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National Labour Migration Policy on Track

June 20, 2022

Department of Employment and Labour

The Draft National Labour Migration Policy is in the process of being consolidated.

The employment and labour minister, Thulas Nxesi, confirmed this in a statement on the recent blocking of roads by truck drivers.

The draft policy was published for comment at the end of February 2022 together with the Draft Employment Services Amendment Bill.

In the draft policy’s foreword, the minister points out that the employment and labour department “researched extensively and benchmarked internationally in search of policy based on best practice”.

The minister added that it became increasingly clear over the past few years that South Africa was in need of “innovative, radical policy transformation in the area of labour migration in order to meet the needs and expectations of its citizenry as well as those of its partners in the region”.

The draft policy is designed as a “rights-based, gender-sensitive development-oriented policy instrument” that will supplement South Africa’s international migration policy.

It emphasizes that the absence of a streamlined labour migration policy framework will perpetuate a fragmented and inconsistent approach to labour migration; non-aligned institutional frameworks; irregular labour migration; lack of critical skills and the absence of a framework for supporting and channeling South Africans wanting to work abroad.

In the statement, the minister pointed out that national roadshows on the draft policy got underway in April 2022.

“The roadshows were held in each of the nine provinces, and they primarily targeted towns with a high concentration of migrants, employers, farmers, interest groups, and general members of the community”, he said.

According to the minister, 456 written submissions were received.

The employment and labour department is “currently synthesising and reviewing major recommendations to determine whether they require regulatory changes”.

“The Department intends to complete synthesising the recommendations by the end of June this year, and then present a consolidated document at NEDLAC for a formal consultation with social partners”, the minister added.

According to the department, the draft policy seeks to achieve a balance between citizens’ expectations regarding access to work given worsening unemployment and a perception that undocumented foreigners are distorting labour market access; South Africa’s labour market needs with particular emphasis on critical skills not locally available; protection of migrant workers and their families, in accordance with international standards and guidelines; and regional integration and cooperation imperatives.