n African Human Rights Law Journal - Migration and the portability of social security benefits: the position of non-citizens in the Southern African Development Community

Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



The Southern African Development Community (SADC) region currently experiences spontaneous migration of citizens across borders in search of job opportunities and a better standard of living. Generally, freedom of movement across borders which manifests in migration, is a distinguishing feature of globalisation and should be respected as a basic human right. However, what is of growing concern in SADC is the portability of migrants' social security benefits. Do the current SADC structures allow migrants to preserve, maintain and transfer social security benefits such as pension benefits independent of their nationality or country of origin? This article explores the social security measures in individual SADC member states and the extent to which these national measures provide protection for migrants in SADC. Comparing the situation within SADC to that in the European Union, the article concludes that, although there is no simple solution to the problem, it is imperative that SADC member states recognise international standards pertaining to migrants and, more importantly, standards pertaining to the portability of benefits. Ideally, SADC member countries should gradually extend social protection to non-citizens who contribute to their economies through their labour and thereby enhance the right to freedom of movement.

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