Video on European refugee/migration crisis

By JubileeCentre 06 May 2016

Safe Haven? Responding to Europe's refugee/migration crisis

'Safe Haven?' is a film by Jubilee Centre and the Christian Political Foundation for Europe which presents both challenges and responses to the European refugee crisis.  It focuses on what needs to be done now (early- to mid-2016) and the vital role which Christians can play.

The issues covered by the film are:

  • Who are the migrants?
  • What do politicians say?
  • What are the costs and benefits?
  • What should be done?
  • Three priorities for prevention and response
  • How can Christians get involved?

If you want to read or download the script and titles used, click the button:

Download Script

Supporting evidence

We have put together some supporting evidence and statistics to give more detail about some of the statements made in the film.

“In 2015 over a million people arrived in Europe, on a scale that hasn’t been seen since the 1940s.”  

By the end of December 2015, more than one million migrants had arrived in Europe[1]. The majority (1,000,573) made perilous journeys across the Mediterranean Sea, while others (34,125) travelled through Turkey over land. In 2015, nearly 4000 migrants died attempting to enter Europe by sea.[2] In addition, outside of Europe, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, and Iraq, host upwards of 4.5 million Syrian refugees[3].

For more information:

[1] UNHCR, IOM, BBC; [2] IOM; [3] UNHCR data, 19.01.16

“At that time, European States signed the 1951 Refugee Convention guaranteeing protection for refugees, to try and prevent humanitarian tragedies like the one following the Second World War.”

The 1951 Convention Relating to the Protection of Refugees and its 1967 protocol

  • Defines refugees
  • Sets out rights of refugees:
  1. not to be expelled except under certain conditions
  2. not to be punished for illegal entry
  3. work, housing, education, public relief and assistance
  4. freedom of religion
  5. access to the courts
  6. freedom of movement within territory
  7. to be issued travel and identity documents
  • Countries party to the Convention agree to co-operate with UNHCR, to inform UNHCR of any national legislation they adopt to ensure implementation of the convention.
  • Reciprocity of rights does not apply because refugees are not granted rights in own countries.
  • Article 33 forbids forced return to the refugee’s country of origin.
  • Someone may be excluded from these rights if there is reasonable suspicion that they pose a danger to the security of the host country, or that they have committed a serious crime which renders them dangerous to the community.
  • Refugees are obliged to abide by the host country’s laws and respect measures established to maintain public order.[1]

For more information:


“This reflected the value placed on human rights, freedom of conscience and compassion towards the vulnerable and displaced.”

As outlined in the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

For more information:

“People arriving in Europe today are both refugees and other types of migrant.  Their needs differ, as do our responsibilities towards each category.”

The most recent Eurostat data (for 2014) states that the most first residence permits were issued for family reasons (29%), followed by “other reasons” and employment (both at 25%) and the fewest permits were issued for education (21%). Over the past 7 years, family reunification and employment have been the most significant reasons for permits issued. There has been a slight decline in the number of permits issued across Europe during this period. Comparable Eurostat data covering the period of the current migrant crisis was not available at the time of writing.

For more information:

“The great majority are refugees from the Middle East, fleeing war and persecution.”

In 2015 over 1 million people applied for asylum in Europe.[1] The EU granted asylum to 333,350 applicants in 2015. The majority of successful applicants were from Syria (50% of the total number of persons granted protection in the EU). Others came from Eritrea (8%), Iraq (7%), Afghanistan (5%), Iran (2%), Somalia (2%) and Pakistan (2%).

In general, these figures correspond to UNHCR figures outlining the number of migrants who arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean Sea during 2015:

  • 50% were from the Syrian Arab Republic
  • 20% from Afghanistan
  • 7% from Iraq
  • 4% from Eritrea
  • 2% from Pakistan
  • 2% Nigeria
  • 2% from Somalia
  • 1% from Sudan
  • 1% from Gambia
  • 1% from Mali

Similarly high percentages of the migrants arriving over land come from Syria and Afghanistan (although others who come over land are economic migrants—see below).

According to the UNHCR 82% arrivals via the Mediterranean Sea came from the world’s top 10 refugee-producing countries in 2015 and this has risen to 92% by May 2016.

For more information:


“Some are economic migrants, seeking better jobs – but unlike refugees, they can return to their own country safely.”

