By Ibrahim Samura
A two-day workshop on the review of a draft labour migration policy of Sierra Leone kicks off Monday 25th at the New Brookfield Hotel, West of Freetown, Sierra Leone.
The meeting brings together stakeholders the world over including the EU, ECOWAS, ILO, IOM, ICPMD, the Sierra Leone government and related other institutions.
In his statement, Sierra Leone Labour Minister extols nations and institutions who have been giving helping hand in the implementation of policies preventing illegal migration, and assured all that his government will remain committed to the enactment of a policy that will not only prevent illegal migration, but promotes a legally beneficial one.
“The government of Sierra Leone is committed to formulate and implement a labour migration policy as an instrument for growth and development,” Sierra Leone’s Labour Minister said.
He said this has been the first time an effort is made by Sierra Leone to document a national aspiration expectations out of a well managed labour migration system.
Head of delegation EU Sierra Leone said, his organization is privileged to working with the UN on range of issues on legal migration and the prevention of illegal migration.
He said money has already been set aside to help member states combat migration, but drew the attention of all present that Sierra Leone’s difficulties in the area of migration is minimal as compared to countries in the North and Horn of Africa.
IOM’s Sylvester Deen said his organization is committed to helping Sierra Leone solve migration problems.
He said however that as an institution they believe in serving people, forecast issues of migration, prevent future emergencies and assist failed asylum seekers by re-introducing them to the society they once left.
The leading light to migration Africa, Free Movement of Persons and Migration in Africa (FMM), has over the years had tireless moments collaborating with ECOWAS countries in the enhancement of a better migration system.
Recent scholarship has shown that in order to maximize the developmental impacts of migration, there is the need for national policies that promote the protection of migrant workers and their families, good governance, employment generation and the creation of decent working opportunities for both migrants and citizens.
Based on an understanding that regional cooperation in the field of labour migration could enhance the transfer of skills and assets as well as promote the protection of migrant workers and their families, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) adopted the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Establishment, in 1979.
The ECOWAS Common Approach adopted in 2008 also provides a framework for managing migration.
Given that about 84 percent of migrants from West Africa move to destinations within the sub-region (SWAC and OECD 2006; Awumbila et al, 2014), the successful implementation of these regional protocols will contribute to the protection of many ECOWAS migrants and increase the positive developmental impacts of migration.
Recognizing the importance of labour migration for socio-economic development and in an effort to implement the ECOWAS protocols and international conventions on the protection of migrants and their families, the government of Sierra Leone has adopted a number of measures to mainstream migration into development policy.
This, however, resulted in the accomplishment of a national labour migration policy for the improvement of a national labour migration policy by the Sierra Leone government, which certainly has seen local as well as international organizations coming together to review the country’s draft migration policy.
The conference is expected to last for two days and will end on 26th April, shortly after a methodical theory test of the draft policy would have been uprightly looked into.