Kenyan Government defends move against 930 staffing agencies
The Government has defended its decision to revoke licences of 930 recruitment agencies as it seeks to put in place measures to protect Kenyans working the Middle East and Persian Gulf.
Noting that the two regions were key labour destinations for domestic workers, Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi said there was dire need for proper management of labour migration to address the plight of immigrant workers in distressed situations.
“Kenyans recruited to work in those countries face numerous challenges hence the need to put in place measures to protect and safeguard the welfare and dignity of our migrant workers,” said Kambi at a Press briefing yesterday. On Sunday during a visit to Mombasa, Kambi directed recruitment agencies to make fresh applications for accreditation in order to identify those linked to jobs scams.
It is however not clear how the over 80,000 Kenyans already working in the Middle East and Persian Gulf will be affected if their recruiting agencies do not pass the vetting. The CS also suspended the export of domestic workers to the regions as the fresh application and vetting process kick off immediately. There have been reports of torture and death of the workers searching for greener pastures.
Kambi, at the briefing yesterday, added that information on migrant workers without proper documentation had made it difficult for the Government to offer assistance. “The workers in such situations remain highly vulnerable hence the need for appropriate measures to protect them,” he said. He was accompanied by his Principal Secretary Ali Ismail and acting Director of Employment Edith Okok. Mr Ismail said the vetting will be stringent and thorough to weed out briefcase agencies.
“We are trying to streamline the sector to get rid of those agencies not equal to the task. We have a raft of measures in the short, mid and long-term,” said Ismail, assuring that the process will be concluded in the shortest time possible. He added that over 20 girls were stranded in Lebanon. Ms Okok said only agencies with genuine offices and contracts will be licensed.