ZIMBABWE, which has more than three million people believed to be living in neighbouring South Africa alone, needs an immigration policy that integrates migration into a broad development agenda, says the Swedish Deputy Head of Mission to Zimbabwe, Maria Selin during an interview on the sidelines of a Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) Project Close Out Meeting at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) offices in Harare, (today) Monday.
“A country like Zimbabwe which has so much migration needs to have government policies that really look into all aspects and see not only the challenges but also the potential of migration thats why the IOM is helping the Zimbabwean government formulate a migration policy that will incorporate migration issues into the country’s development agenda.
Selin said SIDA was working with the IOM to promote humane migration and to see whether they could work in communities to support those that were affected by migration.
Selin said the SIDA, together with the IOM, was working with different communities to settle various people who have had to move from their original settlements for various reasons.
“We have been trying to work with them to integrate them into the community and with our support of about $US 3 million for two years, one thing that we have done is set up three reception centres in Beitbridge, Plumtree and Nyamapanda that we have now handed over to government so they continue to be fully operational in order to assess the migrants that come back to Zimbabwe,” she says adding that her government has availed US$3 million to support Zimbabwe to deal with its migration problem over two years.
Migration projects of about US$25 million in the next few years are in the pipeline.
IOM Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, Rangarirai Tigere, also says they are dealing with a number of cases of unaccompanied children, adding that the government of Zimbabwe had put in place measures to provide the necessary assistance to the affected children.
“It’s quite a concern that we have been addressing together with government where we have minor children who sometimes migrate or have been separated from those with whom they are travelling with,” he said.
“We are quite glad that government has put in place measures to provide the necessary assistance when such cases come through the reception and support centres; for instance in Beitbridge and Plumtree, there are child centres run by the relevant ministry to provide relevant support.”
Tigere said although he did not have the exact statistics of the affected children, the figures are high enough to warrant immediate attention.
He said migration affected everyone, including children, adding that the major cause of migration was the economic situation which forced families to move in search of greener pastures.
Meanwhile Zimbabwe and South Africa are set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding which will see the establishment of recruitment centres at the Beitbridge Border Post.
Acting Deputy Director for International Relations in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Langton Ngorima, said the recently held Bi National Commission meeting in Harare had agreed that the MoU would be signed during the first quarter of 2017.
He said Zimbabwe would also establish immigration centres at its borders that would provide information for migrants to make informed decisions before they crossed into neighbouring countries. – ANA edited by Patience Rusere