Blantyre — More than 400 Malawians and Mozambicans have voluntarily returned home from South Africa where they were mostly living illegally.
Some 281 Malawians and 128 Mozambicans have returned since June last year.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) facilitated the voluntary returns and individual reintegration through funding by the European Union (EU).
IOM has subsequently convened a meeting in the city of Blantyre where key senior officials from Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa met to collectively assist more returnees from South Africa.
Mpilo Nkomo, IOM Head of Office in Malawi, said officials discussed issues driving factors of migration and strengthening citizens' desire to stay, instead of getting involved in irregular migration.
Armando Pedro Muiuane, National Director of the National Institute of Mozambicans Abroad, said the initiative would encourage Malawians and Mozambicans in South Africa to return to their places of origin and rebuild their lives as well as help develop their communities.
"It is good for us to see such concrete results of the project," Muiuane said.
Millions of Malawians and Mozambicans reside in South Africa.
Most leave in search of greener pastures but often face challenges upon reaching their destination.
Those applying for voluntary return are counselled before living South Africa.
IOM supports their reintegration when they arrive in their countries of origin.