Kenya to Send 30,000 Skilled Workers to Gulf States

Over 30,000 skilled workers will be sent to Gulf States by the end of next month as the government concludes the signing of bilateral labour agreements to secure employment for jobless Kenyans.

Labour Principal Secretary Peter Tum said that the Ministry is closely working with the ambassadors of the respective countries to streamline the process which has been hijacked by unscrupulous recruitment agencies.

"We have signed bilateral labour agreements with Jordan as we work with other ambassadors to have all of them sign to be able to export workers," he said at the National Industrial Training Institute (Nita) in Kisumu on Thursday.

Other countries that are targeted include Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

He noted that the programme being implemented under the Rapid Response Initiative will craft labour migration policy that speaks to the welfare of the migrant workers.

He added that the ministry is working with other East African countries and those in the Horn of Africa to harmonise their policies to block unscrupulous agencies from using neighbouring countries as routes to ferry people to the Gulf.

400,000 youth

The initiative is part of the government's plan to address the high levels of unemployment as Kenya's economy struggles to absorb more than 400,000 youth who join the labour market every year.

Semi and low-skilled workers have dominated labour migration to the Gulf where most of the migrants are recruited in hospitality, construction, security, transport, cleaning and domestic services.

As part of plans to reform Kenyan migrant workers in the domestic sector, the labourers now have to undergo specialised training to cope with anticipated challenges in the new work environments.

The training units has been adjusted to cover 200 hours, with 40 hours dedicated to industrial attachment.

Mr Tum noted that culture shock relating to religious practice, dressing, male-female interactions, language and lack of knowledge on how to use house appliances are some of the challenges experienced by Kenyans undertaking domestic work overseas.

"The curriculum aims at acquainting the workers to envisaged challenges in the new environment in the host country. We want to ensure that migrant workers relocate in an orderly, safe and dignified manner," he said.

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