THE proposed National Labour Migration Policy (NLMP) in South Africa shall have startling ramifications on Lesotho and its people if it turns into law.
Nov. 30, 2022
2 min read
Looming SA migration law to affect Basotho
Executive Director of the Migrant Workers Association of Lesotho, Lerato Nkhetše
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Its implementation shall see almost 700 000 Lesotho citizens being negatively impacted by the law which seeks to address South Africa’s expectations regarding access to work opportunities, given worsening unemployment and the perception that foreign nationals are distorting labour market access.
The NLMP, together with the proposed legislation will introduce quotas on the total number of documented foreign nationals with work visas that can be employed in major economic sectors such as agriculture, hospitality, tourism, and construction, to mention a few.
The policy goes hand in hand with a proposed Employment Services Amendment Bill, which will regulate the extent to which employers can engage foreign nationals in their establishments while protecting the rights of migrants.
Furthermore, the proposed amendments to the Employment Services Act aim to limit the extent to which employers can employ the number of foreign nationals in possession of a valid work visa in their employment and codifies the obligations of an employer engaging foreign workers amongst others, only employ foreign nationals entitled to work in terms of the Immigration Act, the Refugees Act or any other provision.
According to the Migrant Workers Association of Lesotho, the proposed law will not only lead to an increase in unemployment but also, the human trafficking incidents in the country shall maintain an upward trajectory.
The association compares the imminent Act to what happened in the South African mining industry when thousands of Basotho lost their jobs following the introduction of similar policies in the past.
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“This simply means Basotho are going to lose jobs while scores of others will resort back to the neighbouring country as undocumented migrants and eventually end up being victims of human trafficking, particularly women, and children. Drugs smuggling shall also increase in the process,” the Executive Director of the Migrant Workers Association of Lesotho, Lerato Nkhetše told Maseru Metro.
The law, according to the South African government, will further seek to only employ foreign nationals entitled to work in the country in terms of the Act.
To try and mitigate the situation, the association said the two countries should implement bilateral agreements meant to exempt Basotho from other nationals as they have strong-rooted family relations with South Africans.
“If introduced, the agreement will be highly beneficial to Basotho because they will not be affected by the said quota laws,” Nkhetše said.