Agencies to deposit Sh2 million before exporting domestic workers – Bill


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Diaspora matters: Firms engaged in sending Kenyan labourers to the Middle East will be required to deposit a Sh2 million security bond with the government following a proposed Bill.

Haki Africa has sponsored the Domestic Migrant Workers Bill aimed at ending violence meted out on Kenyans working abroad.

The group’s programme coordinator Francis Auma said they will task Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir with the execution of the proposed legislation at the National Assembly.

Violence against domestic workers led to the ban in exportation of the unskilled labour force to Saudi Arabia and Qatar in 2014. The ban is set to be lifted next week.

“If the Bill is approved, the Labor and Foreign Affairs ministries will have to map red zones worldwide where our people should not work or step,” Auma said.

He said the Bill also forces a Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary to form a union that will track Kenyan labourers working outside the country.

“The aim is to ensure their safety. ‘Reluctant’ ambassadors in some countries will be compelled to be reachable unlike now,” he said in Mombasa on Saturday.

There are only 29 registered and licensed agencies down from 930.

Labour CS Phylis Kandie said the government has since adopted new rules and measures that will aid in curbing the mistreatment of Kenyan workers in the Gulf countries.

Among them is pre-departure training for those wishing to travel to the Middle East seeking employment.

But Auma said the Labor and Foreign Affairs ministries have been complicit in acts that resulted to terror experienced by workers.

“There are cartels working with officials from these sectors to produce fake visas, certificate of good conduct among other travel documents,” he said.

Auma showed fake documents including offer letters, medical check-up requirement forms, letters of consent to travel allegedly used by rogue agents.

“It has been revealed to us that these agents have formed a worldwide web with scoundrel officials in affected countries greatly involved.”

The coordinator said in the last three years, they have handled over 200 cases reported by labourers or their relatives after suffering violence in the hands of employer.

“Reports range from distress call, death, sexual harassment, unlawful detention and physical assault,” Auma said.

Though the lobby group welcomed lifting of the ban, it said countries on spotlight must adhere to human rights principles.

In 2014, the Kenyan government imposed a total ban on the export of domestic workers following claims of deplorable working conditions, human rights violations, exploitation and abuse.

It also revoked the licenses of 930 recruitment agencies after reports of abuses increased.

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