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All hands on deck for migration profile

An endeavour to provide a framework for an analysis of the impact of migration on development as well as a contribution to promoting effective migration management is on grasp after the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) launched the second Phase of the Migration Profile in Maseru.

This comes after the first phase of the project which was intended to develop a comprehensive migration profile and a consolidated or harmonised data and also have a foundation toward the development of migration profile in 2019 before the scourge of Covid-19 pandemic halted many activities.

According to the IOM Head of Office, Eriko Nishimura the second phase of the project is projected to consolidate the efforts made on the past years of the migration data and anticipated to give a comprehensive migration profile in Lesotho and have integrated data management systems and the data phase which will give up-to-date migration data by 2023.

“This profile will be more key milestone that we can continue enhancing migration data management in Lesotho,” she said.

She said the research on migration data was inaugurated in 2013/14 under the ACP-EU funded project on the migration data and researches where an enhancement of data management was carried as well as small assessment in Lesotho.

“The assessment identified a gap and challenges of coordination and data sharing among the stakeholders, now one of the key challenges is that many of the migration data was manually placed,” she said.

“There was some assessment done on the diaspora engagement especially on head of sector, limited framework, mine-workers integration, a frame-work in mapping migration data was also done which analyses the different migration frame-work, data especially BOS, Home Affairs, Ministry of Labour, Central Bank and Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC), Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC), United Nation (UN) especially; International Labour Organisation (ILO), UNDP and World Bank,” she said.

She continued that, “There was a recommendation that data should be integrated so that we have up to date information on migration matters. The strong emphasis was also done on automating the data because if it is manual, it becomes difficult and requires a lot of effort to put data in the systems, analysing and publishing that data so that we can utilize such data for our policing.

According to the Lesotho Migration Data Ecosystem/Situation Report published in June this year which contains Supporting Evidence-Based Migration Related policy Making and Planning in Lesotho, manual system has been the order of the day until migrating from the old-aged method in 2019 until date.

“Before 2019, the manual system has been the main system of capturing data capturing key variables such as passport number, citizenship, date of birth, sex, and purpose of visit,” the report read. 

“Manually captured data is not exhaustive or comprehensive as officers may not effectively capture and keep the information leading to loss of such data. However, since 2019 the department is currently migrating from the manual system to the electronic system of data capturing. More efficient systems being piloted include e-border management, e-visa and e-residence permit.

“At present there is no interface between the manual and electronic systems to improper flow of information that results in inefficiency and loss of data. The manual system does not disaggregate data and report writing using the data is laborious,” the report read.

The report further emphasised lack of teamwork between the Bureau of Statistics and the IOM as well as other relevant stakeholders to harmonise the recorded data. 

“There is no collaboration with the Bureau of Statistics (BOS) though efforts are being made to harmonise migration variables with those of the Bureau. However, such efforts are being stymied by lack of analytical skills in the Department. Furthermore, the Department is unable to systematically collect data on irregular migration, partly because inspections are pre-announced or there is leakage of information their imminence,” the report said.
The same sentiments were shared by Nishimura who indicated that there is no group effort between the BOS and other stakeholders which makes it hard to disseminate the information without being examined properly.

“We have a lot of migration data which has not been standardised or harmonised or even the definition of migration, we tend to differ with different ministries when correcting the data. A lot of data is there but we never analyse it properly and of course if we don’t analyse it we can also not disseminate such data.

“With the leadership of the BOS, we had established migration data working group other stakeholders to contribute in the compilation of phase I project. Data literacy training was done for the technical group and also some of the manual data and index study; who is correcting, what kind of migration data and how they do the analysis and the publishing, such index assessment was done,” she said.

Among the recommendations enlisted in the report, it was suggested that there should be an integration of manual and electronic systems and that a partnership with the BOS should be harmonised.

“There is a need to integrate the manual and electronic systems to produce one system that will provide a platform for all immigration functions.

“There is a need for collaboration with the Bureau of Statistics to harmonise migration data variables as well as sharing of data,” the report read.   

Nishimura continued that from 2017, the government through National Consulting Committee (NCC) laboured determinedly on the policy based on evidence. She said there is Labour Migration policy which was based on Labour Migration Management Assessment signed in 2017. Diaspora policy is also based on Diaspora Assessment.

“We are currently working to finalise the Migration Development policy based on different assessments which has been done between 2017 and 2020. In 2019 with the support of the IOM regional office, we have undertaken some new assessments on the migration data. We have identified the strengths, weaknesses and recommendations of existing data migration; inter agency migration harmonisation and sharing, migration data collection, migration data storage, migration data analysis, big availability and accessibility and migration information dissemination and publishing,” she said.

“We have laid a foundation for the phase II. I think since we started this migration profile project, Lesotho became one of the countries which are trying to advance the migration data which was now recognised by our regional office. BOS was requested to present our Lesotho migration data initiative in the next Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA) and the Indian Ocean meetings which will happen at the end of this month and BOS will present our progress, challenges and a way forward,” she said.

The IOM Programme Support Officer, ‘Masoai Dennis said the introduction of migration system by the IOM to stakeholders which is set to commence the development of an integrated migration data management system is penned for November 1-30, 2021 on the roadmap.

She continued that the outline of the report is to have the integrated migration data management system, Inception workshop for the development of integrated migration data management system with the NCC which is set to commence from January 1 to March 30, 2022.

She said some of the deliverables in the roadmap include having a Government coordinating mechanism for migration profiling for capacity building of lead government agency and core institutions (MDWG) dealing in migration data

“Migration data mapping exercise, development of an integrated migration data management strategy with the output of assessment of data users’ needs, priorities and information gaps, training workshops on systematic migration data collection and analysis, preparation of templates for systematic migration data collection,” she said.

On the same note she said the literature review to answer questions pertaining to the geography of human mobility in Lesotho (countries from which foreign nationals come and to which Basotho depart), the main reasons for foreign nationals to come to Lesotho, the key migration corridors, whether migration inflows prevail over migration outflows.

Submission of historical review to IOM, validation of historical review by the NCC from May 1 to June 30, 2022

“Migration data reports, core migration data institutions collect and collate data over the reference period, 2016-2021 under the supervision of the BOS

“Implementation of the integrated migration data management system, generate reports to assess quality, reliability, and consistency of collected migration data, report on the adequacy of collected migration data for Migration Profile,” she said.

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