Understanding Migration Policy Paradoxes: Alan Hirsch in The Conversation Africa


The New South Institute is pleased to highlight a thought-provoking piece penned by our Research Fellow Alan Hirsch, published recently on The Conversation Africa. In the article titled “Zimbabwean migrants: South Africa’s anti-immigrant sentiments are hindering policy reform“, Hirsch interrogates the complexities and challenges surrounding migration policy, with a spotlight on the South African scenario.

To delve deeply into the conundrum of migration policy, Hirsch uses the example of the recent defeat of the South African Minister of Home Affairs in a court case to end the government’s concession to Zimbabwean refugees. He places this event in the context of South Africa’s broader immigration policy, which he characterises as in a state of flux and plagued by anti-migrant sentiment.

Hirsch raises crucial points, including the idea that despite politicized rhetoric and legal ambiguities, practical and sensible policies occasionally find their way through. He explores this notion by drawing comparisons to immigration situations in the UK and Italy, where political rhetoric often conflicts with on-the-ground realities.

Pivoting towards the African context, Hirsch underscores the importance of economic integration and fluid cross-border movement for economic development. He points out the need for reform in migration policies, citing examples from the East African Community and the West African ECOWAS, which have made significant strides compared to other regions.

Importantly, Hirsch’s text introduces our ongoing Migration Governance Reform project, which examines migration policy and practice in four African countries and four regional organisations, and whose first report was published last week: “Framing a Study of African Migration Governance Reform – Towards Freer Movement“. This initiative is rooted in optimism about recent developments in migration governance on the African continent, and aims to promote learning and inspire reform.

We invite our readers to delve into Alan Hirsch’s insightful commentary on The Conversation Africa for a deeper understanding of the intricate issues at hand. Engage with his insights and join us in contemplating the future of migration policy reform in Africa. To read the full piece, click here.

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