The Immigration Department has called on all patriotic Zambians to help it deal with the situation of illegal immigrants in the country.
Department public relations officer, Namati Nshinka, has told Lusaka Star that Zambians could help fight the crime by reporting any suspected presence of illegal immigrants to relevant authorities.
Mr. Nshinka said the department was unable to fight illegal immigration fully because it was facing low staffing levels.
He said there are only 690 uniformed immigration officers who have to man the department’s 98 stations around the country.
And Mr. Nshinka has disclosed that more than 8,200 foreign nationals were last year arrested and detained by the Zambian Immigration Department for offences ranging from unauthorised entry to violation of the terms of permits.
He said a total of 1,673 foreign nationals were denied entry into Zambia while 4,350 were issued with notices to leave the country in the same year.
Mr. Nshinka said during the same period, the department effected 4,287 physical removals from Zambia and prosecuted 1,337 foreign nationals for violating immigration laws.
He added that 363 illegal immigrants were deported in 2017.
Mr. Nshinka has attributed the influx of foreign nationals entering Zambia to the country’s attractive socio-economic situation and political stability.
He further observed that Zambia’s borders with her neighbours were porous mainly due to its vastness, stretching over 5,600 kilometers with only 46 ports of entry.
“This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that vast parts of our borders are not marked by naturally occurring barriers such as rivers, mountain ranges, oceans and deserts,” he said.