Southern Africa Ministers Discuss Regional Migration

Southern Africa Ministers Discuss Regional Migration

The government of Mozambique, in collaboration with IOM and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat will host a regional Ministerial Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA) Conference on 10-11 July, 2013 in Maputo.

The meeting will bring together Interior Ministers and senior officials responsible for home affairs and labour from SADC countries to discuss how SADC member states can comprehensively address labour migration and migration management in the region.

The meeting is expected to endorse the MIDSA Regional Action Plan on labour migration. The plan calls for improving the capacity of governments to better manage labour migration by harmonizing data collection systems, immigration policy and legislation, and addressing migrants’ health vulnerability.

Labour migrants in Southern Africa, especially irregular migrants, seldom enjoy the same basic rights as local workers and are often made to work in exploitative conditions. National governments lack capacity to enforce laws against exploitation.

“Well-managed labour migration flows, protection of the rights of migrant workers and effective responses to irregular migration can lead to mutual benefits for both migrants and states. IOM is committed to promote coordination and dialogue on migration management in the region,” says Bernardo Mariano, IOM Regional Director for Southern Africa

The meeting will also address migrant health – one of the components of the MIDSA Regional Action Plan. Migrant workers make important contributions to the economies of the SADC countries, but can rarely access decent health care.

SADC leaders have started to address migrant health issues by signing a declaration on TB in the mining sector. But urgent steps still have to be taken in addressing various health issues affecting migrant workers and host communities.

All SADC states are affected by migration either as source, transit or destination countries. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the number of migrants is rising. But there is still a lack of reliable data on how many migrants enter states irregularly, stay and work in the informal sector.