Nearly 50 years after the country became independent, the Immigration Department is operating without a clear policy on migration and citizenship, an immigration official has said.
Immigration Department’s chief permit and border affairs officer, Chrispin Siwande Banda, stressed the need for the country to have a clear policy on migration and citizenship when he opened the second thematic session on developing a comprehensive national migration and citizenship policy in Blantyre on Tuesday.
He said the core functions of the department have so far been guided by Immigration and Citizenship Acts of 1964 and 1966, respectively, as well as directives issued by the department’s management.
“In recent years, fundamental developments which require new strategies have occurred as a result of globalisation and other emerging issues, making immigration matters complex,” he said.
Banda said once developed, the policy will enhance national security and economic growth.
The national migration and citizenship policy is expected to address various migration and citizenship issues such as labour migration, dual citizenship, asylum seekers/refugees, human trafficking, terrorism, illegal immigrants, diaspora engagement, and foreign direct investments in line with national objectives in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) and Vision 2020.
The workshop has brought together participants from the ministries of Home Affairs, Information and Civic Education, Foreign Affairs, Labour, Justice, Immigration and Refugee departments, Malawi Police Service and National Statistics Office.
The International Centre for Migration Policy and Development (ICMPD) is providing financial support and expertise for the project whose facilitators have been drawn from Slovenia, Nigeria and Netherlands.
One of the facilitators, Dr Peter van Krieken, who is special advisor to the minister of security and justice in Netherlands, said migration issues do not only affect Malawi, but also several countries in Europe.