The majority of immigrants to Ghana come from Africa. In 2000, 58.9 per of non-Ghanaian residents were nationals from Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries, while 23 per cent of immigrants came from African countries outside ECOWAS. According to border statistics from the Ghana Immigration Services, Europeans constituted the largest group of non-African arrivals (15.3%), followed by North Americans (9.7%), from 2000 to 2007 (GIS, 2008).
Students make up a significant proportion of the immigrants to Ghana. In 2007, 8.5 per of resident permits were granted to students. Students represented a particularly large proportion among permit holders from ECOWAS countries, almost 25 per . The foreign student population at the University of Ghana rose steadily from 1.5 per in 2001-02 to 3.8 per cent in 2006-07.
While the overall immigrant population remained relatively stable over the last two decades, the number of asylum seekers and refugees has dramatically increased, from 11,721 in 2001 to 34,950 in 2007. In 2007, Ghana hosted the largest refugee population in the West African sub-region. Representing 77.3 per of the total refugee population in Ghana, Liberians accounted for much of the increase in the number of refugees in Ghana. According to UNHCR (2008), 40 per cent of the refugees from Liberia and Togo were minors (persons under 18 years old). In 2008, Ghana received fewer asylum seeker and refugees (18,206), but the country remains host to the fourth-largest population of asylum seekers and refugees in the region.