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Malawi launches operation to flush out illegal immigrants

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Malawi has embarked on an operation to arrest foreign nationals without permits, as on Monday some Pakistanis and Indians were nabbed.

The Department of Immigration and the Malawi Police Service are working hand in hand to carry out the operation focusing on flushing out immigrants without proper documentation such as passports and work permits.

One of the reasons to the initiation of the operation is that, foreign nationals are taking up jobs from Malawian citizens. Malawi has strict laws which protect jobs for local citizens, as Malawi does not grant work permits for jobs which Malawians have expertise on.

Three Pakistan and six Indian nationals who were arrested on Monday are set to appear in court soon, as confirmed by the Central Region Immigration spokesperson Ealack Banda.

“The Immigration department is working on arrangements for the nine to appear in court,” said Banda

Last week, 67 nationals who were allegedly working at Salima Sugar Company without employment permits were arrested. The 67 Indians were later released on Monday on bail while. Part of the bail condition includes surrendering any other travel documents.

The Sugar Company is a public limited entity with 60 percent of its shares held by the Aum Sugar Company Limited of India and 40 percent of the shares held by the Malawi government through the Greenbelt Authority.

Furthermore, it emerged that most of the non-African immigrants, come to Africa because of companies that originate outside Africa and later expand into Africa, as such foreign owners usually promise and grant jobs to their fellow countrymen, even when the government has not given them work permits.

According to International Organization for Migration IOM data that was released in June 2020, at least 148 and 144 restrictive measures that affected travel to and from Southern African countries respectively had been implemented by 20 April 2020. Though labour migration is a key driver of migration in the Southern African region.

IOM has played a crucial role with respect to the advancement of migrants rights, establishment of a regional policy dialogue on migration, development of migrant friendly policies, capacity building of government and non-governmental actors on migration management.

Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News Correspondent.

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