18 June 2007

Ghana: EU to Assist Government Combat Illegal Immigration

Accra — The European Union (EU) is gearing up to provide technical assistance to the government of Ghana to combat inward and outward illegal immigration, Mr. Andreas Von Mettenheim, Deputy Director General of Legal Affair at the European Commission on Thursday said.

He made the announcement during a press briefing at the end of a two-day working visit by a 12-member EC delegation to the country to familiarize themselves with what the government was doing to combat illegal immigration and how the EU could provide technical assistance to that effect.

The delegation led by Mr. Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi, also from the EC had separate meetings with Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister of the Interior, Mr. Francis Opoku, Minister of National Security and Mr. Akwasi Osei-Adjei, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affair, NEPAD and Regional Integration.

They also had discussions with Deputy Minister of Health, visited Ghana Immigration Service as well as the Births and Death Registry to familiarize themselves with the operations of all these institutions with regards to their roles in immigration and development.

In those separate meetings and interactions they discussed issues bothering on how to deepen dialogue on migration in order to have the necessary political will to effectively combat illegal migration.

Mr. Mettenheim told journalists that the delegation gathered that the government of Ghana had been doing publicity campaign against illegal immigration and have been harping on the risks involved and the difficulties one is likely to face without the appropriate legal documents.

"We were impressed with the publicity campaign by the government of Ghana but we have asked them what kind of technical assistance they need to do effective combat. We will wait for a response from them and come in where we can," he said.

He noted that statistics indicated that there were about 100,000 illegal immigrants moving from one place to the other in a day worldwide, saying that that was a big challenge which required proper preparedness by governments and institutions to combat.

"Whiles we make out countries attractive by creative investment and employment opportunities, we must also put measures in place to check the inflow of illegal immigrants who are likely to put unnecessary pressure on our economies and in the long term throw our efforts out of gear," he said.

The delegation completed their duty tour on Thursday June 14.

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