Trade and Industry

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Increasing Temporary Movement of Natural Persons in the SADC Region: What Should be Done?

  • Year: 2009
  • Organisation: Services Sector Development Thematic Working Group; TIPS, BIDPA and UoM
  • Author(s): Albert Makochekanwa
  • Countries and Regions: Southern African Development Community (SADC)

Given that the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) intention is to become a common market (CM) whereby labour and capital will be envisioned to freely move among the bloc's member states, the study investigates the extent to which the region is prepared for free movement of natural persons. The study investigates the extent to which the current regional member countries' laws and regulations, measures and practices encourage or inhibit free movement of citizens across their respective territories.

The research found out that, national laws, regulations and practices inhibit free movement of regional citizens across member states. Some of the regulations, laws and practices which inhibit free movement of people include stringent visa requirements, different requirements for registration of foreign business, non recognition of relevant educational qualifications obtained in other member states, strict entry requirements in certain sectors such as medical and legal fields, application bureaucracies and the cost of applying for permits. The study suggests some possible actions that the regional bloc may consider implementing in an attempt to encourage and ensure the successful implementation of the envisioned common market, especially with regards to free movement of regional citizens.

The policy suggestions recommends commitment by SADC States to the implementation of agreed Protocols and policies on enhancing free movement of people through (i) recognition of qualifications obtained in regional institutions of higher learning by all member states, (ii) expedition of the ratification of the Protocol on Free Movement of People, (iii) making labour markets more flexible, (iv) simplify administrative procedures, (iv) development of SADC expert and employment vacancy database in collaboration with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and International Organization of Migration (IOM) (v) prioritizing employment of regional qualified personnel before considering non-regional candidates.