Introductory Remarks by Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba for Third Roundtable on International Migration: Intra-regional migration within SADC
Overview of the situation: intra-regional migration within SADC
South Africa values its connectedness with the world, and the rest of the African continent in particular. International migration is a key aspect of this connectedness.
We see our national development as being inextricably linked to regional development, and greater economic linkages with SADC and the continent is a key part of our economic development plans.
South Africa, in line with the African Union, shares the view that African states should work towards progressively freer movement of citizens within regions, to eventually reach the point of free movement of Africans across the continent.
Currently, we have individual agreements with most SADC countries which waive visas for short-term visits to South Africa, for up to 90 days in a calendar year.
Of course, SADC and African citizens are also able to live, study, work and invest in SA using our mainstream visas and permits.
The main challenge we face regarding intra-regional migration within SADC is around irregular migration. We receive high numbers of economic migrants, which in this context refers to irregular migrants from SADC and beyond, who come to SA for primarily economic reasons, but outside of the regular immigration process. These are primarily low-skilled job seekers, as well as small/micro-entrepreneurs, who are not catered for by our mainstream visa regime.
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