- The proposed law sponsored by nominated Senator Crystal Asige states no person or agency shall recruit Kenyans unless they are licensed by the Authority.
- The proposed law adds that the agency shall maintain an integrated information system on all overseas Kenyan workers.
The National Employment Authority will issue travel advisories on labour and only deploy Kenyan migrants to countries where their rights are protected if a new Senate bill is enacted.
The National Employment Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023 seeks to protect the rights and provide clear guidelines for deployment of the workers.
“This Bill seeks to amend the NEA Act to introduce provisions that seek to protect the rights, welfare and well-being of Kenyans working overseas,” it states.
The proposed law, sponsored by nominated Senator Crystal Asige, states no person or agency shall recruit Kenyans unless they are licensed by the agency.
“The Authority shall, in as far as possible, facilitate the deployment, overseas, of Kenyan workers only to countries where the rights of Kenyan migrant workers are protected.”
The Bill provides that the agency shall only send migrant Kenyan workers to a country that has existing labour and social laws protecting the rights of migrant workers.
The country must also be a signatory to multilateral conventions, declaration or resolutions relating to the protection of migrant workers to which Kenya is a party.
Such a country must also have concluded a bilateral agreement or arrangement with the government of Kenya protecting the rights of overseas Kenyan workers.
“[The country] is taking positive, concrete measures to protect the rights of migrant workers,” it states.
Asige argues that the country has been steadily receiving reports of the inhumane treatment of Kenyans working overseas, necessitating policies and laws that seek to protect the lives of these Kenyans.
This is despite the lot contributing greatly to the economy of the country through remittances estimated to be more than $4 billion.
“It is therefore paramount that the laws of the country protect the welfare of these Kenyans not only to ensure their continued contribution to the economy, but to ensure that the constitutional protections of workers are not jeopardised once a Kenyan ventures to work abroad,” the Bill states.
The proposed law says that a person shall not carry out the business of recruiting, unless such person has applied for, and obtained a permit from the NEA.
“A person who intends to recruit a person to work overseas shall make an application to the Authority in the prescribed form,” the Bill says.
The application shall include information on information on the nature of business, the place of business and the countries to which the recruiter intends to facilitate the movement of Kenyan migrant workers.
They must also provide information on an indemnity cover for Kenyan overseas workers.
Further, the Bill states that the agency shall, in consultation with the Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary, issue travel advisories on labour and employment conditions, migration realities and other relevant information relating to overseas workers.
The advisory may also be issued on adherence of particular countries to international standards on human and workers' rights, which will adequately prepare individuals into making informed and intelligent decisions about overseas employment.
“The authority shall, every four months, publish the advisory in at least two newspapers of nationwide circulation,” the Bill states.
The proposed law adds that the agency shall maintain an integrated information system on all overseas Kenyan workers.