The International Organization for Migration is opening a Labor
Migration Center Friday in the South African town of Beitbridge, which
shares a border with Zimbabwe. IOM says the center aims to promote
safe and orderly labor migration between both countries by matching up
seasonal migrant workers from Zimbabwe with commercial farms in South
of thousands of desperate migrants cross the Limpopo River from
Zimbabwe into South Africa every year in search of work. Many find
jobs in the informal sector. But, their illegal status makes them
vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
Spokesman for the
International Organization for Migration, Jean-Philippe Chauzy, tells
VOA, the IOM is opening the Labor Migration Center in Beitbridge to
facilitate the flow of seasonal migrant workers to South Africa and
reduce the risks that come with irregular migration.
He says the
new Center operates in partnership with the Zimbabwean Ministry of
Labor and Social Welfare and the South African Department of Labor. He
says no one expects the Center to solve the problem of irregular
Rather, he says, it is part of a pilot project, which
will match an estimated 5,000 Zimbabwean job seekers with the labor
needs of five commercial farms in South Africa.
"But, they will
go with their passports in order," said Chauzy. "They will go with a
contract and they will go, obviously, as seasonal workers. It is an
attempt, if you want, to try and put some management into the huge
migration flows between Zimbabwe and South Africa. Of course, there
are many more than 5,000 Zimbabweans who wish to be employed in South
Africa legally, but for the moment what we are doing is setting up a
data base with the names and the dates of those migrants from Zimbabwe
who want to work in South Africa."
Chauzy says IOM will try
and match the offer with the demand and make sure that those
Zimbabweans who leave under this labor migration program have a
Illegal migration from Zimbabwe into South
Africa hit a peak last year when the country was struggling with an
economic-social collapse and a cholera epidemic. This led to mass
protests in South Africa by those who believed the Zimbabweans were
taking jobs away from them. Many migrants were killed and wounded in
Chauzy says most of the jobs taken by Zimbabwean
migrants are very badly paid and the work conditions are demeaning. He
says they take the jobs that South Africans do not want.
what we are trying to do here is set up a system that will address some
of the needs of those big commercial farms in South Africa to provide
those employers with young Zimbabwean migrants who want to be employed
in South Africa and who want to be employed legally," he said.
says those Zimbabweans who want to participate in the pilot project
should register with their District Labor Center. He says their
profiles will be sent to the IOM database in Beitbridge. He says
custom designed software will match their applications with the labor
needs of the South African farmers.