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Mauritius

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Capital Port Louis
Population (2013): 1.2 million
Area:  2,040 km sq
Languages :  English, French, Creole, Hindi
Currency:  Mauritian Rupee (MUR)
GDP per Capita PPP  (2013): USD 17,200
HDI Rank (2013): 63 of 187
Remittances (2013 estimate):  USD 1 million
Immigrants (2013):  3.6%
Women as a Percentage of Immigrants  (2013): 61%
Population under 15 (2013): 20%
Adult HIV Prevalence (2013):  1.10%
Sources and Definitions

Overview

Mauritius has seen two major waves of emigration in the past decades: The first, around the time of independence in 1968 owing to political uncertainty and high levels of unemployment, and the second during the economic downturn in the 1980s. This has led to a sizable diaspora population estimated in 2004 to be roughly 179,900 persons, or 14 per cent of the country’s current population of 1.2 million. Large Mauritian diasporas have been established in Britain, France, and Italy in the European Union, as well as Canada, Australia, South Africa, and the neighboring island of Reunion, all of which remain important destinations for Mauritian migrants.

Mauritius is also a country of immigration, with persons arriving primarily from India, China, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to work in the island’s large construction and textiles industries as well as in the so-called “skilled categories”. A shortage of local labour in these industries and a “skills mismatch” among the local population has led to increased overseas recruitment in recent years, despite the high unemployment rate. While Mauritius maintains a stable economy and political environment, recent downturns in the sugar and textile industries have led to a sharp increase in unemployment, with a consequent increase in the number of persons seeking employment opportunities abroad. The Mauritian government has responded to this situation with a comprehensive strategy to promote circular migration as a means of reducing unemployment and promoting longer term development during this economic transition phase. Recognizing the importance of migration as a means of development both through remittances and skills acquisition abroad, the Mauritian government has developed policy to promote short-term labour migration, as well as set up structures to improve opportunities for migrants to invest, develop small and medium enterprises, and use their newly acquired skills from abroad, upon their return to Mauritius. IOM’s support and joint activities with the government and the development of labour migration initiatives are illustrative of this policy in action.

According to the Government Programme 2010-2015, natural disasters and extreme weather conditions represent an increasing risk to sustainable development. The Government of Mauritius has taken measures to strengthen the monitoring of weather and climate and encourage research into the impact of climate change and natural disasters to enable timely decisions to be taken based on sound scientific and empirical information. These initiatives fall within the objectives of the Mauritius Sustainable Island Initiative and interests of Small Island Developing States.

The Mauritius Sustainable Island Initiative launched by the Government of Mauritius in 2008 aims at building a new model of development. One of the National Priorities is to improve on environmental protection by accessing and utilizing environmental funds, carbon markets, payment for ecosystem services and other financing mechanisms, to mainstream climate change adaptation policies into national development plans based on improved understanding of the linkages between climate change and other development issues. The Ministry of Environment and National Development Unit is currently working on the development of a national strategy for the adaptation to climate change in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Mauritius is also a member of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and one of its priorities is the protection of the environment and natural resources as a means of sustainable development for the Indian Ocean region.

Migration and Development

Under the project "Enhancing the Development Impact of Migration: Developing an Overseas Employment and Diasporas Mobilisation Strategy in Mauritius", an assessment study was conducted in May 2008 on (1) the internal labour market in Mauritius to improve human resource planning; (2) mapping the location and profile of the diasporas and the development of a preliminary road map to enhance the involvement and contribution of the diasporas in the development strategies of Mauritius, and (3) labour migration opportunities abroad for Mauritian nationals. This project resulted in a strategy designed for placing workers in foreign countries, among others.

Main Project

  • Enhancing the Development Impact of Migration: Developing an Overseas Employment and Diasporas Mobilisation Strategy in Mauritius

Facilitating Migration

Clients/Partners and Donors

Selection, Preparation, and Mobilization of Mauritian Migrant Workers. IOM Mauritius provides a series of international migration services to support and facilitate labour migration in a more effective and structured way.

IOM's initiatives in the field of labour migration involve the selection, preparation, and mobilization of Mauritian migrant workers for food processing industries and a cleaning company in Canada. IOM assists in their recruitment, visa processing, training, orientation and travel to Canada.

Establishment of a Database and Migration Resource Centre for Mauritians Seeking Employment Abroad. Funded by the IOM 1035 Facility, the project established an online database for employment overseas – the Mauritius Circular Migration Database – which is managed by the National Empowerment Foundation (Ministry of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment) and a Migration Resource Centre, housed at the IOM Office in Mauritius. This project aims to enhance the labour migration programme by setting up an online registration tool for Mauritians interested in temporary employment abroad and by providing informative assistance to potential and actual Mauritian migrants in the migration and decision-making process, as well as to assist returning migrants to Mauritius, by providing information on options, procedures, and reliable contacts.

Main Projects

  • Selection, Preparation and Mobilization of 75 Workers from Mauritius to Maple Leaf Foods in Edmonton, Lethbridge (Alberta) and Brandon (Manitoba), Canada
  • Selection, Preparation and Mobilization of 16 Workers from Mauritius to Lakeside Packers in Brooks (Alberta), Canada
  • Selection, Preparation and Mobilization of 72 Workers from Mauritius to Maple Leaf Foods in Edmonton, Calgary (Alberta), North Battleford (Saskatchewan) and Brandon (Manitoba), Canada
  • Selection, Preparation and Mobilization of 17 Workers from Mauritius to Canadian Contract Cleaning Specialists Inc. in Calgary (Alberta) Canada
  • Selection, Preparation and Mobilization of 91 Workers from Mauritius to Porc processing companies in Quebec (representing Lucy Porc, Olymel Inc., Supraliments SEC) in Yamachiche and St. Esprit (Quebec), Canada (ongoing)
  • Selection, Preparation and Mobilization of Workers from Mauritius to Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta in the agricultural, oil, hospitality, mining, healthcare, transportation and construction sectors (ongoing)
  • Establishment of a Database and Migration Resource Centre for Mauritians Seeking Employment Abroad

Return Management

IOM Mauritius assisted in the professional reintegration of 82 Mauritian returnees from the IOM / UK-funded Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Programme (AVRR) Programmes, i.e., Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme (VARRP), Voluntary Return and Reintegration for Detained Migrants (VRRDM), Assisted Voluntary Return for Families and Children (VARFC) and from the AVRR Programmes within IOM Dublin and Warsaw.

Migration Health

Partnership for Health and Mobility in East and Southern Africa (PHAMESA). This regional programme aims to review migrants’ vulnerability to health during the different stages of the migration process and current services and programmes available to them in Mauritius using a range of tools and methodologies. Specifically, the assessment will review the HIV-related knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and practices of different categories of migrants in Mauritius. The assessment will focus on migrant labour, prioritized as follows: (1) workers in the industrial sectors, such as textile and construction workers; and (2) workers in the maritime sector and migrants in transit in the seafood hub in Mauritius, as well as tourists. The preparatory phase of the project started in December 2010 and was pursued from January to April 2011. A roundtable discussion was held in Port Mathurin, Rodrigues Island in collaboration with the National Aids Secretariat (Principal Recipient of the Global Fund), CSR Manager of Rogers Ltd and UNAIDS/UNDP in order to better understand the context in Rodrigues and the health vulnerabilities associated with the movement of Rodriguans to Mauritius Island. Follow-ups have been conducted with the same potential partners and IOM is currently working on two concept notes for carrying assessments of the health vulnerabilities of Rodriguans in Mauritius and transit migrants and non-migrants in the port of Mauritius.

Main Project

  • Partnership for Health and Mobility in East and Southern Africa (PHAMESA)

Migration and Environment

The Other Migrants: Cause and Prevention of Migration of Gradual Environmental Change — Environment and Sustainable Development in the Republic of Mauritius. The linkage between environmental degradation and population movement is a complex one. In small islands such as Mauritius, the impact of climate change could be disastrous in terms of, for instance, rising sea level and altered precipitation patterns. This 1035 Facility-funded project is intended as an initial investigation into the inter-relationship between environmental degradation and population movements in these islands, in the broader context of how this linkage affects human security, as well as sustainable development and livelihoods.

Main Project

  • The Other Migrants: Cause and Prevention of Migration of Gradual Environmental Change — Environment and Sustainable Development in the Republic of Mauritius

Last updated:
Main text: July 2011
Facts and figures:
August 2014

Migration Initiatives


Videos

Bracing Mauritius for Climate Change

Promoting the well-being of Rodriguans migrating to and residing in Mauritius. Available in English and French.

Canadian Pre-Departure Cultural Orientation


Migration and Health for Migration Health Advocates