It is estimated that between 1.1 million and 3 million Zimbabweans are living in countries neighbouring Zimbabwe. Reliable figures are hard to obtain as many Zimbabweans have crossed borders illegally. The UN and governments in host countries consider most of those who have left Zimbabwe to be economic migrants. As economic migrants they are not recognised as refugees nor protected under various international conventions governing the treatment of refugees. Over 160,000 Zimbabweans were deported from South Africa up to the end of October 2007, already a significant increase on the numbers deported in the whole of 2006.
DFID is supporting the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to provide humanitarian assistance to Zimbabweans deported from South Africa through the Beitbridge Reception Centre. IOM provides information on how to migrate legally and safely through its nationwide 'Safe Migration' campaign. We have recently approved a programme to support and protect Zimbabwean children in Limpopo Province in South Africa. The UK Government are also providing humanitarian assistance to Zimbabweans in Johannesburg through the British High Commission in Pretoria.