CS Chelugui Hosts Labour Migration Consultative Forum With Gulf States

Cabinet Secretary, Labour and Social Protection, Simon Chelugui

NAIROBI, Kenya, November 17, 2020 – There are over 4 million Kenyans in the Diaspora seeking employment opportunities beyond the borders where their skills are in high demand.

A significant number being in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Member States. This is mainly influenced by the geographical proximity of these regions and existing demand for workers in the region.

Addressing a consultative forum on issues of labour migration, Kenya’s Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary, Simon K. Cheluguia said Labour Migration has immense socio-economic benefits to both countries of origin and destination.

“Migration, can be a positive force for development when supported by the right set of policies,” said the CS.

Through Bilateral Labour Migration Agreements (BLMAs) between countries of origin and countries of destination, CS Chelugui noted that labour mobility arrangements are effected, which makes better management of migration critical to the development of sending and receiving countries.

The CS was categorical that labour migration, globally, addresses problems of unemployment and economic development.

Cabinet Secretary, Labour and Social Protection Simon Chelugui

The virtual consultative forum was attended by Director Country Office (ILO), Ambassadors and Members of Diplomatic Missions from GCC countries.

Others are Principal Secretary, State Department for Labour, Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa (IOM) and Representative of PS MFA

The CS further divulged that in order to encourage orderly labour migration, Kenya has signed three Bilateral Labour Agreements with a few members of GCC such as State of Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

The Government, he told the forum, has also initiated the development of Bilateral Labour Agreements with Kingdom of Jordan, State of Kuwait, Sultanate of Oman and Kingdom of Bahrain.

To assist Kenyans in the region, CS Chelugui divulged that the government also posted Labour Attachés to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar to support services for migrant workers, enhance migrant workers’ welfare as well as to support the implementation of bilateral labour agreements.

Labour migration is a source of employment and livelihoods for migrant workers, addresses skills gaps in destination countries and brings in the much-needed remittances to migrants’ countries of origin. It is also one of the main avenues of technology and skills-transfer between countries.

In recognition of the critical role GCC plays as a destination market for Kenya migrant workers, CS Chelugui noted that the government has developed a training programme for skilling Homecare workers with a special focus on the needs of GCC.

This, he said, is meant to equip migrant workers with the necessary skills including cultural environment in the GCC.

At the same time, CS Chelugui underscored the importance of a well-managed labour mobility saying it has the potential to yield significant benefits to origin and destination countries.

The cabinet Secretary sited unethical recruitment practices; smuggling and trafficking in persons; cases of contract substitution by some unscrupulous employers; confiscation of travel documents by some employers, and cases of mistreatment and abuse by employers as some of the challenges associated with poor labour migration that need to be eliminated.

The meeting provided an opportunity to analyse the current state of affairs regarding labour migration from Kenya to the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) member States and sharing experiences, lessons learnt and best practices on labour mobility.

It also sort to identify opportunities and challenges in labour migration and focus on possible areas of partnerships and intervention.

The CS at the same time regretted that COVID-19 pandemic has affected the dynamics of the labour market.

He hailed the Governments of the GCC for the measures put in place to cushion workers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is gratifying to note that following the easing of restrictions occasioned by the COVID pandemic, the GCC has now opened its doors to our migrant workers, subject to meeting the health, travel and workplace protocols,” he noted.

 

 

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