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Ahmr vol 3(3) final press (feb 19 2018)


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African Human Mobility Review (AHMR) is an interdisciplinary journal created to encourage and facilitate the study of all aspects (i.e. socio-economic, political, legislative and developmental) of human mobility in Sub-Saharan Africa. Established in 2014, AHMR aims at being one of the leading scholarly journals in Sub-Saharan Africa in the field of international/domestic migration, ethnic group relations and refugee movements. The main purpose of AHMR includes: building the capacity of young African researchers who have an additional opportunity to publish and disseminate their work; publishing and disseminating research outputs on the socio-demographic, economic, political, psychological, historical, legislative and religious aspects of human migration and refugee movements from and within Sub-Saharan Africa

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Ahmr vol 3(3) final press (feb 19 2018)

  1. 1. AFRICAN HUMAN MOBILITY REVIEW Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 Unaccompanied and Separated Children in South Africa: is Return the Only Option? Marilize Ackermann Post-Migration Outcomes and the Decision to Return: Processes and Consequences Mary Boatemaa Setrana Long Term Solutions to Cross-border Disaster Displacement: Lessons from West Africa Julia Blocher and Dalila Gharbaoui “I am Going Home”: How Kenyan Migrants’ Intentions to Return Home Affect their Transnational Engagements Jane Njeri Mwangi and Alex Boakye Asiedu North-South Migration and Problems of Migrant Traders in Agbogbloshie Razak Jaha Imoro
  2. 2. ii AHMR _________________________________________________________________________________ Chief Editor Prof Mulugeta F. Dinbabo University of the Western Cape, South Africa Board Members Dr Beneberu Assefa Wondimagegnhu Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia Dr Delali Margaret Badasu University of Ghana, Ghana Dr Edmond Agyeman University of Education, Winneba, Ghana Dr Ernest Angu Pineteh University of Pretoria, South Africa Dr Joseph Yaro University of Ghana, Ghana Prof Laurence Piper University of the Western Cape, South Africa Dr Linda Oucho African Migration and Development Policy Centre, Kenya Prof Loren Landau University of Witwatersrand, South Africa Dr Lothar Smith Radboud University, Netherlands Dr Meselu Alamnie Mulugeta Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia Prof Raul Delgado Wise Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, Mexico Dr Razack Karriem University of the Western Cape, South Africa Dr Sharon Penderis University of the Western Cape, South Africa Prof Simon Bekker University of Stellenbosch, South Africa Prof Shimelis Gulema Stony Brook University, New York Prof Thomas Faist Bielefeld University, Germany ____________________________________________________________________________________ AHMR is an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed on-line journal created to encourage and facilitate the study of all aspects (socio-economic, political, legislative and developmental) of Human Mobility in Africa. Through the publication of original research, policy discussions and evidence research papers, AHMR provides a comprehensive forum devoted exclusively to the analysis of contemporaneous trends, migration patterns and some of the most important migration-related issues. AHMR is published by the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) a member of the Network of the Scalabrinian Centers for Migration Studies, with institutions in New York, Paris, Rome, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Manila. Articles and reviews in AHMR reflect the opinions of the contributors. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission from the publisher. ISSN 2410-7972 (online) ISSN 2411-6955 (print). Webpage: Copyright © 2018 by the SCALABRINI INSTITUTE FOR HUMAN MOBILITY IN AFRICA 47, Commercial St, 8001 Cape Town – South Africa Tel. 0027 021 461 4741, Email:
  3. 3. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 iii African Human Mobility Review ___________________________________________________________________________ Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 975 Unaccompanied and Separated Children in South Africa: is Return the Only Option? Marilize Ackermann 995 Post-Migration Outcomes and the Decision to Return: Processes and Consequences Mary Boatemaa Setrana 1020 Long Term Solutions to Cross-border Disaster Displacement: Lessons from West Africa Julia Blocher and Dalila Gharbaoui 1045 “I am Going Home”: How Kenyan Migrants’ Intentions to Return Home Affect their Transnational Engagements Jane Njeri Mwangi and Alex Boakye Asiedu 1073 North-South Migration and Problems of Migrant Traders in Agbogbloshie Razak Jaha Imoro
  4. 4. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 975 Unaccompanied and Separated Children in South Africa: is Return the Only Option? Marilize Ackermann* Abstract Despite recent legislative amendments aimed at stricter border control, migration by undocumented migrants, including unaccompanied and separated children, continues to occur. Once in South Africa, no mechanism exists for the identification or registration of undocumented migrant children. Due to statutory restrictions, the births of children born to undocumented foreign parents in South Africa are not recorded. Therefore, the presence of unaccompanied and separated children in the Republic goes mostly unnoticed. Under the migration framework, documentation to regularise a foreign child’s stay is either derived from a parent, or requires significant financial support, and/or legal intervention, to obtain. The article finds that unaccompanied and separated children struggle to meet the requirements set to regularise their stay once in the Republic. In a society where the ability to exercise basic human rights is intrinsically linked to identification documentation, the few options available to unaccompanied and separated children make this group highly vulnerable to exploitation, destitution, abuse, neglect, statelessness and under-development, due to restricted access to education and essential services. The cases studied here show that unaccompanied and separated children do not reach social workers systematically, which means that no or little consideration is given to finding durable solutions relevant to the particular child. The article finds that a combination of legislative gaps on one hand and stringent requirements on the other, result in unaccompanied and separated children struggling to access education, child protection services, the asylum system, birth registration and the right to a name and nationality. The article concludes by making a few pertinent recommendations that address the main concerns raised. Keywords Documentation, migration, child protection, birth registration, asylum, refugee, statelessness. * Advocacy Officer at the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town. Email:
  5. 5. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 976 Methodology The methodology comprises of a desktop review of the available literature, a critical analysis of the applicable law and policy and an analysis of qualitative data collected from 109 case studies. The cases were collected at the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town (SCCT), a non- profit organisation based in Cape Town, South Africa, that provides multiple services to migrants, aims to alleviate poverty and promotes development in the Western Cape, while fostering integration between migrants, refugees and South Africans.1 The Advocacy Programme of SCCT functions as a walk-in paralegal office and, as such, receives persons who have problems with access to basic rights connected to documentation, including issues pertaining to foreign children. From May 2015 to May 2017, interviews were conducted with 87 caregivers of 109 unaccompanied and separated children, all of whom sought advice at SCCT. The cases studied included migrant children and children born to foreign parents within the South African territory. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with the adult caregivers. Over the course of two years, SCCT was able to track and document the evolution of the individual cases. From an ethical point of view, all cases encountered were referred to the Department of Social Development (DSD) for assessment by a statutory social worker. All children and their caregivers resided in the Cape Town Metropolitan area. Shifting Definitions – Unaccompanied and Separated Children General Comment No. 6 (2005) to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child defines ‘unaccompanied children’ as “children who have been separated from both parents and other relatives and are not being cared for by an adult who, by law or custom, is responsible for doing so.” It goes on to define ‘separated children’ as “children who have been separated from both parents, or from their previous legal or customary primary care-giver, but not necessarily from other relatives.” These may therefore include children accompanied by adult family members other than parents. 1 The center is registered with the South African Department of Social Development as a Non- Profit Organisation, as a youth and child care center and as a Public Benefit Organisation with the South African Revenue Services and is governed by a Trust.
