Emigration between 1948 and 1951 consisted mainly of Jews going to Israel and Turks going to Turkey. A high of 99,477 (of whom 98,341 were Turks) was reached in 1951. Most of the emigrants since the 1950s have been Turks bound for Turkey or other Balkan countries. A total of 313,894 emigrated to Turkey in 1989 because of government persecution. Some were forcibly expelled. More than 100,000 had returned to Bulgaria by February 1990. Meanwhile, about 150,000 ethnic Bulgarians also emigrated. In 1991 about three million Bulgarians were living abroad, including 1,200,000 in the former Yugoslavia, 800,000 in other Balkan countries, and 500,000 in the former USSR.
The net migration rate for 2000 was -4.9 migrants per 1,000 population. As of that year, there were 1500 refugees and about 1760 registered asylum seekers in Bulgaria. Most of the refugees and asylum seekers were from Afghanistan, Iraq, Serbia and Montenegro, and Armenia. Bulgaria remains an emigration country, although the number departing has been on the decline in recent years. The majority of those leaving Bulgaria are moving to Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Greece, and North America. The number of illegal foreigners in Bulgaria is low. Due to the high unemployment rate, there are serious restrictions on foreign workers.