Department of Immigration Launches Immigration Standard Operating Procedure Manual

By Bertha Nguvulu

The Zambia Department of Immigration launched its Immigration Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) Manual at an event held in Lusaka on 17th December 2012.

The SOP launch event was held at New Government Complex in Lusaka and was attended by the Deputy Minister and Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs, IOM Chief of Mission and staff, senior and regional immigration officers and the media.

The SOP Manual was developed with technical and financial support from the IOM Development Fund through IOM Zambia's Immigration and Border Management Programme, and in close collaboration with the IOM Africa Capacity Building Centre in Tanzania. The SOP manual is intended to harmonise the Department's operations and procedures through providing guidance for immigration officers in executing their duties.

At the launch, the Acting Director General Immigration, Mr. Moola Milomo, indicated that the SOP Manual is the first document of its kind in Zambia and will be instrumental in ensuring the effective operations of the department's staff in various locations, such as border controls, covering ground crossings, international airports and internal offices. He added that the Manual will support the implementation of “polices, protocols and procedures for efficient and effective delivery of migration services. It will serve as a guide to all immigration officers to ensure that procedures are uniformly applied within the parameters of legislation and established polices”.

In his address, the IOM Zambia Chief of Mission, Dr Andrew Choga, stated that “the SOP Manual seeks to address the operationalization of the various  aspects of the 2010 Immigration and Deportation Act, including addressing trafficking in persons, migrant smuggling and data management, and is part of IOM's broader programme of support to the Ministry of Home Affairs in Zambia.”

Also addressing the guests at the launch, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Honourable Nickson Chilangwa, expressed hope or confidence (maybe – or add another term to qualify what he expressed) that the SOP will improve the efficiency of implementation of services and contribute to the reduction of corruption: “today's launch will significantly help the realization of the Department's overall objective, which is to facilitate and regulate the movement of persons entering and leaving the country, and control the stay of immigrants and visitors in order to contribute to the maintenance of security and sustainable socio-economic development”. Honourable Chilangwa further acknowledged that the SOP cannot be implemented without considering infrastructure needs in border areas.

During the launch the IOM Chief of Mission presented 350 copies of the SOP Manual, copies of the accompanying training curriculum and passport examination equipment to the Deputy Minister.  Dr. Choga further pledged IOM's continued support to the Ministry of Home Affairs in operationalizing the SOP and furthering the objectives of the Ministry including improvements to infrastructure in boarder areas.