Labor CS Simon Chelugui
Kenya’s Ministry of Labor has announced new stringent measures implemented by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to safeguard Kenyan migrant workers, especially domestic workers.
The ministry said the Gulf state has introduced a wage protection program, a distress alert line for security agencies, and formed a protection and support department under the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development to handle all complaints from migrant workers, recruitment agencies, and embassies.
This is in addition to the labor reform initiative that was introduced last year, allowing migrant workers to switch employers. The reforms also define exit, return and final exit procedures
Other measures include activating the alternative dispute resolution mechanism, which includes ensuring cases referred to court are resolved within 21 days.
Locally, the government of Kenya has established an Oversight and Community Feedback Mechanism to facilitate continuous monitoring of private employment agencies and to ensure ethical recruitment. A toll-free line 0800222223 and a web portal have also been set up to report migrant workers' distress cases.
The government has urged Kenyans wishing to travel abroad to seek employment to only use accredited recruitment agencies.
Employment agencies have also been urged to acquaint all Kenyans migrating to Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries with the requisite measures put in place before signing any contract.
The move comes in the wake of increased calls for the government to put up measures to protect Kenyans working in Saudi Arabia following perpetual incidents of death, mistreatment and torture of domestic workers.