Some issues facing Kenyan workers in Saudi start at home – Mutua

All domestic workers will have to meet a set of requirements to travel from November 7.

In Summary
  • The CS said the rights of all workers will be enforced by the laws of Saudi Arabia and Kenya will be enforced.
  • Mutua said any workers in need of assistance will receive immediate help including engaging the Saudi Government for their assistance.
Foreign Affairs CS.
Foreign Affairs CS.
Image: FILE

Foreign Affairs CS Alfred Mutua has said some of the issues faced by Kenyan workers in Saudi Arabia start from home.

In a statement on Thursday, Mutua said the conclusion was arrived at, after interacting with all factions involved.

“Listening to the victims, agents, Kenya government officials and Saudi government officials, it is clear that the problems facing some our people start back home in Kenya,” he said, adding that the system needed fixing.

“There is massive corruption in the way Kenyans are prepared before they leave to be domestic workers in Saudi and follow up of Kenyans when they arrive. This is a major concern.”

During his two-day visit to the country, Mutua held talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs His Highness Faisal Bin Farhan Al-Saud and a team from the Ministry of Labour, led by vice minister of Labour Abdullah Nasser Abuthnain.

The leaders proposed various solutions to make it easier for Kenyans to relate to and work in Saudi.

They agreed to have offices for Kenyan labour agencies in Saudi Arabia, to address the issues facing workers.

“We will, in collaboration with the Saudi government, flush out illegal agencies and also black list agencies that do not perform as per the law,” he said.

He said the rights of all workers will be enforced by laws of Saudi Arabia and Kenya.

“We have also agreed to ensure compliance by agents and others when it comes to the provision of healthcare to Kenyans, including those who are in the country illegally,” he said.

Mutua said they were going to end all cartels and streamline the agencies.

The ministry has issued a short-term solution to ensure that the immigration of domestic workers to any country is done in the right manner.

Mutua said the Kenyan immigration officers will not allow citizens to travel out of the country as domestic workers without fulfilling the set requirements starting November 7.

“We have set up a joint Technical Team of Kenya and Saudi Arabia government officials to fast-track Labour issues including the issue of exit visas,” he said.

“They start their work two weeks from today. We have dedicated an emergency hotline for Kenyans in Saudi Arabia to call when facing any difficulties.”

The emergency hotline number at the Kenyan Embassy in Riyadh is +966500755060.

Mutua said any workers in need of assistance will receive immediate help including engaging the Saudi government for their assistance.

“The idea is to ensure every Kenyan works and lives a fulfilling life,” he said.

The former governor said he requested for Amnesty to be granted to Kenyans who were in the country illegally, those who are unable to access medical care for their documents to be legalized, and for others to be given passage to return home.

He said the government was going to deploy extra staff to the Riyadh Embassy to assist in the process of legalising Kenyans who are out of status and processing travel documents.

Mutua said Kenyans working in the formal sector had no challenges, adding that the Kingdom wished to have more workers from Kenya.

“We have requested for an increase of quotas to allow trained Kenyans in all fields to get jobs in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Mutua said Kenyan graduands had the opportunity to get jobs in Saudi and the larger Middle East.

“We have also requested a review upwards on the packages and salaries offered to Kenyans working in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Further, the government of Saudi Arabia committed to working with Kenya to promote their mutual interests and international agendas.

Mutua said Faisal agreed to enhance trade and investment between the two countries and to expand tourism.

“We have requested the support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as we tackle the drought situation facing our country due to the effects of climate change,” he said.

“I wish to thank Kenyans who came out to meet and greet as we shared ideas. I wish to assure all Kenyans that we are there for them and their welfare is also the welfare of the government.”

He also thanked the leadership of Saudi Arabia for openly talking to him.

“I extend my appreciation to them for according to Kenyans this great opportunity to reside and work in their country. I am confident with the new engagement, we will achieve much more,” he said.

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