Mauritius: Budget 2015 to propose a migration & development coordinating unit
It is widely accepted that migration contributes to a great extent, in both countries of origin and countries of destination, to employment opportunities, remittances, poverty reduction and to fill the gap of skills and labour shortage and transfer of skills. (Image: Adecco)
Migration can be a powerful driver of development both for migrants and the country receiving them, was the clear message which rung out at a workshop held from 23-24 September 2014 at the Labourdonnais Hotel, Caudan Waterfront in Mauritius.
At the two-day capacity building and consultation workshop on migration policy, the Senior Chief Executive at the Prime Minister’s Office, Fong Weng-Poorun, observed that conclusions of various studies only serve to reinforce the growing strength of this trend.
Since the implementation of the Business Facilitation Act and the opening up of importation of foreign labour, around 45,000 foreign nationals are in Mauritius under the various schemes as are 2,400 foreign students and 5,624 dependents of those holding Occupation, Residence and Permanent Residence permits.
While referring to the report “Migration in Mauritius: A Country Profile 2013” which was launched in July 2014, Fong Weng-Poorun said that it will serve as the basis to devise a migration policy for Mauritius.
Given the importance of migration, a proposal is being made in the budget to set up Migration and Development Coordinating Unit. It will ensure policy and programme implementation and be responsible for analysing and updating statistics, following up for policy adherence and interacting with stakeholders.
Themed ‘Stepping stones towards a national migration and development policy’, the expected outcome of the workshop is to work out a roadmap of what the country wants to achieve in terms of migration, what are the priorities to be addressed, and the challenges lying ahead.
Around 40 stakeholders from different ministries, departments and the private sector attended the workshop, jointly organised by the Prime Minister’s Office and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
“Migration continues to attract policy attention at the international and national levels, with an increasing number of migrants crossing the borders,” said Fong Weng-Poorun.
She added that it is widely accepted that migration contributes to a great extent, in both countries of origin and countries of destination, to employment opportunities, remittances, poverty reduction and to fill the gap of skills and labour shortage and transfer of skills.
Mauritius is integrating migration in its development process. Since 2006, new trends of migration are being witnessed with the policy of business facilitation to attract foreign direct investment, investors and professionals, and to boost the economic development of the country, she concluded.
The main objective of the workshop was to provide a platform for interaction between the members of the National Migration and Development Working Group and stakeholders involved with migration and development issues.
It also served to validate the Terms of reference of the working group and to present key conclusions and recommendations of the national profile for Mauritius.
Participants had the opportunity to discuss the goals and priority actions to be identified in a national Policy and Plan of Action and agree on the work plan towards the development of a Policy and Plan of Action.
The key resource persons were Lalini Veerassamy and Davina Gounden from the IOM, and Nikhil Treebhohun, in a consultant capacity.
In her presentation, Lalini Veerassamy stated that migration has profound social, political and economic impacts on both the communities of origin and destination, while adding that orderly and coordinated migration programmes can create ‘triple win’ scenarios for the countries of origin and destination, and the migrants themselves.
Speaking about the Mauritian diaspora abroad, she said that very limited data is available and that there has never been a clear policy and structure, adding that only timid actions have been taken so far to engage Mauritians overseas.
Lalini Veerassamy underscored the need to develop a new policy which should constitute a real commitment from the Government to identify the priorities and acknowledge the link between development and migration.