Regional Integration and Regional Migration Trends: Home Affairs, IOM & African Centre for Migration & Society briefing
Three entities briefed the Committee on regional integration and regional migration trends. The International Organisation on Migration (IOM) placed a particular focus on demographics, push factors, facilitating factors, inhibiting factors, and exacerbating factors. The brief was centred on the countries of DRC, Somalia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Madagascar, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Included in the push factors were high income inequality, high poverty rate, high population growth rate, political and social instability, high refugee rate, and poor healthcare and education system. Factors that facilitated migration included lax border control, long porous borders, internal conflicts and dysfunctional government. Factors that exacerbated regional migration included trafficking in persons, smuggling drugs, arms and money laundering. Poverty was identified as a major push factor.
The African Centre for Migration and Society (ACMS) spoke to migration, mobility, and social integration, with a particular focus on Southern African trends and their implications. It noted that migration was fundamentally about empowerment. It improved individual, household, and collective status, social, economic and physical security. However, data on migration dynamics lacked quality, due to legal and bureaucratic apparatus, proprietary data collection, and limited scholarly research. According to research projects, international migration remained relatively constant, as the migrant proportion of total population was 3.4% in 1990 and 3.7% in 2010. Refugees counted for 2.1% in 2010 and 7.6% in 1995, of international migrants. Domestic migration and urbanisation was challenged by critical livelihood options and integration. Close to 3% of the population was moving across provincial boundaries in the last five years. The percentage of women migrating was increasing. However, domestic migration must also be taken into account.
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) provided information on regional migration trends to South Africa, and South Africa’s position on the SADC Protocol on the Facilitation of Movements of Persons (PFMP). It provided the latest 2014 trends of migration to South Africa and regional integration efforts as they related to asylum-seekers and refuges, and also provided information on the Zimbabwe Special Dispensation project, which was created to relieve the pressure on the asylum determination regime and to document Zimbabwean nationals residing in South Africa under the Immigration Act.
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