Seasonal labor migration in Burkina Faso began in the colonial period as a means of obtaining money for taxes and continues today as a remedy for economic deficiencies. According to some estimates, as many as two million Burkinabe live abroad at any one time, about half in Côte d'Ivoire and the rest throughout West Africa, where many are employed on coffee and cocoa plantations. In 1995, there were 49,500 refugees from Mali in Burkina Faso, with some 15,000 expected to return to their country by 1997. Repatriation of the Tuareg refugees from Mali and Niger was successfully completed by 1998. In June 1998, Burkina Faso and Benin became the first African countries to accept applicants for resettlement from other African nations. The initial goal of the resettlement program was to resettle 200 individuals over a two-year period. As of 2000, 700 people were registered as refugees. Another 355 were registered as asylum seekers. The total number of migrants in the country numbered 1,124,000 in that year. In 2000, the net migration rate was -5.5 migrants per 1,000 population. The government views the emigration level as too high.