Aligning South Africa’s Migration Policies with its African Vision

Despite its commitment to prioritise Africa-oriented migration measures, domestically, South Africa is advancing some concerning policies. The result is institutionalised negative attitudes towards low-skilled African migrants and asylum seekers. But South Africa can turn the tide. It can do this by embracing migration’s development potential and following through on promises to provide legal pathways that promote orderly, regular migration, instead of continuing to prioritise punitive measures. South Africa is a major destination for African migrants of all classes – tourist, study, business, economic, irregular and asylum seeking. Some estimates indicate as many as 90% of migrants in South Africa are Africans. The country’s migration policies and practices have a significant impact on millions of people, particularly Africans. While South Africa insists upon its own commitment to Afrocentric ideals, an examination of current policies reveals worrying inconsistencies. On the one hand, recent policy documents and developments express a clear intent to strategically harness migration’s ability to achieve national and regional goals. On the other hand, the country is prioritising restrictive measures that disproportionately and negatively impact African migrants from neighbouring countries.