SIHMA | Scalabrini Institute For Human Mobility In Africa

Roundtable on Migration, Labour & Policy Options

On Tuesday December 10, the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO), The Jesuit Institute and the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) held a seminar discussion on Migration, Labour & Policy Options in Cape Town. It was intended to be a small round table, with around 16 people attending, representing a number of organisations and the parliament.

Father Peter-John Pearson, the director of CPLO, gave a welcome and introduction. Following, Marinda Weideman gave a presentation on the labour conditions of migrant workers in South Africa. Her report on this topic was meant to give a voice to migrants and refugees in South Africa and give socio-economic and legislative context to their situation. Her key finding revolved around the fact that life for migrants and refugees in South Africa is difficult and has many challenges, including widespread xenophobia, difficulty in accessing health care and other services, (sexual) exploitation and un(der)employment.

After Weideman’s presentation, the group discussed the findings and asked questions. The main trend was to connect the study to policy implications and decisions. Suggestions that came up during the discussion were to implement a visa for labour migrants from the SADC (South African Development Community), to encourage more small businesses by migrants, to make a clearer distinction between refugees and labour migrants and to put in place a well-working repatriation system. A lot of other interesting points and opinions were raised, and the discussion was lively. SIHMA hopes that everyone who came had a good experience and learned something new.


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