IOM is supporting the workshops through its project “Promoting Safe and Fair Labour Migration from Kenya to the Gulf States” funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour and implemented in partnership with Verité, a labour rights non-governmental organisation. | Photo by IOM Kenya
In a bid to support Kenya’s efforts to monitor and regulate international recruitment, and ensure its alignment with international best practices and initiatives, IOM organized two training workshops for Government officials and Private Employment Agencies (PEAs).
The first workshop, held from 20-21 February, sought to strengthen the capacity of the PEAs in Kenya to provide ethical recruitment services to migrant workers. One objective of the workshop was to bring together different actors in the public, private and civil society sectors, in order to promote safe, orderly and regular Migration while being involved in the preparations for the foreign employment.
IOM Senior Regional Specialist on Labour Mobility and Human Development, Jo Rispoli, said that the workshop was important, as it seeks to protect prospective migrant workers during the recruitment process.
“It is imperative that all stakeholders in the recruitment process promote the upholding of ethical recruitment practices, including labour recruiters, governments, and employers in order to ensure that the fundamental human, labour and social rights of migrant workers are duly protected,” Rispoli said.
The workshop included roundtable discussions in which various issues were explored. They touched on ethical recruitment business practices, human trafficking, human rights abuses faced by migrant workers and risks faced by East African migrant workers, among others. The workshop follows several important developments. On 23 January, IOM facilitated the election of new officials of the Association of Skilled Migrants Agencies of Kenya (ASMAK), which is now a self-regulating body for PEAs. The new officials now form the Secretariat that will represent the interest of the association, by having structured engagement with the Government.
The second workshop, held from 22-23 February, targeted Government officials. It sought to strengthen the capacity of the Kenyan Government to monitor and enforce accountability to the country’s labour migration policies on the part of recruiters and other actors involved in flows of workers from East Africa to six Gulf States, namely, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman.
The workshop drew officials from the Department of Immigration Services, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Labour Department, National Employment Agency, State Department and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, vetting committee members and Youth Enterprise Development Fund.
Speaking while opening the workshop, the Deputy in charge of the National Coordination Mechanism on Migration (NCM), Ms. Emma Malinda, pointed out that ethical recruitment should align with good practices in the international arena.
“Ethical recruitment contributes to safe, orderly, responsible and regular migration,” she said.
The workshop tackled various topical issues ranging from risks faced by East African migrant workers, the human trafficking element in labour migration, protection of migrant workers, and pre-departure orientation, among others. As the local labour market gets saturated, Kenyans are increasingly seeking employment beyond our borders. At the same time, demand for low-skilled workers from East Africa is increasing, particularly in the Gulf countries.
Labour migration and foreign employment benefit Kenya in form of remittances, skills transfer and source of livelihoods to thousands of Kenyans migrant workers and their families. Just as the broader recruitment sector is driven by a market for quickly available and inexpensive labour, the market for ethical recruitment is associated with business incentives for recruiters to do the right thing on both the employer and migrant ends of the labour supply chain.
IOM is supporting the workshops through its project “Promoting Safe and Fair Labour Migration from Kenya to the Gulf States” funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour and
implemented in partnership with Verité, a labour rights non-governmental organisation.