WATCH: Migrant Centre launched The Bulawayo Migrant Resource Centre which was launched yesterday

Nqobile Tshili, [email protected]

IN recognition of the significant contribution made by the diaspora community to Zimbabwe’s economic growth, Government has established “Migrant Resource Centres” in Bulawayo and Harare as part of measures to promote the welfare of its citizens abroad and ensuring the safety and protection of those planning to emigrate.

With a contribution of US$2,1 billion in remittances to the economy last year alone, Zimbabweans in the diaspora have become the second highest foreign currency earners for  the country after mining exports.

Thousands of families are being sustained through diaspora remittances including massive investment in the property sector, critical skills transfer, philanthropic work and facilitating diverse business investments and trade partnerships.

Yesterday’s launch of the Migrant Resource Centres in the two cities, a product of Government partnership with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), adds impetus towards ensuring safe movement of migrants, among several other measures aimed at promoting the welfare of diasporans.

The new Migrant Resource Centre in Bulawayo is housed at what was previously known as “Vundu Employment Agency” offices within the Civil Registry Department premises. Members of the public who intend to travel to other countries will be provided with critical information they need before relocating and sampling employment opportunities that exist in those countries.

The new office would also assist those keen to travel or relocate internally from province to province or districts.

It will be manned by public service officers and has a fully equipped computer laboratory connected to the Internet for use by prospective travellers who need critical data on the certain professions they want to undertake and about destinations they are targeting. The computers can service at least 500 clients daily.

Addressing delegates who witnessed the official opening of the centre, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Cde July Moyo, said migrants are an important stakeholder and should be treated with dignity.

He said the Second Republic values the contribution of the migrant community hence President Mnangagwa always takes time to meet them whenever he is out of the country.

“Since the inception of the New Dispensation, you have seen the importance that our President attaches to migration. 

“Our President ensures that everywhere he goes he meets Zimbabweans who are in the diaspora,” said Minister Moyo 

He said meeting the diasporans was a recognition that they play an important role in the upkeep of their families back home.

“President always assures them that they have a home and therefore they can come home as and when they want. Through their remittances they are the source of income for their families and the country,”  said Minister Moyo.

He said Zimbabwe’s skilled workers are in demand across the world, which reflects positively on the country’s quality education and positions the country for enhanced gains. 

Minister Moyo said the promulgation of the National Labour Migration Policy in 2021 was a commitment by the Government to ensure safe movement of Zimbabwean migrants as they move to other countries.

“Because of that policy, my permanent secretary has led an inter-ministerial delegation to Rwanda where we have Zimbabweans teachers working there,” said Minister Moyo.

He said the Government was looking for opportunities in other countries where Zimbabwean professionals can work.

“I know that Mauritius wants veterinary doctors and they believe that the Zimbabwean veterinary doctors are the best that they have had,” said Minister Moyo.

He said in the past Zimbabwe also benefited from skilled migrants and specialists from countries such as Cuba, which seconded its doctors to the country.

Minister Moyo said the public should also explore internal migration saying due to job opportunities there is a lot of movement within the country as well.

In this regard, Minister Moyo said the Migration Resource Centre will create a safe space for all travellers as sometimes immigration can result in harsh realities.

“Migration can have a negative impact caused by insecurity so when we talk about migration we are also aware of these negative impacts such as xenophobia and human trafficking,” said Minister Moyo.

IOM chief of mission representative and chief migration health officer, Dr Thomas Kasalani, said the Migration Resource Centres will serve to assist migrants before they leave the country, preventing cases of abuse as was witnessed when job seekers moved to the Middle East where they became victims of human trafficking.

“This promotes safe, orderly, dignified and informed decision-making by migrants. This is consistent with the Government’s development credo of ‘leaving no one behind’.

“This contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 10.7, which encourages governments to facilitate orderly, safe, regular, and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies,” said Dr Kasalani.

He encouraged citizens to take advantage of the Migration Resource Centre as it can reduce tracking cases.

“The obtaining issues around the trafficking incidences in Omani, and the negotiation of Bilateral Labour Migration Agreements (BLMAs) all require concerted effort of all stakeholders and as such your maximum cooperation is called for,” said Dr Kasalani. 

Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Judith Ncube, encouraged members of the public in the region to take advantage of the newly established centre.

She said through the proximity to South Africa and Botswana, Bulawayo experiences a lot of movement of citizens saying it was imperative that they travel legally so that their safety is not compromised. – @nqotshili



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