Foreign Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary Ababu Namwamba has urged Busia County in collaboration with the National Government Administration officers to develop an Immigrant Labour Policy to be used by the locals seeking for jobs in foreign countries.
Speaking during a consultative forum with the team at the County Commissioner’s Boardroom on Monday, Namwamba noted that the County does not have any existing guidelines.
“Ensure that recruitment agencies are registered here in Busia so that you can easily trace those who have moved to foreign countries,” he said adding that Kenya had an existing bilateral agreement with Saudi Arabia but has realized that it is not sufficient.
He added that the government has already initiated the process and have signed seven bilateral agreements with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, among others to clean up any missing gap in this process.
The CAS further said that the government has identified a number of counties considered to be the key sources of young Kenyans who work in foreign countries as domestic workers.
“We have identified counties in the Coast Region especially Mombasa as being a key source of young people who work in the Middle East especially Saudi Arabia,” he said adding that more counties have been identified in Western and Nyanza.
He pointed out that Western and Nyanza regions provided the bulk of domestic workers adding that cases of deaths and mistreatments have been reported in the region.
“That is why we are in Busia and tomorrow we will be moving to Kisumu,” he said adding that migration of labour is now a reality.
Ababu disclosed that Kenya has at least 200,000 domestic labourers who are gainfully employed in different parts of the Gulf region and over 1 million across the world.
“So there is need to ensure that we have ways of protecting them,” he said noting that around 78 Kenyans have died in Saudi Arabia within the past two years.
He advised the County Government to take advantage of the recently advertised vacancies for nurses in the United Kingdom.
Busia County Chief Executive Officer Public Service and Administration John Mwami said that recruitment agencies should be registered by Labour Departments in the counties and form associations for ease of tracing of labourers.
Mwami noted that a number of local residents sought for domestic work in Nairobi only to be recruited in foreign countries.
Chief Officer in the Office of the Governor Ezekiel Okwach said that there was need to sensitize the locals on the negative consequences of the domestic migrant labour.
Busia Deputy County Commissioner Kipchumba Rutto stated that there was need for a policy to assist the poor adding lack of employment drives a number of desperate locals to venture into foreign countries despite the reported risks.
The move comes after desperate Kenyans appealed for help through social media citing mistreatment in Saudi Arabia where they had gone to look for greener pastures.
By Salome Alwanda