Professionals may work in Middle East as ban lifted

The ban on domestic workers however remains.

Saturday March 19 2016

Labour and East African Community Affairs Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie addresses participants at KICC during the Inter-Ministerial Symposium on March 17, 2016. She has said that all recruitment or employment agents will be vetted afresh. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDOA GROUP

Labour and East African Community Affairs Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie addresses participants at KICC during the Inter-Ministerial Symposium on March 17, 2016. She has said that all recruitment or employment agents will be vetted afresh. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDOA GROUP 

By JACQUELINE KUBANIA
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Kenyans with professional qualifications can once again apply for work in the Middle East after the government on Friday lifted a ban on the exportation of labour to countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait.

This means that Kenyans with skills such as accounting, hotel management and secretarial can freely work in the Gulf States, provided that they apply through properly vetted recruitment agencies.

The ban on domestic workers however remains.

The blanket ban on the exportation of all types of labour was imposed in 2014 following increased cases of Kenyan workers being mistreated in the Middle East.

To prevent further mistreatment, Cabinet Secretary for Labour Phyllis Kandie announced that the government will require host countries to sign agreements to protect the rights of Kenyans working there.

“We shall arrange Bilateral Labour Agreements with the destination countries, particularly in the Middle East, as well as prepare pre-departure training and an orientation programme for the Kenyan migrant workers,” she said in a statement.

She added that all recruitment or employment agents will be vetted afresh and that they will all be required to reapply for accreditation. 

“No agency will therefore be allowed to recruit workers without going through the vetting process,” read the statement. “A code of conduct for recruitment agencies has been developed in consultation with relevant stakeholders. New regulations governing private recruitment agencies have also been developed and will be gazetted soon.”

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