Labour mobility has become a key feature of the global economy, with an estimated 105 million people working outside of their country of origin[1]. Mozambique too is characterized by high levels of mobility, with regular flows of cross border workers moving in and out of neighbouring countries, primarily South Africa. Although Mozambique historically has had high rates of emigration, particularly among the high skilled, the country’s resources boom and economic growth is beginning to attract flows of foreign workers.

While these movements can pose challenges, especially for vulnerable migrant workers, governments and organisations are increasingly acknowledging the mutual benefits of well-managed labour migration. Higher incomes, remittances, skills development and new business linkages are some of the benefits that can accrue to migrants and sending countries, while receiving countries can enjoy a larger workforce and human capital stock.

About the Programme

In line with IOM’s global priorities in the area of Labour Migration and Migration and Development, IOM Mozambique is concentrating on three results areas:

  1. Assisting the Government of Mozambique to build its diaspora engagement programme;
  2. Implementing labour migration programmes with other Lusophone countries and countries in the global south, including protection programmes for cross-border labour migrants; and,
  3. Mainstreaming migration into governance systems, for example national poverty reduction strategies and plans.


Institutional Capacity-Building for Diaspora Engagement in Mozambique (2013 – 2014)

Sustained high rates of emigration, particularly among the highly skilled, has resulted in a sizeable Mozambican diaspora. Based on census data between 1960 and 2000, the top destination for Mozambican migrants is South Africa, but other significant countries include Malawi, Tanzania, Portugal, Swaziland, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, and Spain.  Although Mozambicans continue to relocate abroad, the country’s macroeconomic stability and impressive growth have created more opportunities for the diaspora to be economically engaged in their home country.

Following Mozambique’s accession as a Member State of IOM in December 2011, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINEC) requested assistance from IOM to develop a diaspora database within the context of a broader diaspora engagement strategy.  Funded by the International Organization for Migration Development Fund (IDF) and in collaboration with MINEC’s National Institute for Mozambican Communities in the Exterior (INACE), the project has four goals:

  • To strengthen national institutional capacity to engage with the diaspora;
  • To increase knowledge about the nature and whereabouts of the diaspora;
  • To develop evidence-based long-term programmes to promote investment and skills transfer;
  • To strengthen communications between the Mozambican government and the diaspora.

Activities to achieve these goals include: ‘diaspora mapping’ Mozambican communities in South Africa; launching an INACE website with an online diaspora survey; and, through MINAC, drafting and endorsing a Diaspora Engagement Strategy.

Voices from the Underground: Building the Advocacy and Human Rights Capacity of Migrant Mineworkers and their Families in Southern Africa (2014 – 2016)

Historically South Africa has lacked an integrated approach to migration and labour practices. Despite new constitutional dispensation, the country is still vulnerable to exploitative practices in the formal and informal economies. This often correlates with vulnerability caused by a lack of legal documentation and lack of coherent multi-sectoral policies for local integration (short-term or long-term) of migrant workers and former migrant workers. The system is based on immigration enforcement and exclusion rather than a rights-based policy resulting in inclusion and integration.

For Mozambique’s large number of current and retired migrant mineworkers, who have a long history of working in South Africa’s mines, many are unaware of their rights and the available social protection mechanisms and services. The shortcomings in legal policy implementation, documentation and knowledge have contributed to a number of severe social protection problems for migrant mineworkers, namely, portability of pensions, access to compensation and essential reintegration programmes.

In order to find sustainable solutions, migrant mine workers and their families need appropriate channels to voice their concerns. Managed and implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and funded by the European Union (EU), the aim of this regional project is to improve the protection and advocacy capacity of migrant mine workers and their families in Southern Africa. The project has three components: institutional capacity-building of the Mozambican Mine Workers Association (AMIMO); facilitating legal services and counseling for mine workers and their families, together withLawyers for Human Rights (LHR), and; advocacy and communications at the national and regional levels to spur dialogue with stakeholders and inform beneficiaries of their rights.


[1] Statistic taken from IOM’s global website. See: