We welcome the White Paper’s philosophy of linking migration to development. We also welcome the moves towards more mobility in the SADC region and African continent. At the same time, we are concerned that the White Paper fixates on the link between migrants and criminality, and makes provision only for ‘designer migrants’ – those who are economically established and highly skilled – which can result in a regional brain-drain and uneven regional development.
We have deep and grave concerns around the changes to the asylum system in South Africa, which we believe will result in unconstitutional ‘camps’ on the borders, where thousands of asylum seekers will risk having their most fundamental human rights abused.
More generally, the terms used in the White Paper (such as ‘illegal migrant’ rather than ‘undocumented person’) contributes to the unnecessary criminalization of migrants. We are also concerned at the White Paper’s lack of referencing sources, as it makes claims that are not linked to research or statistics.1