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Friday, April 19, 2024
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Sneak Peek at Government’s Plan to Protect The Kenyan Diaspora

Sneak Peek at Government's Plan to Protect The Kenyan Diaspora
Sneak Peek at Government’s Plan to Protect The Kenyan Diaspora

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how Indians have been diaspora workers since the 19th century and it was only a century later that the Indian government decided to put in the guard rails to protect migrant workers.

The Emigration Act, 1983, provides a regulatory framework for the emigration of Indian workers for contractual overseas employment by seeking to safeguard their interests and ensure their welfare.

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I probed our own Kenyan government policy, questioning whether there was a cohesive, deliberate and strategic approach to this valuable human capital asset that addresses our youth bulge.

I didn’t figure that the folks at the social media renamed Republic of Taxmenistan head office were reading. They were. The good (and now former) Labour and Skills Principal Secretary, Geoffrey Kaituko, reached out to educate me on what the government was making towards Kenyan emigration.

First off the bat is the requisite strategy. This has been articulated in a Global Labor Market Strategy 2023-2027 document. It is a well-researched piece of work that first maps the employment and dire unemployment state of the nation. It then articulates that the Kenyan labour brand is distilled into nine key points around good education, good internet, language proficiency, ideal geography, professionalism, entrepreneurship, vocational skills, trained workforce and religious diversity.

It then maps the areas globally that attract immigrant labour and self-assesses the challenges faced by the government in providing a co-ordinated approach to funnelling the supply side in Kenya to the global demand side focusing on 12 countries in Africa, North America, Europe and the Gulf States with details as to what their human capital needs are. It’s actually a pretty good analysis of the scope of the problem.

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The bridal accompaniment to the bridegroom’s strategy is a National Policy on Labor Migration 2023. This is essentially a road map to which government agencies need to work together to provide a cohesive solution.

Once you get past the 10 million acronyms that can fill a Qatar Airways Boeing 777 flight to Doha, you get an understanding of why this has been quite a difficult task to achieve.

First off, I got to understand the hue and cry behind the passport delays, and why secret messages were flying around of which passport office in which county could deliver faster than the other.

The Department of Immigration plays a central role in allowing migrant workers to get the first document that will enable them to even be considered.

The National Employment Authority (NEA) is a second critical institution as it undertakes the licensing of private employment agencies.

If you want to know whether the company you are sending your application to is legitimate, there is a portal on the NEA’s website to check. In a TV interview, the good PS confirmed that there are 599 licensed agents.

I sauntered over to the website to see who these agencies were. The website provides a link to a Kenya Migrant Workers (KMW) page with all these details. I clicked on the link and my laptop went berserk. A huge warning sign popped up telling me that the site may be impersonating the real KMW page to steal my personal or financial information and that I should skedaddle the heck out of there. I did. So let’s say that if you’re willing to wear a digital coat of armour, you can try looking for the agencies yourself.

Other notable players are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which protects migrant workers, firstly, by creating Bilateral Labor Agreements with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE. It has also signed one for healthcare professionals with the United Kingdom.

The reason the PowerPoint strategy deck I mentioned above had the 12 countries identified is that the government is negotiating with at least 11 of them for bilateral labour agreements. Good people, things seem to be moving on the surface.

Finally, the strategy and the national policy give birth to the Labor Migration Management Bill 2023 which has been tabled before Cabinet. It is a pretty decent attempt to bring order to Kenyan migration.

A key element of the draft Bill is a statutory approach to registration, monitoring and deregistration of employment agencies. There is also a detailed pre-departure procedure for foreign employment.

In addition, the Bill provides for a Kenyan Migrant Workers Welfare Fund to provide protection and assistance to workers such as medical benefits, invalidity, funeral grants, repatriation of workers dead or alive, help fund legal disputes among other things. Very noble objectives. If they are executed. We wait and watch with bated breath, Titanic deck chair reshuffling notwithstanding.

By CAROL MUSYOKA

Source-https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/

 

Sneak Peek at Government’s Plan to Protect The Kenyan Diaspora

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