Illegal asylum seekers concern home affairs

09 Apr 2015 14:00pm
WINDHOEK, 09 APR (NAMPA) – While the trend of asylum seekers entering Namibia hidden in trucks is of great concern, Government facilitated the lawful entry of more than 2,2 million migrants and 2,2 million departures during the last financial year.
In Government’s Accountability Report for the 2013/2014 financial year that was tabled by Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein in Parliament last week, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration attributed a lack of sufficient funding to implement the agreed-upon border resident card between countries to the influx of asylum seekers.
“The porous nature of the Namibia northern and north-eastern borders remain a breeding ground for illegal migration. The lack of sufficient funding to implement the agreed-upon border resident card between Namibia and her neighbours is affecting border controls. The depreciation of the Namibian Dollar against major foreign currencies also affects the budget earmarked for Immigration Attachés,” it warned.
Under the Refugee Administration programme of the ministry, a total of 1 742 former Angolan refugees, who have asked for local integration as a durable solution to their protracted situations, have applied for permanent residence status. A total of six Namibian returnees from Dukwi Refugee Camp in Botswana were repatriated back home, while 450 refugee Identification Documents (IDs) were printed.
According to the report, the Citizenship Committee received 1 442 applications and recommended the issuance of certificates for the following categories: 667 by descent; 718 by naturalisation; 48 by marriage; and nine by restoration.
A total of 276 certificates of identity issued to foreign nationals married to Namibian citizens were approved, while nine were deferred from the period April 2013 to March 2014.
Other challenges for immigration control and citizenship included local communities that are not familiar with immigration laws, resulting in non-compliance; lack of appropriate vehicles to reach the challenging terrains along the common borders and high human resources turn-over, which resulted in inadequate personnel and a lack of accommodation at various duty stations, resulting in some vacancies remaining unfilled.
The ministry, however, received more than N.dollars 1.2 million from passport collections while more than N.dollars 4 million was collected from the issuance of visas and permits. A high demand for duplicates of full birth certificates, Identification Documents (IDs) and a change of particulars has resulted in a considerable increase in revenue collection to about N.dollars 3.2 million.
A total of 7 3 65 employment permits were issued and 33 177 work visas were approved while 156 permanent residence permits were issued. A total of 464 student permits and 15 temporary residence permits were issued.
The principal mandate of the ministry is the management of the national population register; the facilitation of lawful migration; and to ensure that government has all necessary demographic information.
An amount of more than N.dollars 418 million was allocated to the ministry during the 2013/14 fiscal year, of which 88.5 per cent was spent.