Draft National Labour Migration Policy on track for 2020

Friday, October 25, 2019

South Africa is on track to have a draft National Labour Migration Policy (NLMP) by March 2020.

The Chief Director for Public Employment Services (PES) at the Department of Employment and Labour, Esther Tloane, said while the NLMP is being developed, there is a need to strike a balance to manage the movement of labour.

“South Africa is one of the high receiving countries when it comes to migrants, and this is posing serious challenges for the country. The dynamics in South Africa are also very unique,” said Tloane while addressing a branch workshop on Friday.

Tloane’s presentation at the workshop focused on the draft Labour Migration Policy and its implications for PES and the Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES).

Tloane said migration is occurring not out of choice but “migrants were moving due to political instability, lack of employment opportunities, climate change and other pull and push factors”.

“The policy we are developing should not displace South Africans. We need to strike a balance.
This process is a multi-departmental area that needs coordination, while taking consideration of international conventions,” she said.

South Africa is developing the NLMP as part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) agreement of Ministers of Employment and Labour to develop national frameworks on NLMP as far back in 2013. The deadline for SADC member states is November 2019 for countries to develop their policies.

In 2016, the Department of Labour formalised its road map for the development of a National Labour Migration Policy. The NLMP aims to equip South Africa with a technically sound policy instrument, which will strengthen the country’s approach to labour migration, and contribute to the socio-economic agenda.

Tloane said in developing the draft policy, South Africa focused on the African Union and SADC protocols; various international agreements such as Convention 97 and Convention 143, the Sustainable Development Goals, the Constitution and Employment Services  Act.

Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said on Thursday during the PES awards that the department needs to help facilitate regulation and bring order to this difficult area, mindful of the sensitivities involved, including relations with SA’s neighbours to the north.

He said SA needs to also be mindful of the skills and economic stimulus that immigrants can bring. However, he said government needs to ensure that South African nationals are not squeezed out of employment in certain sectors.

“However, what we must all agree on is that the violent and unlawful attacks on non-nationals and their property that we have witnessed can never, under any circumstances, be justified,” Nxesi said.

Meanwhile, Nxesi has announced his intention to extend the contract of the department’s Director-General, Thobile Lamati, for another five years. Lamati assumed his duties as the department’s Director-General in December 2014. – SAnews.gov.za