Lesotho National Migration and Development Policy

Research output: Book/ReportOther outputpeer-review


The case for developing policy that focuses on harnessing migration for
the development of Lesotho is not only grounded in international and
regional instruments and comparative experience, but has also been a
major theme in the Lesotho policy domain, and enjoys the support and
commitment of the Lesotho Government, as is reflected in a range of
key Lesotho policy documents, including Lesotho's National Vision
2020 and the National Strategic Development Plan 2012/13 – 2016/17.
The Lesotho National Migration and Development Policy stresses the
importance of aligning migration-related policy, legislative and
institutional interventions to achieve developmental outcomes with
international and regional standards and comparative benchmarks. It
also points to the need to designate a governmental institution which
would drive the implementation of the new policy on migration and
development, as well as strengthened and expanded consultative
structures, and to develop an effective data management system.
Building on the envisaged e-passport and e-border management
system, it is required to facilitate and strengthen the smooth movement
of regular migration and to combat irregular movement through
enhanced systems, improved controls, stakeholder collaboration and
cross-border cooperation. Policy frameworks need to be developed in
areas such as disaster management, skills development, the creation
of employment opportunities in Lesotho and in cross-border industrial,
cooperative and market zones to be established, and the retention of
the skilled labour force.
Migrant workers from Lesotho should be supported through dedicated
pre-departure and return interventions, and support services while they
work and reside in destination countries. Labour agreements with
destination countries have to be (re-)negotiated, so as to facilitate
cross-border movement, the collection and sharing of data, protection
and equal treatment with citizens of the host countries, and access to
benefits, including social security benefits (via formalised social
security agreements). Measures should be introduced to encourage
the participation of the Lesotho diaspora in the socio-economic
development of the country through an environment conducive for the
transfer of skills. Remittances could be harnessed for development
through the creation of effective and accessible remittance channels
and dedicated financial products/saving instruments. In order to ensure
the retention of critical skills, it is necessary to create a framework for
developing and retaining skills in critical areas of shortage, with the
support and involvement of the Lesotho diaspora and skilled
immigrants. Unique opportunities for the employment of surplus human
capacity of skills should be created, also via dedicated bilateral
The Policy suggests measures to address the context and needs of
informal cross-border traders and enhance the developmental
outcomes of their economic activity. The health of migrants and their
dependants should be promoted through a Migration Health Policy
framework. Also, context- and gender-sensitive protection should be
extended to women who migrate or are affected by migration. There is
need to adopt a framework for managing irregular migration to facilitate
safe and regular migration and curb irregular migration, as well as
address the underlying reasons informing irregular migration, in
particular through interventions aimed at employment creation within
Lesotho and in cross-border initiatives, such as cross-border industrial,
cooperative and market zones. Furthermore, a dedicated policy
framework is required, which indicates group-specific and contextsensitive
responses in relation to various internal migration streams: (i)
rural-urban migration – including women who have migrated to urban
areas to take up employment in the garment industry; (ii) child mobility
within Lesotho and across borders; and (iii) households that
compulsorily have had to migrate as a result of major development
Original languageEnglish
PublisherIntra-ACP Migration Facility
Commissioning bodyAfrican, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP)
Number of pages138
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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