  6. 6. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 977 The relevance of defining a child as unaccompanied or separated pertains to child protection and immigration control (UNHCR, 1997). In the South African context, being categorised as an ‘unaccompanied minor’ has bearing on a foreign child’s admission to the Republic and the ability to legalise immigration status subsequent to entry. In the context of border control, the Regulations to the Immigration Act (No.11, 2002) narrowly define an unaccompanied child as “a child under the age of 18 years who travels alone.” With regard to child protection, DSD assumes greater vulnerability of unaccompanied children and this distinction therefore impacts upon the child’s ability to access child protection services (DSD, 2009). The international definition has broader application insofar as it is concerned with the continued circumstances of the child beyond admission to the country. Birth in South Africa does not automatically confer nationality. A child born to two foreign residents is considered, upon birth, as a non-citizen and retains the nationality of the parent(s) (Manby, 2011: 14). Such children are obliged to regularise their stay in South Africa in the same manner as foreign migrant children. Of the 109 cases studied, 12 children were born in South Africa to foreign parents and 97 of the children had migrated to South Africa. Of the 97, 24 children were in the care of a relative when they crossed the border, and therefore could be described as ‘separated’; 54 were ‘unaccompanied’; and 19 were accompanied by one or both parents. It was observed that the definitions ‘separated’ and ‘unaccompanied’ refer to fixed points in time. Once the migrant child or family settles in South Africa, their circumstances change to the extent that the definition describing their situation of care changes. After some time in the country, 92 children could be defined as ‘separated’ as they were now in the care of a relative, while 17 were still considered ‘unaccompanied’ as they are in the care of persons unrelated to them and previously unknown to them. This illustrates the fluidity of the definitions of ‘unaccompanied’ or ‘separated’ in the context of migration. Customary care is widely practiced in the South African and the broader African context. In brief, customary care refers to family-based care within the child’s extended family, or with close friends of the family known to the child, whether formal or informal in nature (UN General Assembly, 2010). The terms ‘customary care’ or ‘kinship care’ are not formally defined in South African law and there are no particular mechanisms through which parental duties of care are transferred to the customary caregiver. The customary duty of care is determined by social or cultural norms and, often, a highly subjective sense of
  7. 7. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 978 responsibility that an individual caregiver attaches to a child. The evidence suggests that the customary duty of care may be fluid and shift between relatives of the child, depending on domestic, social, financial or other circumstances. In order for care relation to be formalised through foster care placement, “a need for care and protection” is required by the Children’s Act (No. 38, 2005). In the context of migration, it must be noted that a customary duty of care does not confer immigration status or nationality. Therefore, references to duties of care do not have bearing on the documentation status of the child, and are uniquely concerned with the well-being or protection of the child. All of the children concerned originated from African nations. Set out below is an indication of the children’s countries of birth in the first column, and the countries of nationality of their parents (or mothers in the case of mixed parentage) in the second. The second column incorporates the countries of origin of the parents of 12 children born in South Africa. Table 1: The documentation of unaccompanied and separated children Country of birth Nationality of parent(s) Angola 3 4 Burundi 12 12 DRC 58 68 Malawi - 1 Rwanda 4 5 South Africa 12 0 Somalia 13 13 Tanzania 3 0 Uganda 1 1 Zimbabwe 3 4 Zambia - 1 Total 109 109
  8. 8. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 979 All but one of the 97 migrant children entered South Africa through land borders. Only three of the migrant children had entered South Africa regularly, using a passport and visitor’s visa to gain entry. The remaining 94 children were undocumented upon admission. Fifty-four children were unaccompanied upon entry. The rules around travelling with children through ports of entry were significantly tightened by Regulations to the Immigration Act that entered into force on 1 June 2015. As described in an advisory by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) (2015), the intention with the most recent amendment is to “establish the principle that all minors require the consent of their parents when travelling into or out of the Republic.” Regulations 12(c) and (d) require unaccompanied minors and persons travelling with a child, who is not his or her biological child, to produce a number of certified identity documents and consent forms from parents. These persons must produce the contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child. Parents travelling with their biological children are also required to produce birth certificates and consent letters or court orders from absent parents. Of the 97 migrant children, 32 had entered South Africa after the Immigration Regulations came into force, 28 of whom were unaccompanied at entry. None of the unaccompanied children were referred to DSD upon entry to South Africa and appear to have crossed the borders with relative ease. It is concluded, therefore, that the application of the Immigration Act and Regulations as it pertains to unaccompanied minors is inconsistent at land border posts. Yet, the main point of concern here is not the fact of entry, but the absence of a mechanism of protection. The reasons for the migration of unaccompanied and separated children are varied. Some of the main trends amongst the cases were identified as follows: conflict related (44%); death of the primary caregiver in the country of origin (21%); socio-economic reasons (22%) and abandonment in the country of origin (4%). Migration motivated by socio-economic reasons included children in search of better education opportunities, those whose caregivers could no longer care for them due to poverty or poor circumstances in the country of origin, or duties of parental care diverted to relatives following the separation of parents. The separated children typically migrated to South Africa to join a caregiver who was already residing in the Republic. The children’s duration of stay in South Africa at the time of the interview varied from one week to 16 years, with 23 children having spent more than eight years in the Republic. The duration of stay had no impact on the child’s ability
  9. 9. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 980 to secure documentation. All children had entered South Africa only once, indicating that migration by this group was not circular. Conflict related reasons were the most common factor motivating migration amongst the children. Out of 43 cases, 23 of the children accompanied an adult asylum seeker (including parents or relatives) to South Africa. Accordingly, 15 children derived asylum (7) or refugee status (8) from a parent (11) or another caregiver (4), subsequent to their entry to South Africa. Twenty children were unaccompanied upon entry to South Africa and had migrated in the context of conflict. In theory, these children should have access to the asylum system to undergo refugee status determination. Section 32 of the Refugees Act (No. 130, 1998) deals with unaccompanied refugee children insofar as any child who appears to qualify for refugee status, and is found under circumstances that clearly indicate that he or she is a child in need of care, as contemplated under the Children’s Act, should be brought before the Children’s Court of the district in which he or she was found. Hereupon, the Children’s Court may order that the child be assisted in applying for asylum. According to the data collected, only four of the unaccompanied children who migrated in the context of conflict were issued asylum seeker permits and were duly advised by an official at a Refugee Reception Office (RRO) to return with a Children’s Court order. None of the children had returned with the required order and all four permits lapsed. At the time of their first contact with SCCT, none of the unaccompanied refugee children had been referred to a social worker. It is argued that Section 32 falls short of providing adequate protection to unaccompanied refugee children for three main reasons. Firstly, the Refugees Act presumes that the unaccompanied refugee child is in need of care and protection, as understood in the context of the Children’s Act, and it does not envisage assisted asylum claims by separated children who are adequately cared for by relatives.2 Secondly, it presumes that there is a designated office, or person, tasked with identifying the unaccompanied refugee child and ensuring that he or she is brought before the Children’s Court. Lastly, only three RROs across South Africa were receiving new asylum applications at the 2 Section 150 of the Children’s Act lists the circumstances under which a child is deemed in need of care and protection. These include abandoned or orphaned children without visible means of support; street children; children with uncontrollable behavioural issues or drug-abuse issues; abused, exploited or deliberately neglected children; or children exposed to other types of harm, amongst other things.
  10. 10. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 981 time of writing. These are located in Durban, Musina and Pretoria. Were a child to be brought before the Children’s Court in the Western Cape Province, in the absence of a legal guardian, the social worker assigned to the case would have to accompany the child to a RRO in Gauteng or Pretoria. Practically, the capacity and resources required to achieve this are simply not in place. The limited number of points of access to the service of Home Affairs spread over a large geographical area restricts the unaccompanied or separated refugee child’s ability to gain access to the asylum system. Table 2: Main reasons for migration Death of primary caregiver 21 Abandoned in country of origin 4 Accompanied asylum seeker 23 Conflict related 20 Imprisonment of primary caregiver 1 Mental illness of primary caregiver 2 Old age of primary caregiver 1 Socio-economic 22 Relocation of primary caregiver to third country 1 Suspected abduction 1 Accompanied parent for medical care 1 TOTAL 97 Not all foreign children are refugee children and asylum is not appropriate in the cases of children who migrated for reasons other than those set out under Section 3 of the Refugees Act. Following their entry to South Africa, only two of the children had secured documentation under the Immigration Act. One had obtained permanent residency through an exemption process envisioned under Section 31(2), which allows the Minister of Home Affairs to grant permanent residency to a foreigner on “special grounds.” The intervention of the High Court was required to achieve this result. The second child secured a
  11. 11. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 982 passport and a study visa by a family member travelling to the country of origin for this purpose. It was found that the unaccompanied and separated children whose cases formed part of the survey did not meet the requirements to obtain documentation to regularise their stays. In addition to documentation proving legal stay under the migration framework, the majority of the children lacked any form of identification documentation. In total, 55% of the children did not have birth certificates. Birth registration is a prerequisite to accessing citizenship (Lawyers for Human Rights, 2014: 10-11). The lack of proof of birth or parentage is a factor that contributes to the risk of statelessness. The lack of documentation impacts the unaccompanied and separated child’s ability to exercise basic rights, as discussed below. The Right to a Name and Nationality and the Risk of Statelessness The right to a name and nationality is the most basic of human rights. Internationally and regionally, it is set out under Article 7(1) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 6(3) of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. South Africa has signed and ratified these treaties and is therefore bound by these obligations. Reflecting international obligations, Section 28(1)(a) of the Bill of Rights sets this out clearly by stating that “[e]very child has the right to a name and a nationality from birth.” In the same vein, the right to birth registration is enshrined in Article 7(1) of the UNCRC and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in Article 6(1). Birth registration in South Africa is governed by the Births and Deaths Registration Act (No. 51, 1992) (BDRA) and accompanying Regulations. The ability to register the birth of a child born to foreign parents in South Africa is directly linked to the documentation status of the parent(s). Regulations 3, 4 and 5 to BDRA require a child’s parents to have a valid immigration status to register a birth. These requirements exclude birth registration by those without any form of identity documentation or legal status to sojourn in the Republic, those with expired asylum seeker and refugee permits and those with expired visas in a passport. The inability of the undocumented parent to register the child’s birth effectively functions as a form of migration control or punitive measure towards the parent, but essentially has profound prejudicial impact on the child. As mentioned earlier, 12 of the children were born in South Africa. Out of the 12, four did not have birth certificates issued by the DHA. The reasons
