Govt tightens safety laws for Gulf workers

Monday November 13 2017

Employment Services

Labour Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie addresses experts during the launch of the World Association of Public Employment Services forum at a Nairobi hotel on September 19, 2017. The government has signed bilateral labour agreements with Qatar and Saudi Arabia. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By OUMA WANZALA
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The government has tightened laws to ensure safety of Kenyans going to work in the Gulf as it lifts a 2014 employment ban.

A report by the Labour Ministry on foreign employment says recruitment agencies will be required to furnish the government with returns of people hired, their personal details and next of kin every three months.

An inter-ministerial committee to vet employment agencies before registration has been formed and a code of conduct governing them developed.

MIGRANT WORKERS
The committee has already vetted and registered 29 private hiring firms.

“The agencies have duly complied with the new regulatory framework,” the report says.

The government also signed bilateral labour agreements with Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the two major markets for low skilled migrant workers.

“A draft MoU with the United Arab Emirates has been initiated. Other labour agreements will be signed with Oman, Lebanon and Jordan,” the October 18 report reads.

TRAINING
It adds that labour attachés have been posted to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar to deal with workers’ welfare, and complaints and monitor implementation of the agreements.

“The Ministry has developed a national labour market information system, which is expected to be linked with the labour market information system for migrant workers and diaspora,” the report adds.

It says pre-departure training is being undertaken by the Youth Fund and efforts are under way to develop a curriculum.
DETAILS
According to the report, the government will have records of recruitment agencies, including application forms, names and qualifications of directors, location, contacts, lease agreements, certificates of incorporation, licences and security clearance.

It adds that the certificate of registration will be issued to the agency and details of copies retained by the employment office.

“The government is using a new approach to curb illegal immigration by engaging other agencies in dealing with migration officials, airport authorities, police, foreign affairs and others,” it adds.