Spain’s history is undoubtedly intertwined with migration. While it may serve as an opportunity of refuge for countless migrants, it also remains a transit country and even a place of refuge for numerous other foreigners who find their ways in and through the country. These mixed migration motivations have consequently made Spain a remarkable country for immigration within the European Union. Since the second half of the 1980s, Nigerian migrants in their thousands, like their counterparts from other countries and walks of life, also discovered the country as a favorable destination. This often led them to choose to relocate and explore the available livelihood opportunities Spain offers. The large population of Nigerian migrants, their livelihoods, and their social lifestyles have negligibly been reflected in the academic literature for nearly three decades. For many potential migrants, life is believed to be sweet in Europe, even as issues arise, such as low skilled migrants needing to rely mainly on commercial sex work for their own survival. Because women dominate the population of most migrants of Nigerian origin in Spain and are often school drop-outs, the popular discourses of life for Nigerian migrants in Spain are thus the main lenses to look at the socioeconomic lives of Nigerian migrants as the core of this thesis. The research undertaken reveals an increasing presence of highly educated and skilled Nigerian migrants in Madrid, the capital city of Spain. It also affirms that the majority of the migrant population are engaged in livelihood activities other than commercial sex work, going against the popular discourses of Nigerian immigration to Spain. This study adopted an ethnographic methodological research approach, a qualitative interview method, and secondary sources of archival materials for data gathering.


School of Global Affairs and Public Policy


Center for Migration and Refugee Studies

Degree Name

M.A. Migration and Refugee Studies

Date of Award


Online Submission Date


First Advisor

Gerda Heck

Committee Member 1

Ibrahim Awad

Committee Member 2

Charles Kaye-Essien

Committee Member 3

Nabil Fahmy

Document Type





The American University in Cairo grants authors of theses and dissertations a maximum embargo period of two years from the date of submission, upon request. After the embargo elapses, these documents are made available publicly. If you are the author of this thesis or dissertation, and would like to request an exceptional extension of the embargo period, please write to thesisadmin@aucegypt.edu