  12. 12. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 983 for not having a birth certificate were cited as follows: the mother passed away shortly after birth (2); the mother gave birth on a farm, thereafter abandoning the child with no documentary proof of birth (1) and the mother was undocumented at the time of the child’s birth (1). Without birth registration documentation, the foreign child is excluded from accessing identification documentation. Without strong links to parentage or the country of origin, the child will not be able to claim the nationality of the parent. Undocumented children who turn 18 are unable to marry or register the births of their children in returning to their countries of origin, thereby perpetuating the cycle of illegality. While four is a comparatively small number, it represents a sample of individuals who are likely to face insurmountable difficulties to prove their identities and regularise their presence in South Africa. It is important to note that not all undocumented persons are stateless. Whether a person is at risk of statelessness is determined by a number of risk factors (Lawyers for Human Rights, 2014: 7-8). The main indicators of statelessness include one or more of the following circumstances (Lawyers for Human Rights, 2014: 8): - Birth outside of one’s parent’s country of nationality - Death or desertion by one or both parents - Irregular migration across borders - Mixed nationality parentage - Inability to produce any form of identity documents or records proving links to parentage or place of birth - The operation of nationality laws Section 1 of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons defines a stateless person as someone who is not considered a national by any state under the operation of its law. South Africa is not a signatory to the treaty and, therefore, the mechanisms to prevent and respond to statelessness under domestic law are mostly lacking. Of the cases studied, 45 of the children had no document to enable a claim to citizenship. Of the 45 children who had no documentary link to any particular state, 13 were orphaned and ten had been abandoned by both parents for at least four years. As there is no single test in place to determine whether a person is stateless, a combination of factors may indicate a risk of statelessness. Based on the lack of enabling documentation and tenuous or no links to parentage or other family members, it was
  13. 13. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 984 concluded that at least 23 of the children in this study were at high risk of statelessness. The Right to Basic Education Another major concern is the undocumented child’s inability to access basic education. The laws governing access to education by foreign children in South Africa are contradictory. Section 29(1)(a) of the Bill of Rights extends the right to basic education to “everyone” and Section 3(1) of the South African Schools Act (No. 84, 1996) makes it compulsory for every child to attend school from age seven until the learner reaches age 15, or the 9th Grade, whichever occurs first. National policy around the admission of non-citizen learners asks of school principals to help the parents to obtain the necessary documentation on behalf of children, where this is not available. In such cases, the child must be admitted to the school while the parent obtains the required documents (Admission of Learners to Public Schools, 2001). It states further that “the child must be admitted to the school conditionally while the parent obtains the needed documentation. When the required documentation is not available within three months of the child having been conditionally admitted to the school, the School Governing Body in consultation with the District Officials must attend to the matter by liaising with the relevant authorities and parents” (Admission of Learners to Public Schools, 2001). Contrary hereto, Section 39(1) of the Immigration Act renders instruction by a learning institution to an “illegal foreigner” an offence for which the school and principal may incur criminal liability. Additionally, the National Education Policy Act (No. 27, 1996) requires persons classified as illegal aliens, when they apply for admission for their children or for themselves, to show evidence that they have applied to the DHA to legalise their stay in the country in terms of the Aliens Control Act (No. 96, 1991).3 Reflecting this confusing position, which is no doubt difficult for school administrators to interpret, 63 of the children whose cases were studied were attending school, while 44 (40%) of the children were not attending school. The caregivers of 21 of the children indicated that non-attendance was a direct result of the child not having a document. Of the children not attending school, 14 were under the age of 15 years. Other reasons for non-attendance included the inability to afford the costs associated with schooling (6) and language barriers (5). Two children were indicated as not going to school because they were working. Both were 17 year old males. Two children were not attending school for medical 3 Repealed and replaced by the Immigration Act No. 13 of 2002.
  14. 14. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 985 reasons. Five of the children were able to enrol for school through legal intervention on their behalf. Access to the Child Protection System Section 28(1)(b) of the Constitution states that “[e]very child has the right to family care or parental care, or to appropriate alternative care when removed from the family environment.” Section 28(2) further states that “the best interests of the child are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child.” In line herewith, the Children’s Act does not distinguish between ‘citizens’ and ‘non-citizens’. Supplementing the Children’s Act, DSD Guidelines of 2009 provide some guidance to social workers as to their approach to foreign children and specifically stipulate that unaccompanied foreign children should be assumed to be children “in need of care and protection.” The evidence suggests, however, that the unaccompanied and separated child’s documentation status has an impact on his or her ability to access the child protection system. Relations between children and caregivers, other than parents, can be formalised through foster care, guardianship or adoption. The caregiver’s ability to formalise the relation of care, however, is determined by his or her documentation status. With regard to non-citizens, only recognised refugees and permanent residents are eligible foster parents. Following the judgments in Khosa v Minister of Social Development, Mahuale v Minister of Social Development and Minister for Welfare and Population Development v Fitzpatrick, these categories qualify for the foster care grant. Five of the children were placed in the foster care of their refugee caregivers, although 47, in total, were cared for by caregivers with refugee status. Asylum seekers are not considered eligible foster parents, given the temporary nature of asylum seeker status. Twenty-two children were cared for by primary caregivers with asylum seeker status. Undocumented caregivers are also not eligible to formally care for children. It is argued that excluding children from the foster care system, purely based on the documentation status of the caregiver, is not consistent with the best interest principle. Placement with an asylum seeker may, in some cases, be in the best interest of a particular child and formal care could be feasible, especially in light of the lengthy asylum process. It has been documented that asylum seekers may wait up to 18 years for the administration of their claims (Amit, 2015: 25). It is submitted that, if deemed to be in the best interest of the child to be placed in the foster care of
  15. 15. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 986 a person who might leave the Republic, the child should be allowed to leave with the caregiver, with the necessary consent of the Children’s Court. It was further documented that in the cases of 47 children, caregivers had approached DSD or a designated Child Protection Agency (CPA) in an attempt to formalise the care relation. Indeed, 14 of the children were placed in foster care, eight of whom were placed in the care of unrelated South African citizens and six were placed with relatives holding either refugee status or permanent residency. The cases of 62 unaccompanied or separated children did not reach a social worker at all. When asked about the status of their cases with the social services provider, 15 caregivers indicated that their case was taken by an intake social worker, but had not yet produced any result. Access to child protection services was expressly denied in six cases. Reasons given for refusal include the fact that the child did not have a birth certificate (1) and the fact that the child was illegal (5). In one case, the social worker did not want to place the child in foster care as she feared the placement order would “make an illegal child legal.” Needless to say, a foster care placement order does not function as immigration status and is purely concerned with the protection of the child. Six children’s cases were finalised in the form of a social worker’s report, but did not result in placement as the children were not found to be in need of care and protection as defined under the Children’s Act.4 The number of cases that did not reach DSD or CPA for an assessment is somewhat concerning from a child protection point of view and it is clear that this failure is due to a combination of reasons, notably, limited knowledge on the part of caregivers, the absence of a clear system of referral and procedures to follow in the cases of foreign children and the lack of clarity around eligibility to access foster care. Guardianship is dealt with under Section 24 of the Children’s Act, where it is stated that any person having an interest in the care, well-being and development of a child may apply to the High Court for an order granting guardianship of the child. Section 25 goes on to treat guardianship applications by non-South African citizens as inter-country adoptions under 4 Section 155(4)(a) of the Children’s Act, read with Regulation 55, determines that after investigation, if a social worker finds that the child is not in need of care and protection, the reasons for this finding must be indicated in a report, which must be submitted to the Children’s Court for review. According to 150(3) and 155(4)(b) of the Children’s Act, the report should indicate recommendations to the family/caregiver and measures must be taken to assist the child through counseling or other relevant services available and relevant to the case.
  16. 16. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 987 The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or Hague Abduction Convention (The Hague Convention). While this article will not provide an in-depth analysis on the possibility of inter-country adoption, as it applies to the cases surveyed, it suffices to say that inter-country adoptions are challenging for a number of reasons. Firstly, the adoption of refugee children is exceptional and refugee children are generally considered not-adoptable (UNHCR, 1995).5 Secondly, the process for adopting a child with no documentation (especially those without birth certificates) is extremely challenging, as administrative requirements for adoption are unfulfilled. Signatory states to The Hague Convention agree to establish a Competent Authority that functions as the service provider to children and prospective adoptive parents. Whilst South Africa is a Member State, a number of African nations are not signatories to The Hague Convention, including the DRC, Zimbabwe and Somalia. This means that there is no functioning counterpart to the South African Competent Authority in such states and, as such, these adoptions are classified as non-convention adoptions. Non-convention adoptions are dealt with by the International Social Services (ISS) (DSD, n.d.: 21-22). The success of such adoptions depends on whether ISS is operational in the country of origin of the child. Thus, it follows that guardianship over children by refugees and asylum seekers is not easily accessible and, in fact, it is misleading to say that guardianship applications are available to non-citizens. The evidence confirms this finding. Amongst the cases studied, none of the caregivers, whether citizens or non-citizens, were court appointed legal guardians, nor were any of the children being considered for adoption. Given the difficulties related to accessing the formal child protection system, it may be useful to explore administrative measures to address these cases, but at the time of writing, such alternatives were not in place and thus this forms part of the recommendations. The Right to Basic Healthcare Section 27 of the Bill of Rights entitles “everyone” to the right to healthcare services and explicitly states that no one may be denied emergency treatment. However, an individual’s ability to access healthcare services is determined by 5 The UNHCR and Hague Convention favour family reunification and temporary, alternative care pending such reunification over adoption, when dealing with refugee children. Particularly, the UNHCR policy is that “children in an emergency context are not available for adoption.”
