The dynamics of undocumented Mozambican labour migration to South Africa.
Muanomoha, Ramos Cardoso.
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Labour migration from Mozambique to South Africa is a historical process in Southern African region that dates from the 18th century. However, its formalisation and regulation took place in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, becoming a part of the Southern African labour market system. Within this labour market system Mozambique is one of the longstanding suppliers, with relatively consistent numbers of contract migrants for the South African mines. In the last two decades the number of contract migrant labourers for the mining industry in South Africa has declined. In contrast, there has been an increase in undocumented migrants from Mozambique to South Africa. The aim of this thesis is to analyse the dynamics of undocumented labour migration to South Africa. The undocumented migrants are mostly male youths from rural areas of southern Mozambique who are pushed by poverty and lack of employment conditions. They enter into the South Africa pulled by a demand for cheap unskilled labour, and they work mainly in the agriculture, construction, informal trade and domestic sector. Their aim is to send or carry back home remittances in cash or kind. However, the presence of undocumented Mozambican immigrants, as well as those from other parts of Southern Africa, has given cause for concern. There is social pressure in South Africa, where in some circles the undocumented migrants are seen as taking jobs from locals, which leads to xenophobic attitudes. The South African government has been forced to adopt restrictive measures, including the repatriation or deportation of undocumented immigrants. Notwithstanding the undocumented migration from Mozambique continues to increase. Findings from the fieldwork in Mozambique and South Africa, obtained through both quantitative and qualitative approaches, confirmed that the undocumented Mozambican labour migration to South Africa was a self-sustaining process through social networks, which helped in the process of adjustment and also allowed migrants to make multiple entries into South Africa. The study concludes that stopping undocumented migration requires the creation of job opportunities in migrant sending areas, particularly in the rural areas, so that people can be employed locally, reducing their dependency on migrant labour. In addition, policies are required that encourage migrants to organize in order to be involved productively in development projects of their communities.