ZIMBABWE has been rated as the largest source of migrants residing in southern Africa, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

This was revealed during the official launch at the Old Memorial Hospital in Bulawayo on Wednesday.

IOM chief of mission Dyane Epstein in a speech read on his behalf by the migration health chief and officer Thomas Kalasani said Zimbabwe was recording a high levels of migration in southern Africa.

“The current global projection is that there are approximately 281 million international migrants in the world accounting for 3,6% of the global population,” Epstein said.

“According to the world report 2020, Zimbabwe is the largest source of migrants residing in southern Africa.

“Furthermore in search of economic gains, Zimbabweans are migrating to other regions like  the Middle East, where the Zimbabwean government  has intervened to ensure  that its people  are able to return home after falling victims to human trafficking.”

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Estimates say over 3 million documented and undocumented Zimbabweans are residing in South Africa, a destination of choice for many African migrants fleeing poverty, war and famine in their countries.

Other Zimbabweans have sought economic refugee status, especially in the United Kingdom.

Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe said the ministry wanted Zimbabweans living outside the country to access passports with ease.

“We have already started decentralisation of the passport offices which will assist migrants to access national documentation easily,” Kazembe said in a speech read on his behalf by a ministry official.

“We have also started the processes to ensure that application for these vital documents can be done online to facilitate the ease of doing business both locally and for our citizens abroad.”

Government last year promised to address immigration crisis in the country, following revelations that foreigners are entering the country as refugees and then establishing enterprises without following the proper procedures.