News Articles

Mnangagwa Deports Chinese, Malawians

Source: The Independent, 02/04/2024

The government is deporting foreign nationals whom it says are coming into the country illegally.
Part of those deported so far include hundreds of Chinese and Malawi nationals whom the authorities say are entering the country for employment.
This week, Respect Gono, the chief director at the Department of Immigration, revealed that investigations have unveiled a pattern:
Chinese migrants using mega projects to circumvent authorities and settle in Zimbabwe illegally.
Chinese nationals were reportedly disappearing almost immediately after receiving clearance from immigration.
In an interview with The Independent, Gono emphasized that the Department of Immigration has significantly intensified scrutiny at major entry points since the operation’s inception, resulting in the rejection of numerous foreign arrivals.
Speaking to The Independent, Gono said the Department of Immigration had tightened the screws at major ports of entry since the operation began, and many foreigners were being turned away on arrival. She said:
Our main mandate is to protect the security of Zimbabwe. We turn some of the illegal immigrants away right at the airport. Major projects like Hwange 7 and 8 and other big projects saw a huge influx of Chinese and other people to Zimbabwe purporting to be part of the projects.
Zimbabwe is “Open for Business”, as you know our mantra. But it does not mean we allow illegal migration. We promote safe and regular migration.
What we then do is check on our system if you are really here on a work basis. If you are not, we ask you to leave.
Gono said that Malawian immigrants were not being deported but repatriated. She also revealed that the illegal migrants were arriving in Zimbabwe claiming they were going to work on farms. Said Gono:
We let their embassy identify them. After that, we hire buses to take them back. This is just sending them back through proper channels so that we do not ruin relations. We do not deport Malawians.
We repatriate them because they are part of the Southern African Development Community.
What happens is that sometimes they hide their passports after getting into Zimbabwe. We conduct a search and find to establish if they do have passports.
Mwayiwawo Polepole, Malawian ambassador to Zimbabwe, said:
Considering that cases of that nature were increasing and filling up space in prisons, the Government of Zimbabwe through the immigration department honoured the United Nations convention that the host country of those arrested should be sent back to their countries.
As neighbours and countries enjoying a long history of bilateral and diplomatic relations, two busses were dispatched to Malawi in January.
Again, in February, another bus-load was dispatched to Malawi. In some instances, when immigration informs the embassy of such cases, the embassy engages in a process of self-repatriation.
These processes are normal. The embassy is grateful to the Government of Zimbabwe for such a gesture.
The Chinese embassy did not respond to The Independent’s questions.
This month Zimbabwe also deported four American nationals whom they said were in the country illegally.

South Africa Immigration Company