By Gideon Adonai
The wave of brain drain continues to rise as the demand for Zimbabwean professionals around the world snowballs with Angola and Qatar, the latest countries that have requested for teachers and other professions to work in the public service.
Already, Zimbabwe government is finalising vetting of 225 professionals who are to be posted to Rwanda after the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on exchange of teachers including medical personnel who are undergoing medical checkups and police clearance.
Speaking at a workshop on capacity development initiative on promoting ethical recruitment and rights based bilateral labour migration agreements in the Southern African Region here in Victoria Falls yesterday, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima said Government is working to come up with bilateral agreements with countries where Zimbabweans will be working in order to guarantee safety of its citizens.
The workshop which started on Monday, was organised by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) which administers the Southern African Migration Management Project and Africa Regional Migration Programme funded by the European Union and United States respectively in collaboration with the Government of Zimbabwe.
Prof Mavima said there is no database of Zimbabweans, both professional and informal, outside the country.
Bilateral agreements will help create a database and the country will also benefit from diaspora remittances and philanthropic work.
“So far we have one bilateral agreement that we have signed with Rwanda and based on that we are actually seeing requests coming from other countries. Angola has requested for English teachers and Qatar wants other skilled personnel from Zimbabwe.
“We have Zimbabwean professionals everywhere but we don’t even know the conditions they are working in and so we need a mechanism,” said Prof Mavima.
He said engagements with Angola and Qatar will determine finer details of the possible postings.
Minister Mavima said citizens should be conscientised on the dangers that befall people who use irregular channels to go to other nations.
He said migration around the continent is on the rise due to a multiplicity of factors including economic conditions, political instability, conflict and civil strife as well as pull factors in receiving countries.
Prof Mavima said it is good that Zimbabwe is beginning to get requests for its professionals from other countries.
Previously some citizens have gone to other countries with the help of private recruitment agents and gotten stranded until Government intervened.
“We want to avoid that and bilaterals are the best way to make sure the country benefit and citizens are safe. Ultimately what we want is a situation where there is proper treatment of those who migrate from Zimbabwe to other countries,” he said.
Thousands of Zimbabweans are in neighbouring countries and the region as well as far afield.
There are 281 million citizens of the world who are outside their countries.
Prof Mavima said Sadc member states are grappling with how to effectively manage migration and enhance contribution towards regional development and integration in line with aspirations of Sadc
Labour Migration Policy Framework and Action Plan (2020-2025).
Increased migration has exposed migrants to human trafficking, abuse, exploitation, migrant smuggling and modern slavery.
Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo who was represented by Hwange District Development Coordinator Mr Simon Muleya said it was opportune to address migration and unethical recruitment as Victoria Falls is one of the transit zones for migrants from the region going to South Africa.
IOM regional manager Mr Sylvester Deane said there is need to put in place targeted measures to counter migrant exploitation and to promote good labour migration governance and ethical recruitment.