  17. 17. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 988 his or her documentation status and the applicable fees are determined by a sliding scale used to calculate eligibility for subsidised care. A 2017 study on migrants’ rights to healthcare in the Western Cape Province found that undocumented persons were mostly able to access emergency healthcare services, but outside the context of emergency care, hospital administrators routinely required valid documentation for care to be administered (Alfaro- Velcamp, 2017). Of the cases studied, 30 children had needed healthcare services at some point during their stay in South Africa. Of the 30, three children were reportedly denied medical treatment (including dental treatment (1)) due to their inability to produce a valid document. Two caregivers reported to have been too afraid to take the undocumented child to a healthcare facility on the assumption that the undocumented children would be denied services. Four caregivers were able to access healthcare services either through paying for private consultation (1) or agreeing to pay maximum fees for public healthcare services (4). It is concluded therefore that the children were generally able to access the right to healthcare; however, the number of individuals who needed healthcare was small and possibly not representative of the larger population group. A Reflection on Durable Solutions In the words of the UNCRC General Comment No. 6, “the ultimate aim in addressing the fate of unaccompanied or separated children is to identify a durable solution that addresses all their protection needs, takes into account the child’s view and, wherever possible, leads to overcoming the situation of a child being unaccompanied or separated.” The search for a durable solution commences with analysing the possibility of family reunification (UNCRC, General Comment No. 6, par. 79). Practically, family reunification starts with family tracing (if the whereabouts of the family are not known). According to paragraphs 81 and 82 of General Comment No. 6, all efforts should be made to return an unaccompanied or separated child to his or her parents, except where further separation is necessary in the best interests of the child. Circumstances involving abuse or neglect of the child by the parents may prohibit eventual reunification, as may a “reasonable risk” that such a return would lead to a violation of the fundamental human rights of the child, with particular reference to the principle of non-refoulement.
  18. 18. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 989 In 13 of the cases in this study, children did not know whether their mother was still alive; and in ten cases, the child knew the mother was still alive, but had lost contact with her. This finding indicates a clear need for family tracing. Unfortunately, ISS counterparts are not operational in a number of African states, meaning that referrals would not necessarily achieve any results (Southern Hemisphere Consulting, 2016). Return to the country of origin should not take place without advance secure and concrete arrangements of care and custodial responsibilities upon return (UNCRC, General Comment No. 6, par. 84). Alternatively, a government agency or child-care agency should have agreed, and should be able, to provide immediate protection and care for the child upon arrival (UNHCR, 1994). In none of the cases relevant to this research did social workers consider placement in alternative care in the country of origin to be an option. Instruments of international law, as well as the DSD Guidelines, mention placement in alternative care in the country of origin as a durable solution, but this option does not appear to be exercised in South Africa. A desktop search revealed that there is no literature available that explores alternative care in the country of origin as a durable solution in Southern Africa. Presumably, this is due to a lack of infrastructure, resources and information. In cases where return to the country of origin is not possible, local integration is the primary solution. It is crucial that integration be based on secure legal status, including residence status (UNCRC, General Comment No. 6, par. 88). Finding durable solutions for foreign children is an aspect of the statutory social workers’ mandate that is underdeveloped. Conclusion It is believed that the numbers of unaccompanied and separated children are not overwhelming, yet the individual consequences are significant enough to merit attention and a search for solutions. The main conclusion of this study is that the absence of documentation options available to unaccompanied and separated children restricts adequate child protection and is at the core of the challenges faced by unaccompanied and separated children. The prevalence of derivative documentation options under the legal framework, and the exclusion of caregivers from guardianship, adoption and foster placements, due to their documentation status, suggest restricted application of the best- interest principle. A lack of documentation, and thus the inability to access essential services, renders local integration by unaccompanied and separated children effectively impossible. Despite the challenges to obtaining
  19. 19. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 990 documentation, cross-border family reunification is not systematically pursued as a durable solution in such cases. The concerning and very real result is that unaccompanied or separated children remain mostly undetected in South Africa, and at high risk of abuse, neglect and statelessness. This situation is clearly not conducive to economic growth in South Africa and the broader region. In light of these realities, unaccompanied and separated children are basically faced with the choice of either leading a life outside the realms of formal societal structures, or eventual return to the country of origin. Recommendations The following recommendations are made based on the findings in this article: a) It is important that a mechanism be established to register the presence of unaccompanied and separated minors within the Republic. The reasons to maintain such a register would be: o To enable authorities to keep track of the size of this group, so as to identify the needs and extent of the State’s duties towards such children; o To enable the issuance of a document to a child, registered as unaccompanied or separated, which would enable access to basic rights whilst in South Africa pending the active consideration of appropriate solutions in his or her case; o To enable access to the right to a name and a nationality, whether South African or the nationality of the parent(s); o To enable authorities to make appropriate referrals to ensure children are adequately protected; o To assist the State in effective prevention and combating of trafficking, smuggling and abduction; and o To position the State with regard to finding regional solutions to irregular migration by unaccompanied and separated children. b) It is recommended that a link be established between DHA and DSD to liaise over matters concerning unaccompanied or separated children. The Refugees Act and the BDRA are administered by DHA, however, these Acts also create statutory duties for other departments, particularly DSD. It is recommended that a liaison office be established
  20. 20. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 991 to address cross-cutting issues. It is recommended that a designated office or officer be appointed to be available to social workers, to respond to queries, to provide technical support and to prioritise individual cases that may warrant urgent intervention. c) With regard to refugee children, it is recommended that the DHA facilitate simpler access to the asylum system for unaccompanied and separated children who appear eligible under the Act. To improve access to this highly vulnerable group, it is recommended that at least one satellite office within each province should receive asylum applications by unaccompanied and separated minors. It is recommended that unaccompanied and separated refugee children’s cases be prioritised and treated with the necessary attention. The consideration of an unaccompanied or separated child’s application for asylum, should not be dependent on the need for care and protection. d) To give effect to local integration as a durable solution, it is recommended that a designated officer be appointed to assist the Minister of Home Affairs in the timeous and attentive consideration of exemption applications brought in terms of Section 31(2) on behalf of unaccompanied or separated minors. This recommendation would not require any legislative change, but would require reinforcement of administrative measures already provided for within the legal framework. e) With regard to birth registration, it is recommended that the relevant sub-sections of Regulations 3, 4 and 5 to the BDRA be reviewed to ensure that every child, regardless of the legal status of his or her parent(s), can access a nationality from birth, as well as other socio- economic rights conferred through the Constitution that require documentation. f) It is recommended that the inconsistencies between laws and policy around access to education by unaccompanied and separated children be reviewed. Section 39 of the Immigration Act, in particular, should not bar the child’s basic right to education, as this is in contradiction with the SA Schools Act and Section 29 of the Bill of Rights. g) It is recommended that Section 24 and 25 of the Children’s Act be amended to allow guardianship applications by non-citizens, in
  21. 21. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 992 principle, and to grant jurisdiction to the Children’s Court to deal with such applications. h) It is recommended that investment in family tracing and reunification services be considered; particularly for the DRC, from whence the largest number of unaccompanied children come. Awareness-raising to social workers around existing services and networks in this area of expertise is also needed. i) Alternative care placements in the country of origin should be studied. Acknowledgements Thank you to Miranda Madikane of the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town for making the study possible. Thank you to everyone who participated to the study through sharing their stories. References Primary 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child. 1990 African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Department of Social Development. n.d. Practice guideline to international adoption. Department of Social Development (DSD). 2009. Guidelines on separated and unaccompanied children outside their country of origin in South Africa. Republic of South Africa. 1991. Aliens Control Act (No. 96). Republic of South Africa. 1992. Births and Deaths Registration Act (No. 51). Republic of South Africa. 1996. Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (No. 108) as amended. Republic of South Africa. 1996. National Education Policy Act (No. 27). Republic of South Africa. 1996. South African Schools Act (No. 84). Republic of South Africa. 1998. Refugees Act (No. 130) as amended.