Migrants entering the EU via the Western Balkans Route, or from Africa, tend to be economic migrants. Citizens of Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan comprised 41% of the 119,500 arrivals in Italy in 2015. Many of these people may be fleeing abject poverty, but the 1951 Convention does not oblige EU Member states to offer them protection.

For more information:

“International students almost all do return home when their course finishes”

A 2011 European Network Migration Study found that “international students represent a substantial proportion of the non-EU population in many (Member) States... In 2011, over 2 million first residence permits were issued to third country nationals; although the highest number of new permits was granted for family reasons, some 21% of all new permits were issued for education reasons. Of all new residence permits issued for education reasons in 2011, almost 190 000 were issued for study purposes, as per the Student Directive 2004/114/EC.”

The UK-based Migration Observatory issued a briefing regarding the situation in the UK in 2015. The key points are as follows:

  • The number of international students coming to the UK has fallen since 2010.
  • Seven out of ten international students came from non-EU countries in 2013. Students from Asia make up the largest group of international students, over five times as many as the next largest group from the Middle East.
  • Eight out of ten sponsorships for international students in 2013 were made by UK higher education
  • Data sources on the extent to which students remain in the UK after their studies point in different directions.
  • Students bring fewer dependents to the UK compared to other pathways such as labour migrants.

For more information on migration of EU and Non-EU students:

“…while other people come to join family members who have already settled in Europe.”

Family Reunification accounts for just under a third of all immigration in recent years (see above). The Directive on the Right to Family Reunification[1] sets out common rules for exercising family reunification in 25 EU member states, and concerns the reunification of non-EU nationals legally resident in the EU. Individual countries may exercise the right to impose conditions of reunification, such as minimum age of marriage, minimum guaranteed income, language requirements etc.


“Some see the present number of migrants as a threat, while others believe every refugee should be welcomed, whatever the cost.
Public opinion is strongly influenced by the way this is reported in the news media.Refugees can be cast as innocent victims, vulnerable individuals who deserve our compassion.
Alternatively migrants are portrayed as intruders who threaten our peace and security.
We should be aware of how the different news organisations are seeking to influence public opinion and the political debate.”

For more information on this topic see Un estudio sobre la inmigración (2000-2008): La construcción de la agenda (Agenda Building) y la evolución de los encuadres (Frame Building) en el discurso políticoparlamentario, mediático y sus referencias a la opinión pública.

Available (in Spanish only) at

“The decision to accept or refuse people entry to a country affects more than just the migrants.  Larger businesses gain a source of cheap labour, leading to economic growth. But there can be a cost in terms of pressure on housing, wages, school places or health facilities.  Rapid migration can also affect social cohesion and perceptions of security.”

The OECD asserts that forecasting the economic effects of the migrant/refugee crisis is complex and largely dependent on how successfully refugees are integrated into the labour market and society more generally. A Bank of England paper by two Oxford academics claims that “the immigrant-native ratio has a significant, small, negative impact on the average wages. Closer examination reveals that the biggest impact is in the semi/unskilled services sector.” This is to be taken into account when forming policy.  The Migration Integration Policy Index measures policies to integrate migrants across all EU Member States and further afield.

For more information:

On the economic impact of immigration: 

On the effect of immigration on social cohesion and integration:

“Christians have always been inspired by the biblical mandate to love and care for orphans, widows and foreigners. Today, individual believers and local churches can play a vital role in this crisis. 

We can urge politicians to make peace-building a top priority, and provide more humanitarian aid to the neighbouring countries which shelter the most refugees. We can support charities working with displaced people. And we can take part in welcoming refugees arriving in our city or region."

The Churches’ Commission for Migration in Europe has produced a helpful overview of what churches across Europe are already doing to welcome refugees and promote their integration into their host communities. Details can be found at

You can find your MEP’s contact details at or, if you are in the UK, contact your MP via is a good starting point for more information about welcoming refugees practically, or campaigning for their acceptance in the UK.

"Local churches can go beyond that, and help all categories of migrant to integrate more effectively by offering hospitality, practical help, language classes, legal advice, and advocacy."

Helpful guides to a Christian response to immigration in general, and welcoming refugees in particular, have been produced by the Jubilee Centre and Liverpool Cathedral. For more information see: A Christian response to immigration

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