U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.


We have identified several factors that contribute to a decision to migrate from a home country into a more conducive environment, particularly including a lack of security and economic opportunities. What are the ways in which corruption leads to scarcity of economic opportunities, and to a lack of human security, which pushes people to flee their home countries?


The enquirer is trying to establish a link between corruption and its effect on creating incentives for people to flee their countries of origin.


  1. Corruption as a driver of migration
  2. Corruption as a facilitator of illegal migration
  3. References.


Migration is one of the most pressing issues of our time as millions of people flee their home countries in search of security, better jobs and an improved quality of life. Corruption has recently been identified as a major driver of migration, acting on the aspiration of people to migrate to other countries and areas. Indeed, increased corruption correlates directly with an increase in the levels of migration from a country. In particular, it plays a major role in driving highly-educated people away. A lack of economic opportunities and insecurity have been identified as major drivers of migration. There is a large amount of literature that outlines the influence of corruption on these two factors. In the available literature, corruption is found to retard economic growth thereby reducing economic opportunities, and fuel insecurity, peace and conflict. Therefore, corruption can also be seen as an indirect driver of migration, due to its influence on other key drivers. Moreover, there is also a growing body of literature that focuses primarily on corruption as a facilitator of the migration process, making sure that the process runs smoothly, for example in the form of bribery at border control points. From the literature on corruption, security and economic opportunities, one can assume that corruption is a driver of migration through its impact on economic opportunities and security, but more research and resources should be allocated to explore the direct linkages between corruption, economic opportunities, security issues and migration.


Ben Wheatland, Transparency International, [email protected]


Marie Chêne, Transparency InternationalFinn Heinrich, PhD. Transparency International, [email protected]




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