Gvt, IOM host regional labour migration indaba

Review & Mail Writers

Representatives from the Ministries of Labour, Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs, Higher and Tertiary Education, Private Employment Agencies (PEAs) and other relevant personnel and agencies working on migration-related initiatives from Zimbabwe and Southern Africa will converge in Victoria Falls for a capacity development workshop on “Promoting Ethical Recruitment and Rights-Based Bilateral Labour Migration Agreements in the Southern African Region”

The workshop, being hosted by the government of Zimbabwe and the International Organisation on Migration, kicks off today (Monday) in the resort town and will run until Thursday.

In a statement, the IOM said the regional workshop was aimed at building the capacity of diverse stakeholders from SADC countries on ethical recruitment standards and to share and document good practices on Bilateral Labour Migration Agreements (BLMA) negotiations.

“The workshop aims to increase the knowledge base and equip relevant stakeholders with the tools to apply international labour norms and standards in their daily routines while dealing with migrant workers,” IOM said.

It said the workshop is a culmination of its two programmes; the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM)-funded Africa Regional Migration Program (ARMP) and the EU-funded Southern Africa Migration Management (SAMM) project, which are aimed at supporting SADC countries to improve their labour migration governance through capacity-building training.

“The four-day regional workshop aims to build the capacity of various stakeholders from SADC countries on ethical recruitment standards, to share and document good practices on BLMA negotiations and to increase the knowledge base and equip relevant stakeholders with the tools to apply international labour norms and standards in their daily routines while dealing with migrant workers,”.

The IOM said the initiative was in line with Objective 6 of the Global Compact on Migration and Output 2.2. of the SADC Labour Migration Action Plan (2020 – 2025) which enjoined the SADC Employment and Labour Sector (ELS) to prioritize fair and ethical recruitment in the region.

It also aligned with the Recommendations of the 2019 Migration Dialogue in Southern Africa (MIDSA) held in Windhoek, Namibia that urged Member States to strengthen the mechanisms of combatting forced labour and adopt fair and ethical recruitment practices throughout the labour recruitment processes in conformance with a whole of government and whole of society approach.

The indaba will equip participants with the requisite on international recruitment practices, in particular IOM-IRIS system and promote practical use of IOMs principles on ethical recruitment while at the same time promoting understanding of international labour norms and standards relative to fair and ethical recruitment.

Participants were also expected to share and exchange best practices on negotiation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of BLMAs and to strengthen the capacity and knowledge of policy makers and PEAs on ethical recruitment and negotiation of gender-responsive and rights-based BLMAs.

 Labour migration has become a thorny issue in the region with some countries, especially South Africa, battling to deal with the matter decisively, resulting in xenophobic attacks targeting nationals from other SADC states.

Zimbabweans, who make up the biggest number of immigrants in the neighbouring country, have borne the brunt of restive native South Africans who have made it clear they would not tolerate immigrants being employed ahead of South African nationals.

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