Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
GOVERNMENT has started creating Migrant Resource Centres (MRCs) that will help equip Zimbabweans with critical information on issues relating to safe formal labour migration.
In addition, the MRCs will serve as information dissemination hubs on the rights of migrants, what to watch for, and what to do to reduce one’s vulnerability to trafficking and other eventualities.
The facilities will also help by equipping returnees with the information upon their return among many other essential services in relation to migrants.
Ministry of Public Labour and Social Welfare’s chief direct, Mr Clifford Matorera said in a recent interview that so far four MRCs were being created in Beitbridge, Bulawayo, Harare and Plumtree.
“Zimbabwe is both a sending, transit and receiving country and its migration landscape projects a mixed migration pattern for as a consequence of both migrants and refugees’ motilities,” he said.
“As such, the necessity for essential information to potential migrants and mobile populations cannot be underestimated.
“It is appreciated that there has been a dynamic shift in migration trends from the initial pattern where certain locations such as Matabeleland South were regarded as high migrant-sending areas”.
Currently, indications show that migrants are now emanating from all parts of Zimbabwe for economic emancipation as a result of a prolonged and sustained socio-economic crisis.
Mr Matorera said the move to set up the MRCs was in line with the Labour Migration Policy signed by President Mnangagwa in 2019 and the NDS1.
The Harare centre was almost ready for use while construction of the Bulawayo facility was under construction and two facilities will be upgraded in Beitbridge and Plumtree.
He said the Government was also roping in community structures to promote safe migration considering that the decision for one to move begins at the household level.
“Our people migrate for different reasons, including labour, tourism, and health among others,” said Mr Matorera.
“However, our main focus, for now, is on labour migration. You will note that late last year we had a very disturbing which befell our citizens who went to Oman in the Middle East under the guise of getting lucrative employment.
“But alas they discovered that they had been trapped into modern-day slavery. So as the government, we have decided to provide people with the necessary information and documentation before they migrate to any country for employment reasons”.
He encouraged Zimbabweans to always migrate formally to avoid exploitation in the hosting nations. The official said the government also recognises the importance of labour migration in the globalisation context.
Labour migration, he said had the potential to develop the national economically if well planned like what has been the case in Latin America.
“The strategy to equip and empowered our migrants have worked in other areas including Latin America, the Philippines and Asia, where citizen are educated well before migrating,” said Mr Matorera.
“They are then able to get in proper structures and will be able to get into proper social security services which is a necessity compared to migrating informally”.
In separate interviews, some Zimbabweans returning from South Africa via the Beitbridge Reception and Support Centre welcomed the move to create the MRCs.
Mr Tawanda Dube from Bikita said the centres should be equipped with contact tracing facilities to help reunite families, some of who will be displaced during deportation.
“We need access to communications and labour relations facilities so that the rights of those who will have been exploited in another country are protected,” he said.
Mr Garikayi Mudimu from Rutenga said the MRCs will help people with the necessary information, on visas and permits before they live in different countries.
“If people are empowered with the critical information they may be able to make critical decisions, considering that man people have disappeared, kidnapped or killed by criminals on their journeys to different countries.
So the availability of such a facility, especially here in Beitbridge will help minimize such incidences,” said Mr James Muleya from Mtetengwe in Beitbridge. @tupeyo