- To this end, the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), as part of its mandate to manage migration effectively in the country, has established a special unit called the Migration Management Bureau (MMB).
Written By Raymond K. Baxey - Just as Africa is said to be the cradle of humankind, human needs are the mainstay of man’s survival on earth. If these existential needs are not met, survival is threatened and life itself is in danger.
Consequently, the quest for survival has driven many people to seek for ‘manna’ by migrating to places that offer better opportunities.
Unfortunately, man’s act of migrating has assumed different dimensions, greater complexities and dire consequences. In the face of these complexities and dangers, migrating 'by hook or by crook', has become the mantra of mankind, leading to what is now known as Irregular Migration.
Irregular migration is the movement of persons that takes place outside the laws, regulations, or international agreements governing the entry into or exist from the state of origin, transit or destination (IOM, 2019). Actors involved in this form of migration are called irregular migrants.
Irregular migrants face vulnerabilities and inequalities. They are at a greater risk of being trafficked and exploited, and are unable to gain access to basic rights and protection.
Over the years, the number of migrant deaths have continued to rise, with most deaths recorded in the Mediterranean Sea. Hundreds also perish every year while crossing the Sahara desert into Europe.
They also die from maltreatment, thirst, starvation, exhaustion and sickness.
In spite of these dangers, some citizens of nation-states continue to embark on this form of migration and Ghana is no exceptionas it has a history of dynamic population mobility.
Recent years have seen an increase in the complexity of migration patterns both regular and irregular approaches (Ghana Integrated Migration Management Approach (GIMMA) Information Sheet, 2016).
Now, a strategic approach and surest way of curbing the menace of irregular migration is education, for it is said, to be informed is to be transformed and to be uninformed is to be deformed. Knowledge, is indeed, power.
To this end, the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), as part of its mandate to manage migration effectively in the country, has established a special unit called the Migration Management Bureau (MMB).
The MMB was established in 2007 to maximise the benefits of migration and address emerging complexities and dangers associated with migration trends, especially irregular migration, by providing reliable information to Ghanaians.
Consequently, the objectives of MMB are to encourage safe migration, protect vulnerable migrants and collate migration data to help in migration policy formulation.
Achieving the aforementioned objectives have necessitated the creation of functions and sub-units.
They comprise, Migration Information Bureau (MIB), Migration Affairs and Research (MAR), Migration Data Management (MDM) and Refugee Unit.
The MIB educates and informs the general public, especially the youth in schools, churches and mosques, as well as market centres on the dangers of irregular migration and the benefits that can be derived from embarking on safe regular migration.
MIB also sensitises foreign nationals to how to reside in the country legally and offer counselling services to people who have been victims of human trafficking, smuggled persons, potential migrants and return migrants.
To ensure easy access to information, two Migration Information Centres (MICs) have been established in Sunyani and Tamale in the Bono and Northern regions respectively, to provide expert advice on safe and legal migration to prospective travellers wishing to travel outside the country.
The Migration Affairs and Research (MAR) undertakes research on migration issues to help shape migration policies while deliberately establishing relationship with migrants and prospective ones.
The Migration Data Management (MDM) makes sense out of migrant data by analysing the flow and stock of people entering and leaving the country.
This aids in the formulation of migration policies.
It collaborates with Ghana Refugees Board (GRB), UNHCR and other stakeholders, the refugee units perform the duties of monitoring activities and livelihood conditions of refugees/asylum seekers in the country.
It also educates refugees/asylum seekers on their rights and responsibilities while in the country and assists in the issuance of resident permits to refugees integrated into the Ghanaian society.
Irregular migration is real and its dangers cannot be swept under the carpet. Let us together make migration safe and regular to the benefits of all.
The MMB of the GIS is always available to provide all the information you required for travels outside the country.
Its services are free and doors opened to every enquiries pertaining to travelling in and out of the country.
MMB can be reached on these phone numbers, 0307325089 or 0266680779; whatsapp, 050598984 or 0505989846 and Facebook: Ghana Immigration Service-MMB
The writer is an Assistant Immigration Control Officer (AICO) 1
He is the Officer in Charge (OIC)/Info & Stakeholder and Media Relations Units,
Ghana Immigration Service,
Tel: 0269859688 or 0552157223