The Republic of Mauritius is one of the most prosperous economies in Africa and is both a source and destination country for international migration. As a middle-income country, Mauritius has the possibility to capitalize on migration as a tool for socioeconomic development. Mauritius did not have an indigenous population, and the population has historically been composed from various waves of arrival of immigrants and their descents.
In Mauritius, emigration is a recurring phenomenon. The fear of independence and economic recession led a larger number of Mauritians to migrate overseas prior to and in the years following independence in 1968. Mauritians, who present an attractive profile for countries of destination, are seeking better opportunities abroad. Large Mauritian diasporas have been established in Australia, Canada, South Africa, Britain or France. Recognizing the importance of migration as a means of development both through remittances and skills acquisition abroad, the Mauritian government has responded to this situation with a comprehensive strategy to promote circular 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.
Mauritius is also a country of immigration, with persons arriving primarily from India, China, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Madagascar to work mainly in the textile industry and the construction sector as well as in the so-called “skilled categories”.
Mauritius is 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.
Migrants reintegration. IOM Mauritius assisted in the reintegration of more than 80 Mauritian returnees under various Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) Programmes since 2009, including programmes of return from the UK, Poland, and Ireland. IOM continues to facilitate the return and reintegration of migrants wishing to return to Mauritius, with specific focus on the provision of social assistance as well as economic assistance to start income generating activities after their return. These activities are carried out in cooperation with the Governments of countries of origin, key relevant UN agencies and leading national, regional and global NGOs active in providing assistance to vulnerable migrants.
Counter-trafficking. Since 2013, IOM implemented activities related to counter-trafficking (CT) with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seychelles. IOM Mauritius trained law enforcement officers, representatives of NGOs and media professionals in Seychelles on Trafficking in Persons (TiP), in collaboration with the United States (US) Embassy and UNODC. IOM Mauritius also assisted the Government to develop a national awareness raising campaign and a National Action Plan on TiP. IOM has also facilitated the repatriation of 12 Malagasy fishermen who were presumed to be victims of trafficking from Seychelles back to Madagascar in 2013. In January 2016, IOM Mauritius organized a two days training workshop in Mauritius aiming to empower law enforcement officers and prosecutors with analysis of legislations, study cases, investigative approaches and practices as well as international cooperation.
Labour and Facilitated Migration
“Developing a Roadmap to Facilitate South-South Labour Mobility”. The project “Developing a Roadmap to Facilitate South-South Labour Mobility” aims to respond to regional needs through a two-pronged approach: enhance labour migration management capacities and build innovative rights-focused frameworks to strengthen regional labour migration plans and policies. The project, which involved nine SADC Member States is running until February 2017.
IOM Mauritius hosted a regional workshop on labour migration in May 2016. The workshop aimed to contribute to the strengthening of the capacity of Ministries of Labour in target SADC countries to implement labour migration programmes within the framework of the SADC Regional Action Plan on Labour Migration, SADC Regional Labour Migration Policy Framework, and of the SADC Employment and Labour Protocol.
- IOM Development Fund
"Facilitate a responsible and effective circular migration of Mauritian workers to Italy". The project, which ended in May 2016, aimed to reinforce capacity of Mauritian authorities in managing migration to Italy in a planned and systematic manner. The project provided useful tools to promote circular migration as a means to prevent brain drain and illegal migration. Through this project, a hundred participants from Mauritius and Rodrigues were selected to attend various training programmes in Italy. The project also provided financial assistance to 11 beneficiaries, who had been selected after submission of a call for proposals exercise in December 2015, to set up a new business project or expand their existing business enterprises.
Within the framework of the project, an online job portal was launched in 2014 to facilitate the advertisement of job offers and the registration of applicants. The Mauritius Jobs Portal is still in use and provides a platform for both local and international job offers.
- European Union
- Italian Ministry of Labour and Social Policies
“Selection, Preparation, and Mobilization of Mauritian Migrant Workers in Canada”. Since 2008, IOM implemented seven circular migration projects, in collaboration with the Government of Mauritius and private Canadian companies. In order to ensure the mobilization and integration of Mauritian migrant workers in Canada, IOM provided assistance to job applicants in the operations of recruitment, registration, pre-selection and selection.
Additionally, IOM established an online Database and Migration Resource Centre for Mauritians seeking employment abroad which provides an 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.
- Maple Leaf Consumer Foods
- Lakeside Packers
- Canadian Contract Cleaning Specialists Inc.
- Chisholm (Lucy Porc, Olymel, Supraliments SEC)
- Prudhomme Inc.
“Enhancing the Development Impact of Migration: Developing an Overseas Employment and Diasporas Mobilization Strategy in Mauritius”. Under the project "Enhancing the Development Impact of Migration: Developing an Overseas Employment and Diasporas Mobilization 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.
- IOM Development Fund
"Partnership on Mobility on Health in East and Southern Africa (PHAMESA II)”. IOM is currently implementing the PHAMESA II regional programme in Mauritius which offers a comprehensive public health approach, addressing health concerns that particularly affect migrants and mobile populations with focus on HIV prevention, treatment and care, and related conditions like tuberculosis and reproductive health.
In the context of the second phase of the project that will end in December 2017, relevant stakeholders met in April 2016 in Seychelles, to validate the Regional Migration and Health Strategy 2016 -2018: Priorities for the South West Indian Ocean Islands which aims at improving the management of migrants’ health and communities affected by migration in the Indian Ocean region by drawing up a list of priority actions to be completed by 2018.
- Swedish International Development Cooperation
Migration Policy and Research
"Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy (MECLEP)”. This 3 years project (January 2014 – December 2016) aims to contribute to the global knowledge base on the relationship between migration and environmental change, including climate change. The innovative research will aim to formulate policy options on how migration can benefit adaptation strategies to environmental and climate change. Mauritius is one of the 6 project countries including Dominican Republic, Haiti, Kenya, Papua New Guinea and Viet Nam.
On the basis of the existing and ongoing research, a National level country assessment was conducted in 2015 to identify the opportunities and challenges of migration in building resilience against climate change, followed by a national household survey which collected new evidences on the issues of migration, displacement and relocation in the face of environmental and climate change in 3 selected sites in Mauritius.
- European Union
- IOM Development Fund
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. In 2011, this 1035 Facility-funded project was 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.
- IOM Development Fund
Main text: October 2016
Facts and figures: March 2016