Continued suspension of labour export to promote human trafficking: UAERA.
over 4,000 Ugandans directly employed by the labour recruitment companies have been rendered jobless
Continued suspension of labour export to promote human trafficking: UAERA
The Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agency (UAERA) have warned that if government continued the suspension of labour export business in Uganda is likely to witness a rose in the black market of trafficking human abroad.
Tg heist follows Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development's delayed review of the suspension. This is contained in a statement issued by UAERA Friday responding to the Ministry of Gender, Labour & Social Development plans on the phased resumption of externalization of labour. The Labour companies have also resolved to close offices with immediate effect.
On the 15th of October 2020, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Gender, Labour & Social Development, said in a press statement that the Ministry is reviewing the current suspension of externalization of labour. Accordingly, the Minister of Gender, labour & Social Development has written to the Minister of Health seeking advice on the feasibility of reopening externalization of labour.
“This should of course be subject to fulfillment of COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures put in place by Government of Uganda and other authorities in the respective destination countries,” the Ministry said.
However, Baker Akantambira, the UAERA Chairperson says whereas the MoGLSD is the line Ministry charged with the regulation of the industry, they would like to express our concern that many a time the Ministry takes sweeping decisions without engaging the respective labour companies directly or through their Association [UAERA].
“It is not in doubt that labour exporting companies are key stakeholders in the industry. Therefore, whereas the suspension of externalization of labour was inevitable given the prevailing conditions [globally], the current move by the Ministry to unilaterally undertake measures directly affecting the labour companies is disturbing,” Akantambira says.
Labour Ministry also said even if clearance is given by the Ministry of Health and the National Taskforce on COVID-19, it is its considered view that the reopening should be phased. The first phase will start with clearance of all categories of migrant workers other than domestic workers, Labour Ministry said.
“The slight delay in reopening of externalization of domestic workers is because the Government would like to put in place additional measures aimed at promoting and protecting the welfare and rights of Ugandan domestic workers abroad. To this end, the Ministry will engage all stakeholders including the private recruitment companies,” Labour Ministry said.
However, Akantambira says the Ministry can confirm from the statistics in its records that almost 90% of labour recruitment companies are engaged in externalization of domestic workers.
“Whereas the Licences are issued for general categories, the dynamics in the market have dictated the categories the labour companies can reasonably engage in; in this case domestic workers. Therefore, the proposed phased reopening of the sector in the manner proposed is as good as extending the suspension. Moreover, in all this, neither the labour companies nor their leadership under the Association are being consulted,” Akantambira.
UAERA adds that over 4,000 Ugandans directly employed by the labour recruitment companies have been rendered jobless
“35,000 employment opportunities for Ugandans have been lost in the last 7 months,” UAERA says.
In light of the above state of affairs, the Labour Recruitment Companies have resolved that all labour externalization companies will officially close business with immediate effect.
“.. going forward, the general public is advised that following the closure of labour companies, they should consult the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development on all aspects pertaining to externalization of migrant workers,” Akantambira says, adding: “All foreign Partners and principals are advised to seek further information and consult the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development, respective Ugandan embassies and other Government Agencies.”
Akantambira appeals to the line Ministry to effectively engage the Association [UAERA] and the Labour Recruitment companies in a bid to collectively find sustainable solutions that will see the industry function with each stakeholder playing its role.
“We would like to restate however, that, in all this, UAERA as the Association for all Labour Recruitment Companies in Uganda is open to engage with the Ministry and all other stakeholders on the subject of re-opening the industry. We remain open for dialogue,” Akantambira said