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Youth summit ask Uhuru to disband Employment Authority

They are also calling for intervention on slow processing of passports by the immigration department

In Summary
  • Last year, the youth summit demanded an audit of migrant workers and entities facilitating travel, which it says has been ignored to date.
  • The country is said to have lost more than Sh5 billion in the last three months due to low departures, occasioned by the new recruitment rules.
People in search of jobs.
UNEMPLOYMENT People in search of jobs.
Image: REUTERS

Kenyan youth seeking jobs abroad have decried corruption at the National Employment Authority(NEA), calling on President Uhuru Kenyatta to disband the authority.

They are also calling for intervention on slow processing of passports by the immigration department and an increase in pre-departure schools, to facilitate more youths to secure jobs abroad.

In a petition to the President, the youth, led by the Youth Employment Summit(YES) say many of them have missed out on job opportunities due to delays in the issuance of passports.

“Over 500,000 youths' dream to work abroad has been dimmed by NEA and NITA(National Industrial Training Authority)  due to corruption and political interests,” the summit's Nairobi region coordinator, George Bush, says in the petition.

Last year, the youth summit demanded an audit of migrant workers and entities facilitating travel, which it says has been ignored to date.

“There are over 20,000 Kenyans with work visas but stuck because of lack of passports. We know of two agencies with over 900 migrant workers stuck in hostels because they have no money to bribe to get passports,” Bush says.

The Youth Employment Summit(YES) advocates for job creation and development projects for the youth.

The number of pre-departure schools has been reduced to less than 20 from sixty, reducing the country's capacity to process job seekers from above 12,000 to less than 2,500 per month.

“The creation of NEA has become a curse rather than a blessing to Kenyan youth,” Bush said, calling for the resignation of the authority's top managers, including its acting director-general Edith Okoki.

While Kenya has had opportunities to secure jobs in over twelve markets, it currently benefits with two markets with Saudi Arabia being the leading destination for domestic workers.

The authorities charged with pushing for Bilateral Labour Agreements(BLAs) have also failed to secure deals for Kenyan professionals, recruiting agencies say, despite the opportunities and willingness by different countries to employ Kenyans.

“The Labour Ministry and NEA are now the chief saboteurs to Uhuru legacy on youth employment,” Bush said.

The country is said to have lost more than Sh5 billion in the last three months due to low departures, occasioned by the new recruitment rules.

Unemployment in the country is at about 7.4 per cent with about 85 per cent being youths below 35 years, where a huge number is looking for opportunities outside the country.

On January 13, NITA wrote homecare management training providers on the new requirements which scrapped the traditional pre-departure orientation of 14 days, introducing a training of between 21 and 30 days, at a fee of between Sh8,000 and Sh25,000, per person.

Only those who pass the NEA and NITA exams are allowed to travel, a requirement that the youth have protested since it is not a requirement by the host nations.

“Training should be carried out in the approved venues and only approved resource persons by NITA are allowed to facilitate the training,” the authority said.

While the jubilee government has been keen to secure jobs for Kenyan's abroad, local policies could derail the process and gains, with the country losing out on the much-needed diaspora remittances.