The government has drafted a new bill seeking to protect the welfare of Kenyans working abroad.
The Labor Migration Management Bill 2021 is part of the government efforts to address the rising mistreatment of Kenyan migrant workers, especially those working in the Middle East.
Kenya’s Labor Ministry is keen on taming rogue private recruitment agencies that violate policies in sending workers overseas.
The new bill is awaiting input from various stakeholders before it is tabled in the Cabinet and Parliament for approval. It aims at strengthening the existing labor migration laws to offer more protection to migrant workers.
Appearing before the Senate Labor Committee, Labor Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui urged MPs to support the proposed legislation.
Chelugui noted that the ministry is working with stakeholders to design an oversight mechanism to more effectively monitor private hiring agencies to ensure they comply with ethical practices. The agencies will also be subjected to more regulations in order to enhance accountability.
“The ministry is in the process of reviewing the regulations of private employment agencies with a view to enhancing ethical recruitment and increase accountability,” said Chelugui.
“The regulations will, among others, address the issue of capital base, responsibilities of recruitment agencies during the labour migration cycle and code of conduct.”
In June, the government revealed plans to boost labor exports in a bid to increase Kenya’s diaspora remittances.
CS Chelugui said the number of Kenyans in the diaspora is currently estimated at four million but their remittance is below that of other African nations including Egypt, Nigeria, and Ghana.
He indicated that the focus is now on the export of skilled labor, which attracts better remuneration for Kenyan workers.