Date Published: 
Monday, March 18, 2019

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) – the UN Migration Agency – launched the “Comparative Study on Free Movement of Workers in East African Community Countries: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and United Republic of Tanzania.”

The study was commissioned within the framework of a regional project, funded by the IOM Development Fund entitled “Supporting Labour Mobility in the East African Community: Operationalizing the Common Market Protocol Provisions on Free Movement of Persons and Labour”.

The EAC is composed of six countries, namely Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. In 2015, the estimated population was over 145.5 million people, and a gross domestic product (GDP) of about USD 147.5 billion. As the region intensifies efforts to achieve its integration milestones, specifically within the context of the EAC Common Market Protocol (CMP), cross-border movement of labour has made labour migration a pertinent issue for the Partner States.

The comparative study assesses migration patterns and policy issues in four of the six EAC countries, namely Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and the United Republic of Tanzania. The East African Common Market Protocol (EAC CMP) provides – under Articles 7, 9 and 10 – for movement of persons, travel documents and the free movement of workers respectively. It specifically looks at three migration issues, i.e. national policy frameworks, data management and migrant worker practices.

The main recommendations of the study call on EAC Partner States to adopt labour migration policies based on international best practice, improve data management and boost the operationalization of One Stop Border Posts.

"We appreciate the commitment and cooperation from the United Republic of Tanzania in the conduct of this study, and are confident that the presentation of the results will assist the Government of Tanzania and the other three EAC Member States in improving their management of migration flows, in particular those related to labour”, expressed Dr. Qasim Sufi, Chief of Mission of IOM Tanzania.

At the continental level, the African Union (AU) Migration Policy Framework for Africa makes recommendations, as policy guidelines, considered best practices for its Member States in migration management.

In 2010, the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that there were approximately 19.3 million migrants in Africa, of which 8.4 million were classified as migrant workers.

“As people throughout the world are becoming more and more mobile, labour migration is undoubtedly a key issue for all governments and populations” said Tatiana Hadjiemmanuel, Senior Regional Thematic Specialist on Labour Migration and Human Development, IOM Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa. “We are very satisfied to see good willingness from EAC countries to work together in improving the protection of migrant workers,” Hadjiemmanuel added.

20 different institutions in the United Republic of Tanzania and Zanzibar, including the President Offices, the Ministries of Trade and Industry, Ministries of Labour, Immigration Departments, Trade Union Congress of Tanzania, Association of Tanzanian Employers participated in the launching event that took place in the capital city of Dodoma on 18 March 2019.

Three other similar events will be organized in Bujumbura, Burundi on 20 March 2019, Kigali, Rwanda on 21 March 2019 and Nairobi, Kenya on 4 April 2019.

For further information, please contact David Hofmeijer, Tel. +255699674975, Email: