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Sierra Leone News: SaLone reviews draft migration Policy

imigrationAccording to report, Sierra Leone is largely a migrant source country, with an estimated emigrants stock of 267,000 (two hundred and sixty-seven thousand) which represented 4.6 percent of the total population in 2010; it also hosts many foreigners. It is in this regard that a two day review of the draft National Labour Migration Policy of Sierra Leone was held.
Held at the New Brookfield Hotel on the 25th April, the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Matthew Teambo said the draft policy is being reviewed to incorporate all observation and amendments in preparation for its submission to cabinet for consideration, stating that the endorsement of the policy by cabinet “would strengthen the legal  policy framework for organised labour migration and also enhance the capacity of my Ministry and other stakeholders to promote and manage an orderly legal labour migration in Sierra Leone”.
Minister Teambo said “this will strengthen national capacity to manage labour migration and deter irregular migration while optimising the benefit of labour migration for national development”.
The Free Movement of Persons & Migration in West Africa (FMM) project is jointly supported by the European Union (EU) and in the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and the ECOWAS Commission.
Representing the European Union (EU) which is donor of the project, the Head of Delegation, Peter Versteeg disclosed that migration is high in the EU policy since they are faced with migration issues, adding that the EU is very privileged to work closely with different organisations and agencies in the UN system in long standing relations which covers various activities such as human rights, peace building, democracy and Labour migration.
He said in November 2015, there was a summit together with the European countries and African states in an effort to strengthen cooperation in the area of Migration and address current challenges, “built on existing cooperation between Europe and in that summit crucial steps were agreed upon to address migration in Africa”.
The Head of Delegation said an action plan was agreed and adopted during this summit and these include a number of key areas that are relevant to this particular workshop, one of which is to look at the root causes of migration as it is keen to stimulate development in the countries where large migrants are coming from, enhancing cooperation in migration mobility, re-enforcing protection of displaced persons and preventing the fight against migrant smugglers.
He said to support these activities, the EU established a € 1.8 billion trust fund including funding from European Union member states and the institutions; “this will have a flexible and efficient delivery”.
Versteeg maintained that although Migration is an important issue but it is not critical as compared to some of the challenges a number of countries in Africa and North Africa is facing.
Disclosing about the EU support to Sierra Leone, he said they have provided support to the Human Resource Management Office (HRMO) in terms of structuring the Public sector  right sizing, making sure that the labour force in the public sector is in tune with the requirement which has changed over the past decade, and that they also provide budgetary support to the government.
The EU Head of Delegation maintained that although migration can create a number of problems, such as brain drain in areas of origin and pressure on social amenities in receiving areas, there is increasing evidence that, if properly managed, international migration can reduce poverty and contribute to overall economic development in both sending and receiving areas.
The Coordinator of Demand Driven Facility (DDF) in the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), Marco Bordignon said the development of a labour migration policy, initiated by the Ministry of labour and Social Security, comes as a step forward as it will provide the framework for mainstreaming migration into development, taking into consideration the ECOWAS decisions and international conventions on the protection of migrants and their families, stating that ICMPD believes that “migration is first about people and welcome every opportunity to work with national governments in enhancing the migration management to the benefit of the population in Sierra Leone and in West Africa as whole”.
By Betty Milton
Tuesday April 26, 2016

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