In February 1999, violence in Kosovo forced more than 10,000 refugees to flee to Macedonia. The situation reached an emergency level when hundreds of thousands of refugees were arriving in late March and early April. By early June, the refugee population had grown to some 260,000. Macedonia did not have sufficient resources to cope with an emergency of this magnitude. At the government's request, some third-country asylum nations enacted bilateral evacuation programs, independently of UNHCR. Also, a joint UNHCR/IOM Humanitarian Evacuation Programme was established, under which more than 90,000 refugees were evacuated from Macedonia to 29 countries. A Humanitarian Transfer Programme was also organized to set up camps in Albania for 1,300 refugees.
The net migration rate for Macedonia in 2000 was -0.83 migrants per 1,000 population. The total number of migrants that year was 626,000, including 484,400 refugees. The government views the migration levels as too high.