil war in Syria amounted to 470,000.

An estimated 4.5 million refugees have fled the country, many to neighbouring countries such as Lebanon and Jordan. The infographic below shows the figures in 2016.

In addition, over six million people are estimated to be internally dispalced within Syria trying to escape escalating violence.


A large share of Syrian refugees in Jordan are not in camps and have fled into urban areas, beyond the reach of direct assistance from the UN and other donors.

Roughly 70 per cent of these refugees are estimated to be hosted in local communities, resulting in enormous strain on public resources.

This leads to tensions with the native community as resources are strained.

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