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February 1999, Volume 6, Number 2

Immigration in Africa

Botswana. More than 1,900 Namibian refugees from the Caprivi Strip have crossed into neighboring Botswana since October, 1998. The Namibian refugees claim they are fleeing political persecution by their government. The Namibian government responded that the "so-called refugees" were plotting the succession of the Caprivi Strip from Namibia. The Botswana Refugee Advisory Committee will decide whether to grant asylum. The Botswana government and the UNHCR had said that the refugees would be returned to their homeland only on a voluntary basis.

South Africa. On January 5, Mozambique accused South Africa of returning illegal migrants of various African nationalities to Mozambique. The Mozambiquen police say that illegal migrants are picked up on South African streets and workplaces and shipped to Mozambique by train without determining where they are from.

Claude Scravesande, Director of Aliens Control in the Home Affairs Department, in January reported that there were 4.1 million illegal foreigners in the country.

Kenya. It is believed that there are 300,000 Kenyans living and working abroad. Over the last decade, the number of employment agencies operating in the country has increased dramatically; many have defrauded job seekers. There are only four employment bureaus that are sanctioned by the government, the others operate unofficially. Job seekers often sign a binding agreement with the agent, a potential employer and the labor officer for a non-refundable Sh2,000 processing fee.

"Job Offers That Are a Con," The Nation, January 6, 1999. "Namibian Illegal Immigrants in Botswana Reach 1,900," Xinhua, January 6, 1999. "South Africa Deports Illegal Immigrants," South Africa Press Agency, January 5, 1999.