US govt threatens to deport Zim cruise ship workers over ‘migration risk’
The United States (US) government is reportedly threatening to deport Zimbabwean cruise ship workers over what it regards as “migration risk”.
According to a leaked internal human resources email dated February 20, the luxury ocean liner, Celebrity Cruises, informed staff members of the directive from the Miami Customs and Border Control officers.
Celebrity Cruises stated that Zimbabwean workers are no longer allowed to leave cruise ships once they dock in Miami, Florida, and they must fly back home on the same day.
The company further indicated that the directive from Miami immigration authorities was because Zimbabweans were fleeing inland after docking for leave at various destinations:
“Please be advised, as per Miami Customs & Border Protection officers, effective immediately, crew (sic) from Zimbabwe nationality will not be allowed for Shore Leave in the port of Miami, and when disembarking the ship in Miami, they must be safeguarded with flights departing on the same day,” read the email.
“[The] Reason for these restrictions is, lately, there has been a significant increase in deserting Zimbabwe crew from multiple cruise lines. We regret the impact of these restrictions to [sic] you and expect your kind understanding & corporation. Thank you.”
The economic crisis in Zimbabwe has resulted in the surge in the number of people hunting for better job prospects on cruise ships from countries like the United Kingdom, United States and the Caribbean.
With Zimbabwean healthcare workers leaving for the UK in record numbers, the process might slow down soon as the National Health Service (NHS) has revealed that the Zimbabwean government has made strong objections to what they view as “raiding” of hard-to-train nurses and doctors.
The NHS is reported to have said that they are slowing down recruitment from Zimbabwe for ethical reasons in order to let the Zimbabwean and British government resolve this issue.
This will be bad news for Zimbabwean nurses and doctors seeking greener pastures.