Zimbabwe: Developing a Migration Policy

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Presently, the Government of Zimbabwe is developing their National Migration Policy with support from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), a United Nations agency.  They are doing so through the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage.

Zimbabwe has a long history with cross border mobility and has also witnessed a significant brain drain in the past two decades.

Highly-skilled and semi-skilled Zimbabweans emigrated to countries such as the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, South Africa and Botswana in search of greener pastures.

The country has also witnessed increased internal and border migration resulting in an upsurge in irregular migration, human smuggling and mixed migration flows. This, perhaps, pushed the government for a comprehensive migration policy to enable them to harness the development potential of migration, as they explores ways to mitigate any negative impacts.

The complex migration issues in Zimbabwe are handled by several ministries; limited coordination hampers migration and development issues. Two of the migration policies already in place, the National Diaspora Policy and the National Labour Policy, are not adequate for covering other critical migration issues such as security and climate-driven movements.

A policy drafting workshop was held in Mutare from 25 to 28 this March 25 through 28, to come up with a comprehensive policy framework that deals with migration and development.

Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Cain Mathema, had said, ‘’the national migration policy will be the overarching policy document which will address all the issues pertaining to migrants, be they Zimbabweans or nationals of other countries.’’ He said this in his key note remarks.

Mathema also highlighted the importance of the policy in unpacking the principles and guidelines set forth in the African Union Migration Policy Framework and Plan of Action: ‘’This Migration Policy should assist us as government to address the challenges of irregular migration, border governance, human trafficking, migrant smuggling, data collection and internal displacement in line with AU policy framework.’’

Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Melusi Matshiya, pointed to the importance of evidence-based policies, adding that they are critical for government decisions, saying ‘’better migration governance can be realized through the development of evidence-based policies that consider the whole of government approach that all stakeholders have since embraced.’’

Meanwhile, Mathema told the stakeholders present at the workshop that the government is grateful for IOM’s support, ‘’which has enabled the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Migration to coordinate and identify key thematic areas for inclusion in the Migration context in Zimbabwe Situation Analysis which will guide us as we develop the National Migration Policy.’’

He explained that the IOM support would enable government and stakeholders to share information, experiences, knowledge, and best practices for migration management.

The government migration initiatives are being supported by IOM Development Fund and the Promoting Migration Governance in Zimbabwe project, under the 11th European Development Fund.

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