The region’s long and porous borders, economic attractions and the relative peace and stability make it a preferred destination and transit of, not only investments, but also criminal elements. The immigration services of SADC are engaged in collective planning aimed at strengthening the control and facilitation of the movement of persons in the region to benefit development.
The overall objective of the Draft Protocol on the Facilitation of Movement of Persons is to “develop policies aimed at the progressive elimination of obstacles to the movement of persons of the Region generally into and within the territories of State Parties.” Specific objectives aim for every citizen to have entry (with some limitations) without a visa into another State, to seek permanent and temporary residence in other States, and to establish themselves with employment in another State.
Articles in the Draft Protocol on the Facilitation of Movement of Persons govern many areas of immigration including Member State co-operation, harmonisation of immigration practices, resident permits, protection of immigrant rights, and expulsion, among others.
Improving Cross-Border Travel
The SADC Protocol on Transport, Communications and Meteorology contains provisions for increasing ease of movement between Member States, especially for the purposes of economic activities, including:
- Equal treatment of nationals as well as passenger service providers from Member States in immigration and clearance procedures (Article 3.2).
- Simplified immigration logistical systems, which may include clearance procedures for SADC nationals (Article 3.4).
- Institutional frameworks that facilitate unimpeded access and travel between Member States in order to support regional development corridors (Article 3.5).
In order to control criminal activities that can be associated with immigration, SADC and the Southern African Regional Police Chief Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO) jointly developed the SADC Protocol on Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials .It mandates improvements to technical and information sharing capacity for monitoring and controlling the movement of firearms across borders.