𝐒𝐞𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟏𝟐, 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟑
The Committee on Diaspora Affairs and Migrant Workers has called on the government agencies responsible for the facilitation of Migrant Workers’ placement abroad to improve the process of clearance for migrant workers so as to enhance their placement abroad.
Noting that many Kenyan youth migrating abroad are in search of job opportunities to fend for themselves and their families, the Hon. Lydia Mighizi-Committee acknowledged that complaints from recruitment agencies and those who offer pre-departure training were valid and need to be looked into.
The lawmakers were speaking this morning during a roundtable engagement with Labour Ministry Officials led by the Principal Secretary, Labour and Skills Development, Mr. Geoffrey Kaituko,Representatives of the Association of Skilled Migrant Agencies of Kenya (ASMAK), and the Kenya Association of Private Employment Agencies (KAPEA).
Others present were representatives from Pre- Departure Training Centres led by their chairperson, Dr. Stanley Michuki.
Members led by Langata lawmaker Hon. Felix Odiwour asked the Ministry and its agencies to remove the hurdles affecting the processing of migrant workers to allow many qualified young people to get placements abroad.
“Why would the government on one hand announce that they have acquired jobs abroad for Kenyans, but on the other hand create hard conditions that bar those recruited to travel?”, Hon. Odiwour wondered
While making their submissions, the recruitment agencies and their colleagues from training centres that offer pre- departure training had complained of the lengthy training period as well as the current curriculum which they said is more focused on the final national examinations rather than the skills imparted.
They lamented that the lengthy training period which differs from that of neighbouring countries, had lost them business to Uganda and Ethiopia. They pointed out that recruiting agencies from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for instance had scaled down their engagements with their counterparts in the country due to this.
“Hon. Chairperson, why does the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) insist on a five-week training for skills that can be immersively acquired within two weeks? The curriculum they introduced is more focused on the exams they offer at the end of the training rather than on imparting skills.”,
On his part, PS Kaituko told the legislators that the Labour Ministry had made great strides in addressing these challenges. He pointed out to the Members that since his last engagement with the Committee, he had since formed a taskforce comprising of all the stakeholders to address these challenges.
He also revealed that Ministry had developed a Labour Migration Policy which is now awaiting the consideration of the National Assembly.
Other issues that arose during the meeting include the exorbitant charges that foreign medical agencies who are based in the country charge, continued operations by agencies that are not licensed, and the slow processing of travel documentation.
The Committee has been undertaking an inquiry into the role and conduct of private employment agencies in the recruitment and placement of migrant workers abroad and has received submissions from the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and representatives of ASMAK and KAPEA on the registration and recruitment process, management, processing and facilitatingof migrant workers and challenges facing the sector.
The forum which continues tomorrow will also deliberate on issues pertaining mainstreaming of the recruitment of migrant workers; evaluation of policies the Ministry has put in place to improve the facilitation and the welfare of Migrant Workers, and the Measures to address illegal recruitment of migrant workers.