Migration Data Observatory Migration and Development Gender and Migration Temporary Migration for Employment
Migration and Population Health Border Operations and Management Migration and Urban Governance Diasporas and Transnational Migration
SAMP Research Programme

SAMP has been conducting research on a wide variety of migration-related issues in Southern Africa since the late 1990s. SAMP research is rigorous, collaborative, policy-oriented and increasingly demand-driven.

  • SAMP adheres to the most rigorous methodological protocols and aims to produce high-quality outputs that pass the test of peer review.
  • SAMP research is planned and implemented collaboratively by the partners in the network. SAMP is therefore able to produce in-depth comparisons between the countries of the region.
  • SAMP research is applied and empirical, rather than theoretical, in character. It aims to be accessible to policy-makers and to inform policy.
  • SAMP's research program emerges out of discussions with migration stakeholders and is responsive to particular requests for migration research.

The results of SAMP research are published in the flagship Migration Policy Series (available in hard copy and online), the Migration Briefs Series (online) and the Migration Perspective Series (hard copy). SAMP has also introduced a new African Migration and Development Series . Many SAMP reports are later published in academic journals .

SAMP's research is divided into a number of “activity channels”:

Migration Data Observatory

The problems of accurately measuring the dimensions and forms of cross-border migration within and to the SADC region are well-known. SAMP is undertaking a survey of the migration data collection systems of all SADC states with a view to making recommendations to governments and statistical agencies for harmonization. SAMP is also establishing an electronic Migration Data Observatory for the SADC region which will be accessible from this website. The observatory will include (a) updated official migration statistics (where available) and (b) primary data from all SAMP surveys. Data from SAMP's first three national migration surveys are already available at the Migration Observatory.

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Migration and Development

SAMP has been conducting basic research using large-scale representative household and individual migrant surveys to provide sound, comparative data on the connections between migration and development, SAMP has conducted several migration surveys on a range of policy-relevant migration issues within the SADC. They include the following surveys (with outputs):

  • Contract Labour Migration

Purpose: To examine the migration behaviour of Mozambican and Basotho miners and to assess why the majority did not take advantage of an immigration amnesty offered by the South African government in 1996.


Migration Policy Series Nos. 2 and 8.

J, Crush and V. Williams, eds., The New South Africans? Immigration Amnesties and Their Aftermath (Cape Town: Idasa, 1999).

  • Migration and Xenophobia

Purpose: To survey the attitudes and opinions of migrants towards migration and to collect basic data on migration dynamics. These surveys helped dispel many popular myths about migrants in Southern Africa .


Migration Policy Series Nos. 7, 10, 13, 14, 17, 22, 30, 37, 50

D.McDonald, ed., On Borders: Perspective on Migration in Southern Africa ( Cape Town and New York : SAMP and St Martin 's Press, 2001

  • Brain Drain

Purpose: To compare and contrast the migration hehaviour and intentions of skilled nationals and skilled foreigners. This survey developed an index for measuring future migration scenarious (the Migration Potential Index or MPI).


Migration Policy Series Nos. 18, 19, 20, 23, 25, 29, 34, 35, 36, 39, 42, 45 and 47

D. McDonald and J. Crush, eds., Destinations Unknown: Perspectives on the Brain Drain in Southern Africa ( Pretoria : Africa Institute Press, 2002).

  • National Immigration Policy (NIPS)

Purpose: To survey the attitudes of citizens towards migrants, immigrants and refugees and towards various migration policy options.


Migration Policy Series Nos. 27, 28, 30, 32

  • Migration and Development

Purpose: To collect nationally-representative data at the household level on the relationships between poverty and migration and to establish to what extent migration is a viable poverty-alleviation strategy in Southern Africa


Migration Policy Series Nos. 43, 44, and 49


GCIM Global Commission on International Migration Report, 2005

African Common Position on Migration and Development, June 2006.

Report of Secretary Report of the Secretary-General on International Migration and Development, June 2006

J. Crush and B. Frayne, eds., The Migration-Development Nexus in Southern Africa. Special Issue of Development Southern Africa 27 (2007)

Global Forum on Migration and Development, October 2008

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Gender and Migration

In 2002, SAMP adopted a strategy to mainstream gender in all project activity. A program of research was developed to further understanding and awareness of the links between migration and gender. The research strategy is currently being implemented. The research consists of three inter-related strands.

  • Migration and Female Traders. SAMP, with IOM support, has conducted research on the activities and problems faced by female informal cross-border traders in several SADC countries including Botswana , Malawi , Mozambique , South Africa , Swaziland and Zimbabwe . In collaboration with the Regional Trade Facilitation Program (RTFP), SAMP monitored the volume of informal trade across the region.
  • Migration and Intra-Household Dynamics. SAMP is currently conducting gender analyses of its national household surveys to try and quantify the relationships between gender relations and remittance transfer and use and between migration, poverty and gender. See Migration Policy Series N0. 49.
  • Migrant Voices. To provide more profile to the experiences of female migrants, SAMP has been using qualitative research techniques to record the experiences of a wide variety of individual women who are migrants. See Migration Policy Series No. 48.

SAMP is currently seeking funding for a major new project on children's migration in Southern Africa .

See also Migration Policy Series Nos. 9 and 23.

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Temporary Migration for Employment

SAMP has conducted research in a number of sectors in which unskilled and semi-skilled migrants congregate for work. These include the mining industry (in South Africa ), commercial agriculture (in South Africa , Malawi and Swaziland ) and the construction industry ( South Africa ). Research focuses on understanding the employment practices of these sectors, their treatment of migrants and the rights to which migrants are entitled or denied. SAMP also conducted a major project with migrant domestic workers in the City of Johannesburg . The research has shown that many employers continue to violate basic labour standards, that conditions have not appreciably improved since 1994 and that the social conditions of domestic work heighten vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.

See Migration Policy Series Nos. 1, 11, 13, 15, 16, 40

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Migration and Population Health

SAMP research on the relationships between migration and health focuses on:

•  The brain drain of health professionals from SADC

•  The vulnerability of migrants to HIV/AIDS

Research under the HPP (Health Professionals Project) includes studies of the impact of the brain drain on the Zimbabwean and South African health sectors. SAMP has recently concluded an on-line survey of South African health professionals and a major study of the recruiting of health professionals. The results of both will be available shortly.

SAMP has conducted research on the vulnerability of domestic workers to HIV/AIDS, undertaken a major review of the HIV/AIDS and migration relationship and commissioned reports on HIV/AIDS and children's migration in Lesotho and Malawi , and the rural impact of HIV/AIDS and migration. SAMP is also a research partner on the PHAMSA , a network for research and policy intervention on migration and HIV/AIDS.

See Migration Policy Series Nos. 24, 31, 33, 34

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Border Operations and Management

At the request of the South African, Lesotho and Namibian governments, SAMP has undertaken studies of cross-border movements and the cost-effectiveness of border controls along the South African-Lesotho and Namibia-Angola borders.

See Migration Policy Series Nos. 26 and 38.

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Diasporas and Transnational Migration

SAMP is conducting research on the development potential of the SADC diaspora and the transnational linkages of migrants within the region.

See J. Crush and D. McDonald, eds., Transnationalism and New African Migration to South Africa ( Toronto and Cape Town : CAAS and SAMP, 2002).

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