  22. 22. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 993 Republic of South Africa. 2001. Admission of Learners to Public Schools (General Notice No. 4138). Republic of South Africa. 2002. Immigration Act (No. 11) as amended. Republic of South Africa. 2005. Children’s Act (No. 38) as amended. United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). 2005. General Comment No. 6. Treatment of unaccompanied and separated children outside their country of origin. United Nations General Assembly. 2010. Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children: Resolution/adopted by the General Assembly, 24 February 2010, A/RES/64/142. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 1997. Guidelines on Policies and Procedures in dealing with Unaccompanied Children Seeking Asylum. Secondary Alfaro-Velcamp, T. 2017. “Don’t send your sick here to be treated, our own people need it more”: Immigrants’ access to healthcare in South Africa. International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, 13(1): 53–68. Amit, R. 2015. Queue here for corruption – measuring irregularities in South Africa’s asylum system. Lawyers for Human Rights and the African Centre for Migration & Society Research Report. From <> [Retrieved June 20, 2017). Department of Home Affairs (DHA). 2015. Advisory: new requirements for children travelling through South African ports of entry - Effective 1 June 2015. From < > [Retrieved June 6, 2017]. Khosa v Minister of Social Development, Mahuale v Minister of Social Development 2004 (6) SA 505 (CC). Lawyers for Human Rights. 2014. Promoting Citizenship and Preventing Statelessness in South Africa: A practitioner’s Guide. Manby, B. 2011. Statelessness in Southern Africa, Briefing paper for UNHCR Regional Conference on Statelessness in Southern Africa. Minister for Welfare and Population Development v Fitzpatrick [2002] 7 BCLR 713 (CC).
  23. 23. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 994 Southern Hemisphere Consulting. 2016. Draft Report for System Mapping of the Protection of Unaccompanied and Separated Migrant Children in South Africa (Unpublished). United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 1995. UNHCR policy on adoption of refugee children. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 1994. Refugee Children: Guidelines on Protection and Care.
  24. 24. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 995 Post-Migration Outcomes and the Decision to Return: Processes and Consequences Mary Boatemaa Setrana* Abstract This paper examines the decision-making processes of return migrants, especially since the 2001 introduction of government programmes to encourage the return of skilled migrants who have the capacity to contribute their quota to the development agenda of Ghana. Structured questionnaires were used to gather information on the migration trajectories of 120 return migrants. This was followed by interviews that primarily sought in-depth understanding of the decision-making processes of the return migrants. The findings indicate that these migrants were motivated by, among other factors, the availability of investment opportunities in Ghana, completion of education abroad, loss of jobs abroad, the decision to join family, feeling homesick and difficulty in integrating abroad. The paper recommends that home country governments should develop conducive policies appropriate for addressing the needs of the categories of returnees based on their decisions for coming home and how their skills and resources could be channelled into development. Keywords Return migration, voluntary and involuntary return, Ghana, motivation. Introduction International migration is a complex global issue that affects every country in the world. As noted by Ghosh (2000: 4), “international migration is essentially a multidimensional phenomenon [because] it defies a unisectoral approach.” The magnitude of population movement on a global scale is increasing rapidly. The number of migrants who live in a country other than the one in which they were born has more than doubled from 191 million in 2005 (International Organization for Migration (IOM), 2005; United Nations, 2006) to 232 million in 2013 (OECD and UNDESA, 2013) and 244 million in 2015 (UNDESA, 2016). The occurrence of mass migration, including both regular and irregular movements, coupled with the growing complexity of migration systems, led Lidgard (1992: 12) to argue that “current immigration theories do little to * Centre for Migration Studies University of Ghana. Email:
  25. 25. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 996 explain the life span of these movements or predict future migrations.” Thus, it is not surprising when other researchers, such as Ghosh (2000), suggest that we need a new comprehensive, coherent and internationally harmonised regime to manage international migration and, in this situation, return migration. In recent times, African governments have been positively strategising to reverse the brain drain into a brain gain for the development of Africa (Tonah & Setrana, 2017). Since 2001, various governments have introduced programmes to encourage the return of skilled migrants who have the capacity to contribute their quota to the development agenda of Ghana. However, in Ghana, only a handful of researchers have dealt with certain aspects of return migration. Some have assessed the effect of migration experience on return and development in the countries of origin (Anarfi et al., 2005; Black & King, 2004; Black, King & Tiemoko, 2003; Setrana & Tonah, 2016), while others have examined the extent to which return migration contributes to the development of the home country. Still others have considered the effects of return migration on the migrant networks (Anarfi et al. 2010; Grant, 2009) and have highlighted the challenges associated with return migration (Setrana & Tonah, 2014; Setrana, 2017; Taylor, 2009). Among this limited number of studies, there are few studies (Wong 2013) that explore the post-migration outcomes and return decisions for development. This paper contributes to the knowledge on return migration by providing an in-depth understanding of the return decision and analysing, comparatively, the migration and return decisions for development. First, the paper reviews the literature on why migrants return. This is followed by a presentation of the research methods, the characteristics of the return migrants and an analysis of the motives for return. This paper sums up with conclusions and recommendations. Theoretical Perspectives on Return Migration The process of return migration is usually conceptualised under four main theoretical perspectives, namely the Transnational Approach, the Structural Approach, the Neoclassical Migration Models (NE) and the New Economics of Labour Migration (NELM). Transnationalism explains migration beyond the unidirectional movement of migrants to emphasise the frequent interaction between the home and host countries through the use of advanced technology (Glick Schiller et al., 1992).
  26. 26. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 997 Some scholars have argued that these constant contacts (known as transnational activities) between host and home countries may serve as preparatory strategies for the migrants’ eventual return (Cassarino, 2004). However, this theory is inappropriate for this study because it endorses circular rather than return migration. It views migrants as individuals who may not return to their country of origin or to their parents’ birthplace and therefore does not explain the potential factors driving their return. Structural theories highlight the significance of contextual factors in the return process. They argue that no matter the resources acquired by the migrant, upon return, the political, economic and social factors have an impact on the productiveness of these resources in the home country (Diatta & Mbow, 1999; Thomas-Hope, 1999; Cassarino, 2004). These home country factors have an impact on migrants’ decisions to return. Once again, this theory was not extensively employed because it pays little attention to how migration experience, particularly in the destination country, influences return decisions. Both the NE and NELM theories emphasise economic factors as the reasons for migration. While the NE perceives wage differentials between origin and destination countries as reasons for migration (Massey et al., 1998), the NELM explains migrants’ departure from the home country as a strategic plan with the aim of accumulating enough resources in the host country to then return to the home country (Galor & Stark, 1990; Stark, 1991). According to the NE, migrants may extend their stay in the host country because of higher wages (Borjas, 1989). However, if the migrant returns without any indication of higher wages in the home country, the return is seen as a failure. These two theories are limited in their explanations of the reasons for return; they only explain some economic factors, leaving out social factors such as family. With respect to the limitations above, my study relies mainly on the ‘push-pull’ model of migration that was propounded by Lee (1966). According to Lee (1966), migration from one place to the other is reliant on factors existing in the home and host countries. The ‘pull’ factors are the favourable conditions that attract the migrant to a place, while the ‘push’ factors are the unfavourable conditions that drive migrants to a place. However, these factors were used by Lee (1966) to explain the movements of migrants from their countries of origin to their destinationcountries without linking this discussion to the issue of return migration. King (2000), in his study of return migration, applied these push and pull concepts, although he did not refer to Lee’s model. Yet,
  27. 27. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 998 these ideas are found relevant for this study in that they assist in explaining the reasons why Ghanaians return (either temporarily or permanently) to their home country after a period abroad. The study mainly relies on King’s (2000) explanation of pull and push factors for return. King (2000) identified individual, economic, political and social factors as both pull and push factors. The economic pull factors are higher wages and economic development, while the economic push factor is economic downturn in the country to which migrants had emigrated (King, 2000). The social push factors include difficulty integrating in the host country, loss of job opportunities and death of a spouse or parents in the host country (King, 2000). On the other hand, the social pull factors may include the privilege to enjoy prestige status once a migrant’s status has improved, the desire to find a marriage partner, the decision to return to the home country after retirement, the need to raise children in the home country’s culture, the need to care for the elderly and the need to be cared for by kinsfolk after retirement (King, 2000; Gmelch, 1980). The push-pull model suggests that there are also intervening obstacles that slow down movement between the two areas (de Haas, 2010). Intervening obstacles may include issues such as instituted restrictive policies that prevent or result in a more cumbersome situation for families to reunite, change jobs, receive social protection and enjoy certain citizenship benefits (de Haas, 2010). Based on this analytical framework, the researcher examines the intersection between factors that push migrants from developed countries to Ghana and factors that pull migrants to return to Ghana. Despite the use of the push-pull model as the main theoretical framework, the researcher also relies on aspects of the other theories to explain some of the findings. Research Methods and Data The study employed a mixed methods approach that provided an opportunity for the researcher to combine quantitative and qualitative methods. Such a triangulation of methods was deemed appropriate in view of the strengths and weaknesses of the individual methods (Bryman, 2012; Cresswell, 2009). It also allowed for a better understanding of the problem than using either quantitative or qualitative methods alone (Creswell & Clark, 2007). Like most African countries, Ghana has no universal registration of returnees on which to base a random sample. However, Anarfi et al. (2003) found that, overall, returnees largely mirrored national demographics; thus, an effort was
  28. 28. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 999 made in this study to find a balanced sample with regards to age and sex. A representative ethnic mix was a more difficult task because of the diverse groups as well as the absence of records on the ethnicity of emigrants or returnees. The study also improved on the quality of data by purposively selecting four sites, namely Accra and Kumasi Metropolitan Areas and Dormaa/Berekum and New Juaben Municipal Areas. The international migration literature (Anarfi et al., 2000; Taylor, 2009) cites these locations as the established migration flow regions in Ghana. Accra and Kumasi Metropolitan Areas are more developed than Dormaa/Berekum and New Juaben Municipal Areas. These differences attract more international return migrants to the former two study areas than the latter two. However, the New Juaben Municipal Area is strategically positioned because it is closer to the capital city of Ghana (Accra), and international return migrants make choices to live close-by. Dormaa and Berekum were combined because the researcher experienced difficulty in finding international return migrants in Berekum. The decision on the field was to work in Berekum and Dormaa since these areas were not far from each other. Based on the outlined differences, the researcher assigned a quota of 28% and 22%, respectively, to the four study sites (Accra and Kumasi Metropolitan Areas, Dormaa/Berekum and New Juaben Municipal Areas). The researcher used the snowball technique in identifying respondents, though this technique has some advantages and setbacks. In order to have as many diverse responses as possible, key informants with in-depth knowledge on the survey areas were recruited to assist the researcher in identifying returnees. In the first round of the survey, 14 returnees were selected. Through chain referrals by the 14 respondents in the first wave and personal contacts, the researcher obtained a second wave of respondents who, in turn, assisted in identifying further respondents for the study. Out of the total number of respondents, 34 (28%) lived in Accra and Kumasi Metropolitan Areas and 26 (22%) lived in Dormaa/Berekum and New Juaben Municipal Areas. In all, the researcher interviewed 120 return migrants. The survey asked questions relating to the migrants' socio-economic circumstances before and after return. The survey instrument was pre-tested by ten international return migrants in the Greater Accra Region in order to help establish consistency and clarity of questions in the questionnaire. It was self-administered and the advantage was that all of the questions that were relevant to respondents were answered. At the end of the structured
  29. 29. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 1000 questionnaires, respondents were asked to give their consent by providing their contact details for further in-depth-interviews. Twenty-five of these respondents were selected based on their sex, age and mode of return. The qualitative information was a follow-up on the structured questionnaires and focused primarily on prior and post-return experiences. Results and Discussion Profile of Study Sample Most of the respondents were within working age; the average age was 42.40 years, with males dominating (63%). The educational level of return migrants was generally high, with 61% having either a university or diploma certificate. Out of the total 120 respondents, 54% either furthered their education or earned some kind of qualification or skills abroad. Respondents were found in all sectors of the Ghanaian labour market, with the majority (23%) of the skilled returnees working in the educational sector as lecturers, researchers and high school teachers. Other skilled returnees were involved in banking, administration, sales/marketing and health. This relates to the high unemployment situation in the country and the fact that recruitment of skilled personnel appears limited to the teaching and telecommunication sectors as well as some non-governmental organisations (Anarfi & Jagare, 2005). Most of the low or unskilled returnees were engaged in trading/businesses (29%), including mechanics, drivers, traders, masons, hairdressers and tailors. 8% are farmers, while 5% have no income earning activity; it must be stressed that included in the latter category were a student and a housewife (refer to Table 1). More than half (69%) of the respondents were married, while the rest were single (22%), separated or divorced (8%) and widowed (1%). About 87.5% returned voluntarily, while 10.8% were involuntary return migrants.
  30. 30. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 1001 Table 1: Socio-economic and demographic characteristics of return migrants surveyed. Source: Survey Questionnaire, August, 2011- January, 2012 Characteristics Frequencies Percentages Gender Male 75 62.5 Female 45 37.5 Total 120 100 Age (Years) 15-24 2 1.6 25-34 29 24.1 35-44 44 36.6 45-54 30 25.0 55-64 11 9.1 65+ 4 3.3 Total 120 99.7≈100 Education Level Tertiary 75 62.5 Secondary 40 33.3 Primary 3 2.5 No Formal Education 2 1.6 Total 120 99.9 ≈100 Employment Status Education 28 23.3 Banking 5 4.2 Health 6 5.0 Administration 9 7.5 Managerial 6 5.0
  31. 31. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 1002 Communication/ICT 6 5.0 Trading/Business 35 29.1 Farming 10 8.3 Security 2 1.6 Consultancies 7 5.8 No Income Earning Activity 6 5.0 Total 120 99.8≈100 Sample Size: 120 Migration History of the Return Migrants The return migrants had stayed in different countries in Europe and North America, with the majority coming from the United Kingdom (41%). This could be due to the common language and similar educational systems of Ghana and Britain (Ghana’s former colonial master). The average time spent abroad was approximately 9 years, with a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 44 years. Table 2: Migration trajectories of the return migrants surveyed. Source: Survey Questionnaire, August, 2011- January, 2012 Migration Trajectories Frequencies Percentages Country of Destination UK 49 41 Italy 23 19 USA 14 12 Germany 8 7 The Netherlands 7 6 Israel 4 3 Others 15 12 Total 120 100 Number of Years Abroad 1-5 years 51 43 6-10 years 36 30
  32. 32. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 1003 11-15 years 17 14 16+ years 16 13 Total 120 100 Mode of Return Voluntary 107 89 Involuntary 13 11 Total 120 100 Number of Years Since Return 1-5 years 70 58 6-10 years 24 20 11-15 years 15 13 16+ years 11 9 Total 120 100 Sample Size: 120 The most important reasons that motivated respondents to migrate out of Ghana were to find a better life (16, representing 13.3%), employment opportunities (14, representing 11.6%), studies (40, representing 33.3%), family reunion (18, representing 15%), better income (19, representing 15.8%) and peer pressure (14, representing 11.6%). The historical analysis of Ghanaian international migration shows that migration has been a means by which Ghanaians improve their human capital and better their living conditions (Anarfi et al., 2003; Awumbila et al., 2008). This finding is also evident among the respondents of this study, since many of them had aims to secure better living conditions, better income or pursue further education abroad. Regional analysis of the data shows that the reasons for migrating from origin communities were diverse. Migrating for further studies was predominant among respondents who migrated from Accra, Kumasi and New Juabeng. This was followed by better incomes and family reunion, especially among respondents from Domaa/Berekum, Kumasi and New Juabeng.
  33. 33. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 1004 Table 3: Reasons for migrating from origin areas. Source: Survey Questionnaire, August, 2011- January, 2012 Place of origin Better Life Emplo yment Studies Family Reunio n Better Income Peer Pressu re Total Accra 3 3 18 2 4 4 34 Kumasi 4 5 10 6 6 3 34 New Juabeng 4 3 10 5 3 1 26 Dormaa /Bereku m 5 3 2 5 6 6 26 Total 16(13. 3%) 14(11. 6%) 40(33. 3%) 18(15 %) 19(15. 8%) 14(11. 6%) 120 Sample Size: 120 Motivation for Return Respondents were asked to choose their most important motivations to return. Table 4: Most important reasons for returning home. Source: Survey Questionnaire, August, 2011- January, 2012 Motivation for Return Frequencies Percentages Completed education 33 31 Availability of investment opportunities in Ghana 18 17 Lack of job abroad 17 16 Decision to join the family/retirement 17 16 Feeling homesick 14 13 Difficulty integrating abroad 8 7
  34. 34. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 1005 Deported/lack of legal documentation 13 11 Overall Total 120 100 Sample Size: 120 The most important reason for participants’ return was completion of education in the host country. This was followed by the availability of investment opportunities in Ghana, the loss of employment abroad, the decision to join family in Ghana, homesickness and difficulty integrating abroad. The returned migrants expressed their emotions through statements such as “remember your home whenever you travel out of your home” and “home is home” (Fieldwork, August, 2011-January, 2012). Indeed, this finding confirms Manuh’s (2001) description of “home is home” as a place of “quietness and rest.” Some female return migrants found it necessary to come home with their husbands and children in order to save their marriages. Though she had completed her Master’s degree programme, Nancy, the wife of Edmond, returned for the following reasons: I came because my husband wanted me to come home with him. I thought about it. As a married woman I couldn’t just abandon my children and husband like that. Who would take care of them? Had it not been that, I would have stayed in Germany. After all, the system is far, far better than Ghana’s; our system is bad. I wonder! Anytime I visited, the differences were so obvious. Ghanaians don’t follow or obey any laws (Nancy, interview in Accra, 9th November 2011). Although Wong (2013) noted that females had power to make decisions that were not in favour of their male partners, this study presents a contrary situation. In Nancy’s case, she preferred to live the rest of her life abroad; yet, she had to make a decision to come to Ghana to take care of her children and husband. In addition, families such as Nancy’s who had children found it tiring and expensive raising the children abroad. However, families who left their children behind returned to Ghana to provide the best of care for their wards. The desire to spend more time with the nuclear family was noted as a crucial expectation of the return migrants. Spending more time with the family is central to ensuring a happy marriage and a unified family life. Such expectations of return are particularly ignited by the isolation that characterises migrants in the western world. It was observed that the western
  35. 35. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 1006 environment, with its secluding and secular lifestyle, was viewed by return migrants raising children as not conducive to the children’s upbringing (Fieldwork, August, 2011-January, 2012). The respondents argued that though the host countries offered better facilities for their children’s academic development than Ghana, the moral development of their children could not be guaranteed in such environments. The concern for the moral development of children is seen as a form of social investment. Alternatively, other return migrants with children were of the view that training children in Ghana was much more preferable than their country of destination because they wanted their children to imbibe Ghanaian values. The retiree returnees said that they returned home because they were more likely to receive better care from their extended families in Ghana than abroad. They found solace and incentive in the reception and comfort that the elderly receive within the Ghanaian traditional system. Some respondents had quality care from extended families because of their age. This is to be expected if contact with kinsmen was frequent and contribution towards festivities was regular whilst abroad. Particularly in the matrilineal lineage, the caretaking of aged uncles and aunts by nieces and nephews is expected from diligent family members. In this situation, the intervening variable to receiving quality care upon return was linked to the returnees’ contact with home while abroad (Lee, 1966). One of the respondents echoed these sentiments during the interviews, noting: If for nothing at all, in Ghana, when I am here, my grandchildren and nephews are around [...] I can send them on errands anytime, ask them to fetch me water and cook for me, at least. Who will do this for me in Italy? I can only get help when I am admitted to the elderly home (‘Teacher Burger’, interview in Kumasi, 23rd January 2013). Others also decided to return to Ghana to inherit leadership positions in their families and communities. For example, in Dormaa, there is a suburb called ‘Burger Anane’ Street. The return migrants in this community revealed that the area was named after a wealthy return migrant called ‘Anane [the name of an Akan male]’. The title Burger was given to him by the community because, first, he had returned from abroad; second, he returned with “flashy goods” (visible wealth) and third, he had bought and settled on a large portion of land. Burger Anane was an accountant who left Ghana for Germany in 1990, with the aim of finding better living conditions for himself and his wife and children. Having earned enough money, he purchased this vast plot of land and the
  36. 36. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 1007 street named after him. In 2005, he returned to Ghana to start and manage his own businesses. On the other hand, some respondents indicated that they returned to Ghana because they were divorced. In order to avoid the shame from the Ghanaian Diaspora community, some decided to return to Ghana where they could begin a new life. This finding is confirmed by Manuh (1998), who notes that Ghanaians abroad adhere to some cultural practices and behaviours such as the stigma of divorce. The other factors that influenced migrants’ return are political in nature, ranging from forced expulsion to incentives for voluntary return. All of the respondents who ticked political causes were deportees (13, representing 11%). Characteristics Associated with Motives for Return This section highlights some socio-demographic and migration characteristics related to migrants’ reasons for return to their home countries. The main characteristics analysed include education, age, gender and number of years spent abroad. Table 5: Educational level and reasons for returning to Ghana. Source: Survey Questionnaire, August, 2011- January, 2012 Education Level Compl. Education Invest in business Loss of job abroad Decision to join family/ retirement Feeling Homesick Difficulty integrating Deportation Secondary 2 (6%) 13 (72%) 7 (41%) 6 (35%) 3 (38%) 6 (43%) 3 (23%) Tertiary 31 (94%) 5 (28%) 10 (59%) 11 (65%) 5 (63%) 8 (57%) 10 (77%) Total 33 (100%) 18 (100%) 17 (100%) 17 (100%) 8 (100%) 14 (100%) 13 (100%) Sample Size: 120 A large majority of the respondents with tertiary education returned with the motive of finding jobs in Ghana after completing their education abroad. Some of the respondents with tertiary education returned due to loss of employment abroad, while only a little below a third of respondents with tertiary education returned to invest in Ghana. However, the story is slightly different for respondents with investment opportunity motives. 72% of returnees with the motive of investing in Ghana had relatively low academic qualifications compared to their counterparts with other motives. On the other hand, more
  37. 37. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 1008 than half of the respondents who returned due to problems integrating abroad had tertiary rather than secondary education (37%). Among those who came to join their families, 65% had tertiary education, while more than half (57%) of those who returned due to feelings of homesickness had tertiary education. From the findings, it is evident that migrants’ motives for finding jobs in the formal sector are influenced by their higher levels of education; but those who had the intention to access the investment opportunities of the home country may have realised that their lower levels of education were not competitive enough to secure them ‘white collar’ jobs. In this regard, they sought resources or means other than their educational backgrounds. Table 6: Age and reasons for returning to Ghana. Source: Survey Questionnaire, August, 2011-January, 2012 Age Completed Education Invest in business Lack of job abroad Decision to join family/ retirement Feeling Homesick Difficulty integrating Total < 42 years 6 (18%) 10 (57%) 7 (41%) 8 (47%) 5 (63%) 8 (57%) 10 (77%) > 42 years 27 (82%) 8 (44%) 10 (59%) 9 (53%) 3 (37%) 6 (43%) 3 (23%) Total 33 (100%) 18 (100%) 17 (100%) 17 (100%) 8 (100%) 14 (100%) 13 (100%) Sample Size: 120 Table 6 presents the age categories of the returnees. The majority (82%) of the return migrants who were above the average age of 42 years had the motive of accessing job opportunities compared to their counterparts of the same age with investment (44%) and loss of job (34%) motives. Thus, return migrants are returning home at younger ages and are actively working. More than half (63%) of the returnees who were 42 years and below were motivated due to problems integrating abroad, while 57% of them returned due to homesickness. The finding confirms Anarfi et al.’s (2005) conclusion that more than half of Ghanaian return migrants are in the economically active age group of 30-49 years. The proportion of males (83%) is higher among returnees who came home for investment opportunities (refer to Table 7). This is followed by 65% who returned due to loss of jobs abroad, while slightly more than half (55%) had the motive of accessing job opportunities in the home country (refer to Table 7). Indeed, the finding indicates that more male returnees than female
  38. 38. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 1009 returnees would make the decision to invest in the home country. For return migrants who had the intention to join their families, more than half (59%) of them were females and about 41% were males. The motive to join family at home is the only motive with more female representation than male representation. Additionally, 50% of the respondents that noted homesickness as their motivation were female. Implied in these statistics is the idea that return decisions such as problems integrating abroad, feelings of homesickness and joining family were not determined by the gender of the return migrant. Sample Size: 120 A higher proportion (88%) of returnees who had lived abroad for nine or fewer years returned for job opportunities in the home country; 77% returned due to loss of jobs abroad, while 61% came home for investment opportunities (refer to Table 7). For respondents who returned for job opportunities, the time spent abroad was crucial in their decision-making, particularly with regard to meeting their objectives for travelling. For instance, respondents who pursued further education had to do so within a limited time frame before deciding to come home for job opportunities. The majority (75%) of the returnees who had spent nine or more years came to Ghana due to problems of integration abroad, while the majority (71%) of those who had spent nine or fewer years abroad returned due to homesickness. These categories of returnees could not adjust to the cold weather, racism and other difficulties integrating after spending some time abroad. Table 8: Number of years spent abroad and reasons for returning to Ghana. Source: Survey Questionnaire, August, 2011-January, 2012 Table 7: Gender and reasons for returning to Ghana. Source: Survey Questionnaire, August, 2011-January, 2012 Gender Completed Education Invest in business Lack of job abroad Decision to join family/ retirement Feeling Homesick Difficulty integrating Deportation Male 19 (58%) 15 (83%) 12 (70%) 10 (59%) 1 (12%) 7 (50%) 9 (69%) Female 14 (42%) 3 (17%) 5 (29%) 7 (41%) 7 (88%) 7 (50%) 4(31%) Total 33 (100%) 18 (100%) 17 (100%) 17 (100%) 8 (100%) 14 (100%) 13 (100%)
  39. 39. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 1010 Number of years spent abroad Completed Education Invest in business Lack of jobs abroad Decision to join family/ retirement Difficulty integrating Feeling Homesick Deportation < 9 years 29 (88%) 11 (61%) 13 (77%) 8 (47%) 2 (25%) 10 (71%) 8(62%) > 9 years 4 (12%) 7 (39%) 4 (24%) 9 (53%) 6 (75%) 4 (29%) 5(38%) Total 33 (100%) 18 (100%) 17 (100%) 17 (100%) 8 (100%) 14 (100%) 13(100%) This last paragraph presents some characteristics on the 13 (representing 11%) deportees. 9 out of the 13 deportees (69%) were males; 10 of them (77%) had tertiary education, while the remaining 3 (23%) had secondary education. Again, 10 out of the 13 (77%) were 42 years and below. The majority of these respondents were educated, economically active and could establish themselves in the home country if proper reintegration strategies were put in place. Exploring the Possible Links between the ‘Reasons for Migration’ and the ‘Reasons for Return’ This segment outlines the most important reasons for departure from home and compares these reasons with the essential motives for return. In exploring the reasons for ‘departing from’ and ‘returning to’ Ghana, qualitatively, the data shows that migrants who migrated to pursue further studies returned because they had completed their education. These return migrants decided on their return at a time when they knew they had what was required for them to compete in the Ghanaian labour market. During the in-depth interviews, some respondents said that their frequent contact with ‘home’ made them discover that their classmates in Ghana had ‘made it big’ (secured lucrative jobs) with similar or even lower qualifications and, therefore, felt the need to return after the acquisition of similar qualifications (see Box 1).
  40. 40. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 1011 Box 1: The story of a returned couple At age 35, the young married teacher from Asoso Secondary School, in the Ashanti Region left Ghana to visit his wife, who was then a student in Norway. Instead of coming back to Ghana from his visit, Quame seized the opportunity to further his education in the same university as his wife. After obtaining a Master’s degree in Globalisation in 2004, Quame envisaged getting a better employment at home. Together with his wife, they returned home to settle permanently in 2005. Quame wanted to find a job in the labour market but did not apply for any jobs until his return. However, his high hopes for a job that would let him use his Masters’ degree had to wait for some time as all his applications for employment received no immediate responses. He secured his first job with an Insurance Company Limited in 2007, two years after he returned to Ghana. He obtained this job through his uncle, who was in possession of some copies of his curriculum vitae. Although news of a new job is received with joy, it did not meet all of Quame’s expectations. His employers appointed him based on his Bachelor’s degree. In order to overcome the stigma attached to the concept of ‘unemployment’, he accepted the offer and kept on searching, making use of all the available networks he had made. Meanwhile, he had applied to a Public University for the position of an Assistant Registrar. Quame was invited for an interview in 2008 after which he was employed by the university as an Assistant Registrar. He stated; I will forever be grateful to my uncle and my friend who helped me to secure jobs in Ghana (interview in Accra, 14th December 2011).
  41. 41. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 1012 For respondents who returned home due to investment opportunities in Ghana, it was observed that their main motive for moving abroad was to obtain “better living conditions.” This finding supports the NELM view that following the original plans, return migrants would find it prudent to return home after accumulating resources abroad that could help them continue to achieve their “better lives” (Stark, 1991). For respondents who returned home due to loss of job abroad, two main motives influenced their trips overseas, namely the pursuit of better living conditions and further studies. Some respondents expanded the description of loss of job to include temporary occupation, collapse of personal business or loss of job. Some of the respondents indicated that menial jobs were usually not permanent, while return migrants from Europe, especially those from Italy and the UK, said that they were laid off from their jobs. This finding supports the pull analysis that recent global economic crises have led to the closure of several industries in some parts of Europe. So, return is possible if migrants experience such conditions in the destination country. This finding does not support the proposition by the NE that return migrants would only return when they experience the loss of a job abroad and fail to achieve their intentions of having a better life or employment (Stark, 1991). It is more likely that respondents weighed the costs and benefits of return and realised that with their levels of education or accumulated capital, they could fare better in Ghana than abroad.
  42. 42. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 1013 Box 2: The story of a female returnee Grace, a single young student at the university, decided to acquire the ‘been to’ label at age 27 in 2002. Grace’s first attempt to travel to Ireland was not successful because a travelling agent swindled her. Her desire to travel did not go away. Her uncle in the UK sent her an invitation for the second trial, which earned her a six-month visa in her second year at the university. While in school, Grace travelled to the UK five times during the vacation periods and on each visit, she spent not more than six months. Even when school had reopened, Grace, contracted some friends who registered on her behalf so she could come back later in the semester. Surprisingly, Grace’s motive for migrating in the subsequent years changed from ‘having a feel of outside life’ to seeking greener pastures. In 2005, Grace completed her Bachelor’s studies and applied for a two year visa to the UK, where she stayed for one year. Notwithstanding Grace’s satisfaction with her stay abroad, she returned to Ghana after a year for two main reasons. The first was the threat of losing her teaching job in Ghana and the second was to prevent the constant demand from friends and relatives for items such as mobile phones and clothes. Grace, however, admitted having made enough money compared to the salary she received in Ghana, though she did not want to disclose the amount. Making a monthly salary of £1500 in the UK, Grace managed to save about £500 after paying a monthly rent of £300. She did not use her savings to purchase a new car or build a house because she thought she would get married and move to her husband’s house. However, her savings were compromised by a friend she trusted as a business partner. The business partner absconded with her money under the pretext of getting some goods to be sold later for profit. In terms of finances, Grace seemed to be comfortable, although she admitted that she was not able to save, a practice she perfected whilst in the United Kingdom. The then 27 year old adventurous lady is now 35 years old and single. She hopes to crown her success at work with a ‘wedding bell’ very soon. She does not wish to travel abroad any longer as she is satisfied with her return to Ghana.
  43. 43. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 1014 Among the respondents who returned home to join their families (for reasons such as retirement), the primary reason for migration out of Ghana was to better their lives. For respondents who returned home due to homesickness/retirement, their reasons for migrating included pursuing further studies, employment, better living conditions and family reunion. For respondents who came home because of the challenges associated with integration abroad, their initial migration was motivated by education. Indeed, the returnees had a well-defined plan prior to their migration that was influenced more by a social than an economic motive. Alternatively, this also reflects the strong attachment Ghanaians have to their extended and nuclear families. The experiences that occurred during migration processes led to changes in the original migration intention. This finding confirms du Toit’s (1990) statement that migration is a process instead of an act or static event. So, pre- migration intentions may not always match with real migration outcomes because many obstacles or opportunities may compel the migrants to adjust their initial plan. For this reason, the migrant may decide to explore better opportunities, move on to new goals or return to the point of departure with the same plan. The dynamic nature of migration experiences moves the argument beyond the ‘calculated strategy’ or ‘set targets’ based on economic factors as proposed by the NELM. For many of the deported returnees, two main motives influenced their trips overseas. These were to further their studies abroad and the desire for better living conditions. Only one respondent took the risk of reaching Italy via the desert; all of the other respondents travelled with the correct documents, namely three months tourist visas, student visas or working visas. Respondents said that even after their documents had expired, they kept on with their normal duties until they were arrested. In these instances, the goal of the migration could not be achieved because of circumstances beyond the migrants’ control. Conclusions and Recommendations Similar to previous studies (King, 2000), the decision to return by these groups of Ghanaian returnees was based on both social and economic factors, including available income, accumulated skills or capital, family circumstances in the home country, old age, retirement and the need for care. These social reasons could be explained by the structural approach to return migration, which stipulates that the family and home structures are influential in the
  44. 44. Volume 3 Number 3 September – December 2017 1015 return decision-making. Migrants’ accumulated resources, be they skill or capital, are invested in job creation and this has multiple effects on the national economy. On the other hand, the social reasons, though prestigious, Setrana and Tonah (2016) conclude that they may pose challenges to these returnees as they attempt to satisfy their own expectations as well as the high expectations from the community and family. In between the push and pull factors, the study also identified intervening variables (such as migration experience factors, age, immigration policies, travel documentation, education and marriage), which changed the prior-migration decisions as well as the return decisions. This study supports the argument that migration is not a one- time event, but a process (du Toit, 1990) that is imbued with several opportunities and obstacles (de Haas, 2010) that can challenge pre-migration decisions and influence real migration outcomes. Furthermore, the positive attractions such as job and investment opportunities in Ghana were dominant among these respondents in the return decision. This finding provides evidence that suggests that migrants are mostly returning for better opportunities in the home country and not only due to economic crisis or negative circumstances in the host countries, as suggested in the literature. Indeed, the structural approach to return explains that migrants who return home are attracted by the home country’s political or economic conditions that enable them to utilise their acquired resources. Thus, they invest their financial resources into businesses or set up enterprises, which has a ripple effect on the economy of Ghana. Based on their profiles, some of these returnees are also working in the formal sector and are thereby using their knowledge acquired abroad for the improvement of some sectors of the economy. The study, therefore, recommends that Ghana develop reintegration programmes for addressing the needs of the different categories of returnees based on their decisions for return and how their skills and resources could be channelled into development. The reintegration programmes should not only operate in the capital city but in all the regional capitals and districts of Ghana in order to serve return migrants who prefer to live outside of the capital towns.
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