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Do Not Blame Unemployment On Expatriates

MONITOR EDITOR
There appears to be a serious problem unravelling at Immigration and Labour offices, resulting in scores of non-citizens either being systematically denied residence and work permits or at the worst, being forced to go back to their countries of origins.

Sadly some of these cases are happening to people who have lived all their lives here, from primary schools to Universities until they started to develop career paths in Botswana and began contributing to the economy in various positive ways.

A good number of these people today have no connections whatsoever with the so-called countries of origins where their parents migrated from many years ago to settle in Botswana. It is worrying that even after schooling here, working here for so long, these groups of people today find themselves still having to deal with work and residence permits renewal issues, and worst, deportations to their parents’ countries of origins, all in the name of creating jobs for Batswana.  We need to be very careful lest we send out wrong signals out there to possible foreign investors, that we are an unwelcoming lot, thankless and cruel, when dealing with non-citizens even those that had invested so much in our economy. In fact it is embarrassing that we do not

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have a policy of automatic citizenship attainment or permanent residence attainment for those immigrants that have stayed in Botswana for at least 10  years. Today it has become common to see descendants of immigrants who have spent over 40 years in Botswana, still fighting for work permits renewal or being sent home, after more than 40 years in Botswana, a country they had come to call home.

As a country we need to be appreciative and rewarding towards these types of immigrants. In fact our immigration and labour policy should be biased toward retaining these invaluable resources. The truth is no man is an island, and we need these Botswana loving immigrants to contribute to job creations, skills developments, and generally to our human resource database. Tied to this problem, there also seems to be a new trend unfolding whereby foreign companies investing in Botswana are given a hard time when they wish to put their preferred choices, usually foreign nationals, in certain strategic positions.



Editorial

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