Deputy Secretary General of the TUC, Dr Yaw BaahThese impediments, according to a Labour Migration Study in Ghana, include frustration with business registration, difficulties with administrative procedures in trying to adjust to the country and its system and challenges with living with their community or family.

The study, which is a collaboration between the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a German not-for-profit organisation, surveyed 3,000 households across the country.
It gives insights into the key motivation for migration and the trajectories and experiences of emigrants abroad, as well as providing evidence of return and reintegration challenges of migrants.

Returnees
According to the report, although a greater proportion — 81 per cent — of the migrant households stated that the emigrants intended to return, only 29 per cent of households indeed had their emigrants return.

“The survey findings show that majority of the emigrants were met with various experiences and problems while trying to reintegrate after returning home. Many have had difficulty in trying to set up businesses.
“This may be a sign of official and legal barriers entrepreneurs face when they are trying to register new businesses in Ghana,” the report, presented by Dr Kennedy Atong Achakoma, said.

He was of the view that from a development point of view, returnee migrants could play an important part in the improvement of social and economic conditions of communities and families of the returnees if there was a favourable environment for the returnees to reintegrate smoothly.

“This is very important because in some instances migrants may return with financial capital and skills to apply at home to contribute to the development of the country, but the challenges may prevent them,” he added.

Migration figures
Over the years, Ghana’s emigration figures have been on the increase. From 388,872 in 1990, it went up to 719,236 in 2013. During the period, the country also received 164,851 immigrants in 1990, which also grew to 358,829 in 2013, according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) statistics.
The study identified that apart from the prospect of finding good jobs when they returned home, migrants returned home because of low wages, bad working conditions, lack of employment, working overtime and verbal abuse by co-workers or superiors.

Migration destinations
While the study showed that the majority of respondents had 84 per cent of relatives emigrating to Europe and the United States, there was also increasing migration to other African countries, especially South Africa, Ethiopia and Botswana which were showing good economic prospects.

The study also showed that most prospective migrants either had information or did not always seek for enough information on the employment and other opportunities that existed in their intended destinations.
About 76 per cent of the respondents indicated that they would inform themselves about regulations before they embarked on migration.

“This is a reflection of the lack of knowledge on legal processes of migrating,” Dr Achakoma said.
That assertion was confirmed by Ms Gloria Temah, a hairdresser, who was convinced by an agent to travel to Saudi Arabia to work as a maidservant, only to be abused by her employers.

The study also showed that migrants were prepared to pay fees ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 and above for the services of recruitment agencies but 61 per cent of the respondents were not interested in the services of such agencies.
To deal with the problems associated with migration in Ghana, Dr Achakoma recommended that the country develop a workable national policy on labour migration to “guide how the issue of migration as a development challenge could be efficiently managed, as, naturally, migration issues were many-sided”.
He said the government also needed to improve the socio-economic environment for the citizenry to make migration a choice and not a necessity.

The Resident Director of the FES, Mr Fritz Kossieker, re-echoed that suggestion, saying the best remedy for addressing labour migration was not just for the government to create an enabling environment to facilitate job creation but also find ways to address the challenges in the country’s informal sector.

The Deputy Secretary General of the TUC, Dr Yaw Baah, who launched the report, described it as insightful and useful to address the issues of migration in the country.
Source Graphic Online

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