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05 February 2017

Over 16,000 Ghanaians migrated to the Gulf region last year

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A total of 16,367 Ghanaians left the country to the Gulf region in 2016, statistics from the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has indicated.

Within the same period, 1,245 Ghanaian emigrants were denied entry to foreign countries, while 732 others were deported for various migration irregularities.

A source at the GIS that disclosed this to the Daily Graphic on condition of anonymity last Wednesday also stated that 3,059 Ghanaian nationals returned to the country, with 441 of them arriving from the Gulf regions.

“It is interesting to note that within 2016, some 42 persons were also repatriated from Ghana for engaging in some illegalities, while 209 others were denied entry into the country,” the source added.

The highly placed source at the GIS said the higher number of emigrants in the year under review was labour related. According to him, migration could be controlled through deliberate government policies.

The source said most of the emigrants went through crude migration routes and were often exploited by fake recruitment agencies.

Concerns

This worrying statistics come at a time that there is growing concerns about the ordeal most Ghanaian emigrants go through, especially in the Gulf region, including Kuwait, Qatar, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

There is a new paradigm in the irregular migration syndrome which involves the illegal trafficking and smuggling of people, especially females, to the Gulf countries notably Kuwait, Saudi Arabia Qatar and Iraq.

Between November 2015 and February 2016, an estimated 5,400 Ghanaians left the country to the Gulf region.

The figures show that about 4,100 of them were females. It further showed that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were the destinations for more than 4,000 of them, while the remaining figure is distributed among Iraq, Qatar, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Oman.

Some of the migrants, who are mostly females, are made to do caretaking and service jobs during which some of them are subjected to all forms of maltreatment.

“The economic conditions in the country do not favour the teeming unemployed youth, so they prefer to move out to seek greener pastures against all the odds,” the source added.

Way forward

According to the same source, the way forward to dealing with the situation is for the country’s embassies abroad to monitor the activities of migrants in their jurisdiction.

It is also important for the government to strictly monitor the activities of licensed recruitment agencies to ensure that they do not exploit potential migrants.

“The international migration laws promote labour migration, especially during this era of increasing globalisation. But, as a country, we need to enter into bilateral agreements with other countries in terms of their migration regimes,” the source said.

The source added that training and orientation programmes ought to be organised for potential migrants, since that would empower them to know their rights and terms of agreements with recruitment agencies.

 

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