IOM Tanzania’s Mixed Migration Unit works on issues that are connected to mixed migration flows throughout the region.  Mixed migration flows are complex population movements including refugees, asylum-seekers, economic migrants, smuggled migrants, unaccompanied minors and other migrants. These are characterized with regular (documented) and irregular (undocumented) migrants. 

Each year, thousands of people sell their possessions to embark on an arduous journey in search of a better life. While this is a global issue, Tanzania’s geographic location makes it a key transit corridor. The country is exposed to large mixed migration flows as it is bordered by eight countries (Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia). Approximately 20,000 irregular migrants enter the country’s territory every year. A large proportion of irregular migrants come from countries from the Horn of Africa, principally Ethiopia and Somalia, en route to claim asylum in the Republic of South Africa. Tanzania also receives asylum seekers and refugees from countries in the Great Lakes Region, principally the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. In 2015, a large influx of Burundian asylum seekers entered Tanzania as a result of political instability in their country.

The MMU’s activities are covered under the Refugee Programme Working Group of the United Nations Development Assistance Plan (UNDAP 2011-2015) and will be extended in 2016 under the United Nations Development Assistance Plan II (UNDAP II 2016-2020).

Projects and activities of IOM’s Mixed Migration Unit fall into the following categories:

Equipment and Infrastructure Support to the Government of Tanzania

IOM constructed and refurbished six police and immigration posts in Lindi, Mbeya, Mtwara and Tanga under a project funded by the Government of Japan between 2011 and 2012. These areas experience high migratory flows and are under resourced to accommodate irregular migrants. Under the same project, IOM also donated 3 boats and 11 vehicles to the police and immigration department to assist with patrols along Tanzania’s coastal regions.

IOM also facilitated the purchase of e-registration equipment and registered over 22,282 irregular migrants in the Kigoma region in western Tanzania between 2014 and 2015. The project was funded by the UK Department for International Development. IOM is planning to conduct a verification exercise of migrants registered under this program and to extend the e-registration exercise to other regions in Tanzania. Find out more about the pilot migrant registration on this page

Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) of Migrants

IOM Tanzania has collaborated with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to facilitate the return of stranded migrants to their home countries and to assist the process of reintegration into their communities. IOM Tanzania has assisted the AVRR of 3216 migrants to date and in 2016, plans to assist a further 500 migrants. The AVRR programme is funded by the Government of Japan and by the EU. More information can be found on this page.

Workshop and Capacity Building Events

IOM Tanzania, in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs and other stakeholders and with funding by the EU, have been organizing capacity building events to raise awareness, and to train law enforcement officials and media, on the aspects of mixed migration flows.

In 2014 and 2015, a total of 600 officers and other stakeholders have been trained on issues such as protection sensitive migration management, migrant rights and return management workshops. In April 2015, IOM engaged an external consultant to conduct a rapid needs assessment with the Department of Immigration to establish a baseline for its capacity building efforts.

IOM has also collaborated with the immigration department to review the Tanzania Immigration Services Manual (TISM) and to develop the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Outreach Activities

MMU has organized several outreach campaigns to generate an increased awareness of irregular migration and to sensitise Tanzanians to the issues faced by migrants. The following events were run in 2014 and 2015:

  • Outreach campaign on International Youth Day
  • Outreach campaign during the Saba Saba Trade Fair
  • Outreach campaign on International Migrants Day
  • IOM has also built a good relationship with local and international media outlets.

Further Activities

IOM has collaborated with the Department of Immigration to formulate plans to disseminate the Tanzania Immigration Service Manual (TISM) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to regional and district immigration offices.

  • Distribution of e-registration equipment to regional immigration offices
  • Training activities for law enforcement officials
  • AVRR of irregular migrants from Tanzania to countries of origin