Number of illegal African migrants to Spain cut in half

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The number of African migrants making the hazardous journey by boat to Spain has dropped by half this year compared to the same time last year, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Since the start of the year, 6,300 Africans had arrived on the Spanish mainland and the Canary Islands -- mostly from Senegal, according to IOM spokeperson Jean-Philippe Chauzy. Last year, the number totalled 12,000.

Chauzy stated that an agreement between Spain and Senegal to send illegal migrants back to the West African nation may have played a part in the lower figures.

The European Union and Senegal have also stepped up surveillance -- resulting in more boats being intercepted.

"The boats intercepted near African coast were taken back to Senegal and some of them were destroyed," Chauzy said.

Surveillance and deportations have not been the only solutions considered to curb illegal immigration from Africa. Recently, the European Union and African nations have discussed setting up job centers to provide routes for legal immigration.

In addition, business executives from Spain have recently travelled to Senegal to offer recruitment programs and visas for African nationals.