State to establish safe houses in Gulf for Kenyan workers in distress

CS Bore says move aims to promote safe, orderly and productive labour migration

In Summary
  • Bore said government will establish additional Labour Attaché Offices in key labour destination countries.
  • The CS called on Parliament to fast track consideration and approval of National Policy on Labour Migration.
Labour and Social Protection CS Florence Bore during a past event.
Labour and Social Protection CS Florence Bore during a past event.
Image: FILE

The government is planning to establish safe houses in the Gulf region where distressed Kenyan migrant workers can seek help, Labour Cabinet Secretary Florence Bore has revealed.

Bore, while briefing the joint committees on Labour and Diaspora Affairs and Migrant Workers on National Policy on Labour Migration, said priority will be given to Saudi Arabia where numerous distress cases have been reported.

The CS appealed to the committees to fast-track consideration and approval of the policy to pave the way for its implementation.

She further called for support towards the establishment of additional Labour Attaché Offices in key labour destination countries.

The CS said Kenyan migrant workers continue to face numerous challenges among them decent work deficits, inadequate labour migration governance and migrant workers' protection.

“Cases of Kenyan Migrant workers in distress have been on the rise, calling for sustainable solutions which can be achieved through comprehensive policy, legal and institutional reforms,” she said.

Bore noted that the main objective of the National Policy on Labour Migration is to promote inclusive and sustainable development of the country through safe, orderly and productive labour migration.

She said the policy seeks to enhance coordination of labour migration governance in Kenya, boost transparency and flexibility in labour migration, promote foreign employment, protect human and labour rights and promote the welfare of Kenyan migrant workers and maximise participation of Kenyan migrant workers in the economic development.

She further said the policy also seeks to promote equal treatment of foreign migrant workers in Kenya who are lawfully engaged in employment and provide a framework for the collection, analysis and use of data and information on labour migration and labour migrants.

The CS told lawmakers the policy covers the whole labour migration cycle from pre-departure orientation, departure and post-arrival orientation, entire period of stay during employment until the return to Kenya.

“This is to ensure the rights and welfare of migrant workers are protected during their migration experience,” Bore said.

Bore noted that Kenyans are increasingly seeking for employment in foreign countries hence the critical need for a well-managed, safe, regular and productive labour migration.

“Kenyan migrant workers are present in almost all the regions of the World, including Europe, United States of America, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, Canada, and Australia including some key African countries such as Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and South Africa. The number of Kenyans in the diaspora has significantly increased and is estimated to be 4 million, however, the exact number of Kenyan migrant workers is still a challenge,” she noted.

She said labour migration continues to greatly contribute to the growth and development of the country’s economy.

“It is a source of employment and livelihood for many Kenyans, one of the main avenues of technology and skills transfer between countries; and a source of the much-needed remittances,” she added.

Bore further added that diaspora remittances are currently one of Kenya’s highest foreign exchange earners.

“Trends in the last decade show tremendous growth in remittances inflow into the country, with increased sixfold from Sh104.3 billion in 2012 to Sh672 billion in 2023,” noted the CS.

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