Malawi registers sharp rise in illegal immigrants

Malawi is registering a sharp increase in people coming to the country illegally with the Immigration Department appealing to the general public to report illegal immigrants

Immigration Department spokesman, Peter Kakatera, disclose that more than 2,842 cases of illegal immigrants have been reported to the department.

He attributed the rise in illegal immigrants arrest to “pro-activeness” among responsible officials during routine operations to identify people staying illegally in the country.

Porus borders? Malawi's border with Tanzania in northern district of Karonga

“Starting from June this year to date, 2,842 cases of illegal immigrants have been reported to this department, and 156 illegal immigrants have also been repatriated to their countries while others have been sent to Dzaleka Refuge Camp in Dowa District.

“These illegal immigrants are of various nationalities. They include Ethiopians and Somalis, Burundians and Rwandese, Indians and Pakistanis,” he told Malawi News Agency.

Kakatera said illegal immigrants were finding their way to Malawi because the country was one of the transit routes which some foreigners use to get through to South Africa.

He said while in transit in Malawi, some of them decide to stay in the country and start engaging in small scale businesses, especially Indians and Pakistanis. Some marry locals as cover against detection by immigration officers.

“Ethiopians Somalis, Burundians and Rwandese are always in transit to South Africa and you can even notice them because they always move in groups. These people are also described as asylum seekers.” Kakatera said.

He said Indians and Pakistanis who were doing businesses in towns and cities had Business Residence Permit documents which legalize them to do business in the country.

He said illegal immigrants normally use unchartered routes like forests, rivers when coming to Malawi to evade immigration officers.

Kakatera therefore urged the general public and other stakeholders like the police to assist in checking illegal immigration.

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