Although the country is a signatory of the Geneva Convention and the new constitution of 2014 guarantees the right to seek asylum, there is no asylum policy or protection legislation in Tunisia (Mixed Migration Hub, 2018). The absence of these legal frameworks translates into hardships for asylum seekers who are often criminalised and refugees, as determined by the UNHCR. In addition, to being a country of origin for migrants through regular and irregular channels, Tunisia is also a country of transit, and to a lesser extent of destination for many migrants seeking to reach Europe through the Central Mediterranean Route.
Although there are many migrants who fled the war in Libya and settled in Tunisia, there are no official numbers of how many Libyan nationals are currently living in Tunisia and very few have registered with the UNHCR. It is estimated that more than 10,000 sub-Saharan migrants are living in Tunisia irregularly. The deteriorating economic conditions in Tunisia following the Arab Spring in 2011 and the subsequent unrest and terrorist attacks targeting the touristic industry has affected young Tunisians’ aspirations to leave the country in search of a better future: over the last 9 years, more Tunisians have left the country irregularly towards Europe.