The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Haruna Iddrisu, has expressed concern about reports of some sections of migrants in Ghana destroying farms, degrading the environment, polluting sources of water for communities and engaging in antisocial behavours.
He, therefore, called for stringent enforcement of regulations on migration particularly on labour.
Mr Iddrisu was speaking at the launch of a research to assess the economic contributions of labour migration in the country to inform policy which is being supported by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Centre, and the European Union.
The research study which is also being undertaken in La Cote d’Iviore , Rwanda, South Africa and five other countries in Latin America and Asia, seeks to assess the economic importance of labour immigration in significant number of developing countries where immigrants represent a share of the workforce in key economic sectors.
The minister said migrant remittance received from abroad constituted approximately 13 per cent of Gross Domestic Product in 2008, adding “on the flip side, however, the effect of illegal immigrants on the economy has been devastating not only in job losses but also in criminal activities”.
Mr Iddrisu said the ministry had advanced the process of ratifying the ILO Convention 97, that deals with protective provisions concerning migrant workers who had been admitted to various states adding that the Economic Community of West African States protocols also exist to regulate the movement of persons within the sub region.
He urged the researchers to priotise key sectors of the economy to provide reliable data that would serve as evidence needed to impact labour immigration and trigger the processes of evidence-based policy development.
The ILO Country Representative, Dennis Zulu, said the project was necessitated by the dearth of knowledge about the economic contributions of migrants from the developing countries to inform decision making.
He also expressed the need for research to gather data on labour migrations within the ECOWAS sub region where about 15 million of migrants were engaged in economic activities.
The Head of the EU Delegation, William Hanna, said the issue of migration was high on the international agenda and expressed the support of the EU to help the country in addressing issues of migration.
The Executive Director of the Ghana Employers Association, Alex Frimpong, was of the view that migrant remittance to the country had been overhyped and stressed on the need to also research into the human rights abuse of migrant workers.
By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman