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Gov’t introduces reforms to improve labour migration

The government has instituted reforms in the labour migration management to tame the rapid increase in the number of Private Recruitment Agencies with the aim of creating and sustaining ethical recruitment practices.

Ministry of Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary (CS) Simon Chelugui said that the private recruitment agencies in the country played an important role in the management of labour migration and this therefore made their operations of critical interest to the Government and other stakeholders.

Speaking at a Nairobi hotel during the official launch of the multi-stakeholder technical committee on establishment of oversight and community feedback mechanism in the recruitment industry, Chelugui said that Kenya had put in place legal, institutional and policy framework to enhance safe, orderly, humane and mutually rewarding labour migration.

“Labour migration has immense socio-economic benefits to both countries of origin and destination. It is a source of employment and livelihoods for migrant workers, bridges skill gaps in destination countries, supports skills development and technological transfer in the countries of origin and also a source of the much-needed remittances in the migrant workers’ countries of origin,” said the CS.

He said that over the years, Kenya has continued to experience migration of citizens to different parts of the World, including Europe, United States of America, Asia, Latin America, Canada, Australia, Middle East and Gulf Region and selected countries in Africa such as Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda, Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa.

“Since the bulk of those seeking for opportunities are youths who possess skills that are in demand in other countries, there is a need to effectively manage labour migration and to ensure protection of our migrant workers,” said Chelugui.

“To put this in perspective, in Kenya, remittances in the last decade has significantly grown, reaching USD 3.1 Billion in 2020 compared to USD 104.6 Million in 2004. This has made Diaspora remittances to become Kenya’s highest foreign exchange earner. However, Kenya still lags behind Egypt (USD 29.6 billion), Nigeria (USD 17.2 billion) and Ghana (USD 3.6 Billion). Currently Kenya is ranked fourth highest remittance-recipient country in Africa,” said the CS.

Chelugui added that the Government is currently finalizing modalities for export of trained Medical Professionals to the United Kingdom in efforts to create employment for the youth.

He added that other reforms instituted include establishment of an inter-ministerial committee to vet Private Recruitment Agencies; finalized development of labour migration policy, developed labour migration management bill and pre-departure training and orientation.

“In addition, the Ministry through our labour attachees are under instruction to conduct regular assessment of skills demand in foreign labour market to increase job opportunities for Kenyans,” said Chelugui.

“I am aware that the committee we are launching here today has been informed of its mandate. Let me remind you that, your overall mandate is to ensure that no Kenya will be subjected to slavery and servitude out of our country, as a result of travelling for employment in the foreign market without proper contract documentation,” said Chelugui.

The CS said that he is informed that only 40 per cent of employment Agencies in Kenya are registered with the National Employment authority insisting that this must be corrected.

“We also need to see recruitment Agencies recruiting workers from all over our country, so that some regions are not disadvantaged,” said Chelugui.

By Joseph Ng’ang’a

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