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Zim youths flee in droves

Beitbridge Boarder Post ... About three million Zimbabweans are reportedly living in other countries, the bulk of them in South Africa.

Zimbabwean youths constitute the biggest number of people who have left the country in droves after the August 23 general elections, a new report showed this week, indicating most are settling in the United Kingdom (UK), the United States and Canada.

Most of those leaving were said to be frustrated by diminishing opportunities in a country battling rapid de-industrialisation and currency volatilities.

Data from international organisations, confirmed by authorities this week, indicated migrations increased in the aftermath of the polls, whose presidential result was rejected by the main opposition political party, Citizens Coalition for Change.

A recent report by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) also confirmed there were high levels of migration after the August polls.

It said the Canadian, US and UK embassies have been busy processing visas for Zimbabwean applicants planning to leave.

According to the IOM report, 55% of people leaving the country were from Matabeleland South, followed by Beitbridge with 49%.

The data said 14% of migrants were leaving from Harare.

“Seventy percent of migrants indicated that South Africa was their final intended destination,” the report said.

“Of the migrants going to South Africa, 37% were looking for livelihood opportunities, 19% were looking for employment while 15% were travelling for family reunification.

“Twenty-six percent of those travelling to South Africa were females aged between 26–35 years. Of the surveyed migrants, 10% indicated that Botswana was their final intended destination,” the report added.

It said 48% of those leaving for Botswana were looking for employment, while 16% were travelling to conduct commercial activities.

IOM said 12% were looking for livelihood opportunities, while 28% of those travelling to Botswana were males aged between 26 and 35 years.

“Of those looking for employment, 34% were planning to stay for a period between six months and 12 months, whilst 8% indicated that they were planning to stay in Botswana for more than a year.”

Responding to questions from the Zimbabwe Independent, Respect Gono, director-general at the Department of Immigration, said her records were not showing an increase in migration as people were refusing to fill in departure forms.

She confirmed some Zimbabweans were leaving “in a hurry”, making it difficult to track the numbers.

“Zimbabwean nationals leaving the country have resisted filling departure forms hence making it difficult for the department to collect such statistics,” Gono said.

She said officers at various ports had not reported an exodus of youths leaving the country after elections.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is responsible for tracking the movement of people across the border.

This includes recording the departure of citizens and visitors.

In a 2020 report, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) revealed that 580 000 youths fled Zimbabwe in search of greener pastures.

The Labour Market Diagnostic Analysis Report by ILO indicated that the majority of emigrants mentioned lack of employment opportunities as the number one motive for leaving the country and South Africa was the leading destination chosen by emigrants, followed by Botswana.

Zimbabwe has a long history of cross-border mobility.

Highly skilled and semi-skilled Zimbabweans have emigrated to countries, such as the UK, the US, Canada, South Africa and Botswana in search of greener pastures.

The UK’s quest to replace its depleted health workforce, which tumbled following the ravaging effects of Covid-19 made the country a popular destination for Zimbabwean youths, some of whom are deserting professional jobs to work as caregivers.

About three million Zimbabweans are reportedly living in other countries, the bulk of them in South Africa.

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