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Seminar: 25 April 2002


Human Sciences Research Council
134 Pretorius Street
South Africa


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Seminar introduction & programme
Note: For background material on migration issues in the region access:


President Mbeki’s involvement in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and South Africa’s membership of both SADC and the OAU commits the country to supporting regional and continental development and poverty alleviation. It is the aim of the proposed seminar to facilitate a discussion on South Africa’s regional commitment and the impact and implications of the South African immigration legislation and policy on migration and poverty in the Southern African region.

In replacing the Aliens Control Act as the central immigration legislation in South Africa it is important to recognise the effect that South Africa’s immigration legislation and policy has on international migration as well as its impact and implications on poverty and poverty alleviation region.

The development of the Immigration Bill is a result of five years public debate between different political parties and interest groups. Despite the South African Government’s intention to use its immigration policy as a catalyst for national economic growth, it has resulted in a marked weakening in the promotion of integration and tolerance in the region.

Several human rights and migration interest groups have raised several concerns about the Bill and argued that it is not reflective of South Africa’s commitment to the region. This includes concerns about the facilitation of skills and labour import, human rights and constitutionality and administration and bureaucracy.

The importance of immigration legislation that promotes economic growth and attracts professional skills to the country should not be under estimated. However, South Africa will be judged in the international community not only in terms of its ability to generate employment and sustainable livelihoods for its citizens but also in its adoption of the principles of good governance and its commitment to share regional concerns of unemployment, poverty, political instability and natural disasters. The proposed seminar aims to facilitate a discourse on the implications of South Africa’s migration policy on regional migration.

The Immigration Bill is currently tabled before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, which is expected to invite interest groups for consultation and public hearings before the finalisation of the Bill.

The objective of the proposed seminar is to facilitate extensive networking Southern African regional on migration, which will result in a greater understanding on the impact and implications of the South African Immigration Bill and existing refugee legislation on poverty and migration in the region. The insights gained during the seminar will be used to advocate for a migration policy that responds to the socio economic needs of the region.

Speakers will be asked to identify gender issues and to highlight relevant differences and experiences of these policies on male and female migrants.

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