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Amendment To Attract Foreign Investment Welcome

MONITOR EDITOR
Government has moved to amend Immigration Laws to enable the Minister responsible to accord foreign investors and their families permanent residence.

This amendment, to be tabled in the next sitting of Parliament, is geared toward attracting foreign direct investment into Botswana. According to the amendment gazetted on December 16 edition of the Government Gazette, permanent residences will be issued by the Minister to non-citizens and their families who have been operating in Botswana for  at least five years.

The amendment also says the minister will issue permanent residentce permits if he is convinced that the investor will set up investment or expand the investment in the country.

While this amendment is long overdue and greatly welcomed in the face of high unemployment that would no doubt do with foreign investment opportunities, there is however a worry that the amendment has in it seeds of xenophobic tendencies as it seems to extend the opportunities of permanent residence permits only to the children of the investors that are only minors, further raising fears that investors who might want to relocate to Botswana with their families, minor or not minors, might feel hampered  to do so by such a rigid law.

Those who takes a dim view of

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this amendment argue that 16-20-year-olds, for instance, who are not considered minors may still be dependent on their parents for their education and upkeep, yet this amendment seems to be locking them out for consideration for the permanent residence permits as they lie outside the minors’ category.

The new amendment comes at a time when Botswana today has thousands of no-citizens who had been operating in Botswana for decades, even raising children here who are later segregated against by local laws when it comes to living and working in the country, as they are often viewed as grabbing the jobs meant for locals, when in fact the only country those, ‘foreigners’ have come to know is Botswana, and not their parents’ origin’s country.

Botswana would do well to look at its immigration laws wholesomely and address all the offending pieces to make this country a more welcoming destination for investors and their families as a place they can not only be happy to invest in, but to live in and work in, with equal opportunities and no fear of segregation.



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