Migration and development are today increasingly viewed through the prism of the many links existing between the two fields. While development-oriented actions may help in tackling the root causes of migratory flows, migration can, in turn, contribute positively to development, including economic growth, social empowerment and technological progress.
Migration can pose challenges to countries’ development efforts if not well managed. Such phenomenon as ‘brain drain’, experienced by a number of developing countries in key development sectors, call for more cohesive and sustainable policies.
Factors enhancing Development Potential of Migration
Greater partnership between countries of origin, transit and destination as well as the full integration of the migratory dimension in development policies and dialogue on all levels are crucial steps in enhancing the development potential of migration.
Steps undertaken in Partner States to ensure Free Movement of Labour
The EAC Partner States have reviewed various laws related to work permit to ensure free movement of labor. In accordance with Regulation 6(7) of the EAC Common Market (Free Movement of Workers) Regulations, the Competent Authorities in Partner States issue work permits to East Africans wishing to work within the Partner States within thirty days from the date of application. The work permits may be issued for an initial period up to two years and may be renewed upon application. At the same time, Partner States’ citizens are granted the first privilege in case they are competing for the same positions with nationals from outside the EAC region. The Partner States are also in the process of amending their laws to ease issuance of work permits to EAC citizens.
Harmonised classification for issuance of work / resident permit fees and procedures
Pursuant to the decision of the 20th meeting of the Sectoral Council for Ministers responsible for EAC and Planning, held on 13th July 2014, the EAC Secretariat is co-ordinating the process of harmonisation of the work / residence permit fees in accordance with Regulation 6(9) of EAC Common Market (Free Movement of Workers) Annex II. The Secretariat convened a meeting of the multi-sectoral experts drawn from Partner States’ immigration and labor departments / directorates / agencies, Investment Authorities, Employers and Workers, and employer organisations’ associations from 8-10th June 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya.
However, the multi-sectoral experts did not finalise the work and therefore, the proposed harmonised classification and Procedures for issuance of Entry / Work / Residence Permits is still work in progress.
The current status on Work / Residence Permit fees is guided by national laws / administrative procedures put in place by each EAC Partner State. Under the Implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol, the Republics of Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda have waived payment of Work permit fees for East Africans who are workers and those who are establishing themselves.
Increased Labour Migration
The number of migrants crossing borders in search of employment is expected to increase rapidly due to the failure of globalisation to provide jobs and economic opportunities.
EAC Citizens residing in other countries are encouraged to register with their embassy.
E-Immigration enables users to request for certain services electronically without having to personally appear before the local immigration authorities, for example applications for entry visas, resident permits, passports and even, exit permission.