SWAZILAND MOVES: PERCEPTIONS AND PATTERNS OF MODERN MIGRATION

Series Editor: Jonathan Crush

Southern African Migration Project

Migration Policy Series No. 32

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Introduction

The Southern African Migration Project (SAMP) is committed to supporting basic research on the dimensions, causes and consequences of cross-border and internal migration within the SADC region and to making the results accessible to a range of inter est groups. We believe that a well-informed policy-maker or official is more likely to appreciate the workability of policy choices in the area of migration and immigration management. Policies based on poor or misleading information will not only fail but could have negative unintended consequences. From a human rights perspective, we are concerned that without accurate information about migration, decisions may be made which will violate constitutional guarantees and arouse public hostility towards non-citizens.

SAMP is also committed to conducting policy research at a regional scale. Research in one country, such as Swaziland, can be systematically compared with the results from other SADC countries to highlight similarities and differences, and to ascertain the degree to which governments face similar challenges of migration management. The information can also be useful to civil society and NGOs as they attempt to deal with the challenges of migrant integration and xenophobia. Economic data on migration impacts can be invaluable to a wide range of actors, including government and the private sector. Ultimately, the successful management of migration in Southern Africa depends on inter-governmental cooperation in data collection and policy harmonization. SAMP believes that the next step is to gather reliable and accurate data on the volumes, trends, causes, impacts and remedies of migration at a r egional scale. Only then can there be informed debate and forward movement on regional harmonization.

Swaziland has an unusually rich migration history. Swazi men and women have been migrating acr oss colonial and international borders for decades for a multiplicity of reasons. Within the country, post-independence economic development was accompanied by rapid urbanization. As in many countries of the region, the monitoring of these processes through the ongoing collection of migration and immigration statistics is a challenging task. In this respect, the research community can play a vital role in supplementing official and census data collection with sound and representative inter-censual surveys of citizens and noncitizens, migrants and non-migrants.

In an effort to provide the government and people of Swaziland with basic, up-to-date information on migration trends, volumes, impacts, and attitudes, SAMP entered into a research partnership with the University of Swaziland. This publication represents the first phase ofthis ongoing collaboration, bringing together the research findings from two national surveys of migration attitudes and behaviours undertaken in Swaziland in 2001 and 2002.

In general, SAMP and its partners trust that the results of the surveys reported here will help government and civil society in Swaziland to construct the knowledge base about migration that is urgently needed. These findings clearly reveal the distinctiveness of the Swaziland experience with in- and out-migration. However, Swaziland also shares many policy concerns and dilemmas about migration with its neighbouring states. Inter national experience shows that effective migration management is not something that a state can unilaterally implement. A renewed cooperative, regional, and harmonized approach (based on sound and reliable migration data and analysis) within SADC is therefore essential. This publication is designed to provide the people and government of Swaziland with the information to advance towards